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Every local business should have a mailing list to use for email marketing. However, convincing people to sign up for your list may be a challenge. Most people get dozens of marketing emails each day, and some are reluctant to add yet another email to the mix.
The question, then, is how you can convince potential customers who visit your site to sign up for your mailing list. One common answer is creating something called a lead magnet – a freebie that entices people to type their email address into your opt-in box.
What Is a Lead Magnet?
In case you are unfamiliar with the term, let’s start with a quick explanation of what a lead magnet is. A lead magnet is a free item that you offer to new leads if they sign up for your mailing list. It’s called a magnet because companies often advertise the lead magnet as a way of getting people to visit their site. In other words, it attracts customers the way a magnet attracts metal. Once they are on the site, they learn that all they have to do to get the lead magnet is sign up for your mailing list.
A lead magnet can be almost anything you want it to be, but the best options for local businesses are digital items that can be immediately downloaded after the customer opts in. You want the process to be as easy as possible.
Why You Need a Lead Magnet
Maybe you don’t have a mailing list and you’re wondering why you need one. Local business owners sometimes neglect email marketing as a resource because they think it’s a waste of money. However, the fact is that email marketing is still one of the most effective – and most affordable – forms of internet marketing. Here are some reasons that using a lead magnet to build your list makes sense:
- Email marketing offers a low-cost, easy way to stay in touch with your customers on an ongoing way.
- Email marketing is incredibly versatile. Here are just a few ideas of ways you might use email marketing:
- To announce new products – for example, you might make a short unboxing or how-to video for a new product in your store.
- To share valuable information with your customers – one of the best uses of email marketing is providing value to your customers, which creates a sense of obligation.
- To offer enticements to get customers to visit your store – examples include promotions, coupons, and special events.
- To encourage customers to spread the word about your business – if you make a point of offering worthwhile information, some of your customers will share your email with their friends and family, thus increasing your reach.
- Using a lead magnet helps you encourage a particular cognitive bias – sort of a mental glitch – known as reciprocity. Most human beings feel a need to return the favor when they get something free. Offering a lead magnet makes your customers feel a sense of obligation to you because they know you’ve given them something valuable without charging them a dime. Once they have accepted a freebie from you, they are more likely to become paying customers than they would be otherwise.
As you can see, there are some significant benefits to using a lead magnet to help grow your email list.
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How to Create an Irresistible Lead Magnet
Deciding you want a lead magnet for your website is the first step. The second is deciding what form the lead magnet will take, and then creating it. Let’s start by talking about some good options for lead magnets.
- Remember that digital products that are available for immediate download are the best choice. Don’t make your customers wait to get their freebie – give it to them right away.
- One common option for a lead magnet is a short eBook. Sometimes people think that books have to be long, but the truth is that the average length of non-fiction books on the Kindle bestseller list is only 10,000 words. A free book can be even shorter – sometimes 2,500 or 3,500 words is plenty.
- Another popular choice for a lead magnet is a tip sheet or hack sheet. It seems like you can’t go anywhere on the internet these days without coming across a list of hacks for everything from household chores to organizing your desk at work. People seem to love them, and creating a good hack sheet doesn’t take long.
- If you offer a business-related service, one very good lead magnet option is a free template for a particular kind of document.
- A video or series of videos is another option, although creating videos is certainly more costly than making written content. The downside of video is that it takes time for your customer to consume.
The most affordable and easily accessible options are short written documents that customers can download immediately.
Now let’s talk about how to create your lead magnet. If you have a business that lends itself to tips and hacks – for example, the owner of a kitchen supply store might do well to offer a list of cooking hacks (or kitchen storage hacks) to potential customers – then that’s a good way to go because it doesn’t take long to create.
If the majority of your customers are looking for information, then writing a short eBook might be the answer. Don’t get intimidated by the thought of writing a book. If you feel you can’t do it yourself, you can always hire a freelance writer to do it for you. Just brainstorm some potential topics for a book, keeping in mind that you want things that are going to be compelling and interesting to your potential customers. For example, a sports equipment store might offer a short eBook about how to prepare for ski season, or a buying guide for parents whose kids are signing up for the local soccer league.
The key with any lead magnet is to think about what your customers want, and then to find a way to give it to them. When you start, it might be helpful to think about your target customers and who they are. After that, you can reach out with some social media advertising to let people know about your awesome new lead magnet and why they need to get it.
Lead magnets are an effective and inexpensive way to help you build a mailing list – which you can then use to attract new customers and grow your business. As long as you focus on providing value with your lead magnet, and target your ads wisely, you should have no difficulty attracting people to your opt-in page.l