100 Ways to Grow Your Email List with Lead MagnetsOne of the best assets you can have as an author and entrepreneur is an email list. (And by the way, as an author you ARE an entrepreneur, whether you realize it or not!) When someone signs up for your email list, he or she is giving you permission to contact them, share marketing messages with them, and build a relationship with them. This is incredibly powerful for several reasons.

You own your data with email marketing.

Social media has gotten a lot of glory in recent years, but it has one massive disadvantage: Your account lives on someone else’s real estate. Whether your favorite platform is Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or you’re still hanging out on MySpace wondering where everyone went, the reality is you are borrowing space that you don’t own—and that space can be taken away from you.

It happened to us here at the Nonfiction Authors Association—our two Twitter accounts with over 70k followers evaporated into thin air. We certainly didn’t violate any terms, didn’t receive any kind of warning, they just disappeared. This incredibly frustrating situation was a harsh reminder that social media accounts are not an asset.

While you essentially rent your email management tool, such as Constant Contact, MailChimp or Aweber, these companies don’t own your data—you do. Your account could be cancelled, but you will still have rights to your contact lists and any content you’ve produced there.

Email marketing gives you direct communication with your audience.

Not everyone engages with social media with the same frequency. Some may check in several times a day, while others check in several times a year. So, it’s likely that only a tiny percentage of your followers there are truly engaged. (There are always exceptions, of course.)

But guess what most of us do every single day? We check our email! And if you deliver content that delivers value to your subscribers, you can expect 25% or more (industry average) of your subscribers to tune in—every time to communicate with them.

Bottom Line: If building your email list hasn’t been a top priority for you, it should be!

The best way to build your email list is by offering incentive to subscribe. A box on your site that says, “Sign up for my newsletter” is not enough. We are protective of our email addresses because we don’t want our inboxes overloaded. If you want to grow your subscriber base, you absolutely must deliver value.

What is a lead magnet?

A lead magnet is incentive for signing up for a mailing list, and that incentive needs to matter to a potential subscriber. It needs to improve a subscriber’s life in some way.

Your lead magnets should accomplish several of the following:

  • Solve a problem for your audience.
  • Demonstrate your expertise.
  • Entice readers to buy your book.
  • Provide entertainment.
  • Deliver value.
  • Dazzle readers so they want to learn more about you, your book, or your products and services.

How many lead magnets do you need?

I recommend trying several different lead magnets to find out what works best for your audience. You can test by offering them on your website and through your social media networks (your rented, non-asset!). Most successful marketers create a variety of lead magnets, offering new ones on a regular basis to make sure website visitors and social media followers are inspired to sign up.

And by the way, a top goal should be to inspire your social media followers to sign up for your email list. This will ensure you can maintain your connection with them no matter what. Plus, email gives you a more effective way to reach them on a consistent basis.

Following are a wide variety of lead magnet ideas to help you build an effective strategy to grow your list so you can sell more books and build a successful author business.

List of 100 Lead Magnet Ideas to Grow Your Email List

Written Content for Lead Magnets

  1. Sample chapters from your book
  2. Ebook or mini ebook
  3. Beta reader sign-up
  4. Report
  5. Mini workbook
  6. Workbook pages
  7. Step-by-step instructions or process
  8. Article on a hot topic
  9. Bundle of articles

Audio and Video Lead Magnets

  1. Audiobook or mini audiobook
  2. Video lecture
  3. Real-world tutorials on how to do something
  4. Animated video
  5. Demonstration video
  6. Funny video
  7. Audio recording
  8. Bundle of podcast episodes
  9. Bundle of best videos
  10. List of recommended videos
  11. Royalty-free music

Training and Coaching Lead Magnets

  1. Training session or course
  2. First module of training session/course
  3. Wait list for course, event, etc.
  4. Transcript from an event
  5. Presentation slide deck
  6. Free coaching/consulting appointment
  7. Access to group coaching

Pre-Formatted Templates as Lead Magnets

  1. Cheat sheets
  2. Scripts
  3. Planning worksheets (ex: meal planner)
  4. Document templates (ex: letter that can be revised and repurposed)
  5. Spreadsheets with formulas built in
  6. Pre-designed PowerPoint slides (or Google or Prezzi)
  7. Flyers for repurposing (ex: flyers to promote a band that can be revised)
  8. Sales forms and letters
  9. Checklists
  10. Bundle of templates or digital downloads

Fun Lead Magnets

  1. Coloring pages
  2. Puzzles or games
  3. Recipes
  4. Contest entry (research rules before hosting contests)
  5. Contribute to contest (ex: sign up to donate a prize)
  6. Challenge (ex: 7-day photography challenge)
  7. Prompts (ex: 30 days of journaling prompts)
  8. Children’s book
  9. Activities for kids
  10. Activities for adults
  11. Patterns (ex: knitting pattern for socks)

Visual Lead Magnets

  1. Infographic
  2. Printable art/wall hanging
  3. Printable quotes
  4. Illustrated guide (ex: top restaurant guide for city)
  5. Map (ex: walking trails in your city)
  6. Royalty-free images
  7. Tracking chart (ex: habit tracker)

Deals as Lead Magnets

  1. Free trial
  2. Coupon
  3. Register for early access to book, course, event, etc.
  4. Early bird or exclusive discount
  5. Coupons to gift to friends
  6. BOGO offer (buy one, get one)

Interactive Lead Magnets

  1. Quiz
  2. Survey
  3. Game
  4. Assessment
  5. Calculator (ex: estimate your weight loss results)
  6. App or software access or trial
  7. Invitation to private group
  8. Access to online networking event
  9. Speed dating or networking event

Lists as Lead Magnets

  1. Helpful resources
  2. Music playlist
  3. Recommendations
  4. Favorite quotes
  5. Reading lists (ex: favorite memoirs)
  6. Top 10 (or 20 or 50 or 100!)
  7. Examples (ex: best birdhouse ideas)
  8. Round-up (ex: links to favorite cookie recipes)
  9. Spreadsheet or database (ex: list of dairy-free desserts)

Events as Lead Magnets

  1. Webinar registration
  2. Webinar replay or recording
  3. Ticket to event (free)
  4. Register for Facebook Live event (or other social media platform)
  5. Get notified about event
  6. Q&A with you on Zoom or other platform
  7. Online concert
  8. Online shopping event
  9. Live training course (ex: learn how to paint birdhouses)
  10. Live stream event or activity
  11. Book launch party access
  12. Collaborative event (several people promote event together to generate more signups)

Exclusive Invitations as Lead Magnets

  1. Invitation to private Pinterest board
  2. Private social media group access
  3. Private videos on Vimeo
  4. Mastermind group access
  5. Book club
  6. Discussion group
  7. Support group
  8. Local group (ex: hiking club)
  9. First 10 to respond get free access to…


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