Heights Platform How to Create a Great Lead Magnet That Converts to Promote Your Online Course

How to Create a Great Lead Magnet That Converts to Promote Your Online Course

8 minute read

Email marketing can be a very powerful tool to promote any business. The hardest part is collecting those email addresses from potential customers in the first place.

Setting up a lead magnet can help you.

In today's article, we will explain how to create a lead magnet that actually converts, and give you some ideas of products you can offer to entice leads to give you their email address.

What is a Lead Magnet?

Before we dive into all the different lead magnet ideas, let's see what lead magnets are and how they work.

A lead magnet is an item (could be a digital or physical product or service) that is given away without for free with the purpose of collecting prospect's contact details for future promotions.

Nowadays lead magnets are increasing in popularity as it is getting harder and harder to collect potential customers' emails. A lead capture tool can make the process a lot easier by capturing the leads on your behalf and by giving away something for free, you are justifying asking for a prospect's contact details by offering immediate value to them in return. 

Overall if done well this strategy can be a win-win situation for both the marketer and the customer. Lead magnets are especially great since they leverage the power of email marketing - not to mention that they are generally straightforward and free to create!

Here are a few benefits of promoting your online course with lead magnets:

  • It is completely free: the only expense you have is for the email software you are using to generate it. Creating a lead magnet, collecting email addresses and promoting your online course with email campaigns is free.
  • You are offering value to your prospects: Other than being free of charge, it is also one of the least "annoying" forms of marketing, as you are providing free value to your leads.
  • It's the first step in the value ladder: Using a value ladder to gradually sell your product offerings to your audience is a great way to grow your business. A lead magnet is the first step in many value ladders and it allows you to gently introduce a prospect to your business by offering them real value.

To create a lead magnet, you will need an email platform that allows you to do so or specialized lead magnet software.

The most common lead magnets you probably see on a daily basis are PDFs, eBooks, and worksheets. Let's go over a few more ideas of potential lead magnets you could use to promote your online course business.

Ideas for Lead Magnets to Promote Your Online Course

#1. A Free PDF or eBook

These are definitively some of the most popular lead magnets used by marketers today. And there is a reason why.

PDFs are easy to create and can incorporate a lot of valuable information. eBooks are also a popular choice: although it takes more time and dedication to write a book, it can be perceived as a more valuable item from a prospect.

The lead magnets shown in the picture below are from one of Heights Platform's creators, which she offers in addition to her online course.

How to Create a PDF or eBook Lead Magnet for an Online Course

However, in order to convert, these kinds of lead magnets have to be done right.

You want to avoid people downloading your lead magnet and never opening it - if you are like many of us, you probably have a folder somewhere on your computer with Guides and eBooks you are planning to read, but never do.

That's ok. It is not your fault.

This is because the excitement of receiving something for free stops once you see how long and complicated those lead magnets are.

So try to make it easy for your audience to go through your PDF or eBook and digest information quickly. Insert graphics, images, bullet-points, statistics etc...

If your lead magnet is done right, your audience will feel grateful for the free value they received from it, and they will be more receptive to receiving marketing emails from you in the future.

#2. A Checklist or Worksheet

Another common lead magnet that pairs well with online courses is offering a checklist or worksheet to your prospects.

A checklist can have different formats and helps people follow a set path to achieve a certain goal. A worksheet works in a similar way but offers more flexibility in the way you help prospects achieve a goal.

How to Create a Checklist Lead Magnet for an Online Course

Heights Platform's Checklist that helps creators build an online course in 30 days

Why these types of lead magnets are great:

  • They offer a clear and specific goal and help you achieve it. While a PDF contains lots of valuable information, a checklist is more targeted and directs prospects in a clear path, while offering a specific result.
  • You can link the content in the lead magnet to your online course. A checklist or worksheet could be a tool needed to complete the teachings in your online course. This way, your prospects will enjoy your lead magnet but will also understand the value of your online course, and be more inclined to purchase it.
  • It is more entertaining and actionable than a PDF or eBook. A checklist or worksheet involves prospects taking immediate action to follow its steps.

#3. A Free Template

Depending on the niche and the topic of your online course, a free template could be many things.

From an email template, a webpage design, a cooking recipe, to a sewing pattern.

These sort of templates are also a fantastic way to provide free value to your prospects while getting them to know your product and introducing them to your main online course.

If a prospect enjoys using your template, they will understand the value of your online course and will be more receptive to your future marketing emails.

How to Create a Template Lead Magnet for an Online Course

ConvertKit's lead magnet is composed of wallpapers and journal sheet templates directly aimed at "creators". By doing so they are not only collecting emails but also targeting their ideal audience.

#4. Video Content or Webinars

If you recently created an in-depth video guide about a specific topic or you've run a live webinar, consider offering the recording as a free lead magnet.

Video is a great format to quickly convey valuable information to your viewers.

Researches show that people are 75% more likely to watch a video than reading text.

How to Create a Video Lead Magnet for an Online Course

At Heights Platform we recently run a webinar for online course creators, which is now available as a lead magnet.

With video, you can be sure that your prospects will at least watch a few seconds of your lead magnets.

