With average conversion rates hovering around an abysmally low 4%, lead magnets continue to be a smart tactic for increasing opt-ins.
30%+ opt-in rates are possible, and they happen every day. But you have to make the right offer. Whether your website traffic is from paid advertising, organic search or social media, these lead magnet ideas will point you in the right direction.
1. Downloadable Documents
Whether you market directly to consumers or to other businesses, this is a winning tactic.
People love products that they can see and own. Offering a PDF, document, or spreadsheet gives a sense of immediate gratification and value, which is exactly what a smart lead magnet should do.
Plus they are cheap to create and free to distribute.
The most traditional form of this is an ebook, or something similar to that. Tim Ferris, famed author of the 4 Hour Workweek, offers the first 50 pages of his book if you opt-in with your email address on his website:
This is a smart lead magnet because:
- It’s an offer directly related to the product that the website visitor is looking for, in this case a physical book
- It’s a free sample, so you can try out the product before you buy it
- It offers immediate gratification - the visitor can immediately start reading the book after signing up
The problem with the traditional internet marketing “ebook” or guide is that they take too long to read. They are long, multi-page documents. Plus they have been overused. Because they are so common, they lack the perceived value that many of the newer lead magnets have.
Cheat sheets and checklists are often a better way to go. One moving app company offers a moving checklist PDF, that accompanies their article on the same topic. This article ranks high on Google for the keyword “moving checklist”, which has over 18,000 visitors per month.
You can download a moving checklist PDF use as you go about your move.
Other examples that I’ve seen recently include:
- “A Cheat Sheet for Writing Blog Posts That Go Viral”
- “Checklist for Productive Meetings”
- “A Cheat Sheet for Carving the Perfect Pumpkin”
Ok, so I actually made that last one up - but we just finished Halloween season! And making Jack-O-Lanterns is harder than it seems.
2. Free Software Tools
Software is more expensive to create than a nicely designed PDF, but it doesn’t have to be nearly as expensive as most people think. This one is a mainstay of the tech industry, where I work.
The application of this is a lot wider and less expensive than most people think.
Shopify has mastered the use of this type of lead magnet. Their tools section includes a business name generator, a business card maker, and a gift certificate template, among others. All that you have to do it fill in the form fields, and their tool delivers on the promised freeby.
Of course, you need to input your email address to use many of those freebies.
Another example comes from analytics company Woopra, which offers a free trial of their product. This works as a very successful lead magnet for them, because prospects can try out the product before they buy.
Another great example is the marketing automation platform and CRM Hubspot. It has Hubspot Sales, a free Chrome Extension and Gmail tool. It was developed for inside salespeople who need to send emails, set up meetings, and keep track of their sales pipeline.
The tool enables all of this by offering:
- Email tracking
- A Gmail CRM
- Email template creating and sharing
- A meeting scheduler
- A mobile app
This is all in a free product.
It serves as a lead magnet for their sales team. Hubspot salespeople have their contact information and product usage data for the people using their product.
When they’re looking for a qualified lead, all that they have to do is look at the usage patterns of their free product users, and send them an email.
“Hi Jim, I notice that you’re using our tool quite a bit out there in your Scranton, PA office. Would you be open to a call where I can show you how to double your sales using our paid version?”
Does that still seem too out of reach?
A digital marketing services company, Ayima, has two free Chrome Extensions for SEO professionals. (I use one of their extensions, and it works really well.)
They use their extensions as a lead magnet tool for finding companies interested in their services. I’m not sure how well it works, because I don’t know them. But given their impressive list of clients and 4+ star rating of over 200,000 users in the Chrome Web Store, I’m guessing that it’s a very successful lead magnet for them.
Beyond Chrome Extensions, other ideas include:
- WordPress plugins
- Gmail add-ons
- Shopify apps
- Mobile apps
- Website tools like calculators, name generators, design generators, interactive programs, or simple video games
You can hire a developer to create a digital product at a surprisingly low cost. Some of these can be created for as little $5,000. The limitation here really isn’t resources: it’s creativity.
If you can think of something that your target market would want, then you can probably make it. The key then is to create something that is related to what you do, that gives immediate gratification to the end user, and will attract people into your sales funnel.
3. Interactive Calculators
Calculators are great lead magnets because they’re interactive, useful, and easy to tie to a business objective.
Do you have complex product pricing? Want an interactive tool that visualizes numerical data? Or are in the finance space?
Calculators are a no-brainer in each one of these use cases.
A website that has perfected the usage of calculators is Bankrate.com. They have a robust SEO strategy that involves ranking high in Google for all sorts of keywords related to rates and prices. They also rank highly for keywords related to finance calculators.
Here are keywords that they rank for in Google, along with their monthly search volume:
- credit card interest calculator (18,100/month)
- auto loan calculator (673,000/month)
- mortgage calculator (4,090,000/month)
There are dozens, even thousands of keywords like these. Bankrate gets a boatload of traffic from these, which all serve as either lead magnets or traffic generators for their business.
Until recently, I worked at the business finance company Nav. We were the first company to build a calculator for the new, government-backed “PPP loans” that were released earlier this year in the US in response to the pandemic-caused recession.
By releasing a useful calculator that solved people’s needs, it was also a great PR move and lead generator for us.
After the user put their information into the calculator, they were asked if they wanted to get matched with a lender offering that specific type of loan.
The conversion rate wasn’t fantastic (if I remember correctly, around 1%), but because we drove so much traffic to it through PR, social media, and SEO, it actually drove a ton of leads for us.
Another calculator use case that I think is super smart comes from my friends at uSERP. They offer a niche B2B service with variable pricing. Their lead form call-to-action says “Instant Quote”, which takes the user into a multi-step lead form.
At the end of the lead form, their back-end calculator automatically calculates the price for the user, and asks the user if they want to schedule a discovery call.
Pricing calculators like this work well because they a) answer complex questions about pricing in a way that is not intimidating, and b) filter out users that can’t afford your product. There is no need to have a sales call with someone who doesn't have the necessary budget.
Many customers worry about pricing, but they don’t want to reach out to get that information. A pricing calculator moves them closer down your sales funnel without unneeded friction.
When I worked at Nav, it took a small team of developers and other professionals to create that loan calculator. It was a lot of work, but they were able to get it up and running in a few days, due to the project’s urgency.
That’s why I’m surprised that Calconic’s calculators have such robust functionality at such a low cost. I’ve been a fan of calculators for a while, so I was surprised at just how many different use cases there really are for onsite calculators.
You can use calculator widgets for calculating:
- Blood alcohol levels
- Calories consumed
- Car wash expenses
- Dog age
- Win/loss ratios
- Metric system conversions
- Paint needed for painting a room
And many more.
Calculators are something that I recommend for anyone in the finance industry. Even if you’re not interested in putting up a calculator on your pricing page, pretty much anyone who talks about budgeting, saving, investing, credit, loans, or taxes would benefit from putting up some calculators on their website. The great thing is, you can also recreate them from excel or just an example.
Coming up with successful lead magnet ideas is all about creativity and knowing your audience. The key is to provide value to the user, which will motivate them to take the immediate action that you want.
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