Beyond the lead magnet: Next steps to draw your prospect down the funnel

Shoot for the moon

Dr. John Wilkins had a plan to get mankind onto the moon. He wrote about it in his books and discussed it with whoever he spoke to. His vision: “flying chariots” breaking out of Earth’s pull and into the void of space before gently landing on the moon. It was revolutionary thinking.

Of course, gravity was one obstacle he faced. Dealing with the cold and what those intrepid voyagers would eat on the long trip to space were other issues to consider.

There was also the problem of timing.

The fact that he was attempting to launch England’s space program in the mid-17th century was, in hindsight, an intractable inconvenience. So, while it was a grand plan and one Wilkins pursued for decades, there would never be a next step for him, his grandchildren or even his great-grandchildren.

And that next step is mighty important, whether you’re looking to build intergalactic exploration capability or something slightly less ambitious, such as better marketing for your business. Specifically, we’re talking about the next step once your prospect has opted in for your lead magnet.

Related: 12 lead magnet ideas for eCommerce shops

So, what’s the next step after someone grabs your lead magnet?

When pondering this question, you first thought might be…

via GIPHY

You wouldn’t be the only one. Other people I asked typically replied with a two-word phrase: “email marketing.” It’s a 100-percent reasonable answer. Building your list for email marketing is usually the No. 1 goal with lead magnets.

But if that’s all you’re doing, you’re missing out on a big opportunity.

 

While they’re often viewed as such, lead magnets aren’t mere promotional vehicles. They’re a closed door, with all the potential and possibility a closed door has. When your lead sizes up that door and decides they like what they see, they open it up and step through.

And it’s that next step that can be oh so important.

Editor’s note: Looking for an elegant but easy-to-use email marketing solution? Check out GoDaddy Email Marketing to create and track emails that integrate with your website.

Open the door to a deeper relationship

Lead magnets often come in the form of content — think guides, white papers, reports, checklists — but can be practically anything you can give to your prospects. For example, bumper stickers could be a lead magnet if you’re able to distribute them.

You can offer lead magnets for different reasons, like authority, awareness or education. But the most important reason is to establish that first connection between your lead and yourself. And if possible, you want to rapidly build beyond that first connection.

It all comes to back to our lead magnet being the door.

 

What’s the next step your prospects take when they open it? It’s great that they’re now on your list and you can start reaching out to them via email, but what if there was something you could do immediately after they took your lead magnet?

via GIPHY

As a matter of fact, there are a number of options.

4 strategies to move beyond the lead magnet

Let’s look at four strategies you can use with your first lead magnet to make that relationship grow deeper, faster.

  1. Change the relational context.

  2. Lead them to try you out.

  3. Start a conversation right now.

  4. Give people options.

Ready to dive in? Let’s go!

Related: How to turn contacts into referral sources and lead generating machines

1. Change the relational context

The first contact your prospects have with you is not usually deep. They’ll download a report or watch a video — something that doesn’t need much investment on their part.

But once you’ve gotten that first, impersonal contact out of the way, you might want to kickstart a more personal bond. So instead of following up with another report, guide or other impersonal content, offer a service that puts you and them in the same room (or on a Skype chat, a Zoom meeting or the phone).

The service can be anything, so long as it establishes a direct line of communication.

 

Audits or reviews are perfect for this. “Strategy sessions” are all the rage in the digital marketing world, and even I’ve used free “copy consults” as a next step.

Here’s a perfect example of that context switch. King Kong is an Australian digital marketing agency that uses free reports as lead generation tools. Opt in to get one of those reports, and wham! the thank-you page is offering you a free, 30-minute strategy session right there and then.

Lead Magnet King Kong
Photo: King Kong

2. Lead them to try you out

Letting people try out your product or service is another common lead magnet. However, don’t just make it the first step in your funnel. Too many businesses go with a “Hey, try our awesome product even if you don’t know a lot about it!” approach. But there’s a better way to do it.

Remember, we’re talking about the step AFTER the initial lead magnet. So, if you can prepare leads for that step with the lead magnet, it gives you the chance to create a powerful one-two punch.

With a content-based lead magnet, educate prospects about your offering (in a non-salesy way). Get them familiar with your product or service. Get them eager for a closer look. And THEN offer the trial as that next step, once they’ve consumed the first lead magnet … or better yet, even as they’re consuming it.

Related: Minimizing the risk of free trials

A perfect example is Unbounce. Sure, you can leap into a free trial of this landing page creator from the home page. But if your first contact was their Landing Page Optimization Guide, you’d be learning how to build better landing pages … and seeing an offer for a free trial of their creator on practically every page of the guide.

It’s perfect priming for a deeper, more engaged trial on the part of the lead, which is more likely to lead to a successful conversion.

Lead Magnet Unbounce
Photo: Unbounce

3. Start a conversation right now

If someone downloads your lead magnet, they’re at least slightly interested in what you’ve got to say. So, strike while the iron is hot and give them a chance to talk with you.

That chat doesn’t have to be about buying your product or service. It can be about anything in the guide, about your business or about the problems they have.

Make it a genuine opportunity for them to ask any questions without getting a “hard sell,” and you might find prospects hurtling deeper and faster down your funnel than you thought possible.

Related: 6 tips for moving your customer through the sales funnel

For example, if you happen to download Leverage Technologies’ eBook on a particular Enterprise Resource Planning solution, you’ll find a chat icon on the Thank You page, giving you a chance to speak with someone there and then (if they’re available). The page also includes other contact details to give you plenty of options to start a conversation.

Lead Magnet Leverage Technologies
Photo: Leverage Technologies

4. Give people options

Your first lead magnet should be a single offering. After all, choice can be a bad thing sometimes.

But once your lead has made that first step, maybe it’s time to be brave and give them a couple of second doors they could open.

Here a few options you can try:

  • More information about your product or service.
  • A chance to try out your offering.
  • Another lead magnet around a similar subject or problem.
  • A request to share the lead magnet on social media.

Giving plenty of options is something SugarCRM does with its landing page. Opting in to watch the demo video doesn’t just give you the clip to watch, but an accompanying smorgasbord of choices. You can download pricing and data sheets, start a free trial or look at a report.

Lead Magnet SugarCRM
Photo: SugarCRM

On the one hand, it might be a classic “analysis paralysis” faux pas. On the other, it might be meeting different needs of different-minded prospects. And if nothing else, testing different “next steps” for the strongest response can show you which you should be using on a long-term basis.

Related: How testing your marketing messages can impact your small business

Where is your lead magnet leading prospects?

The aim of this article was simple: to convince you that your lead magnet is much more than just a lead magnet. And whether you’re:

  • Changing the relational context.
  • Leading prospects to try you out.
  • Starting a conversation with them.
  • Giving plenty of options.

You’re transforming your lead magnet into a door. A door that deepens relationships, puts you front and center in their minds, and propels them down your sales funnel.

It may not be the next mission to the stars, but make these tweaks to your lead magnet and funnel, and your conversions might jump high enough to send you “over the moon” (pun most certainly intended).