Sarah is a fairly new child care center owner. She’s worked in the field for over a decade and always had a dream to open her own preschool someday. That day finally arrived about six months ago.
In fact, Sarah did plenty of planning and preparation before opening her school, and it’s paid off because she already has experienced some great momentum.
For the most part things are going really well. She found a great location, hired a team that she is proud of, and has already filled her school to about 60% full in a very short time.
However, the new enrollments are slowing down.
Sarah is looking for ways to continue to connect with prospective families in her area so she can fill her school, and make a bigger difference in her community.
Sarah started looking for additional marketing ideas online, and she was intrigued by the idea of offering a Lead Magnet to entice her target market to opt-in with their contact information.
She knows if she has their email address, she can continue to market to them in the future. If she has their phone number, she can make a phone call to follow-up.
This seems like a simple way to reach more families. Sarah wants to try it, but isn’t sure where to get started.
Keep scrolling to learn all about using lead magnets to build your house list.
A lead magnet (sometimes called an IFO – Irresistible Free Offer) is an incentive you can offer to potential clients in exchange for their email address or other contact information.
They also serve the purpose of setting you up as an authority or an expert in your field, which builds trust with your potential clients before you ever meet them. In essence, you are demonstrating that you know what you’re doing because you are the expert providing all the information they need.
Getting your ideal clients to find you, or pay attention to you has become a real challenge for many business owners. There is an overwhelmingly large amount of content available online, and people are kinda over it.
Attention spans are short, and people quickly click away if they can’t instantly find what they are looking for.
In fact, most people only stay on a website for about 15 seconds on average unless:
- they are being entertained (YouTube for example)
- they have found the answers they have been searching for (in other words, you caught their interest and they are reading/watching intently)
Lead magnets usually offer a piece of digital, downloadable content, such as a:
Free PDF checklist, cheat sheet, blueprint – Usually short, 1-3 pages.
Report, Guide, Whitepaper, or eBook – More thorough but still easily consumable on a very specific topic.
Webinar or Online Class – Think about a real pain point or topic of interest for the target market you serve, and create a problem-solving webinar around that. At the end of the webinar or class, you can offer a special promotion for a service you are offering.
Case Study – Tells the story of a person that experienced a similar problem and what they did to achieve favorable results (use your product or service). Real-life stories of people that have had a good experience with your company help to build your credibility.
Discount/Coupon – Try offers such as: save $100 on registration fees, redeem this coupon for a free gift with your tour, or a free week of summer camp when they sign up by a specified deadline.
Quiz or Survey – An online quiz or survey can be a very engaging way to generate new leads. Every parent wants to know what their parenting style is, right? Of course, your quiz could be about anything, but see this example: https://www.activeparenting.com/for-parents/parenting-quiz/)
Video or Video Series – This is similar to a webinar, but it is pre-recorded, and delivery is automated. You can use any of the topics or subjects that you would write a free report or eBook about, and create an educational or entertaining video about it.
The information that your Lead Magnet supplies needs to be enticing enough that people are willing to share their info to gain access to it. If they do not think it pertains to them or their problem, they will just keep scrolling and clicking.
For instance, if I happen to be wondering if my toddler’s development is delayed, and I come across these IFO’s during my next online search, which do you think I will be prone to click on?
- Should I Be Worried? My Toddler Will NOT Eat Vegetables! – A Parent’s Guide to Early Childhood Nutrition
- How to Travel Tantrum-Free: 8 Mistakes to Avoid When Planning Your Next Family Trip
- The Ten Developmental Milestones Every Three-Year-Old Should be Hitting – and Two Warning Signs That It Is Time to Visit Your Doctor
If I am a parent of a 2-4 year old, truthfully, I might opt-in for all of these because they all KIND OF pertain to me. However, the last one is super specific to what has been on my mind lately. To me, that would definitely be some information I want to have access to. I’d gladly enter my name and email to get that report (or video, or class) instantly.
It is important that you find a specific subject that would appeal to a large portion of your target market. If you wanted to get fancy, you could create several IFOs that speak to different issues and offer them through different targeted ads. Or, you could test the effectiveness or popularity of your IFO through split testing. You could even change your Lead Magnet based on the season or time of year.
Tips for Creating a Strong Lead Magnet
It is Super Specific – Lead magnets do not need to be super long or complex, but they should be very specific. Focus on solving a specific problem with a specific solution, for a specific segment of your prospects. The more specific you are about the benefit of your lead magnet, the better it will convert leads.
