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Lead Magnets: The Absolute Best Ways To Use Freebies

This is the 3rd and final post in a series on List Building.

  1. Catch the 1st post here:  "Why List Building Needs To Be Your #1 Priority"
  2. And read the 2nd post here: "Let's Talk About Content Upgrades".

More Ways To Use Freebie Opt-In Lead Magnets

When you engage in list building using content, content upgrades, and lead magnets you’re creating a funnel. Even if you never thought of it as a funnel it is. Let’s go through the process starting with website content, adding the lead magnet, and then leading your audience through an email marketing series so that you can make an offer that will monetize all your efforts.

Create the Content

After you’ve done your due diligence and thought about who you want to attract to your website, what they need to know, what problems they have and how you can solve them. Create the initial content for your blog, guest post, or another platform. Make sure it’s super targeted toward your audience, gives them the information they want to know about, and is only valuable to your audience.

Develop a Complementary Lead Magnet

Either create or re-purpose other content that you have that furthers the audience’s interest in the topic of the content you’ve created. Look at how you can expand on the content in the original article, how you can explain something further, and how you might give them something of value to go with the original content you created for them. Make that into a lead magnet. Make it simple though. A checklist, an explanatory video, a cheat sheet, or something else that you can put together in less than a day is usually best. It should be easy to put into use fast.

Push Traffic to Your Content

Once you have published the content, and the lead magnet is attached to the content and ready to download, it’s time to find ways to drive traffic to the content. There are numerous ways to do this. Publish a blurb and a link on social media platforms and/or paid advertising, allowing affiliates to use the content as a promotion method and more. The important thing is to get targeted traffic to consume the content.

Educate & Nurture Your List Members

Once they sign up for your list due to downloading the lead magnet now it’s time to educate and nurture the list members. Ensure that you create at least 1 to 3+ emails in a series designed to teach them from day one what to expect from you but also about their problems and the solutions that you offer. As you create the series, think about the article they read to find the lead magnet, as well as the topic of the lead magnet. Expand on it, poke it, explore it, and make them think about it.

Pitch Your Offers

Within the emails that you send, you should be making offers. If you’re nervous about making offers, remember that you’d be doing your audience a huge disservice not to offer them solutions to their problems when you know about them. Since they signed up due to your content, you already know that they want and need the solutions you have. Try to pitch an offer at least every three or four emails.

Make the Sale

Once you make the sale your relationship is not over. It’s growing. Now you’ll need to create an email series for the buyer designed to lead them through another funnel. Use a good autoresponder system and landing page option like Leadpages or Instapage for landing pages and Drip for email.

Remember, all of this must flow seamlessly. Not only does the topic need to be closely related to the best conversion but it should be easy for your audience to take advantage of and use. When you’re creating your funnels, simply think about the process as, “what’s the next step my readers need to take and what tool or product do they need to do it?”. When you put yourself in their shoes you’ll be much more successful.

Making Connections: Mention Your Opt-In Offer In Existing Content

Every time you write a new blog post it’s an opportunity to use one of the lead magnets you’ve already created. You don’t want to put the opt-in offers on only one page or one blog post or article. You can put each opt-in within any type of content you create that matches and helps expand on the information.

Blog Posts

If you’re writing about something that reminds you of another blog post you wrote, or about a lead magnet that you created, it’s a great time to link to either one. Call it out so it’s noticeable. Say something like, “Get more information from this cheat sheet I created for you.”  

Social Media

You can also mention your content upgrades on social media. What if someone asks a question that your blog post that has the content upgrade in it will help answer? If it’s permitted by the rules of your group, provide a blurb to the blog post and a link to it so that they can read your information and grab the opt-in offer too.

Analyze Your Content

Start with the content that gets the most views, as long as that content is laser targeted toward your ideal audience. See if you can match it with content upgrades you’ve already created or create something new to help expand on the content and promote more understanding for your audience. By having multiple points of entry onto your lists via the content you already have, you’ll build your list even faster.

Slow & Steady Wins the Race

You’ve probably heard the childhood story of the Tortoise and The Hare. While the rabbit jumps all over the place and moves fast, the turtle makes steady progress without distraction and beats the rabbit.

