News article

Lead magnets: 5 steps to running successful lead magnet campaigns

Lead magnets help the businesses who use them generate new enquiries by combining the power of content and social media.

Simply put, a lead magnet is a piece of content (a guide, checklist or ‘listicle’) which people download in return for providing you with information, usually their contact details. The lead magnet is generally promoted on social media, either through posts seen by existing followers/connections or through adverts. It’s here where things start to get really interesting.

Before we go any further, we should apologise for the term itself. Frankly, ‘lead magnet’ is a horrible phrase. Having said that, we’ve thought long and hard for an alternative and have drawn a blank. So, we’re stuck with it for now.

The lead magnet opportunity

We already know that content is king. We also know that the number of people using LinkedIn and Facebook in the UK is huge:

  • 40 million people, equivalent to 71% of UK adults, can be reached with adverts on Facebook
  • LinkedIn has 25 million users in the UK

Combine that incredible reach with the ability to target specific demographics and you’ve got a huge opportunity to reach your target market, add value and generate enquiries. Those targeting opportunities include the basics, such as age, location and gender plus others which you might not have considered. You can read more about those by clicking here.

A word of warning though; done well, lead magnet campaigns can generate a steady stream of new enquiries in both the short and long term. Done badly and you’ll quickly spend your budget, get poor results and become thoroughly disenchanted with the whole exercise.

5 steps to running a successful lead magnet campaign

Step one: Develop a genuinely useful piece of content

The content could be a guide, listicle or checklist. Whatever you choose, it must be interesting, informative and relevant. Remember too that your readers’ needs trump yours. This is no time for sales, but one to inform, educate and enlighten.

You’ll also need to build a landing page on your website from where the consumer can download the content you’ve created.

Step two: Agree on the social media platform

It’s crucial you choose the right platform. Make a mistake and it’ll undermine the whole campaign.

You want to work with octogenarians helping them plan for care? Then Instagram is the wrong platform. However, you want to work with first-time buyers who need a mortgage? Instagram might be perfect. You get the picture.

Step three: Agree on the targeting criteria

Matching the platform to the target audience and then carefully selecting the targeting criteria means your advert will be seen by the right audience.

For most campaigns targeting starts with gender, age and location. Each social media platform then has a different range of targeting criteria available. If there’s not something which exactly matches your requirements, there’s often a suitable proxy available. The more specific you can be, the better.

Step four: Build and test adverts

Arriving at the most effective advert requires constant tweaking and testing during the initial period.

Start with two adverts which are different in just one way, such as the image you’ve selected or the text you’ve written. Whichever you choose it’s crucial there’s only one difference. Test the ads for a period of 2 – 4 weeks, then analyse the results to understand which has been most effective.

Next, take the winner and change one thing, testing the new advert against the winner of the first test. Repeat that process, refining and testing as you go, until you’ve got an advert that you believe is as effective as possible.

Remember, in addition to testing different adverts, you should also test alternative targeting criteria.

It’s also at this stage when you decide on the information you will request in return for downloading the content. Think carefully about what you ask for, request too much information and you will reduce the number of people prepared to complete the form.

Step five: Follow up

Creating a suspect by someone downloading the content is only half of the job. You then need to nurture them until they become a prospect.

There are several ways to do this. We recommend sending a series of emails. For example:

Email 1: Checking they were able to download the guide

Email 2: Offering a follow-up piece of content

Email 3: Suggesting an initial phone call, meeting or coffee to understand how you might be able to help them. If they agree, it’s at this point you’ve turned them into a prospect

You should also connect with the suspect on social media, so they see your posts and you theirs.

For the minority, this follow-up process might be enough to turn them from a suspect into a prospect. Remember though, all they’ve done is respond to an advert online. They might not feel they need your services right now so for many the nurturing process will take longer.

That’s where newsletters come in to play.

Well-constructed newsletters, with interesting, informative and relevant content, sent regularly (ideally monthly) will help to nurture these suspects. They position you as a ‘go-to’ expert, giving a regular and high-quality nudge towards you. Your aim is to ensure that when the suspect experiences a trigger, you’re the first people they think of speaking with.

The proof that this works?

We’ve built a business on nurturing a database by adding value through our weekly blogs and free resources. Give away relevant, valuable and useful content to the right people and they will ultimately respond when the time is right.

When to use lead magnets

As we say more times than we care to mention; referrals from existing clients and professional connections will always be the best type of new enquiry. However, these need supplementing with other sources, including lead magnets.

This type of marketing is about both creating enquiries today as it is nurturing suspects until they become prospects. In that way, you’re future-proofing your marketing.

However, it isn’t for everyone. To run successful lead magnet campaigns you need:

  1. Great content
  2. The correct targeting
  3. A compelling advert
  4. Effective nurturing
  5. An analytical eye for interpreting the results

Oh, and you will also need a healthy dose of patience and persistence!

If you’d like to know more about the lead magnet campaigns we develop and run for clients please drop an email to or call us on 0115 8965 300.

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