Think back to your childhood for a moment and remember how you felt whenever you had to do something that you didn’t want to.
Whether we’re talking about cleaning your room, going to the doctor, or tagging along on a dreadful car ride to great aunt Millie’s house, chances are that you felt a sense of dread stirring inside of you.
At least until your parents turned to you and promised that, if you were good, you could get a toy from the store afterwards. Or extra dessert. Or you could stay up an hour past your bedtime.
Whatever the incentive may have been, that’s all it took to turn your hesitation and dread into anticipation and excitement.
Why is that?
Because, even though all humans would like to believe they’re incredibly selfless and wonderful 100% of the time, that’s just not the case. Sometimes, we need a push in the right direction in order to do what we already know that we should.
It’s no different with email subscriptions.
As a blogger, you may be thinking something along the lines of, “Who cares if someone subscribes to my email list? I have nothing to prove!”
Well, you should care. Your subscription numbers aren’t just some empty brag. Your emails matter. Your emails turn readers into customers.
Don’t believe me? According to a 2014 survey performed by Econsultancy, email was the number 1 channel to bring in maximum ROI.
You need your readers to subscribe to your email list, so it has become common practice to dangle a little something in front of the reader’s face to entice them, just like mom used to do with that trip to the toy store.
And thus, the lead magnet was born.
Pat Flynn, one of the most successful bloggers on the internet right now, didn’t grow his business to earn over $100,000 per month without the use of a solid email subscriber base.
Abby Lawson, a highly popular DIY blogger, earns over $35,000 per month by selling her own products. Without a loyal list of subscribers, her brand would falter.
Or Johnny Jen, whose travel blog has earned him a spotlight in many mainstream blogs as well as over $17,000 per month in income. Without his email subscription list, he wouldn’t reach half of the audience he currently does.
And then there’s Regina Anaejionu, a self-proclaimed sidekick to infopreneurs, whose blogging and freelancing have managed to earn her over $16,000 per month and a flourishing email subscription list.
Aside from managing the difficult feat of turning their blogs into successful business ventures, these bloggers all have one other thing in common:
They have extremely successful email lists.
In order to explain the best lead magnet techniques, we first had to take a look at those who have already succeeded in order to determine what they are doing to market their email subscriptions.
From there, we were able to detail their techniques and assess how you, or any other blogger, would be able to mimic those techniques for their own growing email list.
There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started.
Pat Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome offers an e-book.
Pat Flynn is certainly someone you should be taking advice from. He has managed to turn his blog into a business venture that consistently earns him over $100,000 a month and currently has over 150,000 email subscribers.
His subscription page is particularly interesting for several reasons. For starters, he makes sure the reader knows they will be getting free stuff. He promises not just the free e-book, but also instant access to free resources. Beyond that, he even lets the reader know just how desired that e-book is. It’s no fluke because it has been downloaded over 125,000 times already.
Next, he promises content that caters to the individual. There won’t be a generic mass email from him. He will pick and choose what to send you based on what you want to see. Any hesitation about becoming an email subscriber just may be quelled when you learn that you will only receive information that is useful to you.
Lastly, he promises no hype.
This way of going about reaching his audience is great.
Because he answers their questions before they even have a chance to ask them.
“Here’s why you should subscribe to me.”
Now let’s take a look at what subscribers receive after they’ve signed up.
As promised, Pat delivers his e-book free of charge for subscribers to download immediately. The ease of which this transaction was performed was actually a bit surprising.
All users have to do is enter their first name and email, then confirm their email address and they are immediately taken to this download page.
But that’s not all these new subscribers are gifted.
Remember when Pat promised those “free resources”? He wasn’t fooling around. In addition to the e-book, subscribers are given another book of top 5 tools to help bloggers conquer their emails and cut down on the time spent sending emails out significantly.
Not bad just for entering your name and email address, right?
But to fully understand how to mimic Pat’s dramatic email list growth, we must first determine how Pat promotes his products enough to get people to even look at the subscription page.
Sure, you can have a box at the bottom of your site that says ‘subscribe to emails here!’, and that’s exactly what Pat does.
That certainly makes subscribing easy, but it doesn’t make it all too enticing. People would still have to click the link, read about the free stuff, and then subscribe.
So Pat, being the obvious over achiever that he is, takes things a step further.
And you can do it, too.
