What are lead magnets and why do you need them?

Acquiring new leads is one of the trickiest parts of digital marketing. Whether it’s through social platforms or Google, gaining attention in the saturated online world requires constant adaptation. But in this web of volatility, lead magnets are a tried-and-true method of getting new faces through the virtual door. Read on to find out exactly what they are and why you need them.

What is a lead magnet?

A lead magnet is an incentive which encourages potential customers to give you data, such as their name and email address. You provide some sort of valuable content to a user, and in exchange, they give you their personal information back. The term ‘magnet’ refers to potential customers being drawn into your offer.

But for the lead magnet to work, the conditions need to be right. For example, it is vital to design an incentive that actually provides value, such as a free eBook, a trial subscription or a webinar. To reduce a large barrier that may inhibit this, lead magnets should be free and require next to zero effort on the customer’s behalf to interact with. 

You may not be charging them money, but you are asking for a few moments of their time and attention — assets which are drastically difficult to receive. For the magnet to be a success, both you and your customer should get something. The data you collect is valuable because you know the customer has willingly provided it, meaning they have declared their interest in becoming a potential paying customer. 

What are the benefits of lead magnets?

1. Helps you collect customer data

Lead magnets collect valuable data such as a person’s name, age, gender and interests, as well as their contact details. Combining all of this data will give you a clear picture on what kind of customer is clicking on your content, and whether your targeting has been on point. Prior to launching the lead magnet, you should have already had a good idea on who your target audience is. Analysing the data will tell you whether you were correct.

However, organising this data is often difficult, since the sheer nature of customer data  is rife with inaccuracies and outdated, disorganised information. To bring order to your customer data and analytics,  a data matching software, like matchit® from 360Science, a Syniti company. Using Artificial Intelligence, this matching software understands variant forms of names (like Tony for Anthony) and acronyms (such as IBM for International Business Machines). It also understands that job titles, company names etc. are often entered in the address lines and the myriad of other data entry issues that often arise. The headache of sifting through a jumbled Excel sheet is no longer necessary, and you can focus on nurturing your leads rather than organising them.

2. Enables you to build trust and authority

When customers have a choice between two similar products or services, they will go with the one that seems the most trustworthy. Sometimes this is gained through reviews and testimonials, but another effective way to do this is by demonstrating firsthand the expertise and value your product can offer.

Lead magnets do just this. They show your potential customers that you have the knowledge and credibility to solve their problem. It’s a great way for you to shine a light on your expertise and prove you are an authority figure in your industry. When your customer sees how valuable the thing you’re willing to give away for free is, they are more likely to trust that your full service is worth paying for.

3. Helps with conversions

Lead magnets help you collect and nurture warm leads by sending them further pieces of free content, either via the email address they provided you, or the social media account they followed. Unlike cold leads, you can be certain these people are at least somewhat interested in what you have to offer and are therefore more likely to engage with your content. 

You can then deliver the exact kind of content that your subscribers want, slowly maintaining your relevance and offering expertise to them. Even if they do not convert right away, your presence in their mailbox or social media timeline will retain their attention, so if they need your service in the future, or want to recommend it to someone else, you are the first business they think of.

Digital marketing is heavy on metrics, but occasionally thinking of the process as a simple give-and-receive take makes things easier to understand. Lead magnets are an opportunity for you to give for free, and eventually, if the customer is a good fit, receive back in terms of new business.

How do you create a good lead magnet?

Be targeted 

When creating the magnet, you must identify who it is that you actually want to sell to. Identify your ideal buyer profile and psychographics. What problems are they facing? What are their pain points? What can you offer that can mitigate these issues, or provide more insight? Use this to determine what type of content you should develop. 

Use your best stuff

Want to get started with your lead magnet ASAP? To do so, go through your content library and identify the one content resource which performed the best. It can be anything: the most downloaded ebook or the most viewed video, blog post or testimonial. Don’t forget that your lead magnet will be free, so it should be something that you can give away but would still be considered valuable to your customer base. As marketing expert Gary Vaynerchuck explains: “By giving away great content for free, you’re building up a base of fans and consumers who know that, not only are you good for your word, you also know your [stuff].”

Test your lead magnet’s performance

Testing is essential in determining whether a lead magnet is working for you or not. Even when one is driving a significant number of leads, you cannot be sure if that is the best you can achieve. To do this, implement something called A/B testing, whereby you run two different lead magnets side by side to the same exact audience, and see which one performs better after an equal amount of time. This will help you pick the optimum lead magnet to gain customers with.

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