Marketers are getting inventive with their opt-in freebies, offering software, interactive quizzes, and entire video trainings in a bid to grow their email lists and generate interest for their products or services.
But in spite of all these creative possibilities, there's still one type of lead magnet that hasn't lost its rustic charm: the PDF download.
It's easy to see why. PDF content, such as ebooks & white papers, is cost-effective, easy to produce, and—believe it or not—still converts.
Did you think PDF downloads were dead?
Overthink Group did a study of HubSpot's most popular lead magnet types in 2017, and eight of the top ten included PDF-type content—whether ebooks, how-to guides, slide presentations or templates.
Aside from ebooks, here are a few other PDF content types that are as popular as ever:
All of these formats are easy to digest, offering new subscribers the instant gratification they seek. As a bonus, they're less expensive and time-consuming to produce than a full-blown video course.
Today, on-brand lead magnets are easier to create than ever. With a desktop publishing tool like Lucidpress, you can start with an existing template or create your own using the drag-and-drop editor.
After you've created your lead magnet and a landing page to host it, it's time to get some eyeballs on it. Here are nine ways to do just that.
Tell your audience about your latest free offer
Lead magnets make handy tools for building an email list, but they can also be shared with your existing audience to generate more buzz or segment email subscribers based on their interests. Incorporate your ebook into your full content strategy.
Your existing audience includes your clients or customers, social media followers, and current subscriber base. Ask them to check out your latest resource and to consider sharing it if they find it useful.
Don't forget to link to your lead magnet in the following places:
Pinned tweets on Twitter
Pinned Page posts on Facebook
Facebook Page CTA button
Feature it throughout your website
Your website can be your best promotional tool. By strategically placing opt-in forms and links to your free offer throughout your site, you can control which type of visitor sees your offer and when.
If you want to get a bit more creative, here are a few more ways you can showcase your lead magnet on your site:
Link to your landing page from your website's main navigation (e.g. "Free Stuff").
Create an attention-grabbing sidebar graphic and link it to your landing page.
Announce your lead magnet using a floating notification bar.
Experiment with slide-ins, welcome gates and lightbox popups.
Certain types of opt-in forms, such as those that obscure the content, can be frustrating for mobile users, so consider displaying a different type of form depending on the device a visitor is using.
Link to it in your email signature
How many emails do you send in a day—or a week?
Your email signature is prime real estate for promoting your latest offer.
Create a professional and eye-catching signature with a link to your landing page and a bit of text enticing your email recipients to click. Using a free email signature generator like WiseStamp, you can easily add a CTA to your sig:
Promote it via your blog
Indirect promotion of your lead magnet via your blog can be a more effective long-term strategy than repetitively plugging your free offer.
The bottom of every post is a logical place to include a call-to-action. For example, you might add a post-footer opt-in form or invite readers to visit your landing page.
You can also link to your freebie within the body of your posts when it makes sense contextually. Use an attention-grabbing callout box or try the subtle (but highly effective) two-step opt-in form, which doesn't display a form until the user clicks on the link.
Whenever you publish a new post, notify your audience via social media and your email newsletter. You can expand your post's reach with some additional promotion techniques:
Share your posts in relevant online communities.
Answer questions related to your industry on Quora, and include a link back to your article for people who want to learn more.
Reach out to the other websites linked to in your posts.
Comment on popular blog posts in your industry, and include a link back to your post when it makes sense to do so.
Link to it in your guest author bio
Guest posting is still one of the best ways to reach new audiences and generate powerful backlinks to your content. In exchange for a well-written article, many websites will let you include a call-to-action and a link to a landing page of your choice.
To help you narrow down which blogs are worth writing for, use free tools like SimilarWeb and Alexa to get estimations of a domain's traffic, and the MozBar Chrome extension to compare the domain authority of guest post prospects.
If you plan to do a lot of guest posting, it's worth investing in a keyword research tool to help you choose article topics that 1) are relevant, 2) people are searching for, and 3) the host website has a good shot at ranking for. This will boost the visibility of your guest articles and the quality of referral traffic to your landing page.
Share it in relevant online communities
There's a group for every professional subject.
Online communities—Facebook and LinkedIn groups, Google+ communities, subreddits, public Slack channels, etc.—offer a place to get support from experts, develop business relationships, and share your latest work.
Instead of trying to be everywhere at once, you can get more mileage by choosing a small handful of high-quality groups and being active in them. Get to know the group culture and participate in the discussion before attempting to drop any links.
In many groups, self-promotion or links are not allowed, although some group admins have a weekly "show-and-tell" day as an exception to this rule.
If group admins seem strict about self-promotion, don't automatically write it off as a bad group. Often, heavily moderated groups are higher quality—and they tend to relax the rules for members who regularly contribute to the community.
Drive traffic to it with Facebook ads
With Facebook ads, you can generate sign-ups right on Facebook or drive traffic to a page on your website, like Marketo is doing with this ad:
If you're curious to know the average CPC, CTR and conversion rates for your industry so you can see how your Facebook campaigns stack up, check out this study by WordStream.
Repackaging your lead magnet into other formats and distributing it across multiple platforms is an economical way to generate more interest and exposure.
For instance, you could share pointers from your ebook in the form of YouTube videos, SlideShares, Medium articles or social media graphics, with a link to the download page.
PDF content can also be repurposed into offline marketing collateral—such as brochures, booklets, newsletters and flyers—and distributed to prospects at networking events and trade shows. (Not to brag here, but Lucidpress can help you transform your digital creations into on-brand print collateral and even send them via direct mail.)
Once you've created your first lead magnet and begun to collect subscribers, try creating a few new offers and see what resonates best with your audience. By targeting your lead magnets to specific blog posts or types of website visitors, you can continue to grow conversions while offering individual prospects and customers the best possible experience.