How To Grow Your Email List With Lead Magnets

A lead magnet
Why should I engage and what do I get?

A lot of people underestimate the power of email marketing. Consider this: while social media relies on an algorithm to show people your content, and your website requires visitors to come to you, email is the one way to reach out directly to the people you want to engage with and speak with them one-on-one.

Before that happens, though, you’ve got to get people to opt-in to hearing from you. Every website nowadays has a “Subscribe to our newsletter” box for visitors to enter their email address – the problem is, there’s no motivation or incentive to do so.

As we all know, it’s the rare person who freely hands out their email address. These days, we’re all hyper-aware of email spam, scams, and the need to protect our inboxes from unnecessary overload.

If you want to build and nurture an email list to get access to your target audience on an ongoing basis, you need to give them a compelling reason to share their contact information, answering their two main questions: 

  1. Why should I engage with you?
  2. What do I get in return?

You have to offer them something of value. And that’s where lead magnets come in.

What a lead magnet can do for you

Google search terms - over 6 million how to questions each year

People are always searching for answers to their problems, either consciously or unconsciously. Did you know that there are around 6,120,000 searches related to “how to” questions every year?

It doesn’t matter whether you’re on TikTok, Google ads, or Instagram – people are always searching for information that helps them in some way. That’s why the goal of a lead magnet is to help, not sell.

A lead magnet is a free resource you give away as an incentive for people to share their email addresses and other personal information. This way, both the customer and the business get something of value.

The free resource could be something like:

  • a downloadable guide
  • a whitepaper or eBook
  • a webinar
  • a printable checklist or editable template
  • a free trial
  • an email course
  • a workbook or toolkit
  • a video series

The more valuable the resource, the more email subscribers you are likely to get. It’s a win-win exchange. The added benefit is that the content you share also helps to build interest in your product or service.

Focus on providing value

Jordan Harbinger website

Let’s say you create “The Ultimate Guide to X”, a downloadable PDF filled with insider tips and tricks of the trade. The guide might be filled with invaluable information that customers can benefit from. But what it also does is establish trust in your expertise

And with every email that follows, you build on that relationship, introducing subscribers to your product or service while nurturing that trust until the person is ready to become a paying customer.

Take Jordan Harbinger, for example. He’s a Wall Street lawyer turned podcast interviewer with a very popular podcast (The Jordan Harbinger Show) featuring high-profile guests like Malcolm Gladwell, Leah Remini, Tony Hawk, Anderson Cooper, Simon Sinek, and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

On his website, Harbinger offers a free six-minute networking course (his lead magnet). The podcast and the course content align and leave you with the impression that he really knows his stuff. And the free course is a way to collect people’s information and start connecting with them over email.

Harbinger could sell the course – the content is extremely useful and valuable – but that’s not the point of the lead magnet. His focus is on scaling his podcast where he sells a lot of advertising space. 

The bigger and more popular the show, the more his advertising slots are worth. The lead magnet is a way to help him grow his core business – he gives a little but gains a lot in return.

A win-win way to connect with customers

Connect value, solution and connection

The challenge is how to best create something valuable to your audience which connects back to what you do. Work through the following activity to make sure your business’s lead magnet bears fruit when it comes to collecting email addresses…

  • What information or resources could you share that people would find very valuable?
    The key here is to help, not sell. The lead magnet must be perceived as useful. Remember, it’s got to be worth giving you their personal information. It’s got to be something that they will instantly benefit from – providing expert insight, actionable advice, a unique solution, or insider knowledge they can’t easily source for themselves.
  • Does your lead magnet solve a real problem that your customer has? In other words, is it giving them something that they want or need?
    The best lead magnets speak to a very specific problem or pain point. If the information is too generic, the lead magnet is unlikely to convert. Approach the content of your lead magnet with the customer in mind. Remember, the lead magnet is a free resource – it needs to be relevant to the customer’s needs.
  • How is the lead magnet relevant to your product or service?
    Remember, you’ve got to set yourself up as an authority in your industry and connect the lead magnet back to what you do. It should be an extension of your core offering that builds interest in what you do and demonstrates your expertise. The lead magnet is your first impression – make it a good one to start the relationship on the right foot.

It’s important to bear in mind that, even though you can promise a lot (Here is The Ultimate Guide to X), if you under-deliver, that reflects back on you and your product or service. 

If the content you provide isn’t valuable, doesn’t solve a problem, and isn’t relevant, it’s going to disappoint people, in which case, you can’t expect to gain any new customers. The content needs to impress on them that you can help, you are the only one who can help, and you really care about helping.

Lead magnets are key to continuous email list growth. If you need a hand with your lead magnet content and keeping subscribers engaged, sign up for our 1-2-1 guided coaching sessions. Or, if you want to start from the beginning and see where you stand, take our content marketing challenge.