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The best way to avoid exhausting customers with your email marketing? Give them something they can use early and often, says Grant Baldwin, host of The Speaker Lab podcast

Baldwin speaks from experience. He points to a recent nine-part email series he was getting ready to send. The writing was solid and the information engaging, but it was a lengthy read. He needed a better hook.

So Baldwin pivoted, designing a fee calculator that led other public speakers through a series of questions and immediately told them what their appearance fee should be. In order to work through the questions, speakers had to provide an email address.

Baldwin described the calculator as a “quick win,” expanding his list of subscribers and providing a free, useful tool for his audience. Baldwin’s calculator tool is what marketers call a lead magnet, or a piece of content that gives someone a reason to submit an email address. He swears by them, and encourages marketers across industries to consider designing lead magnets of their own.

Baldwin, who spoke on a recent episode of rasa.io’s Pushing Send podcast, offered these tips on how to design a more effective lead magnet.

1. Don’t make it all about you.

Lead magnets are intended to encourage others to want to know more about you or your company. However, that doesn’t mean you should only talk about yourself. Baldwin said he’s watched plenty of public speakers center their marketing content on themselves and their life story. That’s a mistake, he added.

It’s often “here’s why I’m an amazing speaker, and here’s all the 15 things I speak about, and here’s everything I ever created or done,” he said.

Baldwin encourages a different approach. Design lead magnets that focus on customer needs, and prioritize useful information over company branding and messaging, he said.

Always, the goal is to provide “something we think is going to help you,” Baldwin said.

2. Get interactive.

Experiment with calculators, checklists and quizzes. Baldwin pointed back to that appearance-fee calculator for aspiring speakers.

“It’s a good interactive tool that gives you the answer to what you’re looking for right now,” Baldwin said. “It gives you some context of, ‘Here’s something that you might want to think about. Here’s a shortcut.’ It takes less than a minute.”

Baldwin noted interactive lead magnets provide the immediate satisfaction that subscribers crave while also demonstrating that there’s value to what your brand has to say. The user experience is faster and more gratifying compared with “spreading something out over a whole bunch of emails over a longer period of time,” he said.

3. Mix it up.

Lead magnets can range from guides to webinars to eBooks, but they all have a similar goal—to obtain contact information from the reader, typically an email address.

Baldwin recommends embracing the flexibility that lead magnets offer. Experimenting with various formats to see what works best for your audience. Be sure to track data so you can compare click rates for various formats.

Paying attention to how your audience prefers to consume information is another way to keep your customer at the forefront, he added.

4. Make yourself useful.

Most content marketers are familiar with the lead magnets as a lead generator. For Baldwin, the potential to gather email addresses comes second to the core purpose of the content: to be useful.

Always engage the audience, and always provide useful content, he said. You build trust as a result, which, in turn, leads to sales, he added.

“It helps us to stay top-of-mind for whenever somebody is ready to get off the fence and make that (purchase),” Baldwin said. “Hopefully we’re who they thought of.”

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