If you do a lead magnet right, you will dig out golden inroads to highly invested and engaged audiences. If you do it wrong, you’ll seem like a creepy curbside peddler trying to push low-quality goods on people. The lead magnet can absolutely make or break your affiliate offer.
If you’ve never heard the term “lead magnet,” don’t worry – the concept is simple, and you’ve surely encountered one from the consumer’s side of things.
“Buy xyz and I’ll throw in my this Ebook, 15 Steps to Becoming Debt Free, for no additional charge!”
The lead magnet is the bait. It’s the free resource that you offer to your audience in exchange for converting, i.e., heading to the sales page and/or opting in to your email list.
I almost regret phrasing it in that way, even though it’s true, because an effective magnet is much, much more than a simple “carrot.” It’s not just something you dangle in front of a person to get them to convert. It’s a representation of your entire business.
I want your understanding of the lead magnet to transcend the “I give you this, you give me that” mentality. Yes, we’re talking about an exchange, but when done properly, this offer can accomplish so many things beyond simply adding one to your tally.
Why Is the Lead Magnet Important?
Think about it from the consumer’s side for a moment. Let’s say you’re having trouble sleeping, and you’re not sure why. Your overall health is fine otherwise, but you just can’t seem to fall asleep without flopping around in bed for a couple hours first.
You search online for a solution to your problem, and you find a landing page with a lead magnet entitled, “9 Evidence-Based Steps to Improve Your Sleep Quality.”
On the landing page are a few short lines of text (or a video) describing your exact situation. You’re physically and mentally healthy, but you do spend a lot of time staring at screens. According to the landing page, that’s actually a big factor affecting sleep.
“Ohhhh,” you think, “Nobody’s told me that before.” Enticed to learn more and potentially solve your problem, you click through to the offer and get your lead magnet.
Over the next couple of days, you receive all kinds of actionable tips from this affiliate through the ebook. After putting the steps into practice, you end up drastically improving your sleep quality, falling asleep earlier and staying asleep through the night.
As a result, you become a loyal supporter of that particular affiliate. You trust them to make solid recommendations, and you even buy some other stuff they offered (let’s say a melatonin supplement) to help improve sleep even more.
Alright, so that does it for our little case study – thanks for sticking with me. I want to take a closer look at this scenario to illustrate the power of a strong lead magnet, so let’s break down everything that the lead magnet accomplished.
Building a Relationship
This person has no idea who you are. They searched the internet, and there you were. Why should they trust you, let alone buy anything from you?
If you want them to buy into you (which translates to consumer loyalty vs the one-time sale), not just the product, you will need to build your case as an authority on your subject.
By offering a helpful, substantive resource, you’re telling the consumer, “Look, I get it. You have no idea who I am. Just try this method, and if it works for you, then you’ll know I’m legit.”
The customer tries it, it works, and they’re super grateful to you. You’ve transitioned from random stranger on the internet to a helpful “neighbor” of sorts. You’ve built a relationship.
Priming the Customer
As an affiliate, you already have to contend with a layer or two of displacement. What I mean by that is, you have to master the art of referring people to another website (the merchant) without weirding them out; you have to make that transition natural.
One way to keep your audience from being put off by the whole two-site switcheroo is to “prime” them with your lead magnet.
Explain how easy it is to misdiagnose screen time insomnia as other types of insomnia, for example, and describe how your vendor addresses this overlooked problem perfectly.
It’s just like when you invite a friend from out of town to a party, and you describe the people hosting it to your friend so they can know what to expect. Your lead magnet can do the same thing for your customers.
Creating a Specific, Highly Dedicated Audience
One of the most powerful functions of a lead magnet is to carve out that highly dedicated niche. In this example (screen time insomnia), you may be looking at a frustrated Googler who has been through half a dozen resources already, and nothing’s worked.
This is why niching down in general is so important. If you set up your content and your lead magnet correctly, you will speak to an audience who feels frustrated and ignored. When they finally feel heard, they will repay you gratefully.
