Things change so fast in blogging.
New technologies, new strategies, new platforms, new forms of engagement.
But there’s one thing that doesn't change: the importance of building an email list.
It's probably the oldest proverb of Internet marketing. But it's just as true now as it was in 1999.
Why is a subscriber list so important?
Two reasons (there are more, but these 2 are enough):
People who subscribe to your email list are pre-qualified as highly interested in what you have to offer.
They’ve already done 2 things that are key steps in your conversion funnel:
The statistics confirm this:
Let’s say you’ve built your business on organic search or social media.
Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest could decide tomorrow they don’t like your content.
Entire businesses have gone down the drain because of a change in the Google algorithm.
But once you have your own email list, you’re safe. It’s your own private marketing channel, and no one can take it away from you.
But how do you get people to join your list?
By using a lead magnet (also known as an ‘optin bribe’). Simply put, a lead magnet is something you offer to your visitors in exchange for their email address.
When it’s done right, a lead magnet is an offer so powerful your target simply has to know what it says.
In this article, I’m going to show you how to create a highly effective lead magnet. I’ll show you:
The folks at OptinMonster have listed 7 key characteristics of lead magnets that convert well.
These guys know what they’re talking about because their whole business is built around lead magnets:
You’re probably wondering by now, what are these lead magnets that convert so well?
There are 7 of them and here they are:
Checklists, as the name implies, are simply a list of items with a check box against each item. It’s a list of tasks, often ordered in a certain way. They can be used in any industry and any niche. Here are some examples:
Checklists work well as lead magnets because they give the reader the main points on a single page.
Cheat sheets are like checklists, but instead of a list of tasks, they give you a list of tips or guidelines for achieving a particular result.
Cheat Sheets are appealing because they condense a topic into a few main points.
Strictly speaking, a template is a file that serves as a starting point for a new document. But in this context, it's any standardized content containing blanks that the user fills in to customize the content. Examples are:
Templates are very popular because they give the user a head start and give them a proven foundation for doing something (emailing prospects, creating ads for Facebook).
A swipe file is a file where you collect examples of things you like. For example, I keep swipe files of:
A swipe file might contain the 50 best headlines you've ever seen in an email campaign.
Swipe files work well as lead magnets because they’re real-life examples of things that have been tried and tested and work. And the user can implement them straight away.
These are also called ‘Resource Lists’. Toolkits are simply a list of all the tools and resources that you use to run your online business.
Toolkits work well as a lead magnet because potential subscribers are genuinely curious about the tools you use. They want to know how to save time or how to get better results – but there are so many competing products out there, they want to know what tools the experts are using.
A Worksheet is usually geared towards a particular task. Typically, it asks questions and provides a space where the user can give a response. In other words, a Worksheet walks the reader through a process. Examples are:
Worksheets work well where people feel they need to be ‘walked through’ a process.
These are simply a PDF version of your blog post. Of all lead magnets, they’re the easiest to create. Just add some nice formatting to your Word file, and hit ‘Save as PDF’.
PDF Versions work as lead magnets because if your article is full of useful tips, your readers want a hard copy they can refer to later. Also, when you offer a PDF version as a content upgrade, you can offer 2 or 3 extra tips that are not included in the original blog post.
The two most common mistakes in creating lead magnets are:
Remember - the most effective lead magnets are easy to consume, 1 or 2 pages at most. That means you shouldn’t spend more than a couple of hours creating your lead magnet.
If you find yourself trying to create the perfect lead magnet, keep this in mind - any lead magnet is better than none!
If you’re not convinced that less is better, John Corcoran's lead magnet is a 72-word email template:
When creating your lead magnet think about your audience’s pain points:
Use this formula to create your lead magnet:
I want [goal], but [obstacle]
At this point, you need some software to get your lead magnet in front of your visitor.
Many of the major email service providers (AWeber, Constant Contact, GetResponse, MailerLite) now include pop-up optin forms. So that’s certainly an option if you have budget constraints.
However, these optin forms are fairly basic and you won’t get a whole library of different templates. You also won’t have analytics, or A/B testing to see how your optin performs.
Dedicated optin software is preferable if you want to maximize your optin rate.
I use Thrive Leads because I found it the easiest to set up.
But there are plenty of other options:
When you design your optin form, keep in mind these three Golden Rules of lead magnet optin forms:
Rule #1 – Words That Turn People Off
Don't use 'subscribe' or 'sign-up' on your button.
Instead, use positive phrases such as 'Get Instant Access' or ‘Send Me My Cheat Sheet'.
Rule #2 – Less Information Is Better
The more information you ask for, the fewer optins you get - don't ask for names, just an email address.
Rule #3 - Instant Gratification
Make your lead magnet accessible as soon as the button has been clicked.
Some people send a link to the lead magnet in an email once the person has confirmed their email address.
I have my optin forms configured so that the lead magnet loads in the next screen as soon as the visitor has pressed the button. I’m taking a gamble that the email address is valid, but I believe this approach is more in keeping with what people want and expect.
If you use this approach, you have the advantage of being able to say “Instant Access” on your optin form.
The more places you put your optin form, the quicker you’ll build your list.
Here are some of the most effective locations for your optin form:
If you write guest posts, your guest post bio is another great place to put your optin form (or at least a link to it). For example:
“Rob Powell is on a mission to show beginning bloggers how to create content that builds traffic, backlinks, and authority. Download his formula for getting 147 Social Media Shares in just 24 Hours”.
Your optin headline will be a key part of the success of your lead magnet.
Here are 5 popular formulas for creating optin headlines:
Most of the plugins mentioned above allow you to do A/B split testing. This is a great way to test different headlines.
Just set up 2 competing headlines and after they’ve each had 100 impressions, you take the winner.
Then create another headline to compete with the winner. And so on. In no time at all, you’ll have an optin headline that converts like crazy!
So now it’s over to you. I hope you use this information to build amazing lead magnets and high-converting optin forms.
When you start to see a daily trickle of email sign-ups, you’ll know you’re on the road to success.
Because an email list is the backbone of successful online business!
Had your own experiences with lead magnets and optin forms? If so, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below:
Rob Powell is on a mission to show beginning bloggers how to create content that builds traffic, back links, and authority. Download his FREE Swipe File: 117 Lead Magnet Ideas.