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B2B Marketers, You Can Create Better Lead Magnets!

Capture new leads and watch customer engagement soar

Struggling to convert web traffic to leads? Or maybe you need content in the sales process to demonstrate your domain authority? It’s hard to capture—much less retain—people’s attention, but when it comes to B2B lead generation, the right content pieces still convert curious customers.   

Creating effective lead magnets is all about developing an offering that is as valuable as it is enticing. As they say, actions speak louder than words. So what better way to initiate a new customer relationship than by giving your leads a valuable gift?  

What is a ‘lead magnet’ and why do I need one? 

A lead magnet is a free resource or asset that businesses offer to potential customers in exchange for the customer’s email address. Lead magnet examples include a PDF, whitepaper, eBook, webinar, or assessment. These resources become a signal to you, the marketer, that the person is interested in hearing more from you, and all the work you’ve done to understand their problems have resonated with them.

Lead magnets are an effective way of creating sales leads and building your email marketing list. They’re also great for nurturing leads that are further along in your marketing funnel, especially for businesses with longer buying cycles (like B2B businesses).

Tech companies, for example, typically have buying cycles longer than 90 days. In this case, it’s helpful to deliver longer-form content pieces as part of your marketing strategy. It keeps leads engaged and lets you directly track ongoing engagement.

Other ways lead magnets can boost your marketing: 

  • Well-researched, informational pieces help you build trust with your target audience  
  • Long-form case studies enable you to demonstrate your authority in your field or with a specific competency  
  • Timely, industry-specific content helps you test content in follow-up emails  

An effective, well-positioned lead magnet that provides genuine value could be enough to convince a potential customer that you’re the vendor they want to do business with. In the same vein, a poorly executed lead magnet could convince that customer otherwise. Let’s look at how to avoid the latter. 

Mistakes to avoid when creating a lead magnet 

Every marketer knows how to create a lead magnet, but the truth is that many of them fail to add any real value. Resources that don’t connect with the reader or even a poorly designed lead magnet has a bigger chance of hurting your lead generation efforts than helping it.  

Some common mistakes marketers make: 

  1. Avoid offering content that only matters to your business. 

Your lead magnet can communicate what your company does, but its focus shouldn’t be on you. It should only address what your customers care about and how you can help them.  

Successful marketing happens when you can empathize with your customers and understand the problems they experience. Only then can you promote content your customers relate to. Customers want to know they can get value from doing business with you, so it’s unlikely that they will want to engage if they feel like you don’t care about them. 

  1. Avoid creating lead magnets that don’t help customers solve a problem.  

You end up with a lose-lose situation if your lead magnet doesn’t help your customers solve a problem. You won’t build trust and your customers won’t get the value they expected.  

Creating a lead magnet with insufficient value for the customer makes you more likely to lose the lead entirely. 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a website after a bad experience. So it’s worth your time and resources to deliver! 

  1. Avoid trying to solve too many problems at once. 

Trying to solve more than one problem in a lead magnet only removes the content’s impact. You risk confusing or overwhelming your audience without a focused topic. You don’t have to solve ALL their problems at once. You just need to solve one to demonstrate your authority and establish trust in your brand.

How to build a great lead magnet 

Now that you know some of the common pitfalls of lead magnet creation, you need to prepare something that will convert. There is no magic formula; it involves considered thought about your audience, their pain and business problems, what value you offer, and your organizational content generation process. 

Never stop learning about your audience 

You must understand your target audience to create an effective lead magnet. You’ve got to be obsessed with them and their problems. Is your ideal customer a C-suite decision-maker? A DBA? An IT generalist? Another front-line IT professional? The pain points they experience are different for each of these, even if they all broadly experience the effects of the same problem. It’s critical to choose one audience type, then find out what they care about and the problems they experience. 

Before you even start planning your lead magnet content, it’s helpful to do some research. Talk to your sales team. Get on a support call or two. Better understand the language they use to describe the problems and where your company fits inside of their journey to solve those problems.  