How do you accomplish this? By solving a specific problem. Screen time insomnia is the perfect level of niche for this. Melatonin and other supplements may not work for these people, because they haven’t been enlightened as to the real source of the problem.
When they learn through your lead magnet that it’s the screen time causing the problem, and when your seller’s recommendations actually work for them (because you won’t give it all away in the ebook, right?), they will become not just customers, but fans.
Growing Your Brand
All of these above functions work together to strengthen your brand. This is so critical for affiliates, because, while we enjoy the convenience of not holding inventory or processing orders, we sometimes feel adrift.
What I mean by that is, we don’t control the offer. If a merchant decides to stop selling a certain product, then that’s all she wrote.
Unless, of course, you have a dedicated audience that believes in you!
See where this is going? Brand loyalty = stability in the affiliate business. If your content, i.e., your lead magnets, mailers and site copy are on point, then your flock will follow you.
This means that you can explore new offers without feeling like you have to rebuild an entire following the moment you stop promoting a specific product. Brand loyalty, baby – it’s the difference between a hobbyist and a full-blown professional.
Alright, now that we’ve covered the “why,” let’s talk about the “what.” I’ve mentioned ebooks a lot, but they’re definitely not the only option.
Types of Lead Magnets
According to this tiny operation called SEMRush, there are eight types of lead magnets. I’ve picked my five favorites from their list and my own to show you today.
This is the most common application for a lead magnet. As I mentioned, you create a free resource that solves a specific problem. It doesn’t have to be an Ebook. It could be a video course, a singular report or a guide.
The Live Demo
I absolutely love this approach because it’s such a powerful way to disarm skepticism. If you want to prove that a product works, then buy it yourself, use it, and document the successful results! How could anybody refute that?
The Free Trial
The philosophy here is similar to the live demo, but it offers an even closer perspective. Instead of watching the product in action, the consumer gets to actually use it in a limited capacity.
Of course, affiliates aren’t always afforded this option, but if the merchant gives you the green light, you’d be remiss not to jump on that opportunity! Honestly, it’s a highly effective approach that requires less work on your part.
Giveaways and “Raffles”
If you’ve ever walked out onto a Vegas casino floor at 3 in the morning, you appreciate the alluring power of games of chance. There’s something about playing the odds that gives us flawed mortals a thrill.
You can tap into that power by offering your leads the chance to win something awesome. Every month, for example, you pay for one lucky winner to receive the whole product for free. It sounds dumb at first, but just watch how that baby converts.
We’ve all seen them on social media. You can even be a little snarky with these, for example, challenging your audience’s intelligence level in a lighthearted way. The point is to make the customer say, “Oh yeah, I bet I can prove you wrong about that!” Goad them into submitting their email so they can take that quiz.
In the case of screen time insomnia, for example, you could make a funny but informative quiz based on your product that assesses a person’s level of screen addiction. It gets you the lead and helps your customer understand their problem.
Solo ads are great for high-volume blitzes, don’t get me wrong. Without the stability and relationship-building power of a lead magnet, however, your ad campaigns won’t create that staying power that every affiliate craves.
In parting, I want to leave you with a few tips regarding the “how.” You know why the lead magnet is important, and you know what kinds of lead magnets there are, so let’s review how you should structure yours one more time.
Per Blog Marketing Academy, it’s all about quickly digestible, solution-focused content. You don’t need a fifty-page ebook.
Offer a numbered checklist that promises a single, tangible outcome: 7 Steps to Curing Screen Time Insomnia. Done.
Surround your product with value propositions. Describe the way that insomnia affects daily life, and how fixing it would improve your outlook dramatically.
Finally, just be straightforward. Nobody needs winding passages and rambling asides. It’s okay if your content isn’t a Pulitzer Prize winner. Solve. The. Problem!
Tackle box full enough yet? Good. Bait that hook, drop a line in and tell me how it goes.