Not every person who visits your website is ready to hire you or buy from you right away. For most people, they first need to get to know you, decide they like you, and gain trust in you before they’re ready to make a purchase — and the amount of time it takes to become ready to buy varies from person to person.
A lead magnet meets visitors where they are in the buyer journey and provides a specific solution to a challenge they currently have in exchange for their email address. It’s simply a trade. You provide them something of value and they provide you with their email address so you can continue to market to them through your email newsletter and targeted email blasts.
Here are 15 ideas for lead magnets that work:
- Video trainings: Video training helps people get to know you and your teaching style, it gives them a sample of your expertise, and a taste of what it may be like working with you or learning from you.
- eBook: Dive deep on one specific topic and provide incredible value.
- Surveys: Surveys work great as short term lead magnets Invite your audience to participate in the survey with the promise to share the results with them in a special report.
- Quick Tools: Provide a quick tool of value like a checklist, tips sheet, list of mistakes, inside secrets, scripts, or even an FAQ.
- Worksheets And Workbooks: Help your audience move the needle and actually get something done with a worksheet or workbook that guides them through simple exercises and the accomplishment of a goal.
- Demos and Tutorials: If you have a signature process or a product, connect with your audience through process demos and product tutorials that help them learn “the secret sauce.”
- Quizzes: If you want to segment your leads, consider using a quiz to help your audience learn something about themselves or find out what segment they belong to, then deliver specific solutions for them.
- Audio Downloads: Creating high quality audio is much easier than creating videos and people love to download audios to their phone to listen to in the car, lounging by the pool, during a walk, or at the gym.
- Printables: Create forms, worksheets, tracking sheets, reminders, daily planners, business tools, manifestos, and other downloadable resources that inspire action and help your audience get things done.
- Webinars: Teach your audience something with highly-focused webinars that focus on the “How-To” and at the end include a call to action for the next logical step.
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- First Book Chapter: If you’re an author, give away the first chapter of your book to capture leads and grow your email list and follow it up with a special sales offer.
- First Course Module: If you have an online course or program, attract new leads by giving away the first module for free to build your list. This gives them a sample of what’s to come in the rest of the course and provides you an opportunity to make an irresistible sales offer to those on your list.
- Challenges: Create a 3-7 day challenge to help your audience achieve one focused goal and make that goal something they truly desire and dream of. Be sure to have an upsell ready at the end of the challenge to help participants that the next step.
- Swipe Files: Provide a collection of emails, scripts, marketing materials, Facebook ads, and social media posts your audience can copy, paste, and customize for their business.
- Contests: Be careful with contests! The allure of a general contest that adds thousands of people to your list is great, but the downside is a bloated list of non-ideal leads. If you offer a contest, keep it as specific as possible, keep the prize on brand, and make sure it of value to your ideal clients.
- Virtual Conferences Or Summits: Gather together a group of experts on a specific topic who each deliver a presentation or give an interview as part of a virtual conference (all talks on 1-2 days) or virtual summit (talks spread out over multiple days).
- Case Studies: Case studies help prospects learn about your services, the client experience, and how your offering fit their business needs. They also help the prospect relate to a past client’s story, identify themselves as a client, and see what’s possible.
Historically, to use a lead magnet to grow your email list, all you needed was an irresistible free offer, an opt-in box or opt-in page where someone could enter their email address and sign up, and a thank you page or follow up email that provided access to the item or a link to download the item.
But the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect May 25, 2018 and it’s changing the way you need to build your email list.
What Is GDPR?
GDPR is a privacy law that applies to the processing of personal data—everything you do with any and all of the data you collect—from the point of collection to the point of deletion. GDPR affects all personal data including names, email addresses, physical addresses, IP addresses, and all information collected automatically like through your analytics software, as well as any information added to your database or CRM system. It also includes any information gathered from an opt-in, lead magnet, or other offer.
Many people are brushing the GDPR off because it’s a European Union law, but in reality, this law applies to any transaction, free or paid, where one party is in the EU during the transaction.
- If you are based in the European Union, you have to comply with the GDPR across your entire business.
- If you’re not in the EU, you only have to comply with GDPR when interacting with or collecting on people in the EU.
