The Essential Guide To Creating Lead Magnets That Get People In The Door

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“If I don’t conduct most of my business online, are lead magnets even worth the time and energy?”

If you’re not primarily an online business, you might be hesitant to focus on generating online leads. You’re more eager to meet people face to face, because you want to see their face walk in your store. 

But that’s not an inclusive way of thinking about how you’re reaching, attracting, and capturing your clientele.  

In fact, it’s becoming more apparent that online avenues are one of the most effective ways to get people in the store, push sales, and keep them as a loyal client in the future. 

Think of Google My Business as an example. If you read our article about crafting your Google My Business content—especially if you’ve already started implementing a GMB campaign— you know the importance of capturing your local audience online. The strong majority of users are searching for businesses online before they even consider walking in the stores. In fact, any business a user discovers online, they’re more likely to visit within the next 24 hours! 

The world is no longer split up into “online” and “offline.” Every single business is (and has to be) omnichannel, meaning you have to be omnipresent throughout several channels both in-person and on the web. 

But how do you do that? How do you create and utilize online lead magnets to get more foot traffic in the store? In this guide, we give you the tools you need to understand the value of online leads and how to create effective lead magnets for your small business.

What is the value of online leads? 

You spend money advertising and marketing to your customers. You pull traffic to your website. But after they click around, they leave your site. you’ve wasted all those resources on a visitor who could have converted at some point, but they clicked away without the opportunity to take the next step. You’ve missed the chance to stay in touch with them or encourage them further. You’ve lost a lead. 

“Leads” are the biggest asset to your business. They’re potential customers who’ve shown some sort of interest in your business, but still need a little push to convert to customer. You’ve already spent the money on acquiring them, so now it’s just about pushing them towards sales. 

But too many small businesses neglect to capture their online leads.

They’re great at capturing leads in the store. If someone is trying on a dress in your store or is asking about your services, you’ll likely ask for their name and phone or email address so you can follow up with them later. You probably also give them a bit more information about your business, like a brochure or business card. 

You should be doing the exact same thing online with your website. Anyone who comes to your site could have an interest in purchasing. You want to remain top of mind and follow up with them to get them to buy at some point in the future. 

Online leads are one of my favorite, in fact. Because there’s a low barrier to entry. You can use your content campaign and a specially designed lead magnet to capture hundreds, if not thousands, of viable leads. That’s a lot easier than getting thousands of people in the store for an initial visit. Once you have those online leads, you can keep following up with emails and other touch points that are more likely to get them to purchase. 

Your online leads cast a wide net of potential customers that aren’t otherwise available in person. Then, you can follow up with to get them in the store and make a purchase. More leads, and more conversions—at less cost!

What is a lead magnet? 

Lead magnets are specifically designed to attract and capture these leads. They’re a “magnet” for your lead generation campaign. 

The majority of lead magnets focus on collecting customer emails. Once you have visitors’ emails, you can utilize your content to send out newsletters, business updates, product launches, and sales or discounts. 

“But won’t customers get mad at me if I email them? Won’t I scare them off?”

Actually, the opposite is true. More than 50% of U.S. respondents prefer to receive updates from brands by email, and this number goes up to 73% with millennials specifically.

Plus, these respondents report that they check their personal email account more than 10 times every day… That’s 10 opportunities for them to see your business emails, and an ever greater wealth of opportunities for them to come into your store.  

Customers want to hear from you. They want to learn about new products you’re offering and to stay up to date with what’s going on in your business. This effect is especially amplified if you’re a local business, because users want to be involved in their community. 

So don’t be afraid of email marketing. (It’s basically the same thing as content marketing, just through a different platform.) Embrace it, and you’re guaranteed to see immense success.  

Why will you see success? Because email marketing keeps you connected with your audience. It keeps you top of mind and builds impressions, which ultimately pushes towards conversion. It’s the best way to tell your leads the goings-on in your store, which will get people excited about stopping in for a visit. 

But before you can create an email marketing campaign, you need an email list filled with leads. A lead magnet can help you build this list. 

What lead magnets should I use? 

There are lots of lead magnet options out there. But they don’t all work, and they don’t all convert. 

So which kinds of of lead magnets will actually show success for your storefront? 

1. Expanded guide

“Ultimate” guides and long form articles work beautifully as lead magnets. This kind of magnet expands upon a blog you already have that has shown a lot of traction and garnered attention. Once you’ve piqued the visitor’s interest with the shorter blog, you can “upsell” them by offering a free downloadable with more in-depth information and secrets. 

For example: You own a pool supplies store. You have a few blogs on your site with topics like How to open your pool for the summer, Closing your pool for the summer, Salt water pool systems, How much chlorine do I need? and more. 

