How to Use Lead Magnets to Grow Your Startup

As a startup founder, building your email subscriber list should be among your top priorities. While building your social following is also important, you don’t “own” your lists on any social network. If the platform went away, so would your hard-earned fans and followers.

6 min read

It’s no secret that email marketing is effective. According to recent research by HubSpot, email marketing campaigns generate approximately $38.00 for every $1.00 spent. That’s an ROI of 3,800%!

As a startup founder, building your email subscriber list should be among your top priorities. While building your social following is also important, you don’t “own” your lists on any social network. If the platform went away, so would your hard-earned fans and followers. 

But with email, your list is yours to grow and nurture as you please. Whether you’re looking to engage, educate, inspire, sell, or do all of the above with your target audience, email marketing is worth the effort and investment.

The Challenges of a Chaotic Digital World 

There’s just one problem. Your target customers are extremely hesitant to give out their email addresses. They’re bombarded with marketing messages everywhere they turn. According to Forbes, digital marketing experts estimate that most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day. In the U.S. alone, 86 million users block $20 billion in ads each year.

Your prospective customers have been bamboozled, baited and switched, and spammed far too many times, and they’re left jaded, annoyed, and highly suspicious. Research shows that people are becoming increasingly adept at blocking, unfollowing, unsubscribing, and deleting to keep from being burned again. They’re tired of the noise, and they’re highly skilled at tuning it out.

It’s estimated that the average American office worker receives 121 emails a day, so it’s no wonder they won’t easily part with the key to their small corner of the Internet. Their email address is a precious commodity, and they need a compelling reason to add more chaos to an already overflowing inbox.

Cutting Through the Noise 

So how do you encourage your target market to trust you with their email addresses? You have to offer something of true value. One way is with high-quality content lead magnets. A lead magnet is an incentive, usually in the form of free downloadable content, offered to potential customers in exchange for their email address or contact information.

When executed well, lead magnets effectively generate leads, promote social media engagement, and increase website traffic. These are fantastic short-term benefits, but lead magnets can also bring long-term gains. With time and consistency, this marketing tool can invite your audience into a long and committed relationship with you. They build brand affinity and trust, and position you as a credible authority, thought leader, and reliable resource. 

If your startup is going to get noticed in today’s noisy digital world, your lead magnet has to make a positive first impression. To make sure you start your prospective customer’s experience on the right foot, you have to deliver a heaping serving of value, with a side order of integrity.

To quote entrepreneur and bestselling author Ramit Sethi, “Make what you’re offering so good, people feel like they’re stealing from you.”

Follow these steps to execute a high-quality lead magnet that will cut through all the noise, building your list and elevating your brand: 

Know what your customer wants, and give it to them. 

These days, a simple “Sign up for our newsletter!” just isn’t going to cut it. Your target customers want something they can use. They want a resource that will inform, inspire, and propel them toward their desires and goals. Keep in mind that 91% of purchasers buy from brands they trust, so providing value is an essential step in building customer loyalty.

Think outside the box. 

Don’t be afraid to get creative when it comes to your lead magnet content. It could be a beautifully-designed downloadable PDF resource, but it could also be exclusive access to a podcast or webinar, a simple checklist, a whitepaper or case study, an ebook, or video tutorial.

The opportunities are endless, but it all comes down to knowing your audience well, and offering them something they deem email address worthy. Keep the content updated and evergreen, and it never hurts to craft an irresistible title or headline.

Include a clear call to action. 

Whether you’re promoting the lead magnet on your website, blog, social platforms, or with a Google or Facebook ad, it needs to include a simple summary of the content and a clear call to action. Remember, your audience has been conditioned to scroll, delete, and downright ignore the digital marketing they’re bombarded with, so you only have a moment to show the value of what you’re offering, and a direct path to get it.

Give immediate, no-hassle access. 

When someone trusts you enough to opt in, they want their valuable content now, not tomorrow, and not next week. There is no patience for long forms or extra effort. Put systems in place for automatic and simple access. A hiccup in this process can make or break your prospect’s view of your brand.

Offer a quick win. 

Whatever you’re offering with your lead magnet, it needs to be easy to consume. Lengthy documents that require your newly acquired lead to search and scroll will not be well received. This is where video can be highly effective in capturing attention. Include specific information and actionable advice that will help your prospective customer solve a problem or achieve a goal right now. Generic tips and overwhelming information will not leave a good taste in people’s mouths. They need at least one win they can enjoy immediately. 

Deliver with integrity. 

If you want to stand out from other brands and earn your target customer’s trust, you have to deliver on your value promise. Overpromising and under delivering will quickly damage a new and fragile relationship. Remember, your target customer just trusted you with their prized and fiercely guarded email address, and it’s your job to make them feel good about that decision.

Skip the gimmicks, click bait, and cheesy sales language. Your new subscriber will sniff out your desperation and click unsubscribe before the relationship ever gets off the ground. Show them that you are a trusted authority and credible resource they can count on in the future. Spend time nurturing the relationship before you go in for the sales pitch. Building a solid rapport takes time, but can reap rewards for your business for years to come.

Could a High-Quality Lead Magnet Elevate Your Startup? 

If you’re ready to build your list while positioning your brand as a valuable resource, executing a great lead magnet is your next step. For startup founders preparing to establish a business and website, you don’t want to launch without a strategic lead magnet plan in place. This marketing tool is highly effective in driving website traffic, generating online engagement, and capitalizing on launch momentum and excitement. 

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About Well Refined

Need some solid lead magnet know-how? From the concept phase to creation, all the way to website and social promotion and automation, our team is here to help. Well Refined is the team of creatives and strategists you need to solve your marketing challenges, so you can think big and act courageously for your company. We’re committed to being as much a part of your brand as you are, helping you carry the weight of gaining ground in your industry. Your mission drives everything we do. Contact us here and get started growing your audience today.

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