I am in a lot of writers’ groups on Facebook and I often see people post a “follow for follow” exchange for their page or website. It always annoys me. (To be fair, I am easily annoyed.)
I see no point in being “followed” on my page by someone who writes genre paranormal romances. I work with nonfiction authors, specifically business authors. While I appreciate that people want to get page likes, I know how futile their lead generation efforts are. There is no point in me “liking” their page or in them “liking” mine. The marketer in me wants to scream: TARGET YOUR AUDIENCE!
If Your Target Market is Everyone, You Don’t Have a Target Market
Small business owners always have at least a general idea of who their customer should be. A lawn service provider knows that most of his clients will come from neighborhoods with a certain income level. A salon owner knows that the majority of his clients will be women–unless his salon is specifically established for a male clientele. A dog groomer knows that her customers will own dogs. Will she occasionally get business from a friend of a dog owner? Sure. But those outliers are not her target market.
One of my (many) pet peeves is the people who say “Well, everyone can use my product.” Well, everyone can eat kale, but I’m sure as hell not going to buy it. (Fool me once…) It’s not who can use your product or services; it’s who wants, needs, and can afford them.
For a while, Mary Kay reps were told to say they were looking for “anybody with skin.” Cute, but not helpful because the woman who buys a $32 foundation brush at the Clinique counter is not going to buy Mary Kay products on a regular basis. (And I’m not dissin’ on your product. A friend and I recently discovered that we were both still using Mary Kay brushes we had bought in the late 70s. Those things hold up!) A Mary Kay or Avon rep’s target market is different from a Votre Vu or Arbonne rep’s target market. They all sell skin care to women but their target markets are different.
Before you build out your lead magnet, you need to have a clear picture of who your ideal customer is. I have a free, downloadable Target Market Analyzer that will help you do just that.
Your Lead Magnet Needs to be Specific to Your Ideal Client
Too many people focus on how many leads they are generating and don’t look at the kinds of leads they are generating. Need proof? Visit ten random websites and count how many say “Sign up for our free newsletter” to entice you to opt in.
Yes, people who are rabidly interested in that particular topic will sign up for the (yawn) newsletter. It is better to have a non-specific opt-in freebie than nothing at all. But a better lead magnet would be “Sign up for our free newsletter and receive 5 easy fat burning exercises, weekly tips and tricks, and money-saving coupons!”
If you’re going to make the effort to get people to your site, you want your lead magnet to draw in people who have the highest likelihood of becoming your clients. Someone who signs up for fat burning exercises wants to lose weight, and they are at the stage of their weight loss journey where they are ready (or think they are ready) to actually do something about it. They are a more qualified prospect for your fat burner supplement than someone who signs up for “our free newsletter.”
Your lead magnet is part of your sales funnel. It’s the first qualifier that people go through. As people join your list and receive information and offers from you, they will stay or they will go. Some will buy, some may buy, some will never buy. That’s okay. The reason you use a targeted lead magnet is that it saves you time and creates a more qualified list. It is better to have a small list of people who are interested in what you’re doing than a huge group of people who are only mildly interested. I’ll give you a real life example.
A friend of mine was promoting a seminar and he was slated to speak to a group that normally drew 20 to 30 people at its weekly meeting. He hoped to sell at least six tickets to his seminar. It was a rainy night and when he got to the meeting, there was a grand total of eight people in the room. But these were eight people who had just proved that they would drive through a heavy storm to hear what he had to say. He sold six seats that night for his upcoming seminar.
Would he have sold a few more tickets with more people there? Possibly. But he got that core group of people who were going to buy what he was selling. They were a motivated, targeted group of prospects.
Let’s contrast that with a talk I did at a local computer club on how to write small eBooks (lead magnets). There were about 20 people in the audience. Almost all of them were retirees. Really OLD retirees. They weren’t in business. They didn’t need a lead magnet. They were basically there for the free hot dogs and to get out of the house. I didn’t sell any courses that day. They were an audience but they weren’t my target audience.
What you don’t want is a list of people who aren’t really interested in what you have to offer. I see authors run contests to win cool things like Amazon gift certificates. It’s a great prize. Just about everyone buys things from Amazon. The problem is, not everyone who buys from Amazon buys books. Sure, Amazon started out as a bookseller, but now you can order just about anything–clothing, appliances, food. Even if the people signing up to win that Amazon gift card do buy books, they might not buy books in that author’s genre. A better prize might be a bundle of five print books in the same genre that the author writes in that includes at least one of the author’s books. The people who sign up for that giveaway are saying, “Yes, I read books in this specific genre. I am your target customer.” That person is an infinitely more qualified lead for that author.
Running a contest is a fast way to build a list, but if your prize isn’t something that pertains to what you offer, that list is useless. You may as well buy a list of names and addresses from a list broker–they will at least be semi-targeted. Make your lead magnet specific to your target client or you will end up with a list of people who are just there for the free hot dogs.
You Need a High Converting Lead Magnet
It takes a lot of effort to get people to your website or landing page. If you’re running a Google, Amazon, or Facebook ad, every click costs you money. You want to make sure your lead magnet will be strong enough to entice people to give you their contact information.
Your lead magnet has to have a high value to the person you are working to attract. You want them to see what you’re offering and put in their name and email address without hesitation. Once they get the lead magnet, whether it is an infographic, eBook, or video training, you want them to think, “I can’t believe they gave this away for free!”
Many people are afraid to give away either too much or their best information. Your lead magnet is proof that you know what you’re talking about, that you’re the person who can help them. If you give people information they already knew or that they could easily find anywhere on the web, you’re not positioning yourself as any better than they are. Why should they follow you?
A less important factor, but one worth considering, is making sure your lead magnet is in a format that your ideal customer likes for receiving information. I am a reader; that’s how I absorb information best. But many people learn better from audios or videos. When I hit a landing page with a video, I immediately check to see how long that video is. I usually speed it up if I can. If there is a written transcript of the video offered, I’m going to take that and I am going to appreciate that the marketer thought to include it. Smart marketers offer their lead magnets in more than one modality…unless they are trying to attract only the people who respond to a certain modality. If I were a YouTuber, all my lead magnets would be videos. I work with authors; almost all of my lead magnets are written. Do I use a video content upgrade from time to time? Yes. But the majority of my stuff is written.
Think about how your ideal customer likes to receive information and make sure you offer your lead magnet in that format.
Check List: Is Your Lead Magnet Attracting the Right Prospects?
Too often, small business owners just “throw something up there” as their free opt-in. While there is no one perfect lead magnet, you want to make sure you’re generating leads that will bring the right people to you. Your lead generation strategy needs to cover these bases:
- Do you have a defined target market? Do you understand who your ideal client is?
- Is your lead magnet specific to that person?
- Does it offer what they want in the format they want?
- Does your lead magnet position you as an expert? Does it show that you are the person they need to help them solve their problem?
- Is your lead magnet a step towards what you are offering for sale? Does it tie into your ultimate goal, which is gaining a client for your product or services?
Most of all, does your lead magnet offer something your ideal customer wants? People opt for what they want over what they may actually need. Now is not the time to tell them to eat their vegetables. Give them dessert. Once they have what they want and they have grown to know, like, and trust you, they will listen to you when you tell them what they need. The lead magnet is the start of the relationship. It helps you find your people. After that, it’s up to you.
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