5 Keys to a Successful Lead Magnet

Contrary to what you may think, not all lead magnets are created equal. This can be particularly challenging for entrepreneurs that work in passion-based industries.

The reason being, most passion-based entrepreneurs are SOOOO knowledgeable and passionate about getting their clients the results they’re looking for, that they often BLOW THEM AWAY with knowledge.

Sort of like killing a fly with a BAZOOKA … it’s too much!

Let me tell you a little story. This is funny and a little sad, but what the heck, we all start somewhere.

One of my first ever “official” lead magnets was put together back in 2010. At the time we had just celebrated 12 years in business and honestly, I was a little cocky.

So I put this lead magnet together. I didn’t do a buyer persona or think at all about what the customer wanted. I just knew what they needed, so I had this epiphany …

What people really need is somebody like me to come in and tell them the truth, lay it on the line and just stuff them full of killer content.

So my idea was – 30 Tips in 30 Days. Each day, for 30 days, I was going to send an email with a quick tip, lesson or strategy. Just basically dropping knowledge. I started out strong … for the first week, then I missed a few days and got back on track. By the time I hit day 22, I was so sick of it that I didn’t even finish the 30 tips.

The funny part though, was that not 1 person called me on it. So of all the people that had signed up, they lost interest between day 1 and day 22 and didn’t even notice that I didn’t finish writing the tips.


That was a horrible lead magnet for a lot of different reasons. After many lessons learned and a lot of experience, we’ve come up with 5 KEYS or rules for lead magnets.

Any lead magnet that we’ve ever seen flop (and we’ve seen our fair share), has been because it broke one of these rules. And without a doubt, if you’ve dipped your toes in the lead magnet world and they’ve been less than successful, you can undoubtedly point it back to one of these five.

They aren’t complicated, but DO NOT underestimate the power of these rules.

Here are the Lead Magnet Success Principles in no particular order:

  1. Specific – Our goal with this lead magnet is that we want to give the prospect a specific RESULT. Once they get that result, that’s when trust is built and when the relationship building starts. We’re not trying to solve ALL their problems. We just want to solve this one nagging problem because that will show them that we know what we’re talking about – we’ve solved this problem and we can definitely solve others as well. The more specific the better.
  2. Easy to Consume – Remember my 30 tips in 30 days … that was too much. Books make horrible lead magnets because they take too long to get through. Small e-books, checklists, short videos – these are all easy to consume. The other thing we want to take in account here is how your perfect client prefers to consume their content. If you’re people don’t listen to podcasts … don’t do a podcast – they won’t consume it.
  3. Address a Known Desire – By known desire, we mean a desire your perfect prospect has. Not what you think they have, but what they’ve told you they have.
  4. Deliver Value – Value can either be real or perceived. Real value would be like – Save $50 on your first week of xyz. Perceived value can be a webinar, some killer content or teaching somebody a skill. This one can be tricky because sometimes there can be a difference of perception in terms of value. Let me give you an example: When we launched our membership site last year, part of the offering was me being on an office hours call every week. From my perspective, this had immense value. An 18-year marketing veteran just sitting on the phone waiting to answer your questions. I know what my bill rate is and that was a lot of $$$$ that we were missing out on. My audience rarely took me up on it. More often than not, I was on the phone just working on client projects. The reason being, the audience either didn’t understand the value or they didn’t see the value – it wasn’t important to them. So when you are looking at value, look at it from your customer’s perspective, not yours.
  5. Aligned with your product or service – It doesn’t have to be directly related but we need to be able to connect the two through our follow-up sequence. Let me give you an example: I have a client that runs a doggie daycare and boarding facility. So the lead magnet that we worked on was a guide to local dog-friendly hikes and beaches.

The target market was active professionals with dogs that were looking for fun outdoor activities they could do with their pets.

What made this work, was that fact that we could tie their weekend excursions to exercise and how exercising their pets made them happier and healthier on the weekends. But during the work week, the dogs wouldn’t get the exercise that they needed when they were cooped up in the house all day, so we introduced some weekday exercise packages so their dogs could be happy and healthy all week long. BINGO!

You see how that worked? We used the lead magnet to identify and call out our perfect customer. We had them pay attention to the dogs wellbeing when they were well exercised, and then simply reminded them that they don’t get that exercise during the week presently, but they could with one of our exercise packages.

So those are the 5 Keys to a Successful Lead Magnet. They are the rules that we’re going to test all of our ideas against to help reduce the chances of us putting out a stinker.

Now It’s Your Turn

Use the comments section below and tell me a lead magnet that was successful for your business?

The Perfect Landing Page Guaranteed to Make Users Opt-in

The first page users will see in your opt-in process is called your landing page.

A landing page is just a special type of web page that we use to focus the user’s attention on our offer. A great landing page has two and only two outcomes – sign-up or go away. And that’s exactly how we want it.

By putting everybody through a specific landing page, some additional benefits show up.

  1. It’s easier to log user sessions.
  2. It gives us higher conversion rates as opposed to sending traffic to a normal website page (less distraction for user’s attention).
  3. It makes it easy to split test for higher conversions.
  4. It makes it easier to calculate the ROI of your advertising campaigns.

The great news about landing pages is, that as professional marketers, we’ve been using them for years. There is A LOT of data out there about split testing, what works and what doesn’t, so even though marketing isn’t 100% science, and what works for one industry doesn’t necessarily work for another, all of this data can be pulled together to give us what we call a “best practice”.

After sending 100’s of thousands of users through hundreds of landing pages, we’ve come up with what we call The Perfect Landing page.

It has 8 unique elements:


The goal of our headline is to grab the user’s attention and get them to continue reading.

80% of people are going to read your headline, only 20% of people are going to read any other text on the page, so if the headline isn’t compelling or if it doesn’t grab their attention – the chances of somebody grabbing your lead magnet are slim.


The purpose of the subhead is to clearly describe the benefit of your offer. The subhead supports or reinforces the headline.

3Bullet Points

3-5 bullet points are used to highlight the benefits of your product/service or call out your Unique Value Proposition (what separates you from your competition).

4Hero Shot/Image

Landing page images can be used to show your product, introduce the team, add human interest to the page or just point to your call to action button.

5Call to Action

These buttons tell the user what to do. Click here to Sign Up. Start My Free Trial. Download my Goodies. Call to action buttons should be large, easy to read and not require the user to scroll.

6Legal & Copyright

Adding copyright and links to your terms and conditions or privacy policy page will not only put web visitors at ease, but will also keep you in the good graces of some advertising sites like Google.

7OPTIONAL: Social Proof

Pictures and testimonials from previous users adds social proof and puts web visitors at ease and lets them feel like they’re making a smart decision. If it’s good enough for Jane, then it’s good enough for me.

8OPTIONAL: Credibility Builders

Awards won, showing the logos of high profile clients, “As seen on” or “Featured in” lists showing where you’ve been highlighted, are all great ways to build trust and credibility with your audience.

There are generally three different options on how to build your perfect landing page:

1.Website Platform Made for Lead Generation

These are relatively new because sales funnels, landing pages, and all the rest are really just not becoming “main stream”. But, there are more and more coming out every day.

Pros: Integrated so there is presumably only one interface.

Cons: To integrate you would be looking at a website redesign or if you don’t have a site, a new design based on one of these themes. In the grand scheme of things, this would be a relatively pricey and longer process so it may not be a good choice for you right now.

2. Just Build it in Your Website

Either you, your developer or your contractor can build the landing page in your website.

Pros: Complete control over the look and feel.

Cons: Developers that can hand code or do custom wordpress aren’t cheap and it is more difficult to make changes on the fly because you have to go through a developer.

3. Landing Page Builder

Pros: Pre-built templates, easily integrate with email autoresponders and can use for landing pages and thank you pages.

Cons: Monthly fee. Personally I don’t like the monthly fee, but I do realize that is the way a lot of businesses are heading. The recurring revenue model makes a lot of sense for businesses, so I just make sure if I’m going to pay the recurring fee, I do it for a tool that I use.

When using one of these 3 options and incorporating the 8 unique elements, your perfect landing page is guaranteed to make users opt-in.

Now It’s Your Turn

Use the comments section below and tell me if you have a landing page, and if so, how did you build it?

Be Cool Marketing 101: Introduce Yourself

Let me ask you a question… Have you ever signed up or bought something online and then un-expectantly, you get HAMMERED with emails?

I bought a light for my wife’s meditation room from Pottery Barn and without knowing it, I was automatically on the force feed diet of promo emails. I was getting daily (sometime multiple times per day) emails about lights, sofas and everything else I would need to deck out a room.

Normally I don’t mind getting emails from larger companies. I consider it to be research. I like to see what they put together – I like to see their offers, their frequency, their design, etc.

But these guys…it was even too much for me, so I unsubscribed!

This is what we’re trying to avoid! So, as soon as somebody opts in to our list, we’re going to be totally transparent and let them know exactly when and how we’re going to communicate with them.

Simple right…. but nobody does it.

This introduction campaign is quite possibly one of the easiest campaigns that we will ever put together because most of the time, it’s only one email – but the purpose is profound.

By being very clear up front we accomplish a few different things …

  1. We set the stage for the relationship.
  2. We in essence get their OK for this type and frequency of communication.
  3. We tell them what to do next.
  4. We start to build value.

Let me give you an example….

Here’s the one I use:

SUBJECT: Welcome to Black Dog Marketing! Here’s where to start…

Hey there … Mike Linville here and I’m the Founder & CEO of Black Dog Marketing. I wanted to take a second to say hello and welcome you to the family.