How you can grow your email list like Pat Flynn:
To fully understand how Pat promoted his email list to his sizeable audience, I did a simple Google search of the book he was selling within his subscription list.
And here’s why.
If Pat is selling the book, chances are that he is going to want to promote this ‘free’ option to those willing to pay for it. So there’s a bit of an exchange here.
Interested parties can get the book for free so long as they subscribe to the email list. It’s a fair trade.
My suspicions that Pat had used this tactic were confirmed by the very first Google search result.
The post both promotes the book and promotes his email subscription plan. Just in case any potential subscribers are still on the fence, Pat even includes Twitter testimonials from his loyal audience, all who promises that the subscription is well worth the two seconds it will take you to enter your first name and email.
To mimic Pat’s techniques, all you have to do is find a subject that your audience wants to know about and write an e-book about it.
Oh, is that all?
I know it may seem like a lot, but it is well worth it and not as difficult as you may think.
As a blogger, you already have a niche and an audience dedicated to that niche. You also have the unique ability to see which of your posts generate the most buzz.
Find the post that has done the best — whether it be in comments, social media shares, or what have you.
Whatever the topic of that post is should be the topic of your book.
It has a proven concept that your audience wants to learn about and you already know enough about it to go in depth.
E-books offer a unique opportunity for bloggers to go further than they would normally be able to on their blogs. That is why they are such a popular choice for lead magnets.
Take Syed Balkhi for another example.
Syed Balkhi, the wildly successful creator of WPBeginner, also offers a download of his e-book, Toolkit For Growing Your Online Business, as a lead magnet.
Once you have successfully written your e-book, it’s time to promote. Remember, you know already that your audience wants this information because they have proven that with their comments, views, and social shares.
You just have to inform them that the book is out there.
Take a page out of Pat Flynn’s book. He wrote an entire post promoting the book and included the word “FREE” into the title of the article.
This will entice people to click, in part because they are interested in the book title, and in part because everyone likes free stuff.
Then, in the contents of the article, Pat hit them with the catch.
It’s that easy. In a sense, you are promoting your email subscription by promoting your book, as the two now go hand in hand.
I realize that saying anything is “easy” in reference to writing e-book may sound like an oxymoron, so I have compiled a small list of helpful resources if you are unfamiliar with self publishing an e-book and need a little extra help:
- Step-by-Step Tutorial: Write, Publish, and Market your Ebook
- How To Write An Ebook Using Microsoft Word
- Make An Ebook Using Open Office
Abby Lawson of JustAGirlAndHerBlog offers PDF organizational printables.
Like Pat, Abby knows a thing or two about successful blogging. Her DIY blog has quite the dedicated following, and has gone from being a hobby to a full time job for both Abby and her husband in just a few years. In April of 2016 alone, she made $48,900!
Unlike Pat, however, Abby’s subscription banner is quite subtle. It rests at the top of her main page, just below her header.
She promises a “library of organizational printables”, but subscribers receive a unique bonus in their welcome email.
So Abby has a unique approach that we didn’t see with Pat. She offers her subscribers a library of printables to use, but also a tutorial on how they can make their own if she doesn’t have anything useful for them.
Let’s take a look at the library of PDF printables.
PDFs are an extremely popular choice as lead magnets because they are easy to make and there is a high demand for them.
Abby, as a DIY blogger, offers PDF printables of everything from banners, to recipe cards, to cleaning checklists. She knows what her audience looks to her for guidance in and makes sure that they have what they need.
But she isn’t the only person to take advantage of this technique to lure in more email subscribers.
Digital Marketer also offers 72 proven headline formulas that come in the form of free PDF templates as a lead magnet.
Their PDF template of proven headline formulas is just what readers want to see, and they may even be willing to subscribe in order to get the goods.
It doesn’t disappoint, either. Digital Marketer’s PDF template is absolutely beautiful, and definitely worth the subscription in my opinion as it is clear that a lot of time and effort was put into the conception of it.
Need more proof of the magic of the PDF craze lead magnet? Look no further than Andrew Wise.
Andrew Wise, the creator and maintainer of WiseStartupBlog, also offers a lead magnet tools checklist as free PDF file in his lead magnet.
This marketer-turned-blogger knows a thing or two about how to close a deal. That’s why he promises his readers nearly $300 worth of tools and information in his PDF upon subscribing to his email list.
