Watching people walk away without ever getting in touch is heartbreaking and stressful enough for any professional photographer, but I’m willing to bet it’s happening to you many times every day.
One way to prevent this from happening is to make a real connection and build relationships with your website visitors, and the best tool you can use to accomplish that is your lead magnet.
Lead magnets might sound like some weird machine you’d find in a superhero action movie, but their real power gives your marketing a much-needed kick in the pants to work harder at getting people in front of your camera.
If you’re not all too sure about what they are, who they’re meant to attract, what they’re made of, or how to get them out there, stick around because we’re going to be getting some answers to those questions today.
This is actually the second part in a short series to help you put lead magnets to good use to build more productive relationships with your prospective clients.
Last week, if you recall, we talked about the many marketing problems caused by what I call “normal” marketing methods. Those are the strategies everyone defaults to because, well, everyone is doing them, and a whole world full of photographers can’t be wrong, right?
While they’re all busy trying to make the obvious marketing ideas work, the one thing most photographers are NOT doing is running a well-organized system designed purely for lead-generation.
Mostly because there’s a tendency to shy away from this kind of marketing for a variety of reasons.
- Lead-generation feels too much like it’s going to be the sleazy kind of marketing…
- They’re not sure how to put a lead-generation system together…
- The idea feels outside their comfort zone because it’s not “normal”…
- Or, negative issues around the need to write are holding them back…
There’s nothing unusual about these roadblocks, and it’s natural to wonder if a lead-generation system will work for you, but this will help you see that this is a lot easier than you might think, and more productive as well.
In last week’s article, we also discovered that a lead magnet is where your lead-generating efforts actually start, and I mentioned the 4 top superpowers of an effective lead magnet.
To save you having to go back over the whole thing, here’s a quick summary:
- A good lead magnet will significantly boost the conversion rate of your email list sign-up process. This is because your subscribers will feel as if they’re getting something valuable in return for their email address instead of signing up for something rather vague-sounding.
- Your lead magnet makes your prospective photography clients smarter by educating them about your photography and showing them how to overcome some of the most common objections or problems they may have.
- It turns your ideal prospects into positive winners by arming them with the ammunition needed to persuade other decision makers about the importance of working with you on their project.
- This is the most important because it inspires your best prospects to take the action they need to take to move themselves closer to working with you. Unless they take action, all you have are prospects, not clients.
So far, so good, but understanding the power of a strong lead magnet is great, but it still leaves some important questions unanswered, such as who to aim it at, what to actually offer them as a lead magnet, and how to deliver it to them.
Fortunately, you’ll know the answers to all those by the end of this article.
Ready to start your engines?
Awesome, let’s get right into it…
Photography Marketing Lead Magnets: Who, What And How
Want to know who you should aim your photography lead magnet at, what to put in it, and how to deliver it to the people who ask for it? Here's how...
Who Should You Aim Your Lead Magnet At?
The use of the word “magnet” in the context of marketing is no accident.
Magnets in the real-world only attract certain metallic objects, usually those made from iron. Likewise, the strongest marketing lead magnets are just as picky about who they make an impact upon.
Depending on the subject, a lead magnet will appeal strongly to one set of people while meaning little to others, or even discouraging certain groups.
For example, a free guide intended to help young women quit smoking could be presented in such a way that it appeals to a narrow and specific audience. Men, or women who don’t smoke, would obviously not be too interested in it.
A photographic example might be a free tutorial on how to build more rapport and engagement with young children during a portrait session. While many photographers might have at least some interest in such a guide, the kid photographers are obviously going to be the ones most keen on it, whereas architectural photographers will likely pass it up.
A key factor, then, has to do with relevance.
In other words, how much does the topic matter to the people who are exposed to it? They also need to care about the topic.
A generalized lead magnet will never be as good as something specific and, in fact, the more specific you make your lead magnet, the more likely it is to work the way you want it to.
But what can you do if you’re one of the many photographers who operate in multiple specialties?