Think of yourself like the turtle. Don’t feel as if you need to do everything at once. Focus on your most read content, and developing entry points with opt-in offers to your audience that helps them so that they can get on your list.

Develop a Habit

When you create new content for your blog, guest blog posts, articles – anything that other people will read - if you have a space to do it, or you can link within the content, always add a content upgrade of some form to...

  1. help your audience
  2. add value to the content
  3. and move them to your email list where you can educate and nurture them.

Over time you’ll create a lot of connections with your content that will create targeted opportunities and entry points to grow your list. Don’t feel pressured to create 5 opt-ins today, but make it your goal to create as many as you can that make sense for your audience.

How To Turn A Blog Post Series Into A Content Upgrade Offer

A really good way to work toward creating a content upgrade is to develop an outline for a blog series. If you already have a blog series or two on your site you’re in luck because you already have a great content upgrade you can offer. This idea works with new or existing content and is a simple way to create more opt-in offers.

Start Fresh

Write the whole series in one document like you might an eBook or eReport. Make the document attractive by adding more images, more graphics, charts, call outs for stats and so forth. Turn it into a PDF for adding as a content upgrade to each individual blog post in the series.

Create a landing page or sign-up form using software like LeadPages, integrating it with your email autoresponders software, so people get added to your list when they download it. 

Once you finish that use the Word version, and cut and paste each blog post into your scheduling system. Then attach the content upgrade by linking to the URL of the landing page. Be sure to use some method to call it out or draw attention to it so that the readers will notice it.

Start with Old Content

If you already have blog series or posts that can work as a series, combine them together to create a PDF.

Don’t forget to create a landing page for it. A landing page makes it easier to ensure that all the technology that you use works. You want to ensure that the lead magnet it’s connected to your autoresponder system.

Then add the URL to any relevant content as an upgrade, again ensuring that you highlight it in some way so that it’s noticeable to your prospects and customers. This is an excellent way of reusing any content that you’ve created already. (It works best if you can choose the most popular content or series you’ve created.)

Make it Easy

The great thing about creating content upgrades to help build your list is that it works. It’s not difficult and you don’t have to create anything new if you don’t want to.

Don’t make creating content upgrades harder than it is. It only needs to be useful to your audience, relevant to what they’re consuming right now, and quick to read, use, or implement.

Text Links vs. Pain Text Opt-Ins vs. Graphic Opt-In Forms

There are several ways you can present in-content opt-ins to your audience.

You can use text links, plain text opt-ins, and graphic opt-in forms. It’s up to you how to do it, and you should probably use all three types to find out what works best for your audience, but in any case, the best way to start is by creating a landing page for each opt-in that you create.

Text Links

When you use a text link this means that you create anchor text for the link that makes sense. You often see this on menu options, when linking to a blog post, or other internal content. This is also a good way to deliver opt-in options.

To use a text link, first create a landing page for your opt-in offer that is attached to your email list and signs up people for your list when they provide their email addresses to you. 

An example of this is mentioning the opt-in within the post. For example, you might say something like, “…for more information you might want to check out this freebie about this topic". Then link the URL of the landing page to the words about the topic.

Plain Text Opt-ins

These types of links just look like hyperlinks and don’t use anchor text. Sometimes you may want to do this on social media, in text-based email options, in the video, or even right in a blog post because it can be more transparent or seem that way to some of your audience.

A great way to do a plain text link is to use software such as tinyurl.com or bit.ly or any another way to make the link look pretty that also goes to the freebie landing page. Then just share the link to the content you create and tell them to go to this link for the information that they need.

Graphic Opt-in Forms

You can create beautiful opt-in forms using either landing page software or your autoresponder software to accomplish it. You can even attach forms to links so that when they hover over anchor text the form pops up. The possibilities are endless.

Using a graphic form that pops up, pops under, slides over, or is within the content white space of your article, blog post, or other content. This will stand out a lot. It should provide the information that’s on the landing page but work as a landing page too. Optinmonster does this really well. 