PDFs don’t take all that much time to make, but the information inside of them can be invaluable. Andrew knows this, and he also knows that putting a price on the information ($297 in this case) also makes his lead magnet a winner.
After all, who wouldn’t want to receive something worth $300 for FREE?
The thing that he, Digital Marketer, and Abby all have in common is that they created a product they knew their audience would want to have, then promoted it as free upon sign up.
How you can grow your email list like Abby Lawson:
The best way to promote PDF files is to inform your audience about the product itself. They are your main target, after all — both to sell the product to and to convert to your mailing list.
What I have found through extensive research is that few mediums manage to do this better than social media.
You can certainly write a post about it on your blog like Pat Flynn did with his e-book, but that isn’t always enough.
Take Brian Dean, for example.
Brian Dean, the creator of Backlinko, also offers a PDF guide as a lead magnet.
As we saw with Pat Flynn’s e-book, Brian also wrote a post about his free PDF guide.
Don’t get me wrong; the post did well. It garnered nearly 250 comments and hundreds of social media shares. But that’s where things get interesting.
Over 300 people shared the post on Twitter, so it is safe to assume that the majority of viewers to the site were sent from Twitter.
That tells us one major thing:
Brian promoted this PDF on Twitter.
There’s simply no other explanation for the influx of shares it received.
To test this theory out, I headed directly to Brian’s twitter account, @Backlinko. He has over 34,000 followers on the social media site, so it would make sense that a lot of people would head to that post if he had shared it on twitter.
Think about it for a moment:
- Twitter user sees link to article
- Twitter user clicks link and reads article
- Twitter user wants product being discussed in article
- Twitter user subscribes to email list to get product
Once you have managed to reel the reader in via Twitter, you’ve already won half the battle.
That’s why Twitter is an amazing, simple way to grow your email list.
Simply head over to the Advanced Search page that Twitter offers and search a term related to your niche. Because we were discussing Abby earlier, I will use “DIY” as an example.
After searching your niche, you will be provided a live Twitter feed of all users discussing that topic.
Your job is to go through the feed and give them a follow. If you post worthwhile information on the subject they are interested in, chances are that they will follow you back.
Once you have a substantial number of followers interested in your niche, you will garner trust and support from your Twitter following.
This is so important.
Once you have that proven trust, you can Tweet out the article promoting your free PDF file. People will click it because they trust in you and want products that you have created. With that trust, they will know that you aren’t trying to involve them in some kind of gimmick or scam, so they will be more likely to join your email list in exchange for the free product.
Almost everyone has a Twitter. Why not use it to your advantage?
Johnny Jen of JohnnyFD offers a “secret” podcast.
Johnny makes a living out of traveling. As he explains in his most recent income report, it doesn’t matter that he made $17,000 of profit for one month if $10,000 of it was spent on living expenses.
He spends his money wisely — and promotes his email subscription program wisely, too.
His lead magnet isn’t just a podcast, although that in itself would probably do great among podcast listeners as Johnny is truly a charismatic and captivating presence.
Instead, he promises a secret podcast.
People like secrets. They like to feel that they are getting something special — something that the general public isn’t privy too.
That’s why people have a natural desire to be accepted and seen as ‘cool’. As far back as high school, there was a draw to the cool kids. Everyone wanted to be invited to that party, but so few invitations were handed out.
With this kind of lead magnet, you have your cool kid party invitation. Congratulations!
As childish and trivial as it may sound, this level of exclusivity actually works.
Just ask Mary Fernandez, who does something similar on her own website.
Mary Fernandez also offers an exclusive offer for joining her mailing list: subscribers receive access to her invite-only site.
Mary’s entire website is kept under wraps unless you are a member of her mailing list. Some may think that this is a bad idea, but it has certainly served her well over the years as her blog thrives.
The most interesting part of this, at least to me, is that she stresses the exclusivity of it every single step of the way. Even in the ‘welcome’ email after members subscribe, they are asked to please keep the link away from non-members as to limit the number of outsiders able to view her content.
Intriguing, isn’t it? There is something almost alluring about the fact that you are getting information that most people aren’t allowed to see — and it also adds a certain validity to it, too. It’s almost as if you’re being let in on a top business secret.
And that is what people want to know.
How you can grow your email list like Johnny Jen:
Offering exclusive content is only as valuable as the person behind the content.
