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Email Marketing 101: The 3 Things That Your Lead Magnet Absolutely Must Do

Email Marketing 101: The 3 Things That Your Lead Magnet Absolutely Must Do

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By Ronald Kimmons

It is a well-established fact that email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing methods out there—if not THE most cost-effective. One reason for this is legal requirements have created a certain barrier to entry for email marketers. Gone are the days in which marketers would purchase an email list and send out massive amounts of spam to see what sticks; for those who play by the rules, there is an amazing amount of opportunity.

The trick to successful email marketing, then, is to build a good list. Your list needs to be comprised of people who have opted in to receive your emails, so you need to find a way to get people to give you their email addresses. The best way to do this is with a downloadable file that you can offer to people for free in exchange for their email addresses. Marketers often call this a lead magnet.

The most common form of lead magnet is a PDF document. These can be formatted as guides, cheat sheets, e-books, etc.—a link to an online video works as well. Another example might be access to a free online course or community. Whatever type of content you create needs to do three basic things:

1. Deliver value

Your subscribers are people who have given you their email addresses with the understanding that you will give them something of value. You, therefore, need to deliver on this expectation. If you don’t, your subscribers will feel disappointed—possibly even cheated—and this general feeling will influence the rest of their relationship with you. In fact, many of them will unsubscribe from your list as a consequence.

So how do you do this? How do you deliver value?

Your subscribers have a need. If they have given you their email addresses, this is because you successfully identified their need in the title of your lead magnet and have implicitly promised to help them address that need. The content that you have now provided for them had better do exactly that.

It is not enough for you to feel that you have delivered value, either. They need to feel it. It’s not enough to just crank out a lot of highly informative content. No, what you need to do is provide informative content that your subscribers will actually read. It may seem counterintuitive, but for many people, this actually means less content. They do not want to read a 20,000-word tome outlining everything they need to do in agonizing detail. Instead, they want numbered headings, bullet points, and short paragraphs giving them the most vital information as quickly as possible. Motivational language helps too.

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2. Identify another need

Let’s be honest: Your goal is to get people to buy from you, and they are not going to do that if you address all their needs in the five-page guide you sent them for free. So in addition to delivering value and addressing their needs, your content needs to identify another need—or, at least, double down on the original need.

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