Seriously, on behalf of myself and the entire Black Dog Marketing team I want you to know that we’re truly excited and grateful that you decided to join us…

Here’s what you can expect from us…

We’ll publish fresh pet marketing content to our blog once per week on Thursday, then once it’s live we’ll send you an email with a short description of the new article, why we think it’s important for you and a link to read the full article.

We’ll also send you emails about new expert Black Dog Marketing courses, software and other cool premium resources from time to time BUT only once we’ve vetted them.

Sound fair?


Here’s what you need to do now to get started…

STEP 1: Make sure you’re getting our emails! 

Whitelist and prioritize all emails from “blackdogmarketing.com” and “Mike Linville”.

This is important!

If our emails aren’t getting through, you’ll miss all the important updates about what’s working in pet marketing right now (and you won’t receive the full benefit of being a Black Dog Marketing subscriber).

So please take the following simple actions to make sure nothing slips through the cracks:

1) Follow the whitelisting instructions for your email provider at this page:

Email Whitelisting

2) If you are a Gmail user or you use any other web-based email that filters broadcasts away from your main inbox, be sure to “drag” any emails from Black Dog Marketing or “Mike Linville” into your Priority Inbox. (Again, you don’t want to miss something.)

3) Create a special “Black Dog Marketing” folder where you can archive emails from BDM as well as “Mike Linville” AFTER you have read them. This is important…DO NOT setup filters to automatically direct our emails into these folders, or again, you are likely to miss something. Simply move them manually to the folder after the information in the email has been consumed.

STEP 2: Let’s get social …

Take two-seconds and join Black Dog Marketing on Facebook or Twitter, as these are our primary methods of communication outside of email updates, and again you won’t want to miss a thing:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blackdogmarketing

Twitter: https://twitter.com/blkdogmktg

Talk soon,

Mike Linville, CEO, Black Dog Marketing

P.S. Did you know there are actually 5 different reasons to market your pet business?… and building a big business in only one of them.

I’ll give you all 5 tomorrow, but for now spend a little time thinking about what it could be. If you’re anything like me, you’ll get more benefit from the “thought experiment” than from the answer itself.

Be cool, and introduce yourself when somebody opts in to your list. Let them know what they can expect and when to expect it. Being transparent will reduce the number of unsubscribes to your list drastically.

Now It’s Your Turn

Use the comments section below and tell me how do you introduce yourself to your subscribers?

How To Attract Leads Online While Staying Uniquely You

Robots are creepy. They can be engineered to look, move, speak and even interact like humans. But no matter how lifelike they seem, they’re still awkward and stiff.

We like to chat, laugh and socialize with other humans, it’s just how we’re built. So why is it that so many small business owners still insist on acting like robots on social media, blogs and other lead generation content?

2015 is the year of connectivity. Social media, mobile technology, online gaming, Skype, there’s no limit to our ability to connect with people across town, or across the world. Even though technology has changed the means in which we communicate, some small business owners still stick to dated rules on how to interact with leads and customers. For example–speaking in non-personal, stiff language, much like robots do.

As a small business owner you have an opportunity to connect directly to potential customers through social media. But before you can start working this powerful piece of communication into your outreach or customer service plan, you have to understand how to be uniquely you on social media.

1 Be Authentic

In the age of social media, authenticity is one of the most important qualities to develop when creating content online. There’s nothing more annoying than businesses trying to latch onto trends or constantly posting click-bait to shock their followers.

And on the opposite side of the spectrum, we’ve all seen those posts which are jammed to the brim with SEO rich keywords. SEO is important, but there has to be balance. If your content doesn’t have personality or the touch of a real person behind it, all the SEO in the world won’t keep people engaged.

2 Be Relatable

It’s human nature to connect with those we have something in common with. But in order to do this, you need to understand who your best customer is, how to find them and how to connect with them. Then you can bring your unique perspective into your social media, content and other online marketing.

3 Be Conversational

I know my high school English teacher would hate this, but you don’t have to write perfectly on social media. Make no mistake–spelling errors and missing punctuation marks are a big no-no! But instead of writing for academia, write as if you’re talking to fans and followers in person.

Avoid Using:

  • Long sentences with hard to digest words.
  • Fluffy words to fill up space.
  • Industry jargon, buzzwords or overused cliches.

4 Be Friendly

Imagine you’re at a party, and you’re approached by 2 people. Person A introduces herself, asks how you are, then starts talking about a movie you both recently enjoyed. Person B (who by the way has food on his face) introduces himself by talking about his newest get rich quick scheme that you should get in on.

  • Who are you going to continue chatting with?
  • Who are you going to accidentally leave talking to himself by the hors d’oeuvres?

Social media is about being social. If you’re only sending out tweets and status updates on your hot new products, you’re missing the mark. Mix in messages about fun things, your blog content, ask questions or post anything else your community will find interesting.

Long Story Short

We are living in an era of connections and personal relationships. Business owners can no longer hide behind a logo. They need to be talking, networking and fostering relationships in order to successfully attract leads online. So we want to know, how do you make your followers feel special on social media? Let us know in the comments.