It Solves a Real Problem – Be sure your lead magnet solves a problem common to your ideal clients OR gives them some information they really want.
It Promises at Least One Quick Win – When brainstorming for your content, keep in mind that your IFO will be more popular if it will help the recipient to easily achieve something. (Learn how to create a Lead Magnet or plan a kid-friendly nutritious menu, for example.
It is Instantly Accessible – Your lead magnet will work best if it is something that can be delivered right away. If they have to wait two weeks for delivery, it might not be as appealing as an instant download.
It is Quick to Digest – PDF checklists tend to convert really well because they are so quick and easy to digest. Your lead magnet must be consumed by your prospect if it is going to have an impact on them.
It Has a High Perceived Value – Your lead magnet should have both high perceived value and high actual value. Just because something is free, doesn’t mean it should look free. Put some time into content research, proofreading, editing, and graphic design.
It Demonstrates Your Expertise or USPs – Finding a unique way to let your audience know what you stand for, how you operate, and/or how your services will benefit THEM, helps turn leads into customers down the road.
I found this super comprehensive article that will give more guidance and examples. If you are ready to create your own IFO, this resource will help:
69 Highly Effective Lead Magnet Ideas to Grow Your Email List (Updated)
To get you started, here are several example IFO ideas. Feel free to use these exactly as they are, or create a spin-off that will work for your program.
- Consumer Awareness Guide to Choosing Child Care
- Seven Pitfalls to Avoid when Choosing Child Care
- The Top Ten Questions Every Parent Should Ask When Shopping for Child Care
- Child Care: Six Warning Signs to Avoid
- Making the Most of Family Time
- The Working Parent’s Guide to……
- The Busy Mom’s Survival Guide
- Is My Child Normal? (a child development checklist)
- Ten Children’s Books Every Kid Needs
- Insider Secrets to Choosing the Right Child Care
- 16 “Must Ask” Questions to Relieve Your Stress and Worry When Choosing A Preschool
- 5 Easy Steps to a Tear-Free Bedtime
- Cheat Sheet: The New Parent’s Guide to Choosing a Preschool
- Quiz: Is My Child Gifted (or Behind)
- Quiz: What’s Your Parenting Style
- The Ultimate Kindergarten Readiness Checklist
After you create your lead magnet, it is time to put it to work. You need to get your opt-in offer posted online, and then send people to it so you can start adding more potential clients to your house email list.
Here’s what to do:
Add an Opt-in Form to Your Website – This is a fairly simple process, but it will depend on your website and your email system. Automated email systems like Constant Contact and MailChimp provide written and video instructions to show you exactly how to set up an auto-reply with an opt-in form on your website. If it seems too complicated to you, talk to your website people, or hire someone on Upwork to take care of this for you.
Here are a few examples for you to check out:
https://www.mybrightonmontessori.com/ (pop up)
Set up the Automation – Anytime someone opts in, your system should automatically send them the lead magnet. If you are super savvy, you will set up other follow-up actions; such as sending additional emails and/or a reminder to follow-up with a phone call.
Share Your Offer – You need to share the link to your opt-in form or landing page so people know about it. The most common way is to share it online, but there are so many ways to help prospects find it:
- A Social Media Post – On your business page. You can opt to share it on your personal page and/or ask staff and families to also share the post.
- Paid Social Media Ads – I am thinking mostly of Facebook, but most social media sites offer paid ads options.
- Paid Google AdWords – Help people find you when they are searching for information regarding the topic of your Lead Magnet.
- Fliers & Brochures – Be sure to include a short link to your Lead Magnet in any printed materials designed to attract new families to your school.
- On the Phone – Tell people about it when they call the school.
- So Many More Ways – Get creative. Put it on your road sign, create an info card that your referral partners can share with others, share at local playgroups, add the offer to the back of your business card. The sky is the limit when you look for opportunities everywhere.
What You Should Do With All Your New Leads:
Follow up Immediately – At the very least they should be added to a short follow up drip campaign. If you also collected their phone number or mailing address, you can follow up in other ways too. However, people are less likely to share that info with you – especially at their first contact with you.
Communicate With Them From Time to Time – Send them invites and offers. Let them know when you have openings. Add them to your monthly e-Newsletter distribution. Stay in front of them. You never know when your message will reach them at just the right time.