Digital Marketing

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Written By

Don Sturgill

Don Sturgill is a freelance writer and copywriter from Bend, Oregon, USA. Don loves helping entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses. Find out more at

Creating Lead Magnets to Get More VOD Subscribers

“Build it and they will come” was an excellent concept for a movie, but it’s horrible advice for digital marketing. Getting traffic to your VOD channel takes forethought, planning, and work.

But the job doesn’t end there.

Attracting visitors to your site is only part of the equation. The next step is to convert those visitors into buyers. Many of those who stop by for a look won’t commit to a purchase instantly. You’ll need to identify those who are genuine prospects, then cultivate a relationship with them. Otherwise, you won’t get anywhere near maximum return from your work.

That’s where the lead magnet comes in. Its purpose is to coax visitors into identifying themselves as potential customers and to give you their contact information. That will enable you to set the pace of the conversation, rather than having to wait for the visitor to come back to find out more about your offer.

Lead magnets can be a powerfully effective means of collecting qualified leads for your VOD business, but they’re often misused and misunderstood. Many who try bribing visitors to sign up for their email list find the tactic to be more hassle than it’s worth.

It doesn’t have to be like that.

In this section, we’ll show you how to create lead magnets that work. If you’ll follow the best practice principles we cover here, you’ll not only get more leads, but you’ll get better leads.

Let’s get started.

How lead magnets function

Prospects don’t become “leads” until they’ve shown interest in your offer and provided their contact information. That’s the primary function of the lead magnet. It’s the bait that gets those yet unknown visitors to say, “Hi, my name is Joe. I’m interested in the work you do. Here’s my contact info. Please send more information.”

Do you feel how important the move from visitor to lead is? It’s the difference between checking analytics data and seeing a potential customer walk in the door.

Why are traffic metrics important?

Traffic metrics indicate how many people are looking for an answer. Traffic is a number. Leads indicate how many people believe you have an answer to their questions. Leads are invitations to connect to prospective customers.

There are special terms for different kinds of lead magnets, but their purpose is always the same – get pre-qualified leads.

All of these are lead magnets or terms used to describe lead magnets:

  • Content upgrades
  • Ethical bribes
  • Free offers
  • Sign-up incentives

The challenge is to make what you give the prospect seem more valuable than what you ask the prospect to give you in return. The bigger you can make that gulf, the more response you’ll get. The magic happens when trading contact information for your lead magnet is a no-brainer. That’s when visitors say, “Of course, I’ll do that.”

The characteristics of an effective lead magnet

The lead magnet that works best for you may not suit my business at all. It’s even possible for your lead magnet to draw way more leads than mine, but for me to earn more money than you earn. You’ll see that concept stressed throughout this lesson.

For example, let’s say we’ve both produced an exceptional SVOD on digital photography. Each is priced at $100. You give away chances to win a Hawaiian vacation as your lead magnet, and you get 1,000 sign-ups. Crunching the numbers, you invested $10 for each lead and converted one percent of them. You spent $10,000 on the give-away and earned $1,000 in sales, leaving you with a $9,000 loss.

My lead magnet is a one-page document I prepared myself: “5 Ways to Create a Sense of Motion in Your Digital Photographs.” I only get 100 sign-ups, but since I’ve targeted my offer to attract the people most likely to want my training, my conversion rate is ten percent. My efforts generated the same number of conversions and the same $1,000 in revenue as yours, but it was all profit to me. I focused on getting quality leads, not on getting plenty of leads.

Yes, that’s an over-simplified and unlikely scenario, but failing to provide an appropriate lead magnet is the limiting factor in most failed lead generation campaigns.

Here are five critical principles for developing high-performing lead magnets:

  • Design a lead magnet that appeals to your target audience specifically. The best lead magnets draw the best prospects.
  • Stay focused on solving one problem or making one promise related to your primary offer. You’re not giving away your entire solution, only a part of it.
  • Make your lead magnet easy to consume. Checklists get read, but ebooks get filed away. Your lead magnet is part of your path to sales.
  • Build value into your lead magnet. “Simple” doesn’t have to mean “cheap.” High-quality graphics and design, for instance, dress up any document.
  • Give the prospect rapid access to your lead magnet, and make sure it fully delivers on the promise you made in exchange for the sign-up.

How much information would you provide?

Remember, the prospect must see the lead magnet as considerably more valuable than the information required to obtain it. Let’s say my SVOD program teaches bowling. I promise to show you how to boost your score and become a star bowler in your local league. My lead magnet is “Take the First Lesson Free.”

You click through to the sign-up page and begin filling out the form. How much information would you provide there? Here’s an exercise: consider the list below, then mark the place where you think the value of the free bowling course (the give) would no longer outweigh the value of the information you’re being asked to provide (the ask).

  • What is your first name?
  • What is your last name?
  • What is your email address?
  • What is your phone number?
  • Where are you employed?
  • What is your annual net salary?
  • What is your credit card number?
  • What is your social security number?

How far did you get? Most people would stop at the phone number. That’s because the give must be well worth the ask.

Examples of lead magnets

For an example of a high-performing lead magnet, I turned to Jon Morrow’s website. Jon is one of the most successful bloggers and content marketing gurus on the planet. Visitors to his SmartBlogger site are presented with an opt-in form not long after the page loads. Check the screenshot below.

jon morrow lead magnet

Compare Jon Morrow’s lead magnet and opt-in form to our five principles. Jon nails them – including great graphics and quick delivery. Note that Morrow provides a lead magnet that promises something every blogger wants – posts that “go viral.” What does Morrow ask in return? Only your email address.

Here’s another really good example of a high-performing lead magnetic that’s actually for a VOD business. Take Naturally Sassy’s blog, she has a content upgrade in the format of a recipe ebook for her blog readers. The content upgrade call to action explains the specific problem the recipe book will solve (help you eat chocolate guilt-free, duh!), and ask for only a name and email address (although we would personally recommend skipping the name field for something like this).  

sassy blog lead magnet

In most cases, the email address is plenty of information to get started. Once you’ve made contact and are building relationship, you can ask for any additional data you need to serve the prospect better – but why ask for info you don’t really need? Every ask you include on the form requires the prospect to give that much more in exchange for your lead magnet.

Creating effective lead magnets – wrapping it up

Don’t you hate it when you respond to an offer promising “Instant Access,” but end up having to wait for an email, click on the confirmation link, then wait again to finally get the information you wanted?

The Golden Rule applies as much to marketing as it does to any other relationship in life. Treat others the way you want to be treated. That means you should always do exactly what you say you’ll do, your prospects should always receive exactly what you say they’ll receive, and that should happen in the exact manner you promise they’ll get it.

If you deviate at all, under-promise and over-deliver … not vice versa. For digital lead magnets, you can send your opt-ins directly to a page that contains the lead magnet (or download link). You can also use the welcome email for that purpose.

Here’s our final word on lead magnets: always be testing. Use A/B split tests to find out which lead magnet works best, how changes in the wording of the offer affect conversions, and how much information you should request from your prospects to optimize conversions.

If you use lead magnets correctly, you can build your list of prospects quickly. That will give you the leverage to move you from taking orders to making sales. The difference may seem subtle, but the effect on your income can be huge.

Lesson 3:

Email Marketing

Go to Lesson 3