Creating effective lead magnets can sometimes feel like pulling teeth, but having lead magnets is key to getting subscribers and loyal readers. In today’s article, I’m going to outline a lead magnet checklist that will streamline your process to create irresistible lead magnets for your blog.
This lead magnet checklist will change your life.
Okay, maybe not.
But it WILL improve your process.
If you’re serious about making money from your blog, you need to know how to create irresistible lead magnets that will have your readers give you their email address for your email list.
Knowing that you need lead magnets is one thing; creating them is another.
Making lead magnets can sometimes feel like building a middle school science fair project: takes you forever to plan and design, you leave a huge mess because you don’t know what you’re doing, and when you finish it, it doesn’t always work.
In today’s blog post, I’ll provide the only lead magnet checklist you’ll ever need that covers everything: from creation, to quality control, to promotion. Create truly compelling lead magnets that convert visitors into subscribers.
P.S. Don’t forget to get your free download when you finish this post!
The first and most important phase is the creation of your lead magnet.
Unfortunately, this is also where many bloggers and marketers stumble. They made a lead magnet, all right, but the planning and design stage were done sloppily and haphazardly.
Here’s the step-by-step guide on how to create your lead magnet so you don’t make that mistake.
Before you make anything, you need to know what to make. Below are some popular lead magnet types to inspire you:
This list is far from comprehensive; there are many more possible lead magnet types out there, so be resourceful and creative.
Some bloggers offer eBooks as lead magnets, and you could do that too, but I find that if it takes too much to consume, your readers quickly lose interest and that eBook would’ve been a waste of time.
Similarly, if you’re going to go with an email course, keep it to a few emails. Three or four emails should be enough, especially if you want to keep them curious about your blog and what more you have to offer beyond that email course.
Bottom line: It’s more practical to create lead magnets that are brief but value-packed.
As with your blog posts, you’ll find that outlines make your flow go more smoothly and ensure that you stay on topic.
Making an outline early on also lets you see a bird’s eye view of the whole thing and helps you determine what topics you already know, as well as topics you don’t know that well, so you can research efficiently.
Another resource is actually your existing reader base. Ask them what niche-related resources do they wish they had. Do they want a basic guide to a topic in your niche? Or do they want worksheets to keep their notes together?
The most efficient way to cook is to get your pots, pans, and utensils to hand and ingredients all chopped up before you even fire up the stove.
To give you an idea, here’s a list of the things you need to prepare:
Once you have your plan and your materials, it’s now time to actually make your lead magnet.
Carve out time in your day to write the content of your lead magnet. This should be a high priority for you, but given your other blog-related tasks, this isn’t your only priority. Reserving a certain time block for this task helps you do everything you need to do on a certain day.
Pay special attention to the title of your lead magnet because this is likely to be the first thing your prospects see. A lot of times, subscribing is a split-second decision based on that title, so you want the title of your lead magnet to convince them to do what you intend for them to do.
Near the end, include a call to action. What do you want them to do after they consume the lead magnet? Go back to your blog and read some more articles? Email you with feedback? Entice them to do so.
Chances are you’re trying to keep your costs down, or there’s a certain look you’re going for, in which case you’re going to design the lead magnet yourself. I’ve written a previous article on blog design for non-designers that discusses some principles that can help you.
Another way is to go through design blogs and learn the basics of good design. Looking at other lead magnets in your niche may help too.
If you have the budget, though, hiring a professional designer is the best way to ensure an eye-catching design for your lead magnet.
Let your lead magnet rest for a while, and then do a once-over. There’s a good chance that you missed something or made a few typos that are easier to spot when you’ve had time away from the lead magnet.
The best approach (again, only if you have the budget for it), is to hire a professional copy editor/proofreader to review your lead magnet for you.
When you’ve finished with your lead magnet, the next thing is to review it. This goes beyond content editing and proofreading; this is about the quality of your lead magnet and its potential to attract the right audience to subscribe to your email list.
This would mean that you’d be your own critic, but think of it as scrutinizing your lead magnet so that you can help people AND attract the right subscribers at the same time.
Check your lead magnet against these 5 characteristics of an effective lead magnet.
The lead magnet you offer should be solving a particular problem experienced by a certain group of people.
For example, you don’t want to simply create a guide to weight loss. It’s too general. You’re better off creating a meal plan for those struggling with their portion size. Or maybe a workout cheat sheet for those with certain medical problems, like knee ailments or back problems.
Bottom line: Your lead magnet should offer a precise solution to a precise problem of a precise group of people.
So you’ve created something specific.
Does it address what your audience really wants?
If you created a workout cheat sheet, would it be something that your target audience needs? If your target audience is young, working, and have no pressing health problems, a workout cheat sheet for those with knee problems may not be an effective lead magnet for them.
A better workout cheat sheet would be something they can do in the morning before they go to work, or something they can do on their work desk.
Bottom line: Offer the results that your target audience wants to experience.
Previously, lead magnets were all eBooks and the longer, the better.
But now, with people having increasingly short attention spans, they want concise documents that they can quickly read and understand. If you can create something that takes 5 minutes to study, that’s instant gratification.
Even when your document is already short, you want to present the information in pieces that readers can absorb at a glance. Don’t hit them with a wall of text; break it up into bullet points, tables, or condense information into an image.
Bottom line: When it comes to lead magnets, more isn’t necessarily better.
Being able to come up with a value-packed lead magnet says a lot about your knowledge and skill in the field. You want to show off your expertise, and an excellent lead magnet does that without you having to say so many words about yourself.
Demonstrating that you’re an expert in your field makes your audience feel that they made the right decision to subscribe to your email list. Plus, if they ever need help with anything related to your niche, you’ll be the first one they think to ask.
Bottom line: Telling everyone that you’re an expert doesn’t work as well as showing it.
The actual value of your lead magnet depends on whether your lead magnet lives up to the results you promised. Will your target audience be impressed by the results that they get from your lead magnet? How satisfied do you think they’ll be?
Aside from the actual, practical value of the lead magnet, you also want to build up the perceived value of your lead magnet.
A huge part of it has to do with the design and appearance of the lead magnet. Does it look high-quality? Would it be something they’d be proud to display on their desktop or even print out and display on their desk?
Bottom line: Your lead magnet has to be high in both actual and perceived value.
After you’ve scrutinized your own work, it’s now time to advertise your lead magnet and spread the word so it can be found by your target audience.
Here are the things to do when promoting your lead magnet.
Let me clarify the difference first between a landing page and an opt-in page.
A landing page is a standalone page created to direct visitors to a single goal; in this case, our goal is for visitors to download your lead magnet in exchange for their email address. It usually contains a headline, subheadline, benefits of your lead magnet, visuals, and a lead capture form with a CTA button.
By contrast, an opt-in page, sometimes called a squeeze page, is a dressed-down version of your landing page designed to fit in one screen without scrolling down or smaller. You’ll normally only see the headline, a brief description of your lead magnet, a small image of that lead magnet, and a lead capture form with a CTA button.
You’ll need to build these pages because the links to these pages are what you’re actually going to advertise and promote. Also, the content of these pages can be the deciding factor as to whether or not your visitor ends up subscribing.
Most email service providers implement a double opt-in method; that is, after your visitors submit their email address on your opt-in page or landing page, they’ll be sent an email to that email address to confirm that the email address exists and for your visitors to confirm their subscription to your email list.
This seems like a pain in the butt for both you and your potential subscribers, but doing this reduces the likelihood of fake email addresses signing up just for the lead magnet.
Also, this ensures that those who do sign up to your mailing list do actually want to be there and receive content from you because they took the trouble of checking their email and confirming their subscription.
At the minimum, you’ll have to write 2 emails: the one after they first submit their email address on your opt-in or landing page (let’s call it initial email for simplicity), and one after they confirm their email address through the initial email (let’s call it confirmation email).
The initial email needs to explain that they haven’t been subscribed and that they need to click on a link to actually confirm their subscription. Also, this email needs to explain that they need to confirm their subscription first before they get the lead magnet you promised them.
After they click on the link on the initial email, that’s when they get the confirmation email that confirms they’re now subscribed to your email list. This would also contain either the lead magnet or the link to get it.
Your welcome email needs to be written at some point too, although all the necessary emails for your email list could cover an entire article, so we won’t cover this here.
The next thing you have to consider is how you’re going to give your subscribers the lead magnet you promised them.
You can go about this three ways:
You can simply send your lead magnet as an attachment to the confirmation email your new subscribers get sent when they confirm they want to opt-in. This way, your new subscribers don’t have to take extra steps.
The problem is, there are certain limits to the size of the file you can attach to your emails (the particular file sizes vary depending on your email service provider). If your lead magnet is a simple checklist or any one-page document, you can use this with no problem, but if your lead magnet has a lot of images, this method may not work for you.
The alternative is to upload the lead magnet to a separate host and then provide a link to your new subscribers in their confirmation email for them to download the file.
The simplest way to do this is to upload the files directly to your web host. You can also use other cloud storage services such as Amazon S3, Google Drive, Dropbox, or any other cloud storage that gives you a link that you can share with your prospects so they can download the file directly.
An advantage of this is that you can password-protect your lead magnet and then provide the password in the confirmation email so they can use the file.
A third way you can go about it is to place the download link in a Thank You page. Then, instead of placing the download link directly in the confirmation email, you place a link to the Thank You page, which has the download link plus links to other useful articles on your blog.
Yes, it’s a bit roundabout, but the theory is that you want them to download your lead magnet and promote other stellar content in your blog.
Once you’re done setting everything up, make sure you test the entire process to make sure your would-be subscribers will successfully confirm their opt-in AND will actually receive the lead magnet you’re offering.
It seems only logical that you promote your lead magnet on your blog for those who stumble upon your blog posts through searching or through social media.
The classic way to do this is to have CTAs to subscribe on your sidebars. You can even make them “sticky” so that they’d stay visible even when you scroll through the article as you’re reading.
You can also place your opt-in form itself on a “floating” window at a corner of the page (usually lower right, so it doesn’t cover the actual content of the page), on a lightbox popup, or its clingier cousin, the exit intent popup (you know how forms randomly appear when you move your mouse to close the tab? That one).
Let your social media followers know that you have this awesome free tool that can help them. You might even convert a simple follower into a subscriber.
Another advantage of promoting through social media is that it can easily be shared by your followers to their followers.
Tweet about your lead magnet at least every hour that your target audience is active so that they’re bound to see it. Post a Facebook update at least twice a day.
Or if you don’t have any other ongoing important promotions, you can pin the tweet on Twitter or the status on your Facebook page, so it’s the first thing people see when they go to your social media profile.
Posting on social media multiple times a day manually can interrupt your tasks throughout the day. So you don’t get overwhelmed, you can sign up for a social media post scheduler, such as Hootsuite or Buffer, especially for Twitter.
If you want to widen your reach and be visible to other social media users who aren’t already following you, you can experiment with social media ads, if you have the budget for it.
Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram and Pinterest ads can go a long way in promoting your lead magnet on social media, especially since you’re advertising a free product.
You don’t have to take out on all the social media accounts; experiment first with where your audience spends the most time.
Do this if you have a high quality image or rendering of your lead magnet and you want it to be the first thing people see when they go to your social media profile.
You can even include the URL of your landing page, though it won’t be clickable. If readers really want your lead magnet, they’ll take the time to type that URL so they can get your lead magnet.
You don’t want your existing subscribers to feel left out when you make new lead magnets, especially when you’re creating many different types of lead magnets for different blog posts.
Your subscribers were likely enticed with a lead magnet when they signed up, and they’ll likely be interested in new lead magnets you offer.
Also, existing subscribers may go to your blog and read new blog posts. They see a lead magnet that they don’t have yet, and they want to get it, so they enter their email address in your opt-in form. But they’re already subscribed, so you don’t want them to receive your confirmation email and your welcome series all over again. Worse, you don’t want them to get your next emails twice.
Check with your email service provider or landing page service if they can handle cases like these; you want to be able to send lead magnets to your existing subscribers without any hassle to them.
Guest blogging is a good strategy to expose your content to new audiences, so take the opportunity to promote your lead magnet to them as well.
If your lead magnet is related to the topic of your guest post, mention it in the content itself, but don’t link it unless you have express permission from your host blog. It’s common courtesy not to just add a link that’ll take their readers out of their blog into your landing page.
You can compromise by asking to place the link in your author bio instead of within the blog post, so it doesn’t distract their readers but gives them an opportunity to check out your lead magnet since you mentioned it.
Blog posts aren’t the only form of content where you can promote your lead magnet.
You can host a webinar for a certain topic, and if your lead magnet is related to the topic of your webinar, you can give your lead magnet as a bonus for signing up for your webinar.
If you have a podcast, that’s another great way of making your lead magnet known. You can’t really link to it, but you can talk about it and direct listeners to where they can find it.
Answering questions on Quora can also be a good way to promote your lead magnet, but you need to be careful not to violate Quora’s rules on spam. Quora is designed to provide instant value and not to drive traffic to external sites. Just like when you guest post, you can mention your lead magnet but not necessarily link to it.
Lead magnets are essential to building your email list and your audience, but making them can seem like a grueling task.
I hope this comprehensive lead magnet checklist helps you create high-quality, effective lead magnets that convert casual readers to subscribers without missing a step.
Create Your Lead Magnet
Evaluate Your Lead Magnet
Your lead magnet should:
Promote Your Lead Magnet
And as promised, here is your free download!Download your free PDF here (no email required)
Did you find this checklist useful? Do you think I missed a step? Share your thoughts in the comments!
JoAnne is your average, everyday, sane stay-at-home mom who believes in the power of the internet to make dreams come true. She has an insatiable appetite for chocolate, as well as all things internet marketing. She keeps up with the latest trends in blogging, affiliate marketing, e-commerce, and more.