In the ever-shifting world of online marketing, one hard lesson stands out: never build your house on rented land.
Remember when Facebook's algorithm change so that business Facebook pages that were being seen by thousands of people per month effectively disappeared in organic reach?
"No more free exposure," said Facebook. "You want your posts to be seen... you're gonna have to pay for it!" Ha ha!
I had friends who watched their traffic – and revenue – dissolve overnight. Ouch! Similar fates have struck entrepreneurs on platforms like YouTube, Twitter, and even TikTok, where sudden policy shifts or algorithm tweaks have removed channels from the spotlight and caused them to vanish!
This reality demonstrates why your email list isn't just an asset; it's your marketing lifeline.
Unlike social platforms, your email list is entirely yours – a direct channel to your audience that the four horsemen (Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple) can't mess with! It's a safeguard against the volatility of social media, ensuring that you can reach your customers and followers whenever you need, without the fear of losing them to the next big platform upheaval.
That's precisely why at The Rise to the Top, we've prioritized email list building as our third crucial step to online empowerment. And one of the best ways to grow your email list is to offer something of value - for FREE - in exchange for an email optin. In the marketing world, we call this free giveaway a "lead magnet." Join us as we dive into twelve proven lead magnets that will help you supercharge your email sign-ups and take control of your digital destiny.
1. Exclusive Discounts
Discounts are classic yet effective. Offer a percentage off your first course or product in exchange for an email. It's a win-win; your audience saves money, and you gain a subscriber.
For instance, on BartEhrman.com, we've seen significant growth in our email subscribers by offering 10% off the first course. This tactic doesn't just entice with savings; it also introduces new customers to our product line, creating a gateway for future purchases.
Our optin form pops up at the top of the page like this:
Position yourself as an authority with a comprehensive guide that delves deep into a subject your audience cares about. Whether it's a guide on the nuances of real estate investing or the best practices in ballroom etiquette, make it comprehensive and insightful.
Quick tip, it's super easy to create a nicely designed PDF in Canva these days and use it as an "Ebook" giveaway. They have dozens of templates and you could even get ChatGPT to help you write the guide if you give it an outline and include some of your own insider's knowledge to make it "yours."
Here's one of my favorite comprehensive guides I created for CreditKnocks.com about tools that can help you improve your credit score. I built this in Canva and saved it as a PDF.
Not much to it, right? Just a nice background image, two fonts, two colors of fonts, and a balloon icon. But it looks decent and it brought in tons of leads. Here's a copy of the actual PDF.(No email required for you. He he!)
Pro Tip: I've found a simple and compelling way to name your Ebooks is to use a success-based title. What specific result will they get from you guide? "4-Week Credit Boost" is a great example.
3. Checklists for Success
Create checklists that simplify complex tasks. Examples could include "SEO Optimization Checklist" or "Daily Productivity Tick Sheet". They offer tangible value, making them a popular choice for lead magnets.
These are great if you need to create a quick lead magnet. You can literally make this one page and either use a Canva template for the design or pay someone peanuts on Fiverr or Upwork to pretty it up for you. :)
DigitalMarketer.com actually offers a "lead magnet" checklist showing a lot of the same types of lead magnets we're talking about here.
4. Customizable Templates
Leverage the power of convenience with customizable templates. Templates are all about making life easier for your subscribers. On CreditKnocks.com, we provided a "609 Credit Repair Letter Template" which enabled users to effectively dispute inaccuracies on their credit reports. This template offered not only a solution to a common problem but also saved our users time, enhancing their trust in our expertise and willingness to engage with our future content.
Here I used a trick I learned from Brian Dean where I blurred out the template itself and added a download button to it. It turned out great and was the #1 lead source for that site!
Then I used a ConvertBox full-page optin form when they clicked on it.
5. Downloadable Article PDFs
These are also fantastic if you don't already have a lead magnet.
Transform your most popular blog posts into downloadable PDFs. They're simple to create and offer a static resource that users can refer back to time and again.
"Wait, Chris, are you literally saying to just take a copy of my article and turn it into a PDF and people will give me their email for that?"
Yes! That's exactly what I'm saying! Sometimes people don't have time to read an article or they love the content and want to come back to it later. In either case, they may opt in just to get a copy of your article!
