How to grow your email list using lead magnets

By Hannah Moss

Firstly, let’s take a look at email lists and why they need cultivating.

Why grow your email list?

Email lists are like gardens. They need loving and careful attention to help them grow. Each subscriber on your list is like a seed. You need to give each seed exactly what it needs, i.e.  information and advice, in order to prevent it from dying off, i.e. unsubscribing.

Once your seeds take root and buy into your product or service, you can keep feeding them what they need until they flourish into beautiful plants. Or customers as we like to call them. And just like plants, your customers need ongoing attention to keep them engaged. This is why you need to keep delivering consistent, relevant, good quality content to them.

How often have you signed up to an email newsletter, only to unsubscribe a few weeks, or even days, later when you realise the content is not interesting or relevant to you? It’s important to engage with your subscribers, to find out what they really need, and to keep delivering it to them, in order to help your garden grow. Without water, sunlight and a little attention now and then your plants will wither away and eventually die.

The more seeds, i.e. email subscribers, you have in your garden, the more opportunity you have for turning these seeds into flourishing plants, i.e. customers.

Email marketing is 6 times more effective than social media

And here’s the other reason. It’s widely accepted that email marketing is way more effective than social media in growing your business. According to McKinsey & Company “E-mail remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media—nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined”.

So email marketing has a significantly higher engagement level than social media. And at the core of email marketing is blogging. Blogging is central to driving high-quality traffic to your website. It is also central to building your email list, by using lead magnets.

What are lead magnets?

A lead magnet is a valuable resource that you give away for free in return for an email address. By providing their details, the reader automatically becomes an email subscriber and therefore a potential customer, or lead.

If the email subscriber is your seed, then the lead magnet is the currency you exchange to buy the seed in the first place. Except that no money changes hands at this stage. You give your readers something they need and they give you their email address. Simple.

A lead magnet can be anything downloadable from your site, e.g.:

  • ebook
  • email course
  • infographic
  • video
  • checklist
  • template
  • spreadsheet
  • helpful guide

For example, Drip (more on them later) offers a 7-part email course when you sign up:

Drip Lead Magnet

How do I create a lead magnet?

A sign-up form for your lead magnet can be placed anywhere on your website. But one of the best ways to engage with your audience and inspire them to sign up is to offer your lead magnet through your blog.

1. Pick a topic

First, you need to decide on a topic for your blog post. Think about your audience and your potential customers. What’s useful for them? What problems do they have that your business can solve? What’s topical in your market at the moment? What’s trending?

2. Write a great blog

Use your knowledge and expertise to write a high quality article. You don’t need to try to sell your products and services; your main aim here is to inform, educate and entertain. You want to instil authority around your topic and build a great reputation in your market.

Keep it relevant and specific. A good tip is to write your headline first, which includes a promise to your readers; then make sure your article delivers on that promise, e.g. “An Introduction to Lead Magnets: How to use your WordPress blog to grow your email list”.

It’s important that your content is high quality. If you don’t feel you have the necessary writing skills, you could always outsource to a copywriter. But this is not ideal as no-one knows your business like you do. What we actually recommend is that you develop your own writing skills in-house. Check out our blog post: 7 steps to writing a great blog post.

3. Decide what to give away

Now you need to decide what valuable resource you’re going to give away with your article. Make sure it’s something your readers will want. And make sure it’s specifically related to the article you’ve written.

A good way to do this is to use a concept called a ‘content upgrade’. This is where you produce a document that summarises the content of your post, but you ‘upgrade’ it to a more detailed or information rich format. For example, you might write a post about the 10 most important questions to ask an estate agent when buying a house, which would go into detail about each question and why it’s important. You could then upgrade this content by producing a PDF questionnaire of the questions only, that your readers can print off and take with them on their viewings.

The chances are, if your readers are interested in your blog post, they’ll find your lead magnet even more appealing.

4. Create the lead magnet

Now you need to create the lead magnet itself. Choose a format that works well for the information you’re giving away. It could be a checklist, an infographic, an ebook or even an email course that you drip-feed to your readers at regular intervals.

Whatever you decide to give away, ensure it’s of the highest possible quality in terms of content and design. If you’re not nurturing your seeds, i.e. if your subscribers aren’t interested in what you’re saying, your garden will be full of unsubscribes instead of plants.

Again, use the services of a copywriter or designer if you’re not confident creating this yourself.

5. Give it away!

Once you’ve created your killer blog post and beautiful lead magnet, all you need to do now is send it out into the world using your digital watering can.

You’ll need to embed a sign-up form into your blog post, write a welcome email for your subscribers, create a link to the lead magnet and hey presto, you’re done!

Of course you’ll need some email marketing software in order to manage your subscribers and send out emails. Our preferred email marketing provider is Mailchimp, but if you’re looking for more complex interactions with your subscribers, like moving them through different emails based on the actions they take on your site, you should try Drip. Their marketing automation software is an affordable alternative to other providers, like Infusionsoft, and while Mailchimp offers automation as part of its paid account, it’s still quite basic compared to Drip.

You’ll also need a WordPress plugin to create the sign-up forms for you. We love Gravity Forms because it’s a super powerful form builder with loads of integrations with other services like Mailchimp, Drip and many more.

Don’t forget to share your article across your social media networks, and to include it in your next email newsletter if you have one.

How can WordPress help you?

WordPress is the perfect tool for helping you on your lead magnet journey. Just like a handy garden rake!

First and foremost it’s a blogging platform. And a very good one at that. Even if you’re not particularly tech savvy and don’t know your widgets from your plug-ins, you can easily create decent-looking blog posts using their simple software.

WordPress also enables you to connect to your email marketing software, such as Mailchimp or Drip. AudienceOps offers a great content upgrade plug-in for WordPress, and this lead magnet sign-up form on their own site was created using Drip:

Screen Shot - AudienceOps lead magnet

Does this sound like too much hard work?

If you’re still confused about blogging, email marketing, lead magnets and social media, let us help you. Wildheart Media is here to make your life easier. To take away your content headaches and relieve your digital stress. There are two main ways we can help.

All of the above

We can help you with everything mentioned in this article. From researching the best blog topics, to advising on lead magnets; from installing your WordPress plugins to ensuring your post gets in front of the right audience.

Are you a WordPress virgin? We can deal with the technical bits, help upload your content and ensure it’s formatted correctly with the right keywords and subheadings, to make sure it’s search engine friendly. We can even find the perfect images to go with your blog.

We can take your existing content and turn it into something great.

Ongoing audience engagement

Of course, there’s no point creating great blog posts, giving away valuable lead magnets and growing your email list if it’s not going to result in more customers. We want those seeds to flourish into plants, remember?

It’s very important to keep your blog fertilised and watered. That means you need to be blogging on a regular basis, with great quality content. The frequency will depend on your industry and audience, but could be weekly, fortnightly, monthly or even quarterly. What’s more important is that you publish consistently, e.g. every Monday or the 1st of each month.

Working together, we can develop a content strategy for you – including research, content creation, blog management, email marketing and social media strategy – that ensures your audience are getting relevant, timely, necessary content from you, whilst also being entertained. This is what will keep your readers engaged. And, as we know, engaged readers can turn into email subscribers, which can eventually turn into customers.

Check out our marketing packages, then book a free consultation. We can help you start using your WordPress blog to grow your email list – and turn those seeds into a lush garden full of beautiful plants.

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