Marketing has been profoundly transformed over the past decade. Whenever I hear about leads and how important they are, a specific scene from Glengarry Glen Ross – a really great film with a fantastic cast from 1992 comes to mind. Alec Baldwin, in the performance of a lifetime, holds a big stack of colorful cardstock pieces, tied with a golden bow – they are the very coveted leads for a promising real estate business. Because back then it was still pen on paper and most phones had a fixed place on a wall or a desk.

While everything else has changed, pitching to the right people is just as important as it was from the beginning of markets so compiling a database of potential customers is essential for the success of your online course.

4 Awesome examples of lead magnets

Today you no longer need an army of people to go on the field and work the phones in order to get a good pile of leads. The job will easily be done with the help of a lead magnet – an offer your potential customers can’t refuse (to quote yet another great cinematic masterpiece).

It has to be something interesting or valuable enough for the prospects to give you their email address in order to receive that particular piece of content. Basically it should give at least a partial quick fix to the problem or inquiry that had lead those customers to your page. Your course should later act like the complete solution for whatever issues your prospects face and are searching to overcome.

Below you will find a few ideas of how to create something valuable and worth signing up for.

  1. Free white papers

    White papers are the internet’s version of good old cliff notes. If the latter have saved many students from disastrous grades when they failed to make it all the way through Moby Dick or Tess of the D’Urbervilles in time for the quiz, whitepapers act as “an authoritative report or guide that informs readers concisely about a complex issue and presents the issuing body’s philosophy on the matter. They are meant to help readers understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision.”

    They take an intricate subject and present it in a nutshell. Since your goal is to ultimately promote your online course, your target audience is mainly made up of individuals who seek to learn so giving out this sort of material in exchange for basic personal information is a good way to start a conversation with them.


    INDIE White paper: How to increase your revenue by marketing your online courses


  2. Downloadable e-books

    E-books are tremendously popular these days because they can be accessed on a number of devices, are environmentally friendly and take up no physical space. If you chose this type of lead magnet, take into consideration that though it shares a lot of similarities with the white paper, an e-book can address broader issues and do so in a more entertaining way.

    Relevance is important but not the only measure by which something will make it or not into the content. It’s crucial that the information is not presented in a stiff, academic way. The e-book needs to be authoritative (the prospects need to be convinced you know about what you are preaching) but also accessible to a large audience and with some entertaining value. Format is also important as you want to make sure it will work on as many devices as possible.

  3. Catchy infographics

    Infographics are awesome. Since all the technological advancements of recent years have greatly enhanced our visual nature, we are real suckers for nice graphics – cleverly crafted images and numbers that give a concise view of an otherwise broad situation. Good infographics make a great impact, are easily remembered and can be of great help in grasping a certain concept or making a believable point – for those situations when you are very sure of something but don’t quite have the tools to convince others.

    While this may seem like a lot less time consuming than the first two options enumerated here, there is a lot of work to be put into it as well – from the relevant data gathering to processing it and designing the proper visuals to go with it. Another perk of putting in the time to do one of these is that most certainly you’ll be able to effectively use it in your course as well.


    INDIE Infographic: How to increase your revenue by marketing your online courses


  4. Relevant quizzes

    What does your profile picture say about you? What will the new year bring you? What animal do you turn into when you are angry? These are just a few of the quizzes people took and posted the results on social media in the past few days. It’s always tempting to click on them and find out the outcomes no matter how silly they are.

    That’s why quizzes in general have great potential as lead magnets. They are highly interactive and engaging regardless of whether you choose the fun version or the more focused, professional one. And the good news is that there are online tools that cost very little or nothing at all and can help you build a good quiz or survey. The key is to have some idea about your target audience and what makes them tick.

These are only the start

These are only a few examples of that could make effective lead magnets. Marketing your online course will certainly require a great deal of creativity so try to use that in getting people to give you their information and be open to a conversation.

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