One of the first questions I ask every new Marketing Breakthrough member is, “Do you have a lead magnet?” or “Do you have a free report to collect contact information from prospects on your website?

This is a critical component in every website because the vast majority of your visitors will not contact you or make a purchase right away.  Therefore, you must have a way to follow-up and the most effective way to get contact information is via a lead magnet.

When I first started doing these calls I would get really excited when the answer to my qusetion was yes.  I was pleasantly shocked because most businesses do NOT have a lead magnet.  I would then quickly move on to my next question in my auditing process and didn’t give it a second thought.

Eventually, I figured out I was making a mistake by not prying deeper to get more details.  I didn’t realize then that some folks believe ANY webform, located ANYWHERE on their website is a lead magnet.

Oh, how my heart sank every time the “lead magnet” turned out to be nothing more than a newsletter opt in box buried deep on the webpage.  After a few heartbreaks, I decided to clarify exactly what I mean when I ask, “Do you have a lead magnet?”

First of all, a lead magnet is not a newsletter subscription form on your website.  I strongly recommend every business use an email newsletter, but there is a big difference between a lead magnet and a newsletter sign up form.  Don’t fool yourself.  No one is really excited to subscribe to your email newsletter no matter how great it is.  It’s not sexy or compelling enough for most of your visitors.

So then, what is a lead magnet?  To answer that question, let’s take a look at the criteria I use to judge whether or not you have a lead magnet on your website:

Criteria #1: Compelling headline.  A lead magnet must have a sexy or compelling headline that is irresistible to your target prospects.

Criteria #2: Magnetically attracts your ideal prospect.  The compelling headline must call out directly to your ideal prospect and sometimes even repel unqualified folks.

Criteria #3: Pre-sells your product or service.  The information or tool you provide in exchange for contact information must pre-sell what you’re ultimately trying to sell.

Criteria #4: Includes a call-to-action.  The final element is your call to action to contact you or purchase your product or service.  Collecting contact information is great because now you can follow up, but the goal is to close the deal as soon as possible.  If you did a good job pre-selling, then the next logical step should be to make a purchase.  Clearly explain the next steps so your prospect can call you, come into your store or office, or order online.

If you don’t have all 4 criteria above, then you don’t have a lead magnet (yet).   For more information about how to create a lead magnet, read the How to Create a ‘Lead Magnet’ Marketing Action Guide in the Main Street Inner Circle members area.