What is a lead magnet or freebie and why do you need one?

Business Strategy, Email Marketing | 0 comments

Even if you’re new to online business, you may have already heard the terms “lead magnet” and “freebie” tossed around quite a lot. Before you knee-jerk create one, it’s a good idea to take some time to understand what is a lead magnet and why you actually need one so that you can use it intentionally.

(As always please excuse a tiny bit of awkward phrasing so that I can make Yoast SEO happy).

What is a lead magnet?

Put succinctly, lead magnet is your “top of funnel” entry point. It’s a way to attract leads (potential customers) to join your email list so that you can market to them to get the sale. It’s Step One. This is why it’s important to understand what it is and how it works – if you just create the lead magnet, but you don’t create anything else to come after it and complete your funnel, then it’s not going to serve it’s purpose.

Is a lead magnet different from a freebie?

Yes and no. Lauren from Truer Words introduced me to the concept that a true freebie should actually be free. This means that your prospective customer or client doesn’t need to do anything, including giving their email to access it.

When to use a lead magnet

You should use a lead magnet to help drive a specific action on the part of your prospective customer or client. Ideally it should be something that leads to your paid service or product. That way the person who signs up for your lead magnet is the same person who would have an interest and need for your paid item. The lead magnet gets them into the funnel, and then your funnel’s job is to convert them into a buyer.

I have some lead magnet ideas in this post.

The funnel doesn’t necessarily have to contain your pitch emails right away. You can do a welcome series if that feels right to you – just make sure to pepper in how your prospective customer or client can buy from you and ask for the sale!

When to use a freebie

A true freebie is a really great way to demonstrate generosity and connect with your prospective customer or client. It’s purpose isn’t necessarily to drive a sale, but to help bolster community. Eventually this can work to boost your know-like-trust factor with your client and help earn you the sale – but the sale itself is not the primary goal.

A freebie should provide value the same way that a lead magnet does, but I tend to think it should be more about creating connection and community. These are the freebies that Lauren uses:

what is a lead magnet

Both of her freebies provide an opportunity for her to connect with the prospective client. While she still likely captures their email for scheduling/access purposes, the exchange is much less transactional.

Other ideas for lead magnets and freebies

If you want to see what some more of these options look like IRL, I made a little video for you here:

Best of luck! Xx, Kara


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Hi, I'm Kara

I’m one part website designer, one part strategist and one part accountability partner.  I help service-based solopreneurs get set up online without the tech headaches!

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