How’s your email list? Who’s on it? Is your list comprised only of members and former members? Do you know how to create a lead magnet to add to your list? If not, then you are missing an opportunity. Building an email list and staying in touch with list members is the best way to bring in future members.
Chamber membership isn’t an automatic part of starting a business or moving into town like it once was. These days, people want to get to know, like, and trust you while exploring the potential chamber value before investing their time and money.
If you’re not building an email list of prospects, you should be. And creating a lead magnet is where that begins.
What is a Lead Magnet?
A lead magnet is a piece of content that is offered to a website visitor in exchange for their contact information. An effective lead magnet is designed with your ideal audience in mind. It’s something that they will find valuable enough that they agree to be marketed to in order to receive it.
Therefore a lead magnet must be relevant and valuable. It should serve a business purpose. For instance, if you operate a restaurant and you want to grow your email list to provide your audience with discounts and specials, offering a song as a lead magnet creates a disconnect between what type of audience member you want to attract and what your giving away. On the other hand, if you run a bookstore instead of a restaurant, a free short story is a great idea to “bring in” the ideal audience, in this case, readers.
How To Create a Lead Magnet
The good news is that a lead magnet does not need to be extensive or complicated. Marketing experts recommend that your offering is quickly “consumable” meaning the recipient can get value out of it without much more effort on their part. The actual creation of a pdf, video or other document is the simplest part.
The process of deciding what to create starts with your answers to these questions.
Who Are You Looking For?
What type of member are you trying to attract? Small business entrepreneur? Retail? Restaurants? Who you’re trying to attract will factor into the next step.
What Do They Need That Solves a Problem?
What type of product/lead magnet would interest this person? Something that solves a problem. What do they need to know? What can help them? What would they put to use?
The Search Engine Journal advises you to, “offer expert insight, insider knowledge, a quicker way to get something done, or some other creative and unique solution that solves a real problem for people.”
What Does the Competition Offer?
Once you have an idea, do a quick search on your idea before you create a lead magnet.
If there are a lot of freely offered sources of information that solve that particular problem, perhaps on YouTube or in blog posts, it’s not likely that someone will give you their contact information. Why would they sign up if a quick Google search (or asking ChatGPT) will get their answer.
You must either specialize, take the solution one step further or offer a unique perspective. That way, even if someone else is offering similar content, your brand, your original take or your additional help will create enough value that they’ll sign up.
For instance, if someone searches for “how to start a business” there are millions of results. But if you create a lead magnet checklist on steps to starting a business in your town with the exact links, phone numbers and forms that they need, people will still likely give you their contact information because your lead magnet speaks specifically to your area.
On the other hand, if the city government has all the same information on its website for free (not gated as part of your lead magnet), visitors may not share their contact info with you. They can get it “for free” from the city’s website.
Whatever you create, it should be unique and the information shouldn’t be obtainable from anywhere else on your website or social media platforms. You don’t want a new subscriber to find out they could’ve gotten the same information by reading last Tuesday’s blog post.
A lead magnet is guarded for a reason. It’s special content.
What is the Format?
In addition to the value of the content, creativity and design will increase the appeal of your lead magnet. You can and should deliver it in multiple ways. You’ll want to test different forms of the same information. A pdf checklist might be much more appealing than a video. You may also find that different people will pass on the pdf but eagerly sign up for the video. Try offering the same information in multiple formats.
Popular formats to create your lead magnet include:
- Report or whitepapers
- Mega-idea lists
- Private podcast episode or audio messages
- Webinar or webinar recordings
- Free samples or trials
- Coupons or free entrance to an event
- Business evaluation
But how can these popular lead magnets work for chambers?
Lead Magnet Ideas for Chambers
The following lead magnet ideas appeal to average business owners. For even greater success, tweak these ideas to niche markets and track each campaign separately.
For instance, if you create a campaign for restauranteurs, make sure you note that in your CMS or email software so that you can offer things that are appealing to their needs and challenges. Segment your list so that your nurturing campaigns are more effective.
In addition to segmenting your list, make sure you weed out members who may have downloaded your lead magnet (you may want to offer it to them as a benefit of membership). You don’t want to be perceived as trying to nurture a sale out of someone who is already a member.
Try these proven ideas:
- How to Start a Business in <Your City>: Include everything they should know. This can be done in the form of an infographic, e-book, webinar, or checklist.
- Permit Checklist: If your local permitting process is a lengthy one, create a quick checklist of what a business needs to have all its ducks in a row before attempting the permitting process.
- Are You Ready to Start a Business?: Instead of writing about the business process, this content would tell people who have never owned a business everything that they need to think about on a personal level before following their dream. This could be a checklist, quiz, ebook, infographic, webinar recording, or podcast.
- Everything You Need to Know About Doing Business in <your city>: Part business process, part resource manual, part contact list this would be the ultimate resource for starting a business and thriving while doing it. If you’re going to claim this is “everything” it needs to be a large resource, like an ebook, not a checklist or infographic. Design it out professionally so that it is visually appealing.
- New Resident Resources: From e-magazines to checklists, video Q&A to gated content on your website, there are many options for the type of information and resources you can provide for new residents or those who are considering a move to your area.
- Lunch & Learn Video Replay: If you had a popular Lunch & Learn topic like an overview of changes to tax or employment law, you could make the replay available for the price of an email. As mentioned earlier, just make sure you scrub your data and segment appropriately as members may also download this lead magnet.
- Small Business Workshop: You could host this as a partnership with your local SCORE or run it on your own. The event could be in-person and/or saved to your video library.
Finally, a lead magnet should not be one-size-fits-all. If you market to a variety of member personas, you want to have lead magnets that will appeal to each of them. What interests your small restaurants may not interest your small retail. However, there could be some overlap and that is fine as well.
Want another example of a valuable lead magnet? Take a look at this: