by Andrew Wise
In a perfect world, great content and a site that emphasized ease of use for the reader would automatically lead to a world of success and flourishing.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world.
Established bloggers and marketers alike know that it takes more than quality content for a site to become a success. Numbers speak for themselves, and, in this particular scenario, there is simply no denying that sales equate to a job well done.
So how do you get those sales?
A blog post probably isn’t going to accomplish that, so you are left with one option:
Take your reader’s contact information and lure them in through emails. We all know that the number of email subscribers a website has is important, even if we claim it isn’t.
Email subscribers = Potential profit
The problem typically lies in trying to get people to subscribe.
A tiny little box that says “Enter your email here to subscribe!” just isn’t going to do it.
So, we need to convince them to subscribe to our newsletters. That’s why we, as marketers, have decided to adjust our game plan by introducing the lead magnet.
Instead of saying “Enter your email here to subscribe!” our tactics have changed and we now bribe our readers with something we know they want.
“Enter your email here to subscribe to our weekly newsletter and receive a free XYZ immediately!”
By luring our audience in with the promise of an offer they can’t refuse, we are all but guaranteeing that they will subscribe—and we’ll have a better chance at making a sale.
Over the years, different marketers have implemented varying lead magnet strategies. To help you fully understand, we will detail four bloggers who have nailed their lead magnets, assess what they do to grow their subscriber list, and how you can replicate those same strategies to start seeing your own numbers grow.
Neil Patel of QuickSprout.com offers a free course to email subscribers.
Patel knows a thing or two about content marketing, as he has dedicated his entire career to blogging about it. He already has a widely established following, but that doesn't mean he can get lazy on his lead magnets.
Knowing that it takes that extra push to get occasional readers to turn into dedicated email subscribers, Patel sweetened the pot with a free course. His lead magnet is on the right side of his site, in what could easily be described as a “can't miss” spot.
The lead magnet itself is cleverly written, too. For example, he confirms the importance of this online course with a price. Without actually ever saying the words, the message is abundantly clear: You are getting something that's worth $300 for free if you sign up right now.
Another strategy of equal importance that he uses is putting a timeline on it. He promises that readers will see results in 30 days, which is hardly an unreasonable amount of time to wait. This promise lures potential subscribers in for those reasons. They can look at this lead magnet and determine two things:
- They’re getting a good deal
- They’re going to see results in a predetermined amount of time
How you can replicate Patel’s lead magnet:
Before we even begin to discuss how to make an online course, we must determine the most important thing of all: what your course is going to be on.
It is important to establish a great course idea early on because your lead magnet is only as enticing as the course itself. If no one is interested in the subject matter, they will not subscribe.
The best advice one can offer is to take a look back at your own previous posts. More often than not, there are one or two posts in particular that have done exceptionally well. Whether it received an abnormally large number of comments, social shares, ranked high in search results, or some combination of all of the above, that should be the subject of your course.
Here’s why: It has proven interest already, and that is half the battle.
Once you have determined the subject matter of your course, it is time to create the course itself. If you are a beginner in course creation, I highly suggest that you stick to the basics.
It doesn’t get much more basic than Microsoft PowerPoint, which has served as a learning tool for years now. If you are unfamiliar with the program, or if you want to brush up on your skills a bit, here are a few neat tutorials:
- 40 PowerPoint Tutorials
- Microsoft PowerPoint Tutorial
- How To Convert Your PowerPoint Presentation To An E-Learning Course
Throughout the conception of your online course, it is important to keep in mind that the most important thing is the content. You can and should make your PowerPoint as visually appealing as your abilities allow, but great content > great visual.
After you have finished your course and are pleased with the outcome, you may then start promoting. Patel, after creating his course, promoted it with an entire post on his blog. In the post, he described what the course was, promised that it was free, and made it sound so appealing that no one could turn it down.
Then? Yep, you guessed it…
You have to subscribe to actually get the course. The blog reeled people in and made them want it, and then he left them with the option themselves. If you want the course that badly, you’ll enter your name and email. That’s all it takes.
Jeff Bullas of JeffBullas.com offers a free e-book to email subscribers.
Bullas’ lead magnet is the very first thing to greet me when I go to his site. As a matter of fact, it is the very first thing to greet me before I actually get to his site.
The pop-up that appears on screen must strategically be closed before readers can view his site, thus all but forcing potential subscribers to at least glance at it on their journey to Bullas’ blog.
The lead magnet itself is actually quite similar to Patel’s. Although he is offering an e-book as opposed to an online course, both men intrigue readers with their wording. In large letters at the very top of his lead magnet, Bullas promises to double your traffic. Although he doesn’t put a time frame on that promise like Patel did (30 days), he does prove that he knows what he is talking about, and therefore someone you should be taking advice from.
How does he do that?
By pointing out that he currently attracts over 5 million visitors a year to his website. He also states that this e-book will detail the strategies that he uses himself, therefore validating them and showing proof that they do indeed work.
How you can replicate Bullas’ lead magnet
As we did with Patel’s course, our first step should be to determine the subject of the e-book. Our basic rules still apply: Find a subject that you have already discussed on your blog and elaborate upon it.
E-books, however, differ from courses in one major way: They are long.
You need to find a previous post on your blog that not only has done well in social shares/comments/etc., but one that can also be elaborated upon for an entire e-book.
Granted, the length of your book doesn’t need to rival that of a Harry Potter novel, but you do want to be able to discuss your topic in great detail. If you either can’t do that or do not feel comfortable doing that, you may want to consider another topic.
From there, it’s all about creation. I suggest using Open Office to write your e-book because it easily allows the creator to save in various formats. The majority of e-books are saved as a PDF, so you are saving yourself the hassle of a conversion process if you use this program.
All you have to do is write your book, create a fancy cover page, click the “Create PDF form” button, and export your work.
Guess what? You just wrote a book.
I realize that I am making this sound incredibly easy—and writing a book is no easy task. But it doesn’t have to be something you dread, either. If you need a bit more help, or you would like to hear about this process in a more in depth fashion, I highly recommend the following tutorials:
Andrew Wise is a serial entrepreneur whose sites generate $1 million-plus in revenue and receive 2.6-plus million unique visits per year. On his blog, Wise Startup Blog, he shares actionable advice on how you can build massive, passive income streams, designed for the complete newbie. Follow him on Twitter @WiseStartupBlog.