6. Engaging Video Series
An engaging video series can be a fantastic way to connect with your audience and offer them real value. For example, let's say you're a chiropractor. A short series titled "Improve Back Health in 7 Days" could be a hit, offering actionable insights in an engaging format.
When I was building Elifetools, I created a 3-part video series which I gave away for... you guessed it, an email address. The videos were 10-12 minutes each and were titled:
5 Mistakes You're Making on Your Website (and How to Fix Them)
How to Make Google LOVE Your Site (5 Easy Shortcuts)
10 Minute Plan for Massive Site Traffic (My Top 5 Insider Secrets)
Using PowerPoint and Snagit (by Techsmith) for screen capture, I was able to produce and upload these videos to Vimeo in just half a day. All I did was record a 30-second intro with me in front of my computer, then moved into the screen share.
As you can see above, this didn't win any video design awards but this approach provided actionable content for my audience and positioned me as a go-to expert in the field.
7. Interactive Quizzes
Quizzes engage and provide personalized results, which can be a powerful way to generate leads. Reference Ryan Levesque's "Ask Method" for sophisticated quiz funnels that not only gather emails but also segment your audience for targeted marketing.
FuzzyYellowBalls.com, a tennis training site, utilized a quiz for years on their site titled "Discover Your #1 Tennis Serve Killer!" You'd go through a series of questions and not only would they collect your email, but they'd learn a lot about how to help you. For example, here's the sales page you'd be directed to if your biggest problem was the "kick serve." https://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/salespage/the-1-kick-serve-killer/
8. Daily Inspirations or Tips
Offering a daily dose of inspiration or advice can be incredibly powerful. Take Darren Hardy's "Darren Daily" as an example.
Every day, Darren sends out a 5-6 minute video packed with insights for entrepreneurs and high achievers in the areas of success, leadership, productivity, and habits. I'm consistently amazed at the value he provides for the cost of just an email address.
Of course, it also allows Darren's tribe to spend a LOT of time with him, gaining trust in him as their mentor. Since his offers are pretty high-ticket, his customers require that more than if you were selling, say, a $47 course on flexibility. DarrenDaily is a daily ritual for many, and it's an exceptional model to emulate if you can commit to the consistency it requires.
9. Fun Gamification Elements
Incorporate gamified elements like a "Spin the Wheel" feature to offer discounts, freebies, or special content. It's fun, engaging, and can yield high conversion rates.
I know OptinMonster has one but only at their highest tier. I've never personally pulled the trigger on this one but have read studies that they work amazingly well.
10. Free Trials
Offer a no-strings-attached trial of your software or service. It's a great way to introduce the value of your product and collect emails of interested prospects.
11. Webinar or Free Course Access
Provide free access to a webinar or online course. Not only does this position you as an expert, but it also provides a platform for real-time engagement with your prospects.
What I like about this strategy, especially if you use a shopping cart and online course delivery platform like ThriveCart (aff link) is once they "check out" you can make an offer for them to buy something. OR at the end of your webinar or course, after having gained their trust, can make an offer right in the video or can send them an email.
Here's a quick video giving you an insider's peek into how I do this with Bart Ehrman.
12. PDF Worksheet with Fillable Fields
Your lead magnet's goal isn't to help a new subscriber get from A to Z with their problem. It's to help them take one tiny step - like from A to B - and prove to them that you can help them get to their goal. This way they'll be One way to promote interaction and give your new subscriber the chance to make a bit of progress is by creating a PDF with fillable fields.
Here's a great example of a fillable worksheet from Lake Road Advisors.
You can turn documents into fillable forms with services like pdfiller.com.
Lead Magnet Implementation Checklist:
Ensure your lead magnet is specific to your audience's needs.
Make it visually appealing with professional graphics.
Deliver real value; your lead magnet should solve a problem or answer a question.
The lead magnet should be easy to access and consume.
Use tools like Leadpages for creating attractive landing pages that convert.
Integrate ConvertBox for engaging exit popups and on-site offers to boost conversions.
Your email list is your business's lifeline. By leveraging these 12 lead magnets, you can rapidly grow your list and turn casual browsers into loyal customers. Remember, the key is to offer immense value upfront. Provide solutions, inspire action, and watch as your list—and your business—flourish.