I still remember clearly, when way back in 2003 – I made my first online blog!
It was a free blog on a sub-domain of a site, not self-hosted. Did I know back then that blogging will become my career!
No. I knew nothing back then, but it was all fun – and thus it kept me busy. I learnt several marketing methods that were popular then, like directory submission, article submission etc. Much of those methods are already done but one thing that has persisted over the years and I still do it is – Email Marketing.
Even in those days I used to make list, setup auto-responders, tried my best to catch email leads etc. Now it is almost 2018 here and we still do the same thing.
Just like any other marketing method – you need to be more creative and stand out of the competition to catch more emails.
Over the years I have created, scratched and perfected many lead magnets, some of which had worked exceptionally while some others not as much … here will cover 10 such Lead Magnets and observe how they turned out to be.
1) Credible Tips and Updates
Ages back, before 2008 I used to own some health related blogs. Back then any content used to rank with minimal efforts. But since my blogs were on the health niche I had hired some freelance doctors to do the content. It used to cost me a bit more than average writers – but the credibility of the blog balanced the cost.
My lead magnet was pretty clear on that blog – get expert tips from Doctors right into your inbox. That was it – just a simple line and it used to convert like crazy. In return all I had to do was send them content written by my team of doctors. I don’t have any more health blogs at this moment, but I have linked to the ebook in case you might want to check it out.
2) Relevant eBooks
eBook is a format that pretty much works better than simple web pages. It is easy to read, you can download and keep it in your cell phone for later reading. Yes, we do bookmark pages – but very rarely we check it out but ebooks are something that gets the eyeball when we are having some idle time.
I experimented with such an ebook on my travel blog, somewhere around 2007. The blog was on travel, I already had several articles related to travel – I started to look for a topic which had been covered in detail. Such a category was Island Travelling. Unfortunately, new owners of the site has removed that ebook, so I had to dig in a bit and search the archives to get an old snapshot of the site. If you browse the old site you will find that not only I had that page created for the lead magnet but also I have put the lead Magnet on every blog post on the site and on the homepage sidebar as well.
3) Service for an Action – Sending an email update and keeping your subscribers active is a normal thing in email marketing – whether it is just a news item, or upcoming things at your end – people love to stay updated. But if this update is about an action that your subscriber has already taken then it makes even more sense.
We implemented this idea on GuestCrew. When someone supports a campaign that they are interested in – it will launch a popup asking them to subscribe so that they can get email updates regarding the progress of that campaign. This works like a charm because here not only we get access to their social support, we get their email id too.
4) Homepage placements
Whether you have a lead magnet or not, if your subscription form is on the homepage then it will convert a lot more. Homepage of a site sends a stronger trust message than internal pages. I have seen increase in subscription rate when I have moved the subscription form in a prominent place on the homepage.
Along with that, remember people hardly read much and especially signing up on a form – they like to quickly check things out – so having some catchy text is always preferable making sure that it only goes on to a few words in length.
Image Source – MyUKMailBox
Look in the above screenshot, every point is presented with a small icon making the text both catchy and relevant – enough to catch anyone’s attention who skims through the page.
5) Limited Time Offers – Shoppers are always worried about missing out on a good deal. The discount which was 80% on the Cyber Monday will get down to 60% in one or two days time – but people will still buy it if they had already missed out on the deep discount, because they know that the smaller discount too will go away soon.
In a condition like this, if your popup simply says about an offer that is limited by time or quantity and you have a ticking counter besides it – anyone who is thinking to buy it later will jump on it rightaway!
I have got plenty of success with this method on Crowd Funding campaigns which I had later used heavily during festival time to replicate the same success on several niche blogs of mine.
Two things matters most in any contest, one is the prize amount and the other is how well you promote and market your contest.
A contest can be promoted in many places but if you have been collecting email leads using a contest announcement in the form of a lead magnet – not only it will convert like crazy it will also get you a list which can be your personal contest launch pad!
Image Source – Temok
7) Pre Registrations and Beta Invites – Ages ago, Gmail too was launched as an invite-only platform. When I tried to register a Gmail account for the first time, I couldn’t – had to manage an invite before I was allowed to have the account.
Beta Invites is an excellent idea to grow interest among people who want to test drive your platform. Similarly, pre registrations too are a way to capture an audience and sell them stuff that isn’t even ready to be shipped. It is like having customers when your product isn’t even ready.
Think about such a virtual asset being given away in the form of Email Leads. Simply signup and be the first to get an invite – if your audience is anticipating a launch, they will jump on it. You don’t need a product ready, all you need is a coming soon landing page which is capable of collecting email leads!
I had implemented this idea on AmplifyBlog with a lot of success. I usually keep registration closed because the site gets a lot of spam – but I have allowed people to subscribe on the Amplifyblog email list. That way, from time to time I run contests and giveaway a few accounts – so only those who are really interested in it – gets to join it.
8) A-list Guest Posts with Customized Landing Pages – I haven’t done a whole lot of this method but whatever little I have done or advised others to do so, has been a huge success.
Most people who haven’t really guest posted for a huge blog don’t really understand about the power of referral traffic that drives through these blogs. It is not like hitting a Digg or a Reddit front page – but it can be massive and really targeted. These readers can buy your stuff, register or subscribe, share your posts or become a regular reader. Which pretty much means that it is up to you on how you would want them converted.
What worked best for me was a targeted landing page, customized for visitors coming from that particular A-list blog. For example, if you guest post on CopyBlogger – your opening line should be something like: “Thank you for reading my Guest Post over at CopyBlogger … ” and put an email subscription form somewhere in the same page and start catching leads.
9) Free Product
When it comes to free products, if am the one who is creating it then I just make sure that it is truly free without any strings attached to it.
However, that is only about how the product works – as far as how to get the product goes – it usually goes through my email list. I had used this idea on ExtraPlugin, a project that is no longer active now.
ExtraPlugin was originally free and had pretty much all the basic functions, then I launched a version that was paid with more features. I used to giveaway premium version licenses for free to those who were in my email list … that grew the email list quickly and I saw a lot of people were actually opening the emails, reading them and most importantly – taking action. They were all waiting to get a premium license for free.
10) Gated Content – Am never a fan of gated content, I always believe that content should be freely available and no part of the article should be gated or blocked.
But there is another side to it, especially when it comes to content consumption there are many readers who simply can’t take in all the content at one go. But if they do drop their email ids, they can receive auto-responders which are mostly short emails, really catchy and covers a small point every day. That way, once the email series ends – the reader will be able to understand the whole article series without trying to finish all of it right away.
For me, Gated content has worked well in terms of converting leads on articles where people are desperately searching for an answer. On how-to articles where the article solves an issue – the conversion rate is the maximum. I have also noticed that the auto-responders that sends out similar issues and their solutions gets a lot more attention and fewer un-subscribes!
When it comes to email marketing, keeping contacts from unsubscribing is always cheaper than catching new leads. People who are on your list for a longer time are more valuable and are more likely to take action than those who have recently subscribed. Putting more focus on the auto-responders and email content is a far better investment than putting all of your energy into creating lead magnets. Keep your subscribers happy and busy and they will keep improving your conversion rate.