Lead magnets and how to use them

Lead magnets are invaluable when it comes to creating engagement in the middle of your marketing funnel.

What is a lead magnet?

Put simply it's a piece of content (usually digital, but not exclusively) that you make available to website or landing page visitors in return for their email address and other contact details.

Lead magnets are what's known as 'gated content' because they're only accessible by those that agree to provide their details.

Let's look at an example.

Imagine you supply computers to businesses. In the pages of your website, you might provide a brief description of each computer you sell but then give people the opportunity to download a glossy PDF at the click of a button. In the PDF brochure, and on the website, you could also give a one paragraph summary of the product's technical specification but then invite people to receive the detailed specification by email.

The snippets online are kept intentionally brief so as to leave the visitor wanting more, that way they're more likely to download the detailed versions. By making the brochure freely available but the technical specifications only available to those that provide their email address for you to send it to them, you do three things: firstly, you separate the tyre-kickers from the serious potential buyers; secondly, you get get a signal of purchasing intent; and, thirdly, you get the email address of these people with purchasing intent that allows you to (a) start a conversation directly, (b) add them to an email nurturing campaign and (c) even add them to a custom audience to serve them with hyper relevant ads online and on social media.

If you're intending to use it as a lead magnet, the content you provide has to be something that a visitor to your website will want and value.

You may also want to incentivise visitors to obtain or access your lead magnet content:

"Use the coupon code in our downloadable brochure to get 15% off when you buy" might be the thing that tempts someone into handing over their email details when they may otherwise have been reluctant to do so.

Remember, it's important to set and live-up to expectations. So, if you promise to email your up-to-date pricelist within 48 hours, make sure you do.

Unlike other middle-of-funnel content, lead magnets are not just there to inform and educate, they exist specifically to drive engagement and action.

It's crucial that you do something with the email addresses you obtain though - there's no point building a marketing list like this if you're not going to do anything useful with it but, equally, there's no point going in too hard and heavy with an immediate sales pitch either because you'll appear overly pushy and put people off.