Thinking back to that high school party that everyone wanted to be invited to, it wasn’t about the party itself — it was about who was throwing the party. People sell things, right? The things don’t sell themselves.
In order to get away with an exclusive deal like Johnny’s secret podcast or Mary’s secret website, you must first be able to prove to your audience that you are worthy of such exclusivity.
That’s what Noah Kagan did and it has paid off every single step of the way.
Noah Kagan, the founder of OkDork, also offers exclusive business hacks meant only for his email subscribers.
Here’s why this lead magnet works:
- He proves right away that he knows what he’s talking about because has 2 multi-million dollar businesses AND his email list is already at over 700,000+ subscribers.
- He promises 85% of his best business hacks exclusively to his email subscribers.
- He likes tacos.
With those things out there for the world to see, readers already feel more at ease. His hacks are worth the subscription because they come from him and he knows what he’s doing.
But Noah doesn’t stop there.
He then goes on to list several testimonials from happy customers, all who have learned more about business straight from him and his emails.
Noah may as well have a flashing red sign at the top of his website that says “I know what I’m talking about and you should listen to me!!”
That is the kind of message that you need to send to potential subscribers if you are going to use an “exclusive” offer as a lead magnet.
Just keep in mind that you are the main product and you must sell yourself to your audience in order for them to buy into anything that you say. Be worthy of the “secret”.
Regina Anaejionu of ByRegina offers a private webinar.
The thing that sets Regina apart from the other bloggers in this article is that she has built a brand for herself. She is not just a blogger, nor is she just a freelance writer. She’s an “infopreneur”, a teacher, a creator, an innovator, and a helper to bloggers everywhere.
She is the person that bloggers go to when they need some help, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that she has this lead magnet thing down.
With a subscription to her emails, readers get quite a deal. You will receive a free 80 page guide, weekly notes, and Regina as a “sidekick to your creative superhero-ness.”
Most importantly, however, you will receive a private workshop.
We have already discussed how to sell PDF files, so that takes care of the guide. We’ve also discussed the importance of building trust before you offer a “private” anything, but Regina has proven tenfold that she is a trusted source among bloggers.
So now comes the fun part: Creating a webinar for your subscribers.
Webinars are great because they are less in depth than a book or a full blown course, but still offer plenty of information to those engaging in it. It is a way for you to reach your audience and interact with them outside of emails and social media, and adds a personal touch and validity to you that you may have otherwise lacked.
How you can grow your email list like Regina Anaejionu:
Remember when we discussed how to choose the subject for our e-book earlier?
The process of finding the right subject for your webinar is the same. Go into your analytics, choose a topic that you see did well in social shares and comments, and engage your audience with that as the subject.
Again, because it has a proven concept that works.
Neil Patel knows a thing or two about webinars as well, as he created a wildly successful one as his own lead magnet.
Neil Patel, the founder of QuickSprout, also offers a webinar meant to help double your website traffic in 30 days for his email subscribers.
He offers a course like Regina, but offers the monetary value like Andrew so that subscribers know they’re getting a good deal.
Your email address, of course!
But first comes the challenging part: Creating your webinar.
Although it may seem overwhelming, it is actually quite simple. All you need is a subject for your webinar (we already established how you would go about getting that!), PowerPoint or a similar program, and a webinar host like AnyMeeting.
Once your webinar is made, you have to set out to promote it.
/The promise of doubling (if not tripling) your traffic over the next 30 days is enough to entice any struggling blogger to sign up. Neil knew this, so he wrote a detailed post about the course itself, explaining everything from what you would learn to the various homework assignments involved in the course.
His intention, much like we saw with Pat Flynn, is to educate people on what is being offered so they want to become a part of it. If you make them want the product, entering their email will seem like a breeze.
Of course, after explaining the course and reeling people in, Neil leaves a form for readers to fill out so they can join the mailing list and get started.
Even better than that, he suggests that readers share on social media, too. The more people this post can reach, the better! And by doing so, he both makes his readers feel like they are involved, and managers to get some “free” publicity on social media. You can’t beat that.
The most difficult thing about mimicking this lead magnet technique, at least for beginners, is going to be to make the webinar itself.
Keeping this in mind, I managed to scour the web for some helpful tutorials on how you can create a webinar for yourself, whether you’re a newbie or an expert. Everyone can use a little brushing up now and again, right?