Lead Magnets 101: How to Fill Your Sales Funnel the Easy Way

Do you and your team groan with frustration every time you check your website’s conversion rate?

If you’re failing to see the numbers you’re hoping to attract with your content marketing strategy, you may be looking at the data all wrong.

See, you shouldn’t be focusing on the clicks that accompany a purchase (or lack thereof). You should be more interested in the visitor doing all the clicking around on your site.

Think about this: a whopping 96% of your traffic isn’t ready to make a purchase when they first land on your website — especially if your service or product comes with a hefty sticker price.

So instead of trying to convert first-time visitors, why not aim to grow your email list with this new traffic?

After all, once you capture an email address from a potential customer, you’ll be able to send them through your sales funnel and make the conversion happen on both of your terms.

It may seem counterintuitive, but the less you focus on converting traffic in the short term, the more conversions you’ll actually see in the long term. Let’s talk about why this actually works so you can make it happen for your brand.


What’s a Lead Magnet and Why Does My Brand Need One?

A lead magnet is supposed to do exactly what it’s named for: attract potential buyers (leads) to fill your sales funnel.

It should pull your target audience like a strong magnet and be irresistible to anyone in your specific niche.

Here’s how it works:

Your brand will offer a free piece of content that solves a, very universal, challenge your target audience is currently facing. All your visitor has to do to receive this content is trade you their name and email address.

Easy peasy.

Now, if you’re thinking that lead magnets sound awfully similar to content upgrades, you’re not wrong. Both give your visitor a useful bonus gift in exchange for their contact information.

However, as we discussed in our article about why your content always needs free bonus material, a content upgrade is extra information that accompanies a specific piece of content you create. A lead magnet is a more general — yet still very specific — site-wide offer.

This means nailing your lead magnet is really a lot harder than ace-ing a content upgrade.

Content upgrades only have to appeal to someone interested in the corresponding content. That visitor should be, but is not necessarily, part of your target audience.

On the other hand, your lead magnet has to speak to your specific target audience members and needs to appeal to your ideal buyer persona.

[bctt tweet=”Your lead magnet has to speak to your specific target audience members and needs to appeal to your ideal buyer persona.” username=”AttractandClose”]

If you’ve had a lead magnet in place for awhile and the results have been abysmal, chances are your lead magnet is not speaking to your target audience.


How to Create a Lead Magnet that Vets Prospects for You

Look, your lead magnet is supposed to work for you.

When most brands create their first lead magnet, they hope to attract every visitor that lands on their website. This seems great on the surface (we’re filling our sales funnel!), but then your inbox starts to explode with unqualified leads and your conversion rates never get any better.

To make a lead magnet effective for both you and your audience, follow these three tips:


Always Keep Your Ideal Buyer in Mind

You and your team should already know your ideal buyer personas inside and out. You should know their biggest struggles and challenges as if they were your very own.

If you’re a little shaky on these details, don’t even waste your time moving forward with a lead magnet.

You need to know everything about your ideal buyer in order to appeal to them. The good news is that it’s not that time-consuming to get right; we even have a post about how to find your target audience in less than one hour so there’re no excuses!


Solve a Universal Problem Faced by Your Target Audience (that Really Shows Off Your Brand’s Best Skills!)

Hopefully, you’ve been solving lots of smaller challenges in your target audience’s life thanks to your education-based content marketing, but now it’s time to think about the one struggle everyone in your target audience faces universally.

The kicker here is to correlate this issue with what your brand is really spectacular at.

So take a problem that every member of your target audience will face at some point in their personal or professional lives and solve it for them (more on this later!).

When visitors sign up for your lead magnet, your team already knows that they have the exact problem your lead magnet promises to solve.

This is like pure gold to your team.

You have a visitor who has a need for your product or service, and they’re even willing to give you their name and contact information so they can snag more of your secrets and wisdom later down the line.

Remember, tire kickers and serious prospects alike will download your lead magnet before making any purchase from you just to see if you can deliver on what you claim. This is why your lead magnet needs to reflect your team’s best skills.

The more professional your lead magnet looks, the higher the perceived value of your services will be from your visitor. This does wonders for making your actual price tags seem totally justified.


Make it Easily Actionable and Attainable in a Set Period of Time

If you promise to solve a problem, the steps your visitor needs to take should be easy to understand and even simpler to put into practice.

This is not the time to talk about your brand or pitch your services; this is the time to give your users the tools and intel they need to succeed in a quick timeframe (15 minutes, 1 hour, etc.).

Your visitor should be able to solve this particular issue — or at least know exactly how to solve their issue — after they read your freebie.

Sharing these secrets of success makes your visitors believe you care more about them growing and thriving as individuals than you do about selling every visitor something.

[bctt tweet=”Make your visitors believe you care more about them growing and thriving as individuals than you do about selling every visitor something.” username=”AttractandClose”]

You move from the role of pushy salesperson to wise teacher in your customer’s’ eyes.

Though it may sound less glamorous, a teacher is exactly who you want to be thought of.

You have all the answers. And you created a cheat sheet in the form of a lead magnet to help your visitor succeed. And you’re giving it away for free?!

You want your visitors to scream Sign me up! as soon as they read your lead magnet’s call to action.

So when your visitor enters their contact information, your lead magnet should begin downloading or a link should be emailed to them immediately. Don’t make your visitor wait for your lead magnet to appear since signing up is typically a move of impulse.


Perfect Lead Magnet Ideas

Creating your brand’s lead magnet doesn’t need to be an agonizing process for your team.

Use this easy-to-follow lead magnet checklist to help your team brainstorm ideas about the topic you’re going to use.

Then, discuss how your tips and advice will be best utilized by your visitor. Popular and highly effective lead magnet ideas include:

  • Mini ebook
  • Introductory email course
  • Whitepaper
  • Private video or how-to series
  • Exclusive podcast episode or interview
  • Quiz or evaluation
  • Worksheet, template, guide
  • Brainstorm and discussion questions
  • List of tools and resources to help them solve the problem

Don’t let this list overwhelm you and your team; use it as inspiration to see what will work best for your audience.

If you need help with the actual design process of your lead magnet, check out this DIY video about creating beautiful and professional lead magnets using free design software like Canva:

At the very least, a lead magnet establishes your brand’s credibility and authority. At the very best, it builds a relationship with your online visitors and paves the way for conversions and happy customers.

Make your lead magnet the star of your website and give potential prospects the best of what your brand has to offer. They’ll be so impressed (and delighted!) that they’ll not only return for more of your content, they’ll be dying to see what your work is like when you actually charge for it.

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