List Building Secrets – How to Generate New Leads For Your Online Course or Membership Site – EP #4

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Are you trying to grow your expert business off of a puny list and finding it impossible to fill events or sell enough to make your business a success? Are you spending money on ads to grow your list but feel like you are just investing in Facebook’s growth instead of your own? Well, we’ve got the solution to both of these woes. It all comes down to value and in this week’s episode we’ll show you how to deliver your unique value in an easily digestible size for optimal conversion.

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Episode Transcript

Lucas Garvin: Welcome to Mastering Growth, Episode 4, List-Building Secrets: How to generate new leads for your online course or membership site. Hey there, everyone. I’m Lucas Garvin.

Jim Hohl: And I’m Jim Hohl. An engaged email list can make the difference between a business that survives, and one that grows and thrives. Of course getting leads on to your list in the first place requires money and time, but once a lead is on your list, which means they’ve actively consented to receive marketing from you by opting in, you’re able to reach out to them regularly at little to no cost. Successful coaches, experts, and others in the information business reach out to their list regularly to offer free content, survey the market, invite ideal prospects to events, and from time to time, to fill courses and sell their services.

With proper care and nurture, leads that you have properly acquired into your list will serve you well for years. Without an engaged and well-cared for list, though, don’t even think about blasting out offer emails to them, or you’ll jeopardize all your hard work to bring in those leads. Worse, you might even get yourself blacklisted by email providers. However, even a well-nurtured list will lose members, usually at a rate of about 25 to 30% loss per year. So, if you’re not bringing in new leads at a higher rate than that, your list will be entirely unsubscribed in a matter of years. In this episode, we’ll show you how to continuously generate new leads for your online course, program, or high ticket service.

Lucas Garvin: Now, we’ve said this before that leads are the life blood of every business, and the success or failure of your business comes down to your ability to generate new leads predictably and at scale over the long term. So, let’s talk about what makes a successful lead generator. The way that you do that online is comprised of three key components. Number one, you need a lead magnet; a piece of free content, i.e. maybe a video, a PDF guide, or an ebook offered in exchange for your prospects’ contact information and their consent to receive marketing from you. Usually, this is just their first name and email address, but it’s important nonetheless. Second, you need an opt-in page, which is simply a landing page offering your lead magnet, which will capture the lead’s information. Third, you need a lead-generating ad; a compelling, paid advertisement targeted at your ideal clients that will entice them to take advantage of your free content.

Jim Hohl: Before you get started creating your lead generator, there’s a few things you need to consider. First, what is the bare minimum information you need to gather from every lead? Their first name and email, is that enough, or do you need their phone, or do you need something more? What are you willing and able to pay for each lead? On Facebook, this should be something like $6 or less, with the goal of reaching between $3.50 and $2 once things are dialed in. Next, you want to consider what your ideal clients will want in exchange for their contact information.

So, you’re going to think about what will serve them and what will ideally prepare them to take advantage of your offer. Finally, how will you deliver the lead magnet and follow up with the lead? Of course, this should be 100% automated in order to reasonably scale. We’re going to take you through the process step-by-step and give you examples and best practices for each of these elements, so don’t worry.

Lucas Garvin: So, the first step: your lead magnet. What is it? Let’s recap. A lead magnet is a piece of free content, i.e. a video, a PDF guide, maybe an ebook that’s offered in exchange for your prospects’ contact information and their consent to receive marketing from you. This is important because this is the key piece here. If you don’t have it, they won’t be interested, and it’s simply not enough to say, “Hey, subscribe for updates,” or, “Hey, get on my email list,” or, “Get my newsletter.” It’s just not enough. So, how do you create a high-converting lead magnet? Well, number one, you need to determine the lead magnet’s promise, i.e. the value that it will deliver, and give it a compelling title that encapsulates that promise.

Second, you need to choose the lead magnet type, i.e. the delivery mechanism. It can be many different types, like maybe a training video or a chapter from an ebook or a whole ebook. Maybe your worksheet or an assessment, a quick start guide, a tool kit, a quiz or survey, maybe a cheat sheet. There’s lots of different types. These are just a few. Third, you’ll need to create the lead magnet and ensure that it passes the eight-point, lead magnet checklist, which is inspired by an excellent resource from DigitalMarketer. Jim, can you start us off there?

Jim Hohl: Sure. So, there’s eight steps here, right, eight points. The first point, it’s super specific. So, rather than get our weekly email updates or … You want to say something like, “Learn how to improve your Facebook ROI with these three, simple tweaks.” Super specific. Next, it offers one promise. You’re just solving one problem really well instead of spreading your lead magnet too thin. It shouldn’t have to be everything, the authoritative last word, be all in your industry, it just delivers on one thing. Next, it speaks to the end result, not the process.

So, at every stage of the conversation with your leads and your prospects, especially at this stage, they’re interested in the outcome or the result, not your specific process. In other words, they’re interested in the destination, not the plane. The next thing is it delivers immediate value. So, the lead magnet should be delivered and usable immediately, right on the confirmation page, and sent to them by email. It shouldn’t be something that they have to wait to consume, or some leads will just lose interest. So, Lucas, you want to take it over from here?

