How big is your email list?
If you’re like most creators, the answer is “not big enough.”
Effective lead generation is a constant uphill battle to expand your community and reach. Whether you have an email list of one hundred or one hundred thousand, there’s always more you can do to increase the size of your email list—and in turn, increase your impact (and sales.)
Getting to that lead gen goal is easy if you’re only focused on the number. After all, that’s why there’s a robust black market for purchased subscriber lists (please don’t do this!), and shady opt-in practices abound for brands and creators alike.
But for your lead gen to actually help your bottom line, you need to be acquiring subscribers that fit your ideal customer profile. The ones that “get it.” Finding these isn’t as easy.
The answer? Connecting your content marketing efforts to your lead generation. If you have a subscriber interested in what you have to say—on your blog, on YouTube, on social media, or via podcast, for example—then it’s much more likely that they’re the type of person you want to have for your audience. Here’s how to do it:
Match your content to your audience
You have probably heard the advice “know your audience” a thousand times when it comes to marketing, but it’s still the best way to make sure you’re catering to your audience's needs. Whether you’re writing, filming, recording, or designing content, you need to make sure you’re connecting with your current audience and the audience you want to attract to your business.
You should know everything about your ideal customer:
- Demographics: Who they are (college student, business executive, parent) and where they live
- Challenges: What problems you’re solving or joy you’re bringing with your business
- Daily Life: How your business fits in to their lives and whether or not they have to change something about themselves to use your services or products
- Interests: What topics, hobbies, or media they’re most excited by
This information will help you determine what kind of content you should create in the first place. The more you know about what your audience (and prospective audience) is interested in, the more you can match those needs to your areas of expertise and those of your business.
Think of your content marketing in pillars of information that cascade down into individual topics. Fitness creative Nikki Pepper takes this approach for both her social media and her email campaigns. Every time she’s speaking to her audience, it falls into one of three buckets: nutrition education, customer stories, or opportunities to train with her. “Keep everything the same if you can,” she says. “I want to reinforce the messaging across channels, so people can see something from as many points as possible to have it resonate with them.”
Within these areas, there are hundreds of potential topics to cover based on his audience feedback and his own ideas.
Types of content you can create
Once you know what topics you want to cover, there are tons of different formats to choose from to deliver that content. Choosing one depends on your comfort level with media (such as willingness to appear on camera or design chops) and how your audience learns.
This can be:
- Blog posts
- Social media
Don’t be afraid to try multiple formats using the same topic or recycle your efforts into multiple channels. Everyone learns differently, and while a blog post may resonate with some of your audience, a video might capture another section. You’ll need to experiment and find out what gets the most engagement to know what’s working and where to put your effort.
How lead magnets work
What turns all of these great content formats into something real is adding the layer of lead generation. This is sometimes called “gating” content, meaning to access it, someone has to give you their email address.
Not every piece of content is worth gating; however, it probably doesn’t make sense to gate your podcast or gate your blog posts. Save your lead magnets for your best, most high-quality offers. Here are three examples of what that looks like from real creators:
#1: Pairing videos with dedicated worksheets
YouTuber and finance guru Nick True creates one special video each month with an additional resource for his 47,000 followers. Because the YouTube algorithm rewards keeping followers watching additional videos, you need to be careful about your timing and how often you choose to add links into your videos and captions.
True makes sure that the resource fits the video, often creating something completely new and pitching it as part of the video content. “We create a specific resource for that video,” he says. “Checklists do really well for our audience, where it is a natural fit with the video.”
Take his top-performing YouTube video, which as more than 600,000 views and True believes has brought in more than half his subscriber base:
“It’s a long, complicated, detailed video, so we built a dedicated beginner’s checklist that you can just follow along with. What I do is use a ConvertKit built-in form to build the landing page specifically for that resource. I pitch the resource at the end of the video and in the description,” says True.
The landing page, made via one of ConvertKit’s easy-to-use templates, is super simple: An image, a form for the person’s email, and a quick description of the checklist guide and what they’ll receive.
What’s key about this video as a lead magnet is that it’s a major time investment for someone to watch—clocking in at over 30 minutes!—which means if they do stick to the end and hear the resource pitch, they’re definitely part of True’s ideal customer profile and would make an engaged, interested subscriber.
#2: Leading workshops through social media
Your social media following is a great place to start with your lead generation efforts because those followers have already said yes to hearing from you and are more likely to know who you are and what you do. Encourage them to take the next step and join your email list for access to exclusive content that you don’t post on TikTok, Instagram, or Facebook.
Start by adding a link to your bio using ConvertKit:
From there, think about the type of content you’re already promoting on social media, which might be more educational or inspirational than some of the content meant to sell your products and services. Take popular travel blogger Christian LeBlanc, who uses TikTok to promote a one-hour free creator training on how to escape your 9-5 job and travel the world.
He takes trending audio, pairs it with incredible photography and video editing from his nomadic lifestyle, and ends each 15-second video with a clear call to action to sign up for his training through the link in the bio.
@lostleblanc If an accountant can transform into a content creator than what’s holding you back🙇♂️ #travel #photography ♬ original sound – LostLeBlanc
What makes this lead magnet so useful is that rather than running multiple workshops live, LeBlanc recorded the workshop so it stays evergreen, making it easy to promote it at regular intervals to his new followers as he grows his social media presence.
That way, all new subscribers have to do is enter their email, and they can start watching the workshop right away—no need to send out an invitation, reminder, or recording.
#3: Creating an in-depth guide or ebook
Whatever kind of lead magnet you create, you want to make sure it’s adding enough value that your prospective subscribers just have to know what’s in the offer. But