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Revealed: 9 mistakes advisers and planners make with lead magnet campaigns

A few weeks ago we wrote about the 5 steps to running successful lead magnet campaigns. This week, we’ll consider the mistakes we see advisers and planners making with lead magnets and how they can be avoided.

Mistake #1: Not knowing your target audience

There’s a temptation to dive straight in by writing a guide and developing an advert.


Careful preparation, no matter how frustrating it might feel, will improve returns and reduce costs in the long run. Your preparation starts by understanding your target audience, particularly their problems, challenges and aspirations. Then consider the solutions, as well as your target audience’s communication preferences.

Only when you know these things, can you build the two key components of your lead magnet campaign; the asset (guide, checklist, infographic, and so on) and the advert itself.

Mistake #2: Choosing the wrong social media channel

Once you understand your target audience, avoiding the second mistake should be easy.

All too often we see advisers and planners use their preferred social media channel rather than that favoured by their target clients:

  • You want to work with people approaching retirement? Use Facebook, not Instagram.
  • You want to work with Senior Executives? LinkedIn is probably the place to start.

Just as you would with traditional networking, you need to ‘hang out’ (in this case online) where your target clients do. Naturally, that isn’t always your preferred social media channel. It’s also one of the reasons why so many advisers and planners are disappointed when they fail to create new enquiries from Twitter.

You can read more about the targeting options offered by the main social media channels by clicking here.

Mistake #3: Failing to match expectations

I once chatted to a financial planner who wanted to run a Facebook ad campaign promoting something totally different to the guide he was giving away.

The reason? To save money.

He knew the guide he was giving away wasn’t great. But he wanted to save money and decided against writing a new guide which would have perfectly matched the advert he wanted to run.

In the words of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman: “Big mistake! Huge!”

We’re not saying you can’t ever use an existing guide, checklist or infographic, but your lead magnet must be interesting, informative, relevant. If you’ve got something that fits the bill, then use it. If you don’t, develop something that does.

Above all though, the advert used to distribute it must be accurate and consistent with the asset you give away. People are giving you their data in return for something they expect to offer value. Failure to meet their expectations and your fledgling relationship might never recover.

Mistake #4: Being boring

Both advert (text and image) and the title of the lead magnet must be interesting enough to pique someone’s interest. They aren’t on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to see your ads, they’re there to catch up with their connections, post an update, hell, watch a cat video or someone doing DIY on double speed!

That means your advert must be good enough to distract them from what they really want to do.

There’s no need to move into full-on clickbait mode. However, you do need to think carefully about the text you use in your advert and the title of the asset you’re giving away.  Too often we see boring titles; “Your guide to Inheritance Tax” would be so much more enticing if it were switched to “10 top tips for avoiding Inheritance Tax” or “10 ways to ensure your loved ones pay no Inheritance Tax.”

You get the picture.

You can read more tips on how to write engaging headlines by clicking here.

Mistake #5: Using a lead magnet to sell

We’ve spoken to a few advisers and planners who want to use their company brochure, or something equally sales driven, in a lead magnet campaign.

If you think someone will be happy handing over their personal data only to be sold to, you’ve got another thing coming. Lead magnets must give the reader valuable insights relevant to their own situation.

Get the asset right and you won’t need to sell anything, your content will do it for you. Remember, this is about them, not you.

Mistake #6: Delivering a poorly produced asset

For most people, downloading the lead magnet will be their first interaction with you and your business. That means you’ve got to impress:

  • Your landing page must be well designed and easy to use
  • The download has to work (it’s amazing how many don’t)
  • The asset must be well designed, easy to read and scannable (remember, we read differently online to the way we do printed material)
  • Typos and grammatical errors need to be eliminated; as our Nick Parkhouse explained recently in a blog they quickly drain confidence

From the advert to the targeting, the asset to the nurturing, the whole campaign must be ‘just right’. That means taking things slowly, so typos and silly errors don’t undermine the time and money you’ve invested.

Mistake 7: Failing to nurture enquiries

Too many people think that once the exchange has been made (data for the asset), the hard work has been done.

That couldn’t be further from the truth; you’ve only done the easy part!

Step five of our recent blog ‘Lead magnets: 5 steps to running successful lead magnet campaigns’ explains how you should nurture people who’ve downloaded your guide. Failure to nurture suspects will lead to the inevitable failure of your campaign, wasted money and huge frustration.

Mistake #8: Expecting too much too soon

People haven’t visited Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc to hear from you. They probably don’t even feel that they have an immediate need for your services. However, you have piqued their interest enough for them to download your lead magnet.

As we said in mistake #7, you now need to nurture them from suspect into prospect. For a handful that will take hours or days, for others months or years. They will probably need more than a single nudge by email too, which is why we recommend a series of follow up emails and the use of newsletters. It’s also why lead magnets are as much about the short term as they are the long.

If you aren’t prepared to be patient, lead magnets aren’t for you.

Mistake #9: Failing to manage campaigns

Nothing is static in the online world, that means all lead magnet campaigns must be carefully managed.

You’ve got two options, to manage the campaign yourself, or pay someone to do it for you. Either way, it’s a mistake to set up a campaign and expect it to work forever.

If you pay an expert that means splitting your budget between the cost of clicks and management. Initially, that might seem to be counter-intuitive; you want as much of your budget focused on clicks, right?  Well, not quite. The amount you pay for the management of the campaigns should increase your overall return, even though it means not every penny is spent on clicks.

Take our five steps to success

Our article last month explains the five key steps to making lead magnets work for you.

Approaching the campaigns with an open mind, realistic expectations and an aim to add value will go a long way to running successful campaigns.

Do that and you’ll get more leads and spend less money.

If you’re running lead magnet campaigns, now might be the right time to review them to see if you’re making any of these mistakes. Alternatively, if you would like to discuss whether a lead magnet campaign is right for you please email or call 0115 8965 300.

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