Today in web marketing, the Grail always consists in recovering the e-mail addresses of potential customers. It must be said that in the ambient hubbub, especially on social networks, the email remains the most efficient tool to convert. Especially since it is easy to access and inexpensive (or even free for few subscribers) …

But how do you get qualified addresses back? Except with LinkedIn, you cannot legally or easily retrieve the email addresses of your social media contacts, many of whom are not potential customers. The subscribers to the newsletter are more and more difficult to convince: we have all been harassed by emails following a subscription.

google loves me workshop banner

So the powerful tool, within everyone’s reach at the moment, is free quality content (called “lead magnet”) in exchange for an email. A much appreciated win-win strategy!

Here are 6 key steps to collect qualified emails with this free content.

To sell what eventually?

It is “The” question to ask yourself before you start since, let’s be clear, you are doing this to sell in the end. It’s about attracting a user with this free content to transform it:

  • In lead (contact who becomes aware of who you are and what you do);
  • Then in prospect (who has a need or interest for your offer);
  • And ideally as a client, or even as an ambassador or prescriber (who will recommend you).

lead customer prospect

So it is essential to ask yourself what you ultimately want to sell and to whom. For example, your best-selling product or service, or a calling product. Often 2 offers are used:

  • A little expensive (for example a book at 25 €);
  • A more complete and a little more expensive (for example a simple service at 197 €).

You will frame precisely:

Your free content is supposed to have one with the final product and interest this target.

You will attract targeted subscribers, knowing exactly what interests them. The goal is then to send them emails on this subject, to lead them after X mails to a paid offer. You can of course offer several free contents for several offers, and thus collect qualified email addresses.

This is important: it is much easier to sell a specific item to a person already interested in the subject.

How to choose the right free content?

Ideally this content:

  • Answers a recurring question from your prospects;
  • Provides a solution to a specific and frequent problem with your commercial target.

here is some ways to find very attractive content (the famous lead magnet, literally “lead magnet”):

For example, a web marketing consultant wants to place his services to create Facebook ads. It can offer a guide on “how to achieve effective advertising on Facebook”. Here is an example of an effective lead magnet:

ebook Facebook advertising Lambert

Then it’s about find the right format for your free content. Logically it should:

  • Be easy to produce for you, especially if it’s the first one;
  • To please the target (it is rather connected blog article, video, podcast …?).

I advise you to from what you have facilities to produce, even from existing content :

Choose practical, directly applicable and rather short content. Overall, content that allows immediate and easy application is more successful. Even if some choose to create more solid content (such as an eBook): it is a choice to demonstrate their expertise and make an impression. But for a first lead magnet, it is better to start with content that will provide help or quick response to your audience.

Produce quality content

Yes, it’s free. But in the web jungle, if you want to get an email address against this content, we will have to produce very attractive content and if possible, stand out. Or at least different from the competition.

So take care of the substance as well as the form, whatever format or medium you choose:

  • Choose a clear title on the content, without exaggerating with the “ultimate guide to death that kills”! Use a headline that speaks to your audience, not to specialists. And preferably with keywords, which will be useful in the promotion stage as in SEO;
  • Propose a clear plan, a framework or steps (or even a summary for content such as a guide, eBook);
  • Introduce yourself quickly: you are not there to sell, but to help, inform at first. So come quickly to the content;
  • Create content in your colors, with a top / footer that indicates your name or site;
  • Make it fun to read, watch or listen to;
  • Talk about your business rather late and quickly;
  • Do not forget the links to your site / blog, and social networks (usually at the end of the content, inviting them to visit or follow you).

Proofread, check, and make sure you’re not using jargon. This content must be easy to understand and use for your potential customer. He should say at the end: “great, I love this business”!

That’s the point : mark the spirits (show his know-how) and make himself sympathetic, without trying to sell at first. A person who has been helped will remember us much more than if they saw a simple advertisement or article posted on Twitter. They will also be better able to call on our services or buy our products when they have a need in relation to our offer.

So you have to be aware that this approach with free content pays off after several contacts and a certain amount of time in general. Even if certain content, such as a successful webinar, can generate sales immediately.

Make sure to host the content on your server without it being referenced by the search engines (unless it is your choice), or to hide for example a series of videos so that it cannot be seen without registration.

And now ? You have to distribute this great content!

Let’s be honest: it’s not the easiest part, but it’s within everyone’s reach. It just takes a little time. Then everything will be automated!

There are various methods, but the easiest and free one is to use his site or blog coupled with social networks.

The user must therefore give his email before he can download or view the content. For a webinar, tools usually take care of registrations: you just have to plan the content and promote it. For another element, it is generally necessary:

  • Store it (it all depends on whether it’s a guide, a podcast, videos, etc.) without being visible without registration (for example on your accommodation or on YouTube in private mode);
  • Possibly create a landing page (minimalist sales page intended to promote a single element);
  • Have a tool for sending automatic mails (for example Mailchimp, Mailpoet, the plugin paying once Mailster…).

For this last point attention: you will have to send the link or content by email + a series of emails at defined intervals. It is imperative that the email solution used offers “auto-responders” (automatic email sending). For example after 1 day, then 3 days, 1 week, etc.