Lucas Garvin: Sure. The next piece is that it sets up the relationship with you and your brand for the long term. The content you offer should demonstrate your expertise, encourage the lead to trust you, and seek further help from you. Next, it has a high-perceived value. Don’t just offer your free content as a poorly-designed or unformatted Word doc. Spend a few dollars, maybe send it to Fiverr or Upwork, or one of those online freelance websites, and get it properly-designed and produced so that the lead sees it as valuable. And even though just a simple piece of written content can be very valuable all by itself, when it’s well-designed, it appears even more valuable.

Next, and importantly, it has a high actual value. Give away your best stuff. I know it sounds a little counterintuitive, right, you don’t want to give away the farm. But you’ll actually see a better response later in your funnels and in your marketing campaigns by giving your leads valuable content. The lead magnet should be worth at least $50 if you were to sell it. I know that sounds like a lot, again, and you certainly should sell things, but you do need to give away good, valuable content upfront.

Next, it needs to be easily and quickly consumed. So, the idea here is not to offer an ongoing series or time-delayed training, but rather, the goal is to move the lead to the next step and not have them be bogged down in this step of the funnel. Examples of things that might be too long to consume are full-length books. Certainly not a novel or a 200-page nonfiction piece of content. A 10-week training course is certainly too much. That should be something that you sell. Or a 30-day challenge.

Jim Hohl: Now, the other pieces of the lead generator, the opt-in page and lead-generating ad, we’re going to have complete episodes dedicated to these pieces later, but we’re going to cover them briefly now for you. So, first, the opt-in page. The opt-in page is quite simply a page offering your lead magnet, which will also capture the potential client’s, the lead’s information. The key thing here is to ask for enough information to be able to contact the potential client, but not so much that they don’t opt in. Usually, first name and email is enough, but depending on the nature of your lead magnet, you may want to ask for one or two more pieces of data. Also, depending on what would be helpful for you to be able to serve them better down the line, you might want to distinguish what type of lead they are and give them specific information based on that.

So, on the opt-in page, you’re going to want to say, first of all, what the lead magnet is. For example, free download, free video, free online training, et cetera. You want to have it clear what the value or the promise of your lead magnet is on the landing page. This usually means including the title and subtitle of your lead magnet, if you have a subtitle. For example, “Download this free book. Grow your groups, grow your business, a step-by-step playbook for breakthrough business growth. Plus, a brand new training with Lisa. The key to breakthrough business growth.” So, that value, that promise is very, very clear on that landing page.

You want to have a clear CTA copy in the button, with urgency. For example, “Get instant access,” or, “Download now.” We’ve also found that having an icon or an image representing your lead magnet can be very helpful for increasing inversion. Even if that isn’t exactly what that lead magnet looks like in real life. I mean, it may be an ebook or a PDF guide, but you could have the cover page and you could have it sort of 3D-rendered. Or, if it’s a video, you might want to have it be a screenshot. So, for more details on creating a high-converting opt-in page, be sure to check out our blog post on landing pages, which we’ll post in the show notes.

Lucas Garvin: So, finally, without traffic, that page will just be out there flapping in the wind, so you’ll need to send it some traffic. You do that with a lead-generating ad; a compelling, paid advertisement targeted at your ideal clients, that will entice them to take advantage of your free content. Typically, the ad would be on Facebook in this particular industry, but it could also be on Google, Instagram, YouTube, or wherever it makes sense for your audience, and I mean that. If your audience is hanging out on another place online, say LinkedIn, for example, you need to make sure that you’re going where they are. An ad is absolutely essential to your lead generation.

You could get leads from organic posts or offering your lead magnet at live speaking engagements, but it is essential if you really want to grow your list and your business fast and consistently and predictably. There’s so many things to talk about with ads, but here’s just a few things to keep in mind. The first is you’ll want it to have attention-grabbing copy. You need a first line or two that your ideal clients would quickly identify with. It can sometimes help to start your copy with a question like, “Have you ever struggled with X,” insert something that your ideal client may struggle with.

Second, you should clearly state what your lead magnet is, and the title of your lead magnet, and the headline of your ad. For example, “Free PDF. The growth optimization quick start guide.” Third, you’ll also want a powerful image. Think contrasting colors from the standard Facebook blue, like red, orange, yellow, hot pink, and black. Mostly bright, rich colors, as opposed to muted or faint, light colors. And it can be helpful to include an icon or image representing your lead magnet here as well.
Next, you’ll want to use the most accurate CTA button. We found, through extensive testing, that for a PDF guide or ebook, you’ll usually want to select the download CTA, and for trainings or webinars, you’ll want to use the learn more CTA button on Facebook. To learn more about what makes up a great lead-generating ad, check out our blog post on Facebook video ads at the link in the show notes. That post takes you through some examples of really successful ads we’ve run for our clients, and you’ll be able to download the exact templates we used to create your own.

Jim Hohl: All right. Well, that’s it for this week. We’ve given you some great tips on how to start driving more leads to your business, but this is only one component of optimizing your business for growth. You’ll want to listen to the past few episodes for some of the other components, and definitely be sure to subscribe to the podcast, if you haven’t already, to be the first to know about future episodes. For more on list-building, check out the show notes for links to all the references in this episode. Thanks for joining us for this episode of Mastering Growth, the last episode of our original launch episodes. Look for a shiny, new one next week, and in the meantime, keep growing.

About the Author

Jim Hohl

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Jim has been in marketing for over 25 years, and has worked on campaigns for startups to multinationals. He writes, speaks and trains on business development, sales and productivity.

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