Most effective content marketing strategies involve gathering prospects’ contact information in exchange for high-quality, high-value content — also known as “lead magnets.” Because of their central role in demand generation, building an effective lead magnet is one of the most important (and stressful projects) a marketer will face.
Here are some tips marketers can use to ensure prospects see value in your lead magnets and enthusiastically sign up for your follow-up content.
Start with Strong Buyer Persona Research
High-quality buyer personas are essential to effective content marketing, and particularly for building a lead magnet. Don’t rely on the basics like job title and goals to make your project successful. Instead, delve deep into your persona with interviews that uncover the complexity of their buying process.
When we do buyer persona research we rely on the robust, multi-dimensional approach developed by the Buyer Persona Institute. Many of their ideas and methods can be applied to lead magnet development. This should include digging into the following dimensions:
Priority initiative What has caused your persona to prioritize this purchase now? The answer to this question can help you in the ideation and planning stage of your project.
Decision criteria What capabilities are they evaluating to make their buying decision? This helps you determine what information to include in your content.
Perceived barriers Obstacles that your buyers encounter during their process, which you might also want to address somewhere in the body of your content.
Buyer’s journey This means knowing what actions buyers take and what content they engage with at each step of this process. This helps direct follow-up and ensure your lead magnet is part of a optimized funnel.
The Buyer Persona Institute offers classes and educational resources, which we strongly recommend for those who want to improve either their persona or lead magnet development.
Focus on Providing Immediate Value
70% of buyers making a buyers make a purchase to solve a business problem. Many buyers are willing to hand over their email address to a company that can provide actionable tips that will save them time, money, or stress. Focusing on that goal is a good way to keep your project on-track.
Provide authority by drawing on the latest high-value research and putting your SMEs front and center. Don’t just give them a byline. Put them front and center and show off their credentials to give your content clear and undeniable authority.
Explore a single topic or theme in depth. You may even want to include opposing or competing ideas to your selling point, or build your entire lead magnet around dispelling an idea or fallacy.
If you don’t have SMEs — go find them! Engage with trusted experts in your field and ask them for an interview. A video interview with a recognizable thought leader can be a great resource to offer, as long as you structure the interview in a way that provides real value to your prospects.
“According to a 2020 report from GetResponse, 47% of marketers said that video and text based lead magnets perform best. 58.6% report that short-form written content had the higher conversion rate, while 41.4% said long-form content did.”
Choose a Format That’ll Excite Prospects
While the eBook, white paper, and case study are tried and true lead magnets formats, you should expand your brainstorming session to include other formats. The first goal of any content effort is to engage your prospects, so pick a fresh and exciting strategy that the competition hasn’t tried!
If you have the resources, consider taking one idea and developing it out across multiple formats to ensure that each channel gets the right type of content.
Webinars and video courses Have your experts offer advice on how to solve a business problem your prospects face.
Cheat sheets and checklists People love having an expert tell them exactly what they can do to overcome a challenge.
Industry reports For organizations that have the resources, original research is one of the most powerful forces in content marketing.
Bonus resources Do you have a blog post that gets lots of traffic? Build an addendum to the post and ask for an email address in exchange for those more in-depth resources.
Discounts Offering a deal in exchange for an email address can be a powerful tactic, especially when used by companies to target consideration stage prospects.
Remember: Your lead magnet doesn’t need to be exhaustive to be effective. What is the main goal of your audience? What do they need to achieve? Answer those questions and pick a format that best conveys that information.
Squeeze Every Bit of SEO Traction Out of It
You’ve spent hours brainstorming, researching, and creating a lead magnet that you know will appeal to your audience. You shouldn’t just let it languish behind an opt-in form! There are ways that you can get SEO power from your lead magnet, allowing you to kill two marketing birds with a single stone.
If you have your lead magnet in PDF, make sure it’s been compressed to improve download speed and that it uses standardized fonts like Helvetica, Times, or Courier. You may also want to treat your filename as a URL, matching the two as closely as possible. Search Engine Journal has a great article on how to optimize PDFs for SEO.
Try uploading part of the lead magnet to SlideShare and posting it on LinkedIn. The “quiet giant” of content marketing, SlideShare gets over 60 million users a month, meaning that an evergreen presentation can have a long-lasting effect that provides lots of views with minimal effort.
Use tools like Designrr.io to quickly turn audio or video clips into transcripts, eBooks, or other lead magnet formats. Designrr also helps you quickly convert written content like long-form blog posts into attractive, well-designed eBook or white papers with minimal fuss. Very useful!
Spend Time Making the Title Pop
A copywriter emphasizing the importance of headline copy is a bit predictable, but it’s worth repeating. The headlines for your lead magnet is crucial, especially given the amount of time and energy you’ve committed to it.
Here are some tips:
According to Kissmetrics, readers tend to focus on the first and last three words of the title (link), while from an SEO perspective, you’ll need 55 characters or fewer for optimal results.
A good title knows it’s audience. Whether you choose to state your value clearly, ask a provocative question, or incite curiosity by pointing toward a better way of working, always develop the title based on the needs and wants of your personas.
B2B purchases are driven by emotions like trust and confidence. Alleviate risk in your title to spark optimism and goodwill in your audience.
Don’t rush it. Give yourself a week to brainstorm 20 – 30 ideas and let them sit for a few days. Then come back to your list with fresh eyes and start revising the 2-3 ideas that stick out. If you have the time, repeat this process again until your favorite idea has been refined to perfection.
Don’t ignore the obvious techniques, like using numbers and the evergreen “how to...” posts. There’s ample research showing they simply work.