I mean, if you do weddings, families, kids, executive portraits, pets, and fine art, how in the world are you supposed to come up with a lead magnet to keep all of those market segments interested and engaged?
Well, you know how the old saying goes, right?
You can please some of the people all the time, or all the people some of the time, but you can’t please everyone all the time…
Never has this been more true than in marketing!
Obviously, if you work in multiple photographic genres, you’ll need a different lead magnet for each of your separate target markets. To a large extent, you’ll also need to run separate lead-generation systems for each market, meaning separate sales funnels for each one.
If that sounds like a ton of work, I’m not going to lie to you, because it really is, and it’s tempting to give in to overwhelm and forget the whole lead-generation idea, which would be a tragic shame for your business.
But there’s no reason in the world why you have to tackle it all at once.
Instead, focus on the most important one first, get it deployed and working for you, and then take on the next one. Chances are, you can use the lessons and techniques you learned from doing the first one to help things move along even faster with the second and so on.
The most important point to remember about all this is your lead magnet should be targeted directly at your ideal clients – the people you most want to work with. If you can help them solve a problem or overcome some challenge they’re hitting up against, then so much the better.
Whether your lead magnet is intended to be informational, educational, or simply entertaining, it must be irresistible for the right people. Forget about everyone else because they’re not your clients, and you don’t want them to bite at it anyway and end up possibly wasting your time.
Do you remember our fisherman analogy from last time?
Imagine what fishing would be like if every single fish in the lake, regardless of species or size, went for the bait as soon as it was thrown in the water. Sure, it would be a fun feeding frenzy to watch at first, but I don’t imagine a serious angler would find it all too rewarding.
With this in mind, now you know who your lead magnet is for, let’s take a look at what you’re actually going to offer inside it.
What To Offer As A Lead Magnet?
One of the biggest stumbling blocks photographers face in all this is coming up with the idea for a good lead magnet topic in the first place.
For many, this can be highly frustrating, but you can eliminate much of that frustration simply by getting to know your target clients in more detail.
Talk to them!
Ask questions to find out where their knowledge gaps are and the emotional hooks they’re most likely to respond to. The more people you can talk to who are like the people you want to serve, the deeper and richer will be the intelligence you gather from them. In that sense, your market research activities are never actually finished.
For example, every bride wants to know the secrets to planning the perfect wedding, but what details cause the most problems for the brides you want to serve?
If you want to sell fine art photography, then talk to the people who buy the kind of artwork you’re trying to sell about why they buy it. This information can help you zero in on the emotional components of a sale, and the kinds of stories to tell about your own journey as a photographer and your photographic artwork.
Here are just a few ideas for some lead magnet titles to get you thinking:
- The 10 questions every bride must ask her wedding photographer…
- 5 must-have tips most people don’t know about having their dog photographed…
- The 7 reasons most parents regret not having their kids portraits created…
- 3 ways to ensure your products look amazing in your next catalog…
- How to make sure your restaurant menu is as mouth-watering as the food you serve…
- 5 simple ways to rock your senior portrait session…
There are literally hundreds of ideas you could use for this, but it’s also worth mentioning the few things you can best avoid for use as lead magnets.
- Giving away prints or any of the products you actually sell because they’ll be instantly devalued and will cannibalize future sales…
- Free sessions, coupons, or discounts don’t work well for similar reasons…
- Basically, anything connected with the intrinsic value of what you create because giving it away will make it less desirable and reduce the urgency in the prospect’s mind, which is the opposite of what you’re aiming for.
Having decided on what you’re going to offer as your lead magnet, the next question to answer is what form will it take?
The most common is a simple PDF document. These are perfect for creating guides and eBooks, and just about every computer out there can open a PDF file. Creating a PDF is pretty easy too, so this is a great option for most photographers.
Other media can work too. For example, an email series, slideshows, videos, MP3 audio files, or even an online course or set of tutorials. Choosing one of those formats would obviously depend on the nature of what you do, and you’ll need to decide according to your goals and target audience.