Having trouble understanding your customers’ perspective? 
Paper Sword has a free worksheet you can download here

Choose one and only one problem to help your customer solve 

Narrow your research into one specific problem you’ll solve in the lead magnet. Doing so will help you avoid the mistakes we outlined above while ensuring that you deliver genuine value. 

Tell a story your ideal customer can relate to 

At Paper Sword, we use the StoryBrand marketing framework, which places your customer in the role of the story’s protagonist and your business as the helpful guide. Applying this framework to your lead magnet helps your customers see themselves as a core component of the narrative. 

When it comes to building the structure of your lead magnet, it helps to categorize the content into four parts:

  1. Outline the problem you’re helping your customers solve. Demonstrate that you truly understand the pain they feel. Use the problem to appeal to your audience’s emotional response for maximum impact.  
  1. Introduce your produce as a solution to the problem they face. Use your one-liner or elevator pitch to be clear and concise  
  1. Deliver the lead magnet’s core value. This is where you expand further into the solution, and you guide your customers to solve their problem. By doing so, you demonstrate your authority and credibility in your trade. You want to give value here but keep the content concise and scannable to ensure you don’t lose your audience part-way. 
  1. End with a vision of success and a call to action (CTA). Paint a picture of the amazing future your audience will experience if they choose to do business with you. It’s also where you point them in the direction of what to do next.  

Remember: lead magnets function as a transitional CTA in a long buying cycle. They’re meant to keep a lead engaged and guide them through your marketing funnel, not close a deal. 

Now that you have the meat of your lead magnet, it’s time to put on the finishing touches. 

Presentation is everything; how you present your content can be the deciding factor in whether someone reads your eBook or watches your webinar. According to HubSpot, 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or the content’s layout is unattractive. It’s worth spending some time to make your lead magnet easy to consume and attractive to look at. Highlight or bold important text, create a clean design, and most importantly, ensure all copy is scannable. It’s unfortunate, but web users typically only read 20-28% of your content, so visually emphasize your key points 

How to fit lead magnets into your overall marketing strategy? 

You now have an awesome lead magnet. Now what? 

Building one lead magnet doesn’t just magically create marketing leads in your inbox. You need to consider where you’ll position it in your overall marketing strategy. Think about where it will be visible on your website (Homepage? Separate landing page?), what other marketing channels will link into it, and the next step in your strategy that builds off this engagement.  

Planning this strategy is critical. You can have the worst lead magnet, but positioning it effectively, in a well-planned lead journey will deliver better results than a good lead magnet positioned poorly. So think about what happens both before and after you put your lead magnet into market. It’s also worth factoring in the length of the buying cycle in your industry; if your buying cycle is 90 days, you’ll need roughly 90 days’ worth of content to keep leads engaged.  

Some questions to consider as you build your plan: 

  • Do you have a Google Ads budget to promote your lead magnet?  
  • Will you be following up with an email nurture campaign after people download?  
  • Will your lead magnet be fully gated? Or will they get a portion of it commitment-free? 
  • Where can you cross-promote your lead magnet? 
  • How many times will you post it on your social channels? Do you have creative for those posts? 
  • Will you pay to promote your lead magnet on social? 
  • Can you use events, conferences, or community events to promote your lead magnet 

A lead magnet is just one part of your marketing generation strategy. Not every lead captured by your lead magnet must be sales-qualified at the door.  

Sounds like a lot of work; does it really pay off? 

With a lead magnet, the goal is to create a list of people in your database who are interested in learning more about what you do. The lead often sits at the awareness stage of your business. They’re gathering data about you and trying to decide if you can solve a problem they’re having in their business. That means you don’t have to get a prospect’s entire profile at once; getting their name and email is enough to keep nurturing them with more content and build their customer profile over time. Just like dating, you’re getting to know each other.  

Focus on attracting more people to your marketing system in the first place. Once you see success in your marketing data (people engaging, clicking, and ultimately converting), then you can start refining your content to filter out those sales-qualified leads.  

If you have any questions or need help, the Paper Sword team would be more than happy to help with that. You can get in touch with us here.