If you haven’t heard of a lead magnet, let’s start with the simple description: it’s an item of value to your target audience, that you offer free of charge in exchange for their name and email info.

It’s a way to build your marketing list using reciprocity as the currency.

However, as I’ve pointed out in previous blogs, lead magnets don’t work in isolation – or at least not very well.  You need a lead funnel underpinning it to build relationships, deliver more value, become a welcome item in the recipients’ inboxes and educate them on your value.  Eventually, to encourage them to become a paying customer.

In case you haven’t noticed, things change, particularly digitally.  What worked a few years ago is less effective now.  For instance:

  • In 2006 LinkedIn didn’t have groups or the option to share content
  • In 2010 good tips got lots of followers on Twitter – not any longer
  • In 2014 a Facebook Page was a very effective tool in gathering fans and getting new business, particularly if you’re selling B2C – now nobody sees it unless you pay for advertising and fewer people are looking at Facebook today – they’re all on Instagram and TikTok

I could go on – but you get the drift.  The way we use our digital platforms has changed.  In 2012 text only content worked, then Instagram and Pinterest gained ground and people expected images.  Today, videos are the primary attention grabber.

The holy grail is engagement – which is harder and harder to get.  So what does this all have to do with lead funnels?

You need a community

The traditional lead funnel starts with a lead magnet, then moves the ‘freebie’ people through a process offering a low cost item, then a one-to-many membership, subscription or course, with just a few becoming 1-2-1 customers.

The model is changing as your audience is more interested in being part of a dedicated community than part of a process.  Business has changed too as people work differently. 

Lead funnels build communities by giving away more free information, but providing it only to those who join the community.  This might be a private group on a social media platform or a dedicated website where members log in.

The theory works by delivering massive value until the member realises that there’s even more value if they are willing to pay for it.  By then they are committed members of your tribe and not only know that you know your stuff, but like your style and want to be involved.

So the lead funnel now looks very different with not only a free lead magnet, but also:

  • Free webinars
  • Free ‘how to’ material on YouTube or in a private group
  • Free updates on your specialist subject
  • Free monthly learning events

And more.

If you’re thinking ‘this all costs money and how will I get paid for it?’ the answer is that what people do pay for will be of huge value to them – and they’ll be willing to pay more for it.  Also you’ll be building a network of raving fans who will virtually do your marketing for you.

It’s a leap of faith, but like everything else, if you’re not staying ahead of the competition, you’ll be left in the dust!