A lead magnet is the go-to tactic to build a solid email list, the problem is that most lead magnets are duds. Read on to discover 3 ways to find lead magnet winners (plus a way to get a deep dive into 5 methods that win almost every time).
But even if lead magnets are the preferred list-building technique, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
The challenge is building a lead magnet that’s actually attractive to potential customers. Not just a little bit attractive either: it’s gotta be sexy enough to get them to trade their best email address to get it–otherwise, what’s the point?
You want your potential customer’s best email address if you want to benefit from the promise of email marketing.
The trick is knowing what’s good enough to get the job done.
Now, you’re never going to have 100% success at creating lead magnet winners right out of the gate, but there are 8 ways you can have a good degree of confidence in the idea before spending resources building.
I don’t want to make this a 10,000-word post, so here are 3 of the 8 ways to have confidence your lead magnet will attract quality people to your email list.
The Obvious Lead Magnet Idea Resource: Yourself
This is the easiest way to know if your lead magnet is a quality idea: ask yourself.
If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you’ve had to talk with customers. Assuming you were listening when you spoke with them, they probably shared a bit about the challenges that brought them into your universe.
This is good news, because whatever challenges they ran in to, you can help them solve those challenges with your lead magnet.
If you’re stumped trying to think of anything, jumpstart your idea machine with these questions:
- What do people buy from you most often?
- What are they trying to solve by purchasing your product or service?
- Think of your favorite customer: what do you like about them? Do remember how they found you, and why they decided to do business with you? (Hint: it probably had something to do with a problem they were solving… what’s the story behind their business?)
- What do your customers love about you? Why? Can you think of any stories they told you about how your product or service helped them?
Those questions don’t all answer the question of their biggest challenge directly, but hopefully they’ll spark a memory of a past conversation.
In any event, make a list of the biggest problems/hurdles/challenges your people have, and you’ll have a rich lead magnet resource to draw from.
2. Ask “The Youtubes”
This lead magnet idea generator is also easy–and powerful.
Here’s all you do…
Imagine you’re a potential customer who decides to search for an answer to a challenge you’re running into by turning to “the Youtubes”.
Enter some likely questions they’d ask and see what videos come up.
So let’s plug in our question…
Let’s say I’m a homebuilder, and I want to come up with a lead magnet that will attract people who are looking to build a home.
First, we need to think about the most likely question our potential customers will ask, which in this case is…
Now let’s look at the results…
Now let’s ask ourselves some questions…
There are 3 things to pay attention to:
- Which videos get the most views?
- What topics are getting traction?
- What are the promises they deliver on?
- Who is advertising to these people?
- Is it similar to your offer?
- What is their promise?
- What are people saying in the comments?
- Does the idea/video/solution resonate with them?
- Are there questions the viewers wish the video producer answered?
- Can you spot any gaps in the content that you could fill?
Do this for a couple different query ideas and see what you get. You might be surprised at what the people in your market are interested in.
3. Ethically Spy On Your Competitors and Use What’s Working For Them
The tool I’m going to talk about here is my not-so-secret weapon to look at how my competitors get their traffic, the keywords they’re advertising on, and the search rankings that drive their sales.
You might be asking what this has to do with creating a lead magnet for yourself, but the answer is simple: you don’t just want to create a lead magnet, you want to create a lead magnet that has the best chance of building your list with people who ultimately buy from you.
And a great way to do that is to focus on topics that already work for your competition (and find some topics that they may not have even thought of yet).
The tool I use to get this done is Ahrefs.
Now, fair warning: this is a premium SaaS product. At the time I’m writing this article, the lowest tier is $99/mo, and the tier I recommend is $179/mo.
But as you’ll see in a second, it’s completely worth it if you use it the right way.
(By the way, I have no incentive to push you to this product–they don’t offer an affiliate program–I’m telling you about it because I believe it’s the best option to find search terms/topics that can make you money.)
The best way for me to explain Ahrefs is to show you some examples.
Find Out What People Are Searching For
Enter a few “seed” keywords into the program, and Ahrefs will give you some valuable starting points. For this example, we’re going to pretend that we sell email marketing services (ahem)…
As you can see for the keywords I’ve chosen, there’s not a whole lot of traffic…
… and even though the results are sparse, never fear! On the left-hand side of the screen there’s a menu with a number of options that can turn a wasteland of results into a wonderland of list-building topics. My favorite on that menu is the Search Suggestions option, which (as you can see by the next image) gives us a lot more to work with.
We can even take things further.
Want to know who “owns” these keywords so you can check out what lead magnets they’re using?
Find the keyword or phrase you like, and then click the Parent Category on the right-hand side of the page.
Now look at the results… even more to choose from.
There’s a lot of detail I could go into, but rather than making this a 10,000 word article, I’ll just hit the highlights.
Look At the Leader and Dissect What They’re Doing
First, on the lower ⅔ of the screen we’ve got a LOT more search results. This is a rich field of ideas to choose from and research. I’m not going to get into details on that, but you can imagine that this is where the keyword gold can be found.
Right now I want to look at the info at the top.
Do you see why I’m excited?
It tells us who’s ranking for the search term we want to target, and it gives us a ton of info.
- Website URL
- Total traffic
- Number of sites linking to the page
- Keyword difficulty
And while this keyword is probably too tough for us to make headway via SEO, that’s okay–we’re just trying to find ideas that resonate with out potential customers.
So in this case, I could go check out the website in featured by Ahrefs.
What is their lead magnet?
What are they using to drive subscriber growth?
There’s a lot more we can do with this, but I wanted to give you a taste of what’s possible.
Hopefully this gets the wheels turning for you.
For Maximum Interest From Your Audience, Don’t Lose Sight of Why They Want It
Of course, at the core of our lead magnet/list-building efforts is an actual human…
Remember the whole purpose of the lead magnet is to solve a burning question or problem–THAT is what will drive opt-ins and grow your list.
I’ve had conversations with business owners who are so focused on getting names for their list that they forget what it is that attracts people in the first place.
Focus on getting names, and you won’t attract any; focus on extinguishing a blazing inferno for your potential customers and you’ll grow your list like crazy. The list will take care of itself....solve a burning question or problem--THAT is what will drive opt-ins and grow your list. Click To Tweet
Okay, now that I’ve drilled that point home, let’s take a look at…
Different Lead Magnet Formats
Now that you’ve narrowed down the ideas, you’ve got to decide how you want to present them.
This list isn’t comprehensive, but it should spark some ideas on what to build:
- Explainer video
- White paper
- 5-minute executive summary of a concept
- One-sheet PDF
- Webinar recording
- Case study
- Free sample/free trial
Which format is right for you?
That depends on your audience, what you’re trying to solve for them, etc., but this should help you get started.
A Complete Look At How You Can Create List-Building, Attention-Getting Lead Magnets
If you’re interested in a more in-depth look at building lead magnets, including a deep-dive into all 8 idea generators PLUS:
- An overlooked machine that tells you exactly who is looking for your product (and the words they use to describe their problem)
- Free idea generators that show you how much interest there is today, this week, and for the past 6-months
- A completely ethical way to find out how to take traffic away from your competitors
- How to use high-traffic bestsellers to fuel your lead magnet ideas
- A free tool to design you lead magnet and look like a pro
And much, much more…
Click here to get this actionable, step-by-step course on how to build lead magnets that actually build your list.