You know you need to not only attract visitors to your website but to also capture their contact information. So you devote your energy to creating a lead magnet—an offer like a content piece, free consultation, or other experience valuable enough that prospects will share their email addresses to receive it.
Lead magnets help your prospective customers solve the problem that brought them to your business while helping you follow up with prospects and earn their business.
To learn about lead capture strategy and get 19 ideas for lead magnets to create, download The Small Business Guide to Capturing Leads.
With a good lead magnet, everybody wins. That is, unless no one actually downloads it. In that case, you’re back to where you started—minus all the time and effort you spent developing the lead magnet.
If you’re struggling to collect leads with your lead magnet, the problem can likely be summarized one of two ways: People aren’t seeing it, or people aren’t downloading it. You have a traffic problem or a conversion problem (or perhaps both).
Here are eight reasons your lead magnet isn’t working, along with ideas that will help you capture more leads.
1. You don’t get enough traffic to your lead magnet
To start, we can give your lead magnet the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it’s perfect—the problem is that people simply don’t know it exists.
Advertising the lead magnet on a social network or Google AdWords is an obvious solution for generating more web traffic. LinkedIn ads are best for business-to-business marketing, while sponsored Facebook posts and promoted Pinterest pins work well for targeting specific consumer interests. (For help getting started, check out this guide, The Art of Social Media Advertising.)
But promoting a lead magnet doesn’t have to mean paying for it. To spread the word, link to the landing page from other pages within your website, post it in forums and on message boards, and work on your search engine optimization to help people discover the landing page organically. And here’s an easy and often overlooked strategy, link to it in the footer of your emails.
If you increase the traffic to your lead magnet and still don’t get many downloads, you know that conversion is more of the problem.
2. Your lead magnet topic doesn’t resonate with your target audience
A lead magnet is only worth the download if it solves a specific problem for a specific audience.
For example, say you’re an expert who teaches classes on getting babies and toddlers to adopt a sleep schedule. A guide called “Sleep and Health Tips for Children” doesn’t resonate with your target customer—tips are what your mom can offer. But a guide called “The One-Week Plan to Getting a Baby to Sleep Through the Night”? That’s exactly the type of solution your target customer is looking for.
Like a real magnet, a lead magnet should repel some people and attract others—the type of customers you want to serve in your business. In this case, the target customer for your business isn’t anyone who has a kid. It’s the parents who can’t get their baby to sleep and are urgently looking for a solution.
3. Your lead magnet topic is too competitive
“The One-Week Plan to Getting a Baby to Sleep Through the Night” could be the most insightful guide on the Internet, complete with a landing page perfectly optimized for conversion—and still not capture many leads. If that’s the case, you might blame the competition: A search for “how to get a baby to sleep at night” returns over 85 million results on Google. Prospects don’t necessarily need to give away an email address to get the information they’re seeking.
If your lead magnet topic is proving to be too competitive, consider turning the lead magnet (or a considerable portion of it) into a blog post, instead. With search optimization tactics, a comprehensive blog post on a specific topic could rank highly in search results and generate free traffic to your site.
You can still capture traffic from the blog post by offering the lead magnet—or a similar version of it, like a cheat sheet or checklist—as a download for those who want to save it or read it later. When prospects can see the value of your content, they may be more inclined to trust you with their email addresses.
4. You don’t describe the benefits of the lead magnet
You can’t assume prospects inherently understand the value of your lead magnet: After all, they won’t see it until they give away their email addresses.
The landing page for your lead magnet should clearly explain what prospects will gain from the download. Instead of a general invitation (“download to learn more about infant sleep habits”), tell visitors exactly what they’re going to learn (reasons babies don’t sleep, how to optimize a feeding schedule). Be clear about the outcome the lead magnet will provide (“this guide will help you stop feeling like a zombie after waking up every two hours to a crying baby”).
The benefits can’t be made too obvious. To explain them further, consider including screenshots from the lead magnet or answers to frequently-asked questions on the landing page.
5. You’re asking for too much information
With a lead capture form, assume that your prospect is in a hurry and that she’s sharing your email address reluctantly. The more form fields, the lower the conversion rate, according to an analysis by Oracle Marketing Cloud. While one-field forms had a conversion rate of nearly 60 percent, the typical form—with five to 10 fields—convert around 40 percent of visitors.
Granted, there’s no magic number when it comes to the number of form fields to include. The right number depends on the value of your lead magnet. A content piece might warrant asking for only an email address, while a free consultation request may naturally require more fields, like a phone number, preferred appointment date, or other personal details.
If you need or want more information from your prospect, you can always try asking for it later. A multi-step lead capture form allows you to capture the essential information first before asking for optional fields on the next screen. The same “progressive profiling” could be done via a survey sent via a follow-up email. If the prospect completes the additional fields, great—but if they don’t take the time to do so, at least you haven’t missed an opportunity to capture the most important detail: the email address.
6. You have more than one call-to-action
If you’re attracting lots of traffic to your lead magnet, you might be tempted to capitalize on it in every way you can think of. In addition to describing the lead magnet on your landing page, you throw in some information about your services, explain your company history, share links to related blog posts, and ask visitors to call or email you.
You don’t want to attract visitors for a specific purpose only to distract them from it. The landing page for your lead magnet should have one goal: getting people to download the lead magnet. That means it should have only one call-to-action. Ask for too much, and you might get no action at all.
Leave other CTAs for other places, like the thank-you page visitors see after downloading the lead magnet. On that page, you can ask them to take another action, like watching a video, reading a blog post, or following your social media accounts.
7. Your landing page isn’t mobile-friendly
It doesn’t matter how beautiful your landing page looks on your desktop computer. If it looks messy on a mobile device—or worse, doesn’t function correctly—it’s practically destined for a low conversion rate. Mobile-friendly websites are no longer a nice-to-have but a necessity: As of 2015, the majority of web traffic (56 percent) of traffic to the leading American websites came from mobile devices, according to research by SimilarWeb.
Check your landing page from a phone and tablet to ensure the images and copy display properly and that the form fields can be easily completed and submitted. If you expect much of your traffic to come from mobile devices, you might want to limit the number and complexity of your form fields. Another mobile consideration: If your lead magnet is a PDF that would be difficult to navigate on a phone, send it via email instead of displaying it on a web browser so the prospect has the option to read or revisit it later.
8. Your advertising doesn’t match the landing page
Ever land on a website only to forget how and why you got there? The landing page for your lead magnet should provide a seamless transition from the visitor’s entry point, whether it be a Facebook ad or a Google search result.
A mismatch in the landing page’s title, copy, or imagery could create just enough hesitation and confusion to prevent the visitor from proceeding with the download. If your Facebook ad references the infant sleep guide, your landing page can’t send them to your homepage or to a page that also discusses your classes and other offerings. Give the visitor what they wanted when they clicked to your landing page in the first place.