As a matter of fact… Yes, you can charge for a lead magnet. A small fee can help reduce the cost of advertising. But that’s not the main reason why you might want to charge for your lead magnet.
Many marketers charge a low price, called a “tripwire” for their lead magnets. The fact that someone is willing to pay for that specific information, that they will go through the bother of getting out their credit card, makes them a much better qualified prospect. You get fewer leads than with a free lead magnet, but your prospects have made an important, initial investment with you.
If you’re going to charge for your lead magnet, it needs to be something people will pay for. Here’s what it should have:
Valuable content: First and foremost, your lead magnet should offer valuable content that is relevant to your target audience and provides them with information or solutions to their problems. If you are going to charge for your lead magnet, make sure you give people ten times the value of what they paid. That’s not a number plucked from air or hyperbole: You really want to over-deliver here. Unless you’re handing out a treasure map to real treasure, a paid lead magnet should have substance, not just in the number of pages, but the quality of information. Special reports or white papers are good for this model, as are higher-level trainings.
Some people use a print book that is “free with shipping and handling.” The fee for shipping and handling covers most if not all of the cost of printing and shipping the book, particularly if you’re printing up large (hundreds or thousands) quantities of books. People like this offer in particular because they are getting a physical product and the shipping and handling fee makes sense to them—it still feels like they are getting something for free. The free with shipping strategy is usually used by those people who already have a large list and a healthy marketing budget due to large upfront costs.
Part of what makes your content valuable is your unique perspective. What do you know about your subject matter that other people don’t? How is your approach different? If you have done a study or some deep research, you have unique information to bring to the table. If you have access to people or experiences most of us don’t, you have valuable information. Your lead magnet needs to have content that people can’t find with a simple Google search.
What makes the information most valuable is how the person buying your lead magnet can benefit. Make sure your content includes how they can apply your information and knowledge to better their own lives.
Professional Design: If people are paying for your lead magnet, you need to spiff it up a bit. Yes, if you’re giving out scientific information that will tell people how to build a whatsis, it doesn’t have to be fancy, but it probably should include graphics and diagrams and perhaps be in a font that is clear and easy to read.
You can go to a site like Upwork and hire a graphic designer to create a professional looking product. Post a detailed description of the job and budget on Upwork and designers will submit their bids. I like Upwork because I can take a look at people’s portfolios, see the kind of work they do and look at the feedback they have received from other clients. I also like that Upwork holds your payment in escrow until the work (or milestone) is completed. This makes it a more secure transaction for both parties.
If you don’t have the budget to hire a pro and you have a fairly good eye for layout, you can use software such as Indesign or Canva. Please know that it is the artist more than the tool here. I have seen people put out amazing designs using Canva. My stuff looks like a kindergartener did it. While I’m getting better at it, I am no match for a designer.
“Grabber” Title and Subtitle: Along with the upgraded look, make sure your title and subtitle are clear and compelling. The title is the attention grabber; the subtitle should tell readers exactly what your lead magnet is about and what the benefit is to them. Both of these should convey the value of the content and entice the reader to download it. You will want to make sure you have pertinent (and highly searched) keywords in your title and subtitle. That will help people who are interested in your subject find your lead magnet.
Targeted Audience: The lead magnet should be targeted to a specific audience or segment of your market. By tailoring your content to the needs and interests of a particular group, you can increase the perceived value of your offer. Remember, your offer only has value to those people who are interested in that topic. People won’t pay for something they are not interested in. If you don’t like caviar, you won’t eat it even if it’s free. The same goes for your lead magnet.
Clear Call-to-Action: Your lead magnet should include a clear call-to-action that directs readers to take the next step, such as signing up for a strategy session or purchasing a related product or service. You have to actually TELL the reader what to do next. I know it feels pushy, but subtlety will kill you. You’ve got to be a bit obvious about this. “What’s Your Next Step? Click here to schedule a free consultation” or whatever your call to action is. You have to spell it out for them. People have paid you for the information. That means they are likely to want to move forward with you. Help them do that.
Ease of Use: The lead magnet should be easy to access and use. This means that it should be available in a format that is compatible with common devices and software, and should not require any technical expertise to use. If people are paying for a product, you have to make the transaction friction-free. Make it easy to find the “Buy” button, have a simple form to fill out (the less information you ask for, the better). Make sure they know what will happen after they fill out the form. On your thank you page, you can put a message that says, “Thank you so much. You will receive a confirmation email in your mailbox. Please confirm that your address is correct and you will receive a follow-up email with a link to your special guide/report/etc.” Some people go so far as to provide screenshots and images of what the prospect will receive.
Follow-Up Sequence: People have just paid money for your lead magnet. Let them know that you will be available “after the sale” and that you’re not out for a quick buck. A follow-up sequence can help nurture leads and allows people to self-sort, either by opting out or by converting into customers. Your follow-up sequence could include a series of emails or other communications, such as phone calls or even direct mail (if appropriate) that provide additional value and encourage engagement.
Pricing Strategy: You may need to experiment with different pricing levels to find the sweet spot that maximizes revenue while still providing good value to customers. While keeping in mind the actual value of the information you are giving people, remember, you are using the price as a tripwire: Will people pay YOU (specifically) for this information? The actual dollar amount you receive is not as important as finding the people who value learning more about your services or products.
Finally, your pricing strategy should be based on the perceived value of the lead magnet and the willingness of your target audience to pay for it. If people in your niche are used to getting information for free, they may not be willing to pay any price. In some industries, the people are used to paying higher prices for reports and information. Price too low and they may think that your lead magnet isn’t very good. Take note of what others are doing in your industry, but after that, it’s a matter of testing and keeping track of the results.
Charging for a Lead Magnet is Not New
Charging for a lead magnet is not new. In a way, you can look back a few decades when ads told people to send a SASE (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope—remember those??) to receive information. That was a tripwire. Was someone interested enough in this to take the time to write out the envelope and put a stamp on it, stick it in an outside envelope, address and send that, and walk it to the mailbox? Fortunately for us, automation now collects the money, puts the person’s name and email address on a list, sends out the information, and the follow up sequence. No stamps required.
Not every industry lends itself to a paid lead magnet model. It depends partly on the price of goods sold as well as how technical or high-level the information is. But do consider charging for a lead magnet in order to pre-qualify your prospects, and when you have unique and valuable information to share.
Do you need a lead magnet for your business? My course, Big Profits from Little Books, shows you how to create a lead magnet that targets and qualifies your ideal prospects.