One question I see a lot on this topic is, “how long should it be?”
There’s no definitive answer to this, but I would make it as short as it can be while still delivering value, because you want your prospects to actually use the lead magnet, not stuff it away in a folder on their hard drive and then forget they have it.
For a PDF guide, I would keep it under 10 pages, or something they could read in maybe 15-30 minutes.
The other big question is all about how to get it into the hands of the people who ask for it.
This is actually quite simple, especially if what you offer is some kind of download.
First, create your content (say a PDF file), and then upload it to somewhere publicly accessible but not publicized elsewhere on your website or blog. This could be a hidden folder on your website, a Dropbox, or an Amazon S3 bucket. Wherever it ends up, the file will have a unique URL from which to access it.
Assuming your leads will give you their email address in exchange for the lead magnet, you’ll be adding those addresses to your email list in your email service provider, such as ActiveCampaign. Each email list you create will have a welcome message, which is sent out automatically to everyone who signs up. To deliver your lead magnet, you simply add a link to the URL for the download in your welcome message. The recipient can then click on the link to save the file to their computer or access the resource directly.
Another way is to display the download link on your email list sign-up thank-you page, but I don’t recommend doing it that way because you risk the thank-you being picked up by the search engines (unless you specifically lock them out), or having the page bookmarked and shared with others who could then download your lead magnet without first signing up to your email list.
Where Does Your Lead Magnet Fit Into Your Marketing?
One question remains for our topic today, which is, “where does your lead magnet fit into your marketing system?”
In the grand scheme of things, your website occupies the center of your marketing channels.
You can think of the lead magnet as being at the center of your website because it acts as the gatekeeper to the serious part of your marketing funnel.
The lead magnet exists to attract and connect with the people you most want to work with, and it’s essentially the beginning of the phase of marketing where you’re communicating with people who are no longer purely anonymous because you have at least their email address.
The technical part is actually quite easy to set up because you can get all the code you need for the email sign-up form from your email service provider, or you can use one of the many available plugins if you use WordPress to power your photography website.
In terms of where to put the sign-up form on your website, the best advice I can give you is to put it on every page of your website and blog, preferably somewhere near the top.
The highest-converting spot seems to be at the top center of the page, below the header and before the main content, but another popular option is at the top of the sidebar (assuming you have one, which I don’t).
One location that often gets overlooked is the page footer. This is especially useful for catching prospects who’ve read and enjoyed your content enough for them to want to sign up for your free offer, so presenting it to them in the footer can capitalize on their interest.
You can (and should) also create a dedicated landing page designed with the sole purpose of getting visitors to sign up for the lead magnet. Such a page is often called an opt-in page, or squeeze page, named after the dubious desire for marketers to literally squeeze someone’s email address out of them.
Obviously, you’re not going to be creating something as spammy as that, but an opt-in page can be a great asset to your marketing for several reasons:
- It makes measuring your opt-in conversion rate much simpler because you have one specific URL to track…
- You can link to your opt-in page from strategic locations throughout your website and in your blog content…
- Since the opt-in page is a self-contained asset on your site, you can create online ads to send visitors to it from Facebook or Google AdWords, which can then fuel the growth of your email list…
As you can see, the lead magnet is one of the biggest keys to success in your marketing efforts, and it’s hard to get people to take the important steps towards working with you without it.
So here are the key takeaways from today:
- Get to know who your ideal target clients are in as much detail as possible, which will then allow you to create the perfect lead magnet just for them.
- If you work with a variety of photographic specialties, you’ll need to create a separate lead magnet for each of those, but take it one at a time, and don’t let yourself get overwhelmed.
- Delivering your lead magnet to your prospects is no more complicated than sending them a link as part of their welcome email.
- Fitting the lead magnet into your marketing system is as simple as giving people the ability to opt-in from any page of your website or blog. You can also enhance your lead-generation with a dedicated opt-in page, which you can use as the destination page for any future advertising.