Let’s say your “Closing your pool for the summer” seems to get the most views and shares. This is something your audience wants to know more about. So you write an expanded guide of about 4,000 words that tells them the ins and outs of closing their pool with or without the help of a professional. This is a versatile and asked-for lead magnet, which makes it the perfect CTA step on your blogs. It gets people more engaged with your brand—and it gets you your leads’ email addresses. 

2. Checklist 

Or simplify one of your content pieces. Pare down one of your how-to articles or guides into a simple checklist of actionable items. Visitors love having an easy, printable sheet or guide that improves their life—even in the seemingly smallest of ways.  

With the pool supplies store example from above, you might create a checklist called: The Step-By-Step Guide To Closing Your Pool For The Winter. You could include some of the information you would have in your expanded guide, but the checklist would focus on a list of key actionable steps they need to take. Hint: One of those steps would be to make a visit to your store to buy certain supplies! 

3. Case study/report 

If your business operates in a unique or interesting industry, your leads might be interested to learn more with a report or case study. This is a great way to educate your audience while also plucking out those leads that would be most interested in your product. 

For example, let’s say you sell pool supplies that are made entirely with eco-friendly materials. You could write a report with scientific studies that show how eco-friendly pool products keep families healthier. Parents who care about the health of their families will be eager to download this lead magnet—and make their way to your eco-friendly store. 

Let’s say your primary target audience isn’t families but commercial pools. Your lead magnet case study  might instead focus on how companies are saving money on pool and landscaping maintenance by using environmentally-sound materials. 

Pro-tip: Direct your lead magnet for your target audience! 

4. Ebook 

Ebooks are a popular lead magnet because they’re a high-value offering. Similar to reports or extended guides, this is a longer form guide that offers in-depth information about a subject. Leads know they’ll get a lot of value out of an ebook, especially if it’s a unique subject, so they’re not as hesitant to give you their email address as they might be with other lead magnets.  

Ebooks don’t work for all businesses, though. For some, it may not be worth the resources needed to publish the ebook—even if the ebook is only published on your site. For example, most people probably wouldn’t read an entire ebook from a pool supply company (unless they also worked in that industry). So don’t feel pressured into an ebook just because it’s the hot thing to do. It works—but make sure it will work for your business and audience specifically.  

5. Event signup 

Event signups are one of the most effective lead magnets for storefronts. If you’re hosting some sort of event or experience, you can request that people sign up online first. This will let you know how many people are approximately attending the event, but it also ensures you grab their information and get them excited to show up. You can send them updates, news, and announcements so they’ll be looking forward to coming into the store for the event. The more buzz you generate, the better the event will go—and the more customers you’ll get loyal to your brand!  

For example, maybe your pool supplies store is hosting a puppy swim day. People can bring their dogs to your store where you have small plastic pools set up with dog toys, fresh water, and dog treats. You might even partner with nearby animal shelters to bring in more dogs in case people want to adopt. You have a signup page online to “reserve a pup pool,” and you email out details to those who’ve signed up. 

Events are a great way to get involved with your community, work with potential partners, give your leads a branded experience, and get customers loyal to your band long term.  

Read: How To Use Local Marketing To Target Your Customers

6. Free service/product

Did someone say “free”? Leads love getting free stuff. So whether it’s a free coupon code to use in store, a free sample trial of your product, or even a free consultation, offering a bit of value for free is one of the best ways to get leads committed to your brand. 

You can also host a giveaway. Offer a product or bundle of products that you’ll giveaway to one lucky winner. Use their email address as an entry into the contest. (Some businesses will allow multiple entries, which keeps your business top of mind with the customer.) This is a great way to generate excitement around your business and product—and that kind of experience is ultimately what converts. 

Tip: Turn your giveaway or free service into an event that you host in-store! Meld the online with the in-store experience to create an omnichannel presence that will keep people engaged now and in the future. 

Moving leads online to in-store 

It really isn’t that hard to convert your online leads to foot traffic. People who are interested in your products and brand will be motivated to come into your store to get a greater experience—even (especially) if they found you online first. 

Think of Apple, for example. You could buy all of the Apple products online, but people still go into the store because they want that unique experience and salesmanship. 

That’s what your small business offers that puts you above your online competition. You can create an in-store experience and put a face on your brand through your store team. 

But you’re not just a physical storefront either. By creating a strong online brand presence and content strategy, you can boost your brand awareness and gather legitimate leads. 

Online lead magnets + in store experience put your business at a major advantage. 

What does your email list look like? 

That’s the same question as: Do you have a collection of leads and customers you could sell to regardless of your online or physical presence? 

When you collect leads, you’re building the future of your business. Start collecting leads by building your content campaign right now. With the right blogs and lead magnets (that you can use and repurpose), you’ll cast a wide net that catches more fish than you can even imagine. 

Contact Palm Beach Content Company to create the perfect content strategy that will capture online leads and convert them to in-store traffic and, most importantly, lots of sales. We look forward to hearing from you to get started. 

Allison Hess