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by John Eberhard

A common marketing action today is to create what is called a “lead magnet.” This is something you offer that attracts leads.

And then you offer that on a website, or via email or via other types of promotion. This is often some kind of information product, given away for free, such as a free report or free ebook. I have used this strategy to great effect in certain industries and markets.

The idea is that the free report or ebook is written on a topic related to your product or service. So it will attract people who are potential clients or customers, since they are interested in the topic. It is not just a sales piece, but gives some valuable information. Then at the end you can have a call to action, where you tell the person to buy one of your products or services.

The advantage of this is that as I said it attracts people who are potential clients, and it’s going to get more response than if you sent out a blatant sales piece. So some of those people may be ready to buy now, but others won’t be ready now. For those people you will send out repeated communications (automated emails) to develop them or hot them up. And you’re adding them to your email mailing list, for content like your newsletter or other emails.

I like to create an autoresponder series, which is a series of emails that get sent out to the people who fill out a form on a website. The series starts when they fill out the form. You send out one email to them as soon as they sign up which contains the download link to the free report or ebook that you offered. Then subsequent emails sell them on your product or service. I usually offer some service that is relatively inexpensive to get them started with the company.

It’s called a funnel because you have large numbers of people at the beginning and it narrows down to fewer who are interested and buy your products or services.

I have written several ebooks like this. One got over 1,200 downloads in a year, so that’s roughly 100 per month. In a B2B (business to business) market.

But you have to have an idea that your target public is going to respond to a lead magnet like this. That usually means surveying your target public to find out what topics they are most interested in. Not all types of publics will respond to ebooks. But for the right markets this can be very successful.