The Top Mistakes Most Marketers are Making with Lead Magnets


Lead magnets, those feisty little pieces of content that do much of the heavy lifting when it comes to content marketing, are a critical component of any strong retention strategy. After all, if you’re going to transform a customer into a bona fide fan, they have to be reading your content, following you on social, interacting with you through email, and generally be plugged in. The most involved customers are the ones with the highest lifetime value.

The first sale may come after a good content marketing strategy has roped someone in and gotten them interested, but it’s just as likely that someone becomes a fan of your content and starts reading after they’ve made a purchase. In my experience, lots of people make some pretty serious mistakes when it comes to their lead magnets—mistakes that turn off potential customers as much as they do existing ones.

Mistake #1—Your Lead Magnets Aren’t Your Best Work

I see this all the time. The thinking looks something like this:

“We can’t be giving away our best work, Ed. We should be charging for this. Let’s give them something just enticing enough to leave them hungry for more. That’ll get em!”


This approach has shoddy written all over it.

Think about it like this—your lead magnets are often your first real chance to impress potential customers with what you can do. Are you putting your best foot forward? Are you blowing their minds with the level of quality you’re offering? Remember, this is your first impression, and first impressions matter. Your lead magnet can’t be some two-page, half-cooked PDF with a trash CTA telling someone to go buy your product. It needs to dazzle and shine. It needs to make them hungry for more, to inspire them to start interacting with you.

And if it’s not, you’ll never know, because your would-be customers aren’t going to tell you. So review your lead magnets and run them by some trusted friends. Get an honest understanding of the value they hold.

Now, let’s say your lead magnets are absolutely astounding. If they are, this may actually be your next mistake.

Mistake #2 – You’re Giving Away Too Much

This may seem paradoxical because I just advised you to use your awesome lead magnets to make customers hungry for more, but giving them an all-access pass to your entire treasure trove won’t help you one bit.

Overdo it and you’re gonna have a bad time. One or two solid lead magnets that target certain segments of your audience can have a stellar impact on retention, especially when offered after a purchase via a follow-up or thank you email. If they have serious value, you might just earn a new fan.

But if you follow up those emails with a steady stream of free content…

And you’re constantly giving away more and more stellar free content…

Your customers (and those troglodytes that are just getting the free stuff and haven’t even made a purchase) start feeling a little entitled. The last thing you want to do is set the expectation that your customers never have to pay for everything, that all the best content is free. You see this in the publishing industry constantly.

It’s a shame to see authors devaluing their work by offering free downloads. They regularly give away an entire series worth of books. And then they can’t figure out why no one will pay more than a dollar or two for all their other publications. If they gave away a short story for free, or even two or three, and then offered a book for full price, they’d likely enjoy a lot more success.

But if all they did was offer free short stories? They’d end up with a bunch of people on their social and email lists who will never make a purchase. Keep one or two lead magnets of value, but don’t give away too much beyond that.

The final mistake is simple.

Mistake #3—Your Lead Magnets Have No Upsells or CTAs

Here’s what I love about current customers picking up your lead magnets: they get to know your brand in a way that they can’t while making a purchase, mostly because of the difference in mindset and relationship. There’s a massive difference between how a customer feels about a salesperson, and how he or she feels about a teacher. When you’re helping and teaching your customers, the relationship shifts on an emotional level.

So you’re essentially teaching or helping them via lead magnet, providing some value for which they’re grateful to you. They’re primed emotionally to repay you for this (remember, you’ve given it to them free). They want to do something for you. They’re open to what you suggest after all this…

And you don’t give them direction. You don’t offer them a way to pay you back. You don’t tell them the next step, how to go from this awesome content to obtaining even more value by making another purchase. Customers want us to tell them what to do next. They’re confused when we don’t.

If your lead magnets aren’t providing direction, insert a CTA. If you have a paid version of the free content you’re giving away, include a button that links to your landing page. The savvy marketer will consider which products or services an existing customer would be less likely to have purchased, and link to those.

Whatever you do, don’t neglect your CTAs. Lead magnets are often the first true impression you make on existing customers, the first time they really see what you can do. If you succeed in impressing them, your lead magnet needs to stand ready to convert. Make sure they walk away with a clear path to the purchase you want them to make.

And once you’re done slapping in awesome CTAs and making those lead magnets burst with value, check out Aaron Orendorff’s article on confrontation and marketing.

And good luck out there, marketer.

The post The Top Mistakes Most Marketers are Making with Lead Magnets appeared first on Post Funnel.


Online enterprenuer. Lean leadership consultant.

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