One of the most crucial things you can do in your business is build an email list.  Your email list gives you direct access to your leads to have targeted communication with them and gauge their interest.  There are many ways you can use this list, but before you can use it, you have to get it.  That is where your lead magnet comes in.

To understand the value of a lead magnet, it helps to understand the flow of the marketing and sales process.  In the first tiers of your marketing funnel (not sure what I mean by this? Read here!), you are likely talking to a volume of leads.  The marketing or advertising methods you are using may be ones that are designed to reach a larger number of people.  This volume of leads is not something you can necessarily distinguish person-by-person.  Usually at this stage you are looking for trends in behavior without tracking specific individuals too closely.

As your leads move further into your funnel, you switch to sales mode.  The conversation goes from being a mass conversation to a one-on-one conversation.  But, the question is, HOW do you make that transition?

In many cases, your lead magnet is the transition between marketing and sales for your business.

Your lead magnet is the transition between marketing and sales for your business. #business #biztips #smallbusiness #smallbiz #smb #salestips #entrepreneur Click To Tweet

As you can see, lead magnets have an important function in your marketing plan.  Your lead magnet will allow you to pivot into direct communication with a given lead.  Yet, this is a detail that most small businesses seem to be missing, making it hard to transition into sales mode.

So, what can a lead magnet look like?  It could be a free download, an eBook, a checklist, a worksheet. It could be a fish bowl to collect business cards to raffle off a prize.  Or a ticket registration for a free community event.

Your lead magnet will allow you to pivot into direct communication with a given lead. #business #smallbusiness #smallbiz #smb #entrepreneur #salestips Click To Tweet

A lot of people think of a lead magnet as something you download online to get onto a list, but it doesn’t have to be limited to that.  Ultimately, it is the function that needs to be fulfilled.  You are offering your leads something of value with your lead magnet.  In exchange, they are giving you their email or some way to reach them again.

In today’s world, we do need to be careful about ensuring people are opting in.  Some countries and some email marketing platforms are more particular about this process than others.  If you plan to continue outreach to these leads after delivering the product, you should inform them that this will happen up front to enable them to make the choice.  If you do plan to continue to deliver great free resources, this is a message that can be framed in a positive way.  You’ll be giving them tips or discounts that are relevant to the thing you told them about to begin with, and this in theory should be great for them if they are in your target market!

Having one or more lead magnets planted in your marketing strategy allows you to start to create habits for your leads.  They get into the rhythm of realizing that you have valuable information, services, products, or skills that don’t come for nothing.  By sharing information with you, they are really engaging in a transaction with you, even if it is a free one.

This process also allows you to reach them more reliably and to get a better sense of their behavior.  You can begin to move into a more predictable sales cycle instead of a scattershot marketing approach.

Lead magnets are – in a way – the lynchpin of your marketing plan.  They are the turning point from marketing to sales.  For many of us, having at least one lead magnet is vital to sales success.  And yet most businesses don’t have one at all.  If this is you, ask yourself if a lead magnet would be beneficial in your plan.  There’s no time like the present to get started so you can capture more leads!

Looking for ideas on what to do once you have your list?  Check out my thoughts on newsletters here!