Now, while I don’t have a typical eCommerce store, I do sell online courses like Profitable Project Plan and Positioning E-Commerce Projects For Success, and I create and offer free lead magnets like my Creating Systems Workbook to grow my email list. I also collect data through analytics, which means the GDPR applies to me if anyone from the EU visits my website, opts-in for one of my lead magnets, or enrolls in a course.
I would be lying if I said it didn’t freak me out at first. Luckily, I had friends to point me in the right direction with resources that include:
- GDPR Checklist
- Hubspot’s GDPR Guide
- UX Examples of GDPR Compliance
- Does GDPR Affect Your Business?
- Suzanne Dibble’s GDPR Pack (Plus a Suzanne has a free and super helpful Facebook group)
- How GDPR affects Facebook Advertising
Plus, I’ve got mad research skills, and I’m now sharing what I’ve learned.
Lead Magnets, Email Lists, And GDPR
Lead magnets have traditionally been used to convert website visitors into email subscribers, but for your audience in the European Union, that no longer works. GDPR requires specific, freely-given, clear consent. This means you can no longer add someone to your general email marketing list or email newsletter list when they opt-in or sign up for a lead magnet or free offer.
If you want someone who snags your lead magnet to also join your email newsletter list, you need to ask for and get separate consent:
- You can’t make consent a prerequisite to get the lead magnet, free gift, webinar, ebook, or workbook. This also means you can’t add a newsletter checkbox to the opt-in and make it required to get the offer.
For someone to be added to your general email marketing list, they must specifically agree to join that list separately from any other offer, which means we may see more websites go back to the old “Subscribe To My Newsletter” calls to action.
But if you don’t want to do that, there are other options to consider:
- You can add a voluntary (unchecked) checkbox or a dropdown (choose yes or no) to your opt-in asking if they also want to receive your email newsletter.
- You can create a “middle page or sandwich page” between the opt-in and the thank you page that asks them to subscribe.
- You can add a call to action to subscribe to your email newsletter in the email that delivers or provides access to the lead magnet.
- You can include promotions for your newsletter and a subscribe call to action in your lead magnet.
- You can communicate the benefits of your newsletter and ask for specific consent in the email follow up sequence for a lead magnet.
Ideally, as you take action, you should begin to segment your entire email list into two groups: those in the European Union and those who are not.
While GDPR went into effect on May 25, 2018, it is retroactive, which means that it applies to your existing email list.
If you can’t prove that you have specific, explicit, separate consent from people on your list to whom the GDPR applies, you can’t email them any more. Basically, if someone was added to your general email marketing list because they requested a lead magnet, you can’t email them newsletters and general email marketing anymore.
Yikes! This means that if you have subscribers, clients, or customers in the European Union and you haven’t yet taken action to become GDPR compliant, you’ve got work to do ASAP.
If in the past you have added people to your general email list after they opted-in for a lead magnet, you need to create and run campaigns to get specific consent receive your newsletter.
- Segment your email list into two groups: known non-EU subscribers and everyone else.
- Create specific campaigns targeting the “everyone else” list to gain specific consent to continue receiving your newsletter and as they provide consent, move them to a separate list of those who have provided GDPR compliant consent.
Anyone in the EU who has not provided specific GDPR compliant consent must be removed from your mailing list.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re running a WooCommerce store, you’re an internet entrepreneur building an email list and levering lead magnets to do so, or you’re a WordPress freelancer or agency selling WordPress websites, GDPR isn’t something you can afford to continue to ignore.
While lead magnets will remain an effective email marketing list building tool, the way you go about adding people to your general email list needs to shift so you receive specific, GDPR compliant consent for anyone in the European Union.
Jennifer Bourn is founding partner at Bourn Creative a full-service design and development company specializing in WordPress. With twenty years in the industry under her belt, she is an award-winning designer who consults on branding, website strategy, and content strategy. Jennifer speaks often, delivering workshops and keynote presentations, co-organizes the Sacramento WordPress Meetup and WordCamp Sacramento and writes regularly about freelancing, client services, blogging, marketing, websites, and branding. Learn more at the Jennifer Bourn website.
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