I belong to several online groups. And one day, a poll popped up in my newsfeed that said, “True or False? Free reports are dead.”
“False!” I practically screamed at the computer. But the group I was in believed otherwise. Of all the comments (and there were many), only one person gave a wishy-washy answer. Everyone else adamantly agreed that free reports were a thing of the past.
And I nearly cried.
Why? Maybe because writing free reports is my superpower. I love them. I geek out about them. I loved writing essays in high school, and now, as an adult, I still love planning out my talking points and weaving a powerful story through 10, 20, or 30 pages of content.
But here was the evidence before me. And it was time for a paradigm shift.
You see, what I’d failed to notice is that free reports had, for the most part, truly become irrelevant. Because somewhere in the last decade, blog posts went from being 300 word content teasers to 2,000 word works of art. 2,000 words is 8 pages of content or the size of a free report.
And blog posts are truly FREE. You don’t give away your name and email address to read them.
With so much free content available online, why would anyone opt-in for a free report?
There was only one answer…to get information they couldn’t find anywhere else on the web. But most of the free reports being used by business owners include “3 Ways to Lose Weight Fast” or “5 Steps to Successfully Groom Your Dog.” You know, blog post titles.
It was a tough lesson to learn, but my mind was changed. So much so, that the next time someone asked me to write a free report…instead of completing it in one day (which was my M.O.) it took me 2 weeks to even get started. 2 weeks to find that never-before-shared message that would resonate with the target audience.
And in working with the business owner, we transformed the free report into a 35-page workbook. Which ended up being a much more beneficial offering.
Fast forward to the next request. My conversation with the business owner lead me to believe the message they were sharing was revolutionary. No one had ever talked about the industry in this way before. And I got to work, delighted to be doing something that came as naturally to me as breathing.
But as I researched the topic, my enthusiasm died. As blog post after FREE blog post popped up, I realized something the business owner didn’t. Their “new” way of thinking had already been thought. And their free report wasn’t going to draw in the leads they hoped for. Or…if it did (because the title was compelling enough), readers would be disappointed in the lack of original content and not move forward with the company.
Conclusion? Free reports are dying.
They’re not gone yet. But if you want to wow your new prospects, your report better be “wow” worthy. And that’s not an easy task.
So how do you create a lead magnet that:
- “Speaks” directly to your target market?
- Is valuable enough that they would exchange name and email for it?
- Makes sense in leading your prospects closer to your offering?
- Isn’t being offered (for FREE) by your competitors?
I’m just about to tell you. But before I do…you may want to download one of our valuable reports: The Ultimate Opt-In Guide.
There’s no name and email required, it’s just really good and I want you to have it. Plus it adds greatly to the value of this post.
(I know, I know. I’m pushing you toward a report. But my reports were never meant to be lead magnets. They simply add educational value to the templates in our Portal. So my suggestion isn’t quite as ironic as it seems.)
Okay, moving on…
You need a lead magnet that resonates with your target market and helps you easily collect leads. What do you do first?
1. Do Your Research.
Ahh…the answer to everything. But most of us are lousy at sitting down and digging in. We’d rather create our lead magnet, post it, and hope for the best. Guess what? We don’t have that luxury anymore. Competition is tough and you’ve got to KNOW that what your offer is unique and valuable. You should know before you spend the time creating it.
No joke, type in the phrase “best lead magnets for [YOUR INDUSTRY]” and see what comes up. More than likely, someone has been hunting down that answer. And, in an effort to be seen as the expert, they’re sharing their findings freely on blog posts.
Additionally, look at what your competitors are doing. Ask your perfect customer what they would like. Knowledge is power. Knowledge will give you confidence in what you’re offering. And show you the best lead magnet to create.
2. Solve a Problem.
It used to be that if you spouted some knowledge (on a blog post, in a webinar, or in a free report), you were seen as an expert in your industry. But if we still followed that logic, everyone would now be considered an expert.
Because everyone is pushing out content. The new technique is to give actionable information. Something your prospect can do, right now, to see an improvement in their lives. It doesn’t have to be huge. They just have to believe you can move that needle for them.
Have you been wondering why 5 Day Challenges are so big right now? You should be. Because challenges (when done right) are producing a ridiculous number of leads right now. What makes a challenge successful? Simple wins. Something everyday that provides immediate value for the participant.
Solve problems first and ask for money later. That’s how you’ll win.
3. Take It to the Next Level
I’m really not a fan of that phrase. Because it’s so vague. But you are looking for a uniqueness factor. Something that other businesses are not doing. Something they haven’t even thought about doing yet. Take what’s being done, and make it better.
For example, if you’re using a quiz to “Find Out What Type of Traveler You Are” you could also promise to mail your prospect “a complimentary travel guide that matches your personality type.” Something different. Something extra. Your prospects will notice.
4. Test Several Options.
It’s not unusual for businesses to go through several lead magnet options before finding one that really brings in the prospects. Don’t give up if things don’t work at first. Try tweaking your lead magnet. Then, if it doesn’t work, try something new.
None of these suggestions is revolutionary. These steps should be followed when you’re in the middle of any marketing activities. But too many of us are so busy trying to get by, that we slap something on our website, cross our fingers, and hope for the best.
Remember, this is the one way you get to truly connect with someone new. You can have the best website in the world. You can have the best blog in the world. You can have the most engaged community in the world. If your call to action (the lead magnet that gives you their email address) fails to attract your target market, then you’re losing out on future sales.
Put more effort into your lead magnets. Do the work. And then reap the benefits.
By the way, a Ready To Go Copy membership includes lead magnet copy templates, opt in copy templates, ad copy templates, and follow up email templates to help you convert more prospects to customers.