It’s hard to make an opt-in freebie (lead magnet) that actually grows your email list.
Most bloggers know they have to offer something more than just their newsletter, but then they get stuck. What do you offer? How do you get people to sign up for it?
And then, if readers aren’t subscribing, is it your lead magnet itself that’s the problem? Or is it the headline of your lead magnet? It could also be your lack of traffic.
There are so many pieces to the puzzle, and if you really want subscribers, you need to think about all of them. Once you’ve figured it out, though, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief as your email list grows and grows.
I’ve repeated this many times on Successful Blogging, but that’s because it is so important. The first thing you need to do in order to grow your email list is to know your audience. Once you know your audience, what they want, and what gets them excited, you will be able to create a lead magnet that they eagerly sign up for.
But if you don’t understand your audience, all of your attempts to make a lead magnet they want will fail. It’s like throwing a dart at a target with your eyes open versus doing it with your eyes closed. You will never hit the bullseye if you don’t open your eyes to what your audience cares about.
Once you know your audience, you can make a lead magnet for them that they will happily sign up for. And what do people want? They want something they can use.
Useful things like checklists and templates will grow your list, and your readers will use them, too. Lead magnets that aren’t actually useful might grow your list, but then you’ll have to convince people to use them - an energy drain for you and an annoyance for them.
Pro tip: Lead magnets don’t become more useful the longer you work on them. When deciding on a lead magnet for your blog, make it a top priority to give your readers something that will create a quick win. Often, these will take you much less time to create, and they’ll be more effective list builders, as well.
If you want people to sign up for your lead magnet, you need to put it in a place where they can see it.
- On a landing page
- In a box at the top of your blog
- In an unobtrusive slide-in box
- After the first paragraph and at the end of your blog
- In your social media profiles
The more places you put your lead magnet, the more likely you will be to grow your email list.
It’s not enough to put your lead magnet everywhere on your blog and social media. You also need to write about it in a way that gets people to subscribe. Here are a few ways to do that.
Make sure your lead magnet has a name that clearly shares what your readers will get when they sign up. A great formula for this is [Benefit][Timeframe][Even if…]
- Grow your email list by 1,000 people in under 30 days even if you’re a beginner blogger
- Lose 5 lbs in one week even if you hate dieting
- Find your soul mate in a month even if you’ve sworn off Tinder forever
The reason these work so well is because they have 3 key ingredients:
- A tangible, specific benefit your readers want
- A timeframe that makes them feel it’s possible
- An answer to their objections about why it wouldn’t work for them
Have you ever noticed how you feel after reading a well-written sales page? You want the product even if you never thought about buying it before you landed on the page.
That’s because of something called open loops. Open loops leave your audience wanting more. Think about your favorite TV drama. The end of each episode always has a cliffhanger (aka open loop). You can’t wait to tune in next week (or watch another episode on Netflix) to find out what happens next. You can do that in your description of your lead magnet to make your readers crave it.
One of my favorite strategies is using my audience members’ words to describe a lead magnet. Go back to the surveys or emails I mentioned at the beginning of this post and copy sections that convey emotion or words that repeat a lot. Then use them in your subscribe box.
This works really well because when you use your audience members’ words, they feel like you understand them. You are showing them that you speak the same language, and that is a powerful trust builder.
My final suggestion for getting people to subscribe to your lead magnet is to include an image that makes it real for your readers. Use a book mockup or take screenshots of the worksheets and then make an image that makes them look like physical worksheets. Everyone loves opening a package of treats when it arrives on their doorstep. You want your lead magnet to feel like a gift package — something they can’t wait to tear into.