For several years, I’ve followed the same few steps whenever I sign up for a Lead Magnet. They’re those freebies you normally get in exchange for handing over your email address, like a pdf or an e-book. As a copywriter, I find them fascinating, but as a person they have sometimes transformed my life and my business. Don’t underestimate the humble lead magnet when written well.
My approach might be conformist, nerdy even, so why do I pay so much attention to each one? What process do I follow that delivers such great value, and why has this proven to be so useful?
You know what you’re doing when you sign up for a lead magnet, right?
Reason 1: Make sure you know what you just exchanged
When you decide to go for that free download, you are giving permission to receive emails from someone you probably don’t know yet. You are welcoming a virtual stranger into your inbox. Before you sign up, acknowledge that you’re not just receiving a gift, you’re also giving a gift. In this reciprocal exchange, the least you can do is read the lead magnet. If you know you’re not going to, don’t request the freebie. Don’t give them your email address. Save yourself the time and irrelevant emails in your inbox. And reduce their unopen rates and risk of being marked as spam with their real future customers.
Reason 2: You might learn something really helpful
The person who wrote the lead magnet likely finessed, sweated, and fretted about it. They likely agonised over logo colours, background and font sizes, let alone every single word that went into it. They may have paid a stack to someone else to write it, AB tested to within an inch of the alphabet, or been through some unnecessarily hierarchical approval process to launch it.
This lead magnet tells you who they are and what they stand for. They put it into the world because they believe it may help you. The least you can do is find out by reading it. Ask yourself what you learnt, and what, if any, action you might take.
So, what is this fast, efficient, value-generating process?
OK, the lead magnet looks good. It’s got a really interesting title, offers some promise of a solution to a problem you’ve been grappling with—or might have to deal with in the future.
This is what I do once I’m certain I want to know more:
- I enter my preferred email address and hit subscribe. Remeber, you don’t have to give them your main email address. Some people maintain a separate email address for sign-ups.
- I confirm my subscription, if that’s what required.
- I immediately save the lead magnet to my Training folder, though only if it is a pdf. I still worry about malware and viruses, and steer away from odd looking file extensions.
- I create a task in my to-do list that says: Read [insert name of lead magnet]. I assign a date to read it, normally on a weekend when I am less deadline driven. I never read the lead magnet immediately or during business hours.
- When I start reading it, I note the date I start reading it and the number of pages/chapters each day. If I read it all in one go, I mark the task complete. If it’s long, I might spread it over several days.
- If it’s surprisingly helpful, I make notes of key takeaways. Writing down useful points helps me retain what I’m learning.
- When I’ve finished, I decide whether to take any action. What value can it add? Could this business help mine? How, and when?
Reason 3: If not needed now, it may be useful later but may not be available then
I once signed up for Jeff Goins’ “Audience Builder”. I was an aspiring writer at the time, not yet a professional one. But I understood enough of what I read to know it would be more relevant in the future. I scheduled a recurring task on my list to reread this mini-book—it takes less than 30 minutes to read—every 6 months.
Each time I read it I learn something different because of where I’m at in my writing roller-coaster ride adventure. When I go to Jeff’s website today, that lead magnet is no longer available—which is a shame because it’s a great read! Don’t assume a compelling lead magnet will always be available. They might withdraw it or monetise it by the time you want it.
Read every lead magnet you sign up for. They get your email address so choose carefully and make full use of their offer, as they will make full use of your email address until you unsubscribe.
Schedule an action to read it and choose the time when you’ll be able focus on its contents. I promise you won’t remember if you file it somewhere for safekeeping without some sort of reminder to take you back there.
Re-read it in the future. Sometimes what we read isn’t relevant right now, but it might be 6, 12 or 60 months down the track.
Tired of reading everyone else’s, and ready to make one of your own?
If you think you might improve engagement by revealing your own valuable insights using a lead magnet but not sure where to start, drop me a line at email@example.com and I’ll get back to you promptly.
I’m Rananda, a Sydney-based writer and editor.
With 25-plus years in corporate life, a financial background, a science education, and a lifetime of writing, I know there is more to starting and growing a loyal following than just the words on your website or saving that draft manuscript in a folder.
I bring comprehensive practical experience to supporting your writing needs.