That way they don’t have to leave the page and can simply fill out the form, which once done, will take them to the download page.

Using Pop-Up Forms As Part Of Your In-Content List Building

Using pop-up forms as part of your in-content list building is a great way to get more sign-ups. Many people claim to dislike pop-ups but the facts (when looking at the data) suggest that pop-ups convert WAY more than other types of forms. 

A pop-up form is just a bit of code that you can create by using landing page software or in some cases your autoresponder software.

Some good software to look at is LeadPages for landing page software which integrates with many types of email marketing autoresponder services.

Pop-up forms can be placed sitewide or even be page specific. I recommend that you use both types of options. Having a sitewide opt-in offer is a great way to capture people who come to your site’s homepage directly, and a specific freebie should be offered based on each page’s content. 

There are some best practices to use when incorporating pop up forms as part of your in-content list building.

  • Be Bold & Clear
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Don’t make your pop up boring. Instead, make them beautiful with color, good graphic design principles, and with a clear offer. Think of it as an advertisement for your opt-in offer and not just as a pop-up form. Make the message and the intent of the pop up clear by keeping it simple but hard to ignore.

  • Make it Mobile Friendly 

Responsive design today should be automatic but there is still some technology out there (and templates) that aren’t responsive and will not look right on mobile. Double check how the pop-up form looks on various devices and make sure it works. 

  • Keep it Branded

Be very consistent with your branding on all your forms. Branding can consist of fonts, colors, and other aspects of your website. Make each pop up look like it belongs to your site and isn’t an afterthought.

  • Use the Right Tools

There are great tools out there that will make your pop up forms look better and even work better to deliver the opt-ins seamlessly to your audience. The right software, plugin, and systems will make it all easier for you and more effective too.

  • Make it Easy to Say No

Don’t hide the exit button from your audience. When you use pop-ups, while you want them to be bold and clear, you also want them to make it easy for your audience to say no so that they don’t become irritated by the pop-up and then leave your site.

Remember to always test everything. Conducting A/B testing is a great way to try different headlines, colors, calls to action to find out what works best for your audience.

Plus, make sure that the information you show on the pop-up is honest, direct, and easy to understand surrounding the benefits of downloading the opt-in.

I hope you enjoyed this list building series. Take two or three actions this week toward creating in-content optins and I know your email list will grow faster than ever!

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16 comments on “Lead Magnets: The Absolute Best Ways To Use Freebies”

  1. Hi Sue. I've tried pop-ups and a number of the suggestions in your post and recently made my first content upgrade for a blog post. It wasn't that difficult!

    I'm going to look carefully at my blog posts (that date back to 2011) and see if I can create fab freebies that lead to my paid products.

    Wishing you a wonderful Easter Weekend in advance.

  2. I am working on some of my popular posts to upgrade them, hope to create the leadmagnet soon.

    Thanks for your good work, it is helping me gain more insight on blogging.

    Enjoy Easter celebrations.

  3. Hi Sue,

    I am also focused on content upgrades. I have already updates lot of content on my blogs. But now I am trying to create some info-graphics that will make the content more appealing and engaging.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. I am using premium opt-in which is Bloom. As you told in this post opt-in helped me to generate number of sales. I am using opt-ins to collect email's to grow my email subscribers list. As you said i did some A/B testing by placing the opt-ins in different areas too. I'm using custom made landing made by Bootstrap and i am good with it. But you mentioned Leadpages is that good? Cause I don't know about it.

  5. I always care more about my content,according to me content is the king. A good and viral content will fetch you lot of engagements. A regular content update on your blog/website and also trying info graphic contents is really a good practice if you want more traffic to your website and increase your online presence.

  6. Hi there Sue,

    It's been a while since I commented on this blog. I can see that many things have changed.

    First of all congratulations on the new design, it really looks fantastic.

    About this topic, it has just been published on the right time. I am considering email list as a part of my strategy for my blog, which I didn't care when I started blogging (it was a big mistake). At the moment I am also using Bloom from Divi, which I think is doing a good job, especially with the content upgrades.

    Till the next post



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