The Phantom Funnel: How to Put Lead Magnets to Work for You
Hello again, Fullbay followers! Are you ready to talk about lead magnets?
If you generally follow our marketing best practices, then you have an attractive website, active social media, and a widely displayed phone number. These are all ways for potential customers to find you and get in touch with you.
But do you have a way to get in touch with them?
Generally, website visitors don’t leave much of a footprint. Sure, they’re landing on your website, but they might not be ready to bring their truck in—maybe it’s not broken yet, maybe they’re scouting around for PM work. If they don’t have a pressing repair, they probably aren’t going to just schedule an appointment with you. You’re a stranger to them; they don’t know anything about you or the work you do.
So why not offer these potential customers a valuable piece of information, something that makes visiting your page absolutely worthwhile—worthwhile enough for them to offer up their contact information so you can get in touch with them?
Well, at that point, they stop being random traffic and become a potential lead.
But Fullbay, you may be saying, how can I do that? And why do I feel like I should call you Morpheus?
Rest easy, Neo. What we’re about to show you is admittedly a more advanced tactic than a lot of shops are trying, which is exactly why we’re discussing it—if almost no one else is testing it, then you can really make yourself stand out from the crowd. Grab a glass of water and follow us along as we introduce you to the wonderful world of lead magnets.
WHAT IS A LEAD MAGNET?
In the marketing world, a lead magnet is a piece of information given freely in exchange for someone’s phone number or email.
They’ve also been referred to as freemiums (because they’re free for your readers) and free gifts, among other things.
For a diesel repair shop, that might be a downloadable sheet about winterizing your truck or tips to avoid damaging a diesel engine. Your lead, or reader, typically gives you their email address or phone number in exchange for this product. Because it is valuable, the lead doesn’t mind offering up their details for you to get in touch with them later.
Ideally, this is a win-win situation. Your reader/visitor/lead obtains information they needed (now they can winterize their truck successfully!) and you have their contact information. You can eventually contact this reader and see how else you can help them further. Heck, maybe they’re a fleet manager that needs to winterize a dozen trucks, and your shop is right nearby!
WAIT, I HAVE TO COLLECT INFORMATION?!
Okay, let’s address the elephant in the room. You might not be thrilled with the idea of collecting information. That’s weird, right? That’s someone’s personal email address you have right now.
The thing to remember is the person downloading this sheet is giving you their information voluntarily. You didn’t corner them and bully them into handing over their email. They looked at what you had to offer and decided it was worth trading those details.
Back in the olden days of advertising, manufacturers often included a coupon for a free gift or service in their ads. If a reader liked the description of the gift, they could clip the coupon and send it off to the manufacturer (along with their mailing information), and within a few weeks or months (hey, it was a slower time) they’d get their free gift.
Think of this exchange as an updated digital version of the free gift.
We’ll discuss privacy policies more in our follow-up article, which will show up in a few days, and you can generally find examples of them online that you can copy and paste.
WHAT DOES A GOOD LEAD MAGNET DO?
The content you offer your potential customers should do four things:
- It answers a specific question or solves a specific problem. Here’s a relevant example: If you’re trying to figure out how to sell PMs, you might like our How to Sell PMs ebook. Your lead magnet must present outstanding value to your readers or viewers, who are really your potential customers.
- It establishes or cements your shop as an authority in a topic. You want your diesel repair shop to be good at what they do. By displaying knowledge on a particular subject, you’re showing that you’re trustworthy and might be able to take care of their vehicles. This may be a largely subconscious process, but a pleased reader might be far likelier to click that “schedule service” button on your website.
- It engages current customers. Regularly producing relevant content will keep you top of mind for your current customers, provided they’re subscribed to your email list or social media. If you produce a digital download about updated DOT inspection rules, for example, a customer may realize they need to get their inspection done and give you a call.
- They get the word out about your business. Your downloadable content can live happily on your website, but you’ll also want to make sure it gets around a little—you can advertise it on social media and even in industry publications. How much you push it will depend on your marketing budget, but the more people lay eyes on your lead magnet, the more people will know about your shop.
WHAT KIND OF LEAD MAGNETS SHOULD I BUILD?
If you follow our blog even casually, you know that we produce a lot of ebooks that cover a variety of topics:
Please note, your lead magnets do NOT need to look like ours! We’ve got a full marketing and production team, so cranking out beautifully designed, useful (and sometimes really long) ebooks is something we can do in our sleep.
You might look at things like:
- Checklists: Here’s another example from Fullbay: the month-end close checklist.
- Slide decks: These can cover a single subject, like winterizing your truck or changing your oil on the side of the road.
- Articles and ebooks: A three-page pamphlet technically qualifies as an ebook, so don’t worry about length here! Is your shop an expert in BIT inspections? Share your knowledge with fleets that hope to travel through California.
- Guides: Things like speccing trucks or determining if a current vehicle is costing more than it is worth are all useful tools for a potential customer to look at.
Bear in mind, these are just a few ideas to get you thinking. The digital world has all kinds of ways for you to engage your customers—do you think they’d listen to a podcast? Would they like a calendar featuring your shop’s pets? If you even said, “Huh, maybe…” then that’s a potential lead magnet for you.
HOW DOES MY SHOP BENEFIT FROM A LEAD MAGNET?
Yeah, yeah, we expected this question: What’s in it for me?!
The biggest draw, of course, is that you’re getting potential customers you can add to the revenue funnel. The people who download your checklist, ebook, or other lead magnet are generally doing so because they have a genuine problem that you might be able to help them solve. They will also likely be receptive if you contact them a short time later to ask them if they’ve solved said problem.
You’re also developing materials that can, over time, help your shop build a sort of “virtual reputation.” If you’re known for producing quality diesel-related content that people find helpful, you’re going to be top of mind when they have an actual diesel-related problem to solve.
Think of lead magnets as one essential wrench in your marketing toolbox. You won’t always reach for it, but it’s a useful tool to have regardless.
HOLD ON, THIS SOUNDS LIKE A LOT OF WORK
We have good news and bad news on that front.
The good news is, lead magnets don’t have to be a ton of work. Once you get into the swing of things, a ten-step checklist, for example, might only take you half an hour to create.
The bad news is, yes, lead magnets do require some work. If you’ve got a marketing person on your staff, or if you’re working with a marketing agency, this type of job would definitely be something for them.
But the really good news is that there are a lot of free tools out there that can help you create a useful lead magnet. We’ll get into these in our follow-up article, but you can start familiarizing yourself with Google Workspace and Canva.
Yes, it takes some time to create excellent content that your potential customers will want—but you don’t have to churn these out by the dozen. You can invest your time and marketing money in just one lead magnet, then build others when you feel comfortable. Sure, if you realize you love doing this kind of stuff, then your shop might produce several a year, but you can also create one per quarter, or even one for spring and one for winter.
As long as you’re providing something of value, how often you do that is entirely up to you.
But Fullbay, you may be saying, how do I MAKE a lead magnet?
We’ve got you covered, friend. In our next article, we’re going to provide an actual step by step process that you can follow while creating your own lead magnet. We’ll include tips on how to write a detailed description of your lead magnet, as well as further information about privacy policies and how you can protect your potential customers (and yourself!).
Until then, kick back and start daydreaming about what kind of free information your customers would like to see!