Exchange value to build your tribe
I met my wife while traveling in Barcelona. We discovered we both loved travel, photography, and camping in the sand with great friends and too much red wine. And our family values and future visions were aligned.
Then I had to leave. But the trust we’d already created gave promise of more to come. So we did that thing that young people do to give hope to an extended relationship. We exchanged email addresses.
I was like a little kid on Christmas day every time she appeared in my inbox. Then three years later, we exchanged rings.
Your goal is the same. Get that inbox invitation, and then make them smile with each encounter as you work toward a long-term relationship.
Gain VIP access to their inbox
How many visitors arrive on your website, never to return again? Wouldn’t it be nice to know who those people are, and how many of them actually care about you?
To avoid being lost in the tunnel of Internet attention deficit disorder, you need a way to capture the interest of those browsing eyes. Maybe their name, company, job title—and definitely their email address.
An email address gives you a direct, owned channel to send targeted messaging, coupons, updates, and offers. It’s like having a door straight into their attention stream.
Just how important is email? More than 80% of landing page traffic at Unbounce comes from email campaigns. And Noah Kagan, founder of SumoMe, says that email drives over 90% or the revenue at their seven-figure business.
There was a time when people passed out their email address like flyers at a political rally. Then people got tired of spam, bait-and-switch offers, and plain old shitty content.
So to get those emails, you’re going to need to dangle a few carrots.
Lure them in with value
It goes by lots of names: lead magnet, bride, incentive, bait. Instead, think of it as an exchange of value with your ideal customer. You offer them something they want, they give you their email address.
Here’s Jayson DeMers, Founder & CEO, AudienceBloom:
What should you offer? Here are your main options:
- Content. Free info that’s worth paying for—to inform or entertain.
- Discounts or coupons. An incentive to purchase a product or try out a service.
- Giveaways or contests. Free stuff, tickets to events, cash drawings.
So if you’re a SaaS company looking for new users, this could be a discount or a free trial.
Are you trying to build a subscriber list for your blog? Offer a highly-researched ebook or in-depth results to that state-of-the-industry survey you ran.
An online flower shop might offer a 20% discount before Mother’s Day to tap the fear of disappointing mom. Or hook people higher up the funnel with a guide on growing a mood-boosting Zen garden in your bathtub.
Remember: the best lead magnets are valuable to someone because they satisfy some need or solve a problem, wherever they are in their customer journey. So make sure you build offers to target people at all stages of the funnel.
Need more ideas?
Look beyond the narrow customer journey
Do a billion people really love WhatsApp and Facebook? No. They love how these apps let them connect with others. Your product’s the same–always part of a larger journey.
So our online flower shop might offer a contest for couples to win the ultimate date night. Because flowers are also a tool to help keep the romance going. See how it all fits together?
But careful here. Offering free Miley Cyrus tickets may get you tons of leads. But if you sell customer service solutions, are these really the people you’re after?
Importantissimo: don’t expect people to click on your “100-page super in-depth mind-blowing ebook” if all the free content on your website sucks. Do you think that if people find free short-form junk on your site, they’re going to trade their email for a longer pile of garbage?
Here are a few more ideas and tools to get you started:
- Viral quiz
- Big-rock content: e-book, guide, white paper, research report
- Email course
- Giveaway: gift cards, free trip, autographed Madonna chastity belt
- Contact form
- Cheat sheet: common metrics, glossary, checklists, etc.
- Templates & tools: for writing emails, calculating metrics, tracking campaigns in spreadsheets, etc.
- Free product demo or consultation
- Coupons or product discounts
- Pre-consultation screening
- Interactive mini-apps
Deliver what you promise
So one strategy is this: throw a pop-up in the middle of the screen promising some mind-blowing, life-transforming insights. And then send them a mediocre spin-off of some listicle advice you found on Buzzfeed.
A better option: provide content that’s actually mind-blowing. Or at least pretty darn useful or entertaining. If you do, people will share it, and Google will reward it with SEO coins.
And most of all: you build trust with your audience.
This way, when you send that follow-up email, your new lead will be more likely to click on your next offer.
Now you’re pouring the right people into the funnel.