Can we all agree that pop-ups can be annoying without offering anything in return? We’ve all encountered them when browsing the internet and most likely clicked away at the first opportunity. However, there are some that you’ve opted in to, and here’s why: they offer immense value for what you are looking to buy/achieve/learn about in your life. In other words, the free offer tempts you enough to give up your first name and email address.
In this post, we’re going to look at how to create a strategic, high-value free offer your ideal customer wants so that you can increase your email subscriber list and build a thriving community. You don’t just want names on your list. You want an audience that is interested in how you can help them and are excited to invest in you.
What is a High-Quality Free Offer/Lead Magnet/Opt-in
You might hear this marketing tactic referred to in a few different ways, including a lead magnet, opt-in or freebie. These terms all refer to a package of information you create to give for free to your target audience. A lead magnet’s goal is to entice your target subscriber to opt-in to your email list because they want access to the freebie you created.
As a result, the strategy behind creating a high-converting lead magnet is to ensure the content is something that your ideal customer can’t resist.
So, how do you create a product that your ideal customer finds irresistible? You have to know their wants, needs, desires and pain points inside and out.
How to Determine the Subject of Your Offer
A lead magnet’s success relies on one thing: how well you know the wants, needs, and desires of your customer.
If you’ve been in business for a while and are just turning your focus to email list building, you likely have all of your target audience demographics and psychographics nailed down.
Great! This will make content creation easier.
On the other hand, if you’re in the early phase of your business, you might have to research what your ideal customer is seeking out.
You can find out what your people are looking for in a few places:
- Facebook Groups – join Facebook groups to find out what your customers desire, struggle with, and wish they had.
- Instagram/Twitter – search hashtags, and spend time reading comments, looking at your peers/competitors’ polls to see how people respond to relevant questions.
- Pinterest and Google – type your topic in the search bar to see what auto-populates. For example, I created a lead magnet because I noticed that small business owners were searching “how to write blog posts faster” on Google and Pinterest.
- Your current customers – ask them what they wish they knew more of or had a template for!
- Competitor Freebies – find inspiration in competitor free offers
By designing your offer based on solid research, you will likely convert more of your landing page visitors into subscribers because you’ll use language that speaks to their needs.
Characteristics of a Solid Lead Magnet
The key to creating a successful free offer for both you and your ideal client is to make it valuable because people will want/appreciate/learn from it. You want it to be simple to produce and access.
Here are some simple high-performing formats:
- Downloadable Template
- Free guide
- Coupon code
- Gift with purchase
Adding Value but Not Too Much
Another important consideration is to give away enough that they want to learn or buy more from you, but not too much. Please think of the offer as something you are creating to introduce yourself as an expert, priming them to buy.
As Amy Porterfield says, they should be thinking, “Wow, if they are giving this much quality info away for free, imaging what the paid stuff looks like!”
The length of your offer and the depth of information should be digestible. In other words, a 45-page PDF or 2-hour long webinar would probably make for a better sellable product than a freebie. People want a quick win when they opt-in, and you risk overwhelming them with too much information.
In summary, your lead magnet should
- Offer a solution to a problem your ideal client is facing.
- Make your target subscriber’s life easier.
- Share knowledge with them that you’ve gained through experience.
- Pique their interest enough with relevant information
- Be easy to learn about or obtain (more on that below)
How to Create a Landing Page or Opt-In Form
For your target audience to get the amazing offer you’ve created, you will need an email service provider (ESP) and access to tools to create a full-page landing page and/or a pop-up form on your website.
I use Canva to design my offers. There are many templates, and there is a free and paid version.
A landing page is a full-page web page that details what your offer includes and asks for the visitor’s first name and email address. After they enter this info, they hit a call-to-action button, “Get it Here” or “Download Now.”
After they do so, they are automatically sent your free offer.
This automation is made possible by your ESP and a specified workflow you input into your account.
Landing Page versus Pop-up Form
If you’re thinking, what the heck is a landing page versus an opt-in vs an in-line form, I get you! This is why I wanted to get super specific with this post; it can be confusing!
A landing page is a full-page form that allows you to go as deep into your offer as you like. You can spell out the benefits and include images.
Pop-up or inline forms tend to be shorter and ask for a first name and email address to receive the offer. The pop-ups live on your website, whereas the landing pages exist as their own URL on the web.
When you promote your lead-in on social media channels, you will need to route the person to your landing page. Why? Because you risk losing them if you route them to your website, and then they have to search out the opt-in.
The process has to be super simple and take them no time at all.
SO to recap, the process looks like this:
A person comes across your offer on a social media channel, or website -> clicks on the offer, and is directed to a landing page -> opt-in-> ESP delivers the offer to their email automatically -> they are now on your email list.
Pop-Up or Inline Form:
A visitor on your webpage sees a pop-up or inline email subscriber field-> opts-in-> ESP delivers the offer to their email automatically -> they are now on your email list.
Promoting Your Lead Magnet
You’ve researched your audience’s needs and wants to determine the subject of your free offer. You’ve created it, made it possible to access and enabled sharing, either via download, or Google link, with your ESP. Now, it’s time to promote it!
In addition to promoting as a pop-up on your website, you can also promote it in the following areas:
Existing email list – take care of your people first! If you have subscribers, give them first access to any new free offers or discounts before sending them out into cyberspace. They’ll love you for it.
Instagram/Facebook – create a content plan around your offer and direct people to download it via the landing page link in bio, or linktr.ee
Pinterest – This platform is ideal for promoting lead magnets and is a great place to check out other people’s freebies. You can create multiple pins around your lead magnet and optimize the Pins with related hashtags. Include the landing page link in your Pin.
Blog/Podcast/YouTube – include a link to your landing page in the notes, internal links or call it out.
There are many ways you can organically promote your lead magnet, but it’s important to keep promoting it. You’ve put hard work and valuable information into your magnet, so don’t leave it out to dry. Chances are that less than 6% of your audience on the social media platforms will see it, so you owe it to them to be consistent in your promotion.
Troubleshooting Your Lead Magnet
Ok, so you’ve put blood, sweat and tears into creating and promoting your lead magnet, and it’s not resonating. Your twenty friends have opted in, bless them, but that’s not really what you were hoping for.
The truth is that conversion is not always indicative of the product itself, but since we can only control it, it’s on us to correct it.
For your reference, a healthy conversion rate on a freebie is 20-30%, so aim for that goal.
Here’s a checklist that can help you to troubleshoot:
- Targeting the Wrong Audience – have you nailed down your ideal customer’s core wants/needs/desires/pain points and used language that speaks to them?
- Content is boring and not actionable – remember, freebies should offer quick wins and actionable advice.
- Lack of exposure – promote it often and on all relevant platforms.
- Ease of access – ensure your landing page is optimized and easy-to-use
- Too long or detailed – be succinct on your landing pages and pop-ups
- Poor design – it needs to be attractive and easy to consume
- Poor headline – think of hooking the attention of your target.
- Lacks focus – avoid trying to solve too many problems; focus on one.
- False promise – ensure your offer actually does what it says it will and aligns with the language of the offer.
- Wrong content – is the content on the right path but just off the mark? Solicit feedback from those who have downloaded it
If you have a small audience, you might see traction with your lead magnet as your following grows, but in the meantime, try to create a second lead magnet to see if it performs better.
If you’re in the creative space, producing high-quality free products will forever be part of your marketing plan. So, continue to experiment to see which performs best.
Make the Most of Your Lead Magnet
Your lead magnet is the front door to your brand and services. Your subscribers have accepted your invitation so invite them in, offer them a coffee and biscotti and take care of them!
In other words, nurture them, serve them and ask them how you can make their experience in your world better.
The whole point of building up your list is to establish the know/like/trust factor, so your audience eventually buys from you.
To learn more about how to nurture your audience, check out my post on sheownsit.com, a site for female entrepreneurs.
Do you want to see a lead magnet in action? Download my most recent one here!