Practical advice: your list can grow very quickly. However, beyond 2000 subscribers, many email solutions become chargeable, some with dissuasive prices. Depending on your goals, take the time to choose the right email solution. Mailchimp is simple and universal, certainly, but quite expensive beyond 2,000 subscribers. It will then be more difficult to put everything back on another solution. You can even lose subscribers during the transfer (some solutions require a new registration agreement). So even if it is a bit off-putting, take the time to choose the best solution for you.

Once your email solution is in place, configure it for sending. Preferably with a Sendgrid type external sending solution and not sending with WordPress. This simple precaution will prevent you from problems sending emails (limited with the WordPress script) or from being blacklisted.

Then create a list and if necessary a nice form (depending on the tools) dedicated to this free content. Make it clear that you will not spam and possibly send a frequency. For example, my guide on social media has had some success because I specify that I will only send a few emails per year, and I stick to it of course. Ask for the minimum of information to not block registrations: just the email, first name or last name at most. I really advise against sending emails to your regular newsletter, even if it is simpler. Next, knowing who downloaded what is essential to find out what your subscribers’ interests are and send them targeted content.

If you have a blog, you can create an image and advertise the content:

  • In sidebar;
  • In the banner or header;
  • In the footer;
  • After each article, with a link in the articles that lend themselves to it, etc.

You may need to use a pop-up plugin on WordPress, a “hello bar” or other tool allowing you to make this content visible, to capture more emails. However, be careful not to annoy your visitors!

Here is for example what I set up on my site to offer my free guide:

lead magnet Harmony Com

Plan a sequence of emails

Stay on topic related to content and then offer additional content: blog article, video, etc.

Prepare some emails which will be sent at a defined interval after registration. It all depends on the industry and the offer, there are no rules. Here too, let your subscribers breathe and respect their choice if they unsubscribe (even if you can ask them why). We have all been harassed by emails after downloading a guide (sometimes disappointing in addition): it’s tiring.

2 tips:

  • Think mobile: keep it short, simple, clear;
  • Respect the law and write down your contact details at the end of the email, to avoid spam filters as much as possible.

Put yourself in the place of your subscriber interested in this specific subject, and keep them interested for a few emails. You can then tell him a little about yourself and your offer, but overall stay on the free. Give before you receive!

And don’t forget to request feedback on this great content, that subscribers leave a comment on the blog or otherwise, to promote it. Try to connect with subscribers by asking them what is causing them the most trouble, if they find things missing, etc. all that is likely to provoke an exchange. You can also offer to download other free content.

After 3-4 emails minimum, you can offer your calling product or paid offer, special offer.

It is possible to “retarget”, etc., in particular with a Facebook pixel, but I will not develop this more complex subject here, especially since it is not my specialty. In all cases, don’t push hard with your offer. Keep the link with subscribers on free for a period of time before offering them again, or presenting another.

Promote content

Phew, we are coming to the end … Are you still there?

So your content is in place, efficient, your list is ready to receive subscribers, automatic emails are ready.

Only let the world know you have great content to offer them ! A few more tips and you can finally reap the fruits of your efforts. Don’t just advertise it on your blog or on social media once, it’s far from enough to get results in the general cacophony of the web.

Here are some ideas, to be adapted according to the nature of the content offered:

  • integrate it into the cover (or background, banner) of your social profiles;
  • make a cool 3D image of a guide or ebook;
  • take a screenshot of your video or a nice presentation image;
  • integrate these visuals on the sidebar of your site or blog, or in the menu of your clearly visible site;
  • create a page and / or article on your blog with the content;
  • integrate it (automatically or not) into certain articles on the subject on your blog;
  • talk to your network, your partners, so that they relay the information (possibly offer them without any other formality);
  • “Pin” an attractive publication (with visual) on your social profiles;
  • offer the content on Scoop It if you use it, also pin the publication on the topic in connection with the content;
  • announce the content to your newsletter subscribers, possibly offering them access without further registration (a gift appreciated);
  • pass it on to your customers without further formality;
  • talk about it regularly on social networks (without much).

Here is my Facebook cover, for example, which uses the call to action button:

free Harmony Com guides

Don’t forget touse the (necessarily) complimentary comments on your free content on your blog or on social networks. “Social proof” is a strong element in pushing other visitors to give their email. You can also use a button that gives the number of downloads when they become meaningful.

In short, bring your content to life by promoting it regularly. You can even create an email signature or on certain forums that allow it.

For all of this promotion, be sure to use key words to make your content easier to find afterwards, including on social media (think of hashtags).

Finally you can use the paid promotion. For example, the couple Facebook advertising for free content + mail works very well (do not forget the Facebook pixel and the personalized audiences in this case). Yes I know, paying for content may seem strange. But for ambitious goals or to launch the content, a small investment will certainly bring you much more visibility, registrations, and therefore potential customers. Many web marketing and social media professionals use this technique to build their targeted email lists.

Facebook advertising for free

Finally, be sure to update your content if necessary (and mention it on the dedicated pages). This little work is useful for:

  • Notify former subscribers and remind you of their fond memories;
  • Provoke new registrations, reassuring on the validity of the content.

And There you go !

It’s work, of course. But currently, this technique represents a rather simple, free and very effective way to gain qualified subscribers. Of which a part must logically turn into customers, in any case, I wish you!

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