We’ve already talked about WHY you need to build out your email list, and we’ve also covered a bit about HOW to go ahead and do that. But until now, we’ve been talking general. Today, let’s talk specifics.
Let’s talk about lead magnets.
What Is A Lead Magnet?
A lead magnet is…well, pretty much exactly what it sounds like (unless you somehow interpreted lead as the non-magnetic hunk of metal); it’s a piece of content developed strictly to attract new athletes (and, in the process, race registrations) to your email list. Basically, your athletes give you their email addresses (and in turn the ability to market to them for all time or until the Kardashians go out of style, whichever comes first) in exchange for content they find a) valuable, b) novel, c) educational, d) entertaining or e) all of the above.
Lead magnets are basically like the T-1000 of the marketing world and can take on just about any shape or form: ebooks, infographics, training plans, smoothie recipes…if your athletes will love it, consider it lead magnet material.
For example, let’s say you’re looking to build out your list with athletes in Los Angeles (home of imATHLETE HQ!). A great lead magnet might be a “Top 10 Trail Runs in Los Angeles” or “100 Ways To Get Your Sweat On (Without A Gym!) In Los Angeles” ebook. Your target athletes would totally get down with this type of content, and be more than happy to give you their email address to find their next way to get sweaty.
Why Do You Need A Lead Magnet, Anyway?
If you read the above paragraph and said “GAH, that sounds like a lot of work…” and are considering clicking out of this article to go watch some cat videos, listen up.
Lead magnets are a MUST if you want to increase your reach, drive more people to your race registration website and get more athletes to your event. They’re fantastic (not to mention cost efficient) tools for increasing your brand awareness and building credibility with your target audiences. And because you’re developing content that’s made with a specific sector of athletes in mind, they’re going to feel like you’re talking directly to THEM, get the warm and fuzzies (“I feel like this race GETS me!") and give you their email address with a quickness.
Then, once they’re on your list, you have the opportunity to market to them over and over again and take them from “email prospect” to “registered athlete”.
So, does it take some work? Sure. But it’ll be worth it (which is more than I can say about those cat videos).
What Makes An Awesome Lead Magnet?
If you’re going to do something, you want to do it right. The last thing you want is a “meh” lead magnet. You’re too good for that! So when it comes to creating an awesome lead magnet, it’s super important to begin with the end user/athlete in mind. Knowing your athletes, who they are and what kind of content appeals to them is a must.
When you’re creating your lead magnet, you want to make sure that whatever you create is going to have major appeal to the audience that you’re going after. If you’re stuck on ideas, ask yourself these questions:
“What problem do my athletes have that I can solve?”
“What are my athletes searching for online?”
“What’s a popular piece of content that I’ve done in the past that I can repurpose in a new and interesting way?”
“What can I do to educate AND entertain my athletes at the same time?”
“Is there anything going on in the race world that my athletes need to know about?”
Make It Pretty (And Up To Date)
So now that you have the content piece down, quick side note: please please PLEASE don’t waste an awesomely written lead magnet by not investing in an equally awesome design. While your lead magnet isn’t exactly the first impression that you make on your potential athletes (I mean, they had to GET the lead magnet somewhere, like on your online race registration), it’s probably pretty early on in the relationship. And if you throw an ugly design their way, they’re likely to put your lead magnet in the digital trash bin and mosey on over to your competition.
So don’t cut corners with the design, ok? Get your race graphic design partner to come up with something nice and sparkly.
Keep in mind that things change, and you’re probably going to have to update your lead magnet from time to time. For example, if you sent out that “Top 10 Trail Runs In Los Angeles” and your athletes realize that 3 of the trails closed down in early 2015…yea, probably not going to help your credibility.
This magnet mojo is now all yours. If you need more tips and ideas on creating awesome content for your lead magnet, be sure to check out Content Marketing For Races: How To Write Killer Content.