This format is also great for online course creators, as it gives a chance for your prospects to see your teaching style and get them acquainted with your image and voice.

#5. A Free Mini-Course

Another popular lead magnet among online course creators is offering a free mini-course in exchange for email addresses.

This works great as it offers a higher perceived value than a PDF and lets your prospects get a sneak-peak of your teaching style.

If you are not willing to put in the work to create a new online course (although small) to use as a lead magnet, consider offering a module or a lesson for free from your main online course.

This way, if your prospects are enjoying your content, they will be more likely to purchase the whole thing and complete the course.

How to Create a Mini-Course Lead Magnet for an Online Course

ActiveCampaign uses free mini-courses to collect leads and training people about how to use their software.

#6. A Quiz

Why do we love quizzes so much? Because they are entertaining and they are all about ourselves.

Depending on your niche, your quiz can revolve around different topics and have different outcomes. However, try to give away as much value as possible with your quiz.

This type of lead magnet is great as it has the potential of engaging your contacts while providing tailored outcomes they can implement in their own lives. Often a quiz like this acts as a more user-friendly application form that helps you qualify if your prospect would be a good potential customer for you or not.

How to Create a Quiz Lead Magnet for an Online Course

Neil Patel uses a similar approach to collect leads and introduce them to his marketing agency services.

#7. An Online Tool

If you have development experience, building a tool for your audience to use can be a good idea for a lead magnet.

Tools are great as they can solve people's problems and provide an instant solution. They are also very appealing to potential customers and can increase your conversion rate.

How to Create a Tool Lead Magnet for an Online Course

Shopify uses this free tool among others, where you can easily find names and domains for your business. As Shopify is a website hosting platform for e-commerce businesses, it makes sense that one of the biggest pain points for someone just starting out is choosing a business name.

This is a great way to collect email addresses from leads and introducing them to your services (in Shopify's case, their domain purchase service).

How to Create Lead Magnets That Convert

Now that you have a better idea of which types of lead magnets you can use to promote your online course business, let's see how to make sure that your lead magnets can actually convert prospects into clients.

Understand Your Target Audience

The most basic principle behind a lead magnet that converts is whether or not it appeals to your ideal customer.

Understanding your target audience is a crucial step in building any business, online and offline. By the time you are promoting your online course, you should already have a clear understanding of who your ideal customer persona is.

Try to put yourself in your customers' shoes and think about what their biggest pain points are, and how you can solve part of them with your lead magnet.

That said, your lead magnet should not be a complete solution to all of your customers' problems. Instead, it should offer some value without revealing too much.

The main goal of a lead magnet is to collect email addresses, provide value and make your prospect curious about your main online course or digital product.

Your Lead Magnet Should be Quick and Action-Driven

Now that you understand what your customers want, it's time to offer actionable value with your lead magnet.

Your lead magnet should offer a quick and instant solution and be easy to digest.

As it is something your prospect can get for free, they will not be willing to put too much effort into it.

Making your lead magnet action-driven will also increase your chances of conversion. What is the next step for prospects after they download your lead magnet? Are you inviting them to take action?

If you manage to make your lead magnet engaging, valuable and action-driven, prospects who download it will have a higher chance of coming back to your site and positively react to your future marketing emails.

Relate it to Your Online Course

Another way to increase conversions from a lead magnet is to link its content to your main online course, membership site or coaching program.

For instance, let's say that you are offering a free checklist to your prospect called "Steps on How to Increase Website Traffic".

The checklist should provide free value but you could also link a few steps to lessons in your online course. If a prospect really wants to "increase website traffic" now they have to purchase your online course to learn the details.

That said, keep in mind that the primary goal of a lead magnet - other than collecting emails - is to provide value. So try to find a middle-ground between offering valuable information and inviting prospects to sign up for your online course.

Email Your Leads!

A lead magnet is just the first step into turning a prospect into a paying customer.

You cannot expect that someone who downloads a free PDF from you will purchase your $500 online course immediately.

To increase the chance of conversion, insert your prospects into an email campaign - or contact them manually (even better!).

Every email you send them from here onwards should be focused on providing value to your contacts. Don't fall into the mistake of aggressively trying to sell them your online course, as most people will unsubscribe to your list.

If people associate your emails with receiving valuable insights, they will be more open to your future marketing efforts and you will increase your chances of converting.

To Sum it Up

Lead magnets are a great way to promote your online course, membership site or coaching program. They are a free marketing strategy that allows you to collect more email contacts, and create a connection with your prospects by offering free, valuable information.

To create lead magnets that convert, understanding what your target audience is looking for is key.

Keep the lead magnet short and quick to digest. Offer action-driven suggestions to your audience, and if you can, link them to your online course.

After someone downloads your lead magnet, remember to continue offering them free value with each email campaign you send them in the future.

Promoting your online course through lead magnets and email marketing is a fantastic way to increase organic traffic and grow your email list, but you need to be patient and persistent to see results.

In the meantime, check out our guide on other ways to promote your online knowledge business: A Complete Guide on How to Promote Your Online Course and Boost Sales.

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