Lead magnets, or irresistible offers, are used to collect email addresses and grow your list. Often today, I see websites with a popup that simply asks for your email address without offering anything in return – just an annoying “join our email list.” Most readers simply close those requests because they are not compelling.

I know people who rent, or buy lists, claiming that this is a “proven” list. Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. You can’t simply use someone else’s list, even if they are in the same industry as you, and expect to get decent returns on your email. You must build your own list, where people have raised their hand and said “I want to hear from you!” You can do this by personal networking and manually entering your contacts into a CRM. You can attend trade shows, both in-person and virtual, and collect leads at your booth. But the fastest, most reliable way of growing your email list remains lead magnets.

For a lead magnet to work, it must have these qualities:

  1. It is relevant to your target audience.
  2. It offers a high perceived value.
  3. It is available immediately.

The first of these should be obvious. Creating a lead magnet for a 50% off coupon at your local beauty salon doesn’t make much sense if you are an auto mechanic site. A high perceived value is also critical: “Click here for one free Google Search” probably isn’t going to get you many signups. And having the offer be available instantly, without a double-optin or waiting for it by mail is also a turn off.

So what works well for lead magnets? This is actually industry-dependent without a definitive answer. Like all marketing, you need to experiment. If you offer teaching materials, perhaps a free lesson or a free ebook might work. If you sell physical products, a free “gift certificate” (as opposed to a coupon) might work.

The most important to recognize is that as a website owner, it is your responsibility to make sure whenever someone visits your website, it is your job to get their contact information. Very few people will buy from you the first time they visit your website and very few will ever return to your website unless you have their email address and give them a reason to come back. In other words, a great lead magnet is crucial for your business. This hasn’t changed – yes, lead magnets are still a thing!

Next, you need to understand how to promote your lead magnets. This can of course be done with a form on your website, but to really grow your list, you should promote your lead magnet in a number of different ways including:

  • Your email signature block
  • Joint venture partners sending the offer to their lists
  • Social media posts
  • Blog posts
  • Paid ads
  • Virtual trade shows

Lead magnets for physical trade shows are often seen in the form of a candy bowl offering free Hersey’s Kisses. Certainly, chocolate is irresistible for many people, but in the digital world, we have to be more creative. I’ve created an entire course on lead magnets, but I wanted to give anyone reading this article a quick way of creating high-quality, irresistible lead magnets even if you aren’t sure how to get started.

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Notice what I’ve done here: I’ve given you some great information already. And I’ve given you an opportunity to take action without it costing you anything (except your email address). I’ve also told you that I offer a course on building lead magnets. It is important that you don’t train your prospects that everything you offer is free. I also gave you a list of some ways you can promote your lead magnets to grow your list including virtual trade shows (which I produce to help you grow your online sales), and through social media and blog posts (thus, an actual example in this article.)

You can do this! Check out my free guide on creating high value lead magnets and see for yourself.