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Using Lead Magnets to Grow Your Email List

March 28, 2017

In last month’s Email Marketing 101 post, we noted that building a solid email list is a key success factor in email marketing. Without the right audience to read your messages, your email marketing efforts will fall flat. We’re going to be honest with you – there are no shortcuts or cheap tricks when it comes to growing your list. You’ll need to acquire addresses one by one from people who want to hear more from you. So, how do you convince someone to sign up to your mailing list? One of the best ways is through the creation of an enticing lead magnet. 

In today’s post I will dive deeper into the concept of lead magnets and provide you with some real life examples of these powerful list-building tools.

What is a lead magnet?

Most people are reluctant to handover their email addresses, so there needs to be a darn good reason for doing so. We like Ryan Deiss’s description of a lead magnet: “an irresistible bribe offering a specific chunk of value to a prospect in exchange for their contact information.” 

By offering up something of value, your prospects are incentivised to provide their email address. A quality lead magnet followed by tantalising emails is the perfect setup for successful email marketing.

Examples of awesome lead magnets

Lead magnets come in all shapes and sizes. The type that will work best for you depends on your business and your prospective customers’ interests. If you’re like me, you might find it the inspiration you need to create your own lead magnet after seeing some real life examples. Below I’ve provided examples of several lead magnets in the categories you’re most likely to encounter online.

1. Free Trial

Free trials are well-known and familiar forms of lead magnets. They tend to be quite successful because many people are willing to provide their email address in exchange for the valuable service they offer. 

  • created a free Facebook Ad Template Library that they say generated 35,859 leads in 60 days. This is a perfect example of how providing a valuable resource can generate an incredible response in a short period of time.
  • Like many other online software providers, Salesforce offer a free trial of their cloud-based CRM to anyone who wants to try out their service before handing over their credit card info. You can bet that they hold onto these email addresses and send out targeted email campaigns based on a prospect’s actions after the trial expires.

2. Whitepaper

If you’re an expert in your field, you may find it easy to put together a guide that is relevant to a problem your customers have or an area where they would like more information. Here are some examples: 

In addition to obtaining email addresses, each of these three companies demonstrate their subject matter expertise with their free publications, which increases customer confidence and the likelihood that the prospect will convert to a paying customer.

3. Training Videos

Free training videos are incredibly popular across many industries. You’ll need to invest a small amount of money to produce and edit quality videos, but the pay off for doing so can be huge. Here are two examples worth checking out: 

4. Discounts

You’ve probably seen these incentives many times when shopping online: 

  • Subscribe to our newsletter and get 10% of your next purchase
  • Sign up to our mailing and get free shipping on your order 

If you have an online store, this is an easy way to quickly grow your list. It’s relatively quick and easy to implement and requires little thought on your part. You’ll just need to make sure you follow up with quality emails or you’ll see a lot of unsubscribes with this approach. 

5. Quiz or Assessment with Results Delivered by Email

This is another popular one. Here are some ideas to get you started: 

  • A university could offer a free vocational assessment to help prospective students choose their course program.
  • “What’s your fashion personality? Take our quiz to find out!” This would work for a fashion and style website who wants to grow their email list.

Creating your lead magnet

The examples that I’ve provided demonstrate that there are some high quality lead magnets out there. But for every quality lead magnet, you’ll come across 100 more that are a waste of time. You need to ensure that your lead magnet is a quality resource that will keep prospects warm rather than turn them off completely. 

Lead magnets need to be unique to your business and provide a specific value to your customers, so you’ll need to invest some time to create a carefully considered lead magnet that will first entice your prospects and then enrich their experience with your company. 

When creating a lead magnet, you should start by thinking about these 3 questions: 

  • What is the specific segment of the market that you want to capture?
  • What unique problem do these individuals have?
  • What specific solution can you offer to them? 

Your answers to these questions will give you a good starting point for determining what type of lead magnet to create. If you don’t have the resources in-house to create a compelling lead magnet, we encourage you to get in touch with us today. Our expert team of digital marketers can provide some recommendations on the type of lead magnet that will get results and then oversee the creation of this vital resource.

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Filed under Digital Marketing

Written by

Mark is the Manager of Digital Marketing at Apex and has worked in the digital marketing industry since 2004. Prior to joining Apex he worked in a variety of traditional marketing roles in both the corporate and SME environment in NZ and abroad, but these days much prefers the tangible measurability and transparency of digital marketing.

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