A month ago I started asking for topics or questions you’d like to hear more about and this question came in from Lila: “How to do marketing and get the word out to more customers?”

It’s a wonderful question and one that goes through every entrepreneur’s mind at some point. In my case, it is several times a week!

There are a whole variety of ways to answer that question, but today I want to talk about a concept called a Lead Magnet. This will then get followed by a sales funnel, so I’ll talk about that one too.

What’s a lead magnet?

A lead magnet is a service, item, or resource that you are going to give away for free to get customers to start listening to you. We typically use it to gather potential customer emails, or subscribers to our social media channels. Once we have a way to communicate with the potential customer, we then start sending information that will ideally take them down a sales funnel that we have built (more about this in a moment).

Lead magnets need to be something that is free and that people will want. To get the free thing, they will have to subscribe or sign up, which allows you to capture their email address and name. These are very powerful tools to have for getting your message out to customers about upcoming events or new products that your business is offering. We see lead magnets all the time in the form of free samples, raffle tickets to win a prize (ever tried to win the car in the mall?), free downloads such as images, songs or templates, etc.

Your lead magnet does need to be something of value to the customer so that they feel like it’s a fair exchange of value to give up their email address, or space in their newsfeed, in exchange for the freebie. It can be a free trial, and sample of your product, information packets or results from your studies, free webinars where you teach a small skill or take questions, etc.

Like when you design your business, a lead magnet needs to be specific. Not everyone is going to want it and that’s ok. If you try to make something that everyone wants, you’ll likely make something that no one wants instead. Try to think of a small problem your customers are facing and how you could solve that small problem in an easy way that won’t take a ton of your time. Can you quickly share a tip or create a document that helps your customer out in a fast, yet effective way?

What do I do once I have their attention?

Once you have created your lead magnet and captured the contact information of your customer, now you need to use that contact information to help your customer to the point of buying something from you. This is what we call the “sales funnel”. The lead magnet is at the top, bringing all the people in, and then you create an email message or series (or social media campaign) to demonstrate to your readers why they should want whatever it is you are selling.

I’ll have a post about creating sales funnels with much more detail in the future, but some basic points to hit on in your emails or social media posts are:

  • How to best use the free resource you just gave them
  • Identify the problems that they might be currently facing and why they are challenging.
  • Propose your solution to their problem and how it can help make their lives easier, happier, wealthier, healthier, etc.
  • Show them how easy it is to buy from you
  • Give them an easy way to buy from you!
  • Offer a reward in the form of a discount or another freebie for being a valued first customer.

So they work every time?

I wish! Lead magnets and sales funnels are a constant trial and error process. Sometimes the lead magnet is wonderful and you get lots of contact information, but then no sales from your funnel. Sometimes the lead magnet fails to bring in many people, even though the funnel does a decent job of converting them to paying customers. Sometimes neither of them work well and you’re left scratching your head trying to figure out why!

Over time, you will learn what works and what doesn’t. What attracts your customers in initially, and what causes them to transfer to being a paying customer.

I recently just launched a lead magnet and sales funnel of my own with the aim of letting people know that I had launched the Self-Paced course for The Simple StartUp, and then convert them into buyers of the course. If you are curious to see how it looks and works, follow the prompt below. You will get the free download, and then there will be 7 emails that follow with different information and invitations to buy (obviously ignore those unless it is something you are interested in).

How do I set up a lead magnet?

Once you have a lead magnet idea, you have a couple of options. You can do something as simple as:

  • A Google Form where you ask them to leave their information in exchange for the file which you will send in return manually once you have their email.
  • Ask people to complete a raffle ticket or leave a business card to be entered in a drawing
  • Send you a DM with their email so that you can send them the item
  • Set up a landing page on a website that has a form built into it for subscribing to a newsletter or to get the freebie (see www.thesimplestartup.com for an example).
  • Use a service such as Mailchimp to automatically give the lead magnet to the customer once they give their information.
  • Use a webinar service such as Zoom where participants need to register for the webinar ahead of time to take part.

Think about what a lead magnet would look like for your business and how you would capture the customer’s information in exchange for it. Please send me a link to it that I can share out with The Simple StartUp community as an example. If you have a moment, I’d appreciate you also sharing the 102 Business Ideas for Young Entrepreneurs link (not the product) with your communities to help me to reach a wider audience too!

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