Whether you’re a B2B service provider giving away an industry whitepaper…or a hair salon generating leads by offering a free “style guide”…lead magnets are a powerful way to avoid the resistance associated with selling during the first contact.
Not only that, but lead magnets are a great example of using the principle of reciprocity to build trust and increase the chances of a future sale (I highly recommend reading “Influence” by Robert Cialdini if you want to learn more about reciprocity).
A lead magnet can’t just be any PDF cobbled together for random content though. It’s got to be something your target market really wants…and close enough in theme to your product that you’re not attracting the wrong type of leads.
But most of all, it’s got to have a high “perceived impact.”
The “Perceived Impact” of Lead Magnets
Many marketers make the assumption that “more is better” with lead magnets. It’s common to see blogs proudly giving away “264 page eBooks” or “over 5 hours of video content!”
This is admirable…but it could be hurting conversion rates.
When people arrive on your landing page, they’ve probably never heard of you or your business.
They don’t know anything about you…and they probably don’t have a compelling reason to trust your expertise.
Not only that, but they are only interested in how handing over their email address can help THEM.
At this stage in the marketing process, you haven’t earned the right to hours of their time. Instead, your giveaway should provide a result your market deeply desires…fast.
In the gadget-filled world we live in, no-one has time to read 264 pages or watch five hours of video just to find out whether you are someone they should listen to. They want to know the specific benefits they can gain from your lead magnet with the minimal amount of time/effort.
This is the “perceived impact” of your giveaway. Or stated another way: the perceived impact is the beneficial results divided by the time taken to achieve those results.
The greater the result…or the shorter time investment required to achieve the result…the higher the perceived impact.
But that’s not the only reason to make short-but-sweet lead magnets.
There are two goals of a lead magnet:
- Entice prospects to give you their email address.
- Give prospects a chance to experience real benefits…so that they are more likely to buy from you in the future.
Point #2 is key. If your prospect downloads your 264 page eBook – but never reads it – the chances of future sales drop dramatically. You want them to read it, use it and experience real benefits – so they are more likely to become long-term customers.
Narrow Your Benefit to Make it Ultra-Specific
The easiest way to increase perceived impact is to narrow the focus of your lead magnet.
This is best explained with an example:
Imagine you’re a company that sells training products to aspiring professional bass guitarists. Your products teach bassists how to get more live gigs and studio sessions, and you want to create an email list of qualified prospects.
Instead of offering a broad or unfocused lead magnet, you decide to focus on one aspect of getting more gigs: social media.
The topic of the lead magnet focuses on a small – but highly important – aspect of the prospect’s larger goal. Every bassist already knows the importance of social media…but probably thinks that he/she isn’t making the most of it. This is a prime topic for a focused lead magnet.
As long as you deliver great value, you’ll have built enormous credibility – which you can then use to sell more comprehensive products later in your funnel.
Now that you’ve chosen a topic, you create a highly-focused lead magnet called “The 5-Page Cheatsheet to Using Social Media to Land More Paid Bass Gigs…In Only 5 Minutes Per Day.”
Do you see how much more enticing this is than a bloated eBook with hundreds of pages and 18 different topics? Prospects know exactly what to expect (a 5 page cheatsheet), the benefits they’ll receive (more paid gigs – the ultimate goal of any professional bassist) and how long it’ll take (only 5 minutes per day).
The fact that the cheatsheet is only five pages also means they don’t have to invest a lot of time upfront…but the potential payoff is huge.
As an added bonus, producing a 5 page cheatsheet is a lot less expensive/time consuming than an eBook!
Your lead magnet should promise a specific, narrow benefit…that the prospect can achieve quickly and without a large time investment…and then deliver on the promise with top-notch but easy-to-consume content.
As always, the lead magnet is something you need to test. Even so, you’ll almost always get more sign-ups when using the above formula (there are exceptions, of course – especially in certain B2B industries). You’ll prove to prospects that you deliver on your promises. And you set the stage to promote related but more comprehensive products and services via email or phone follow-ups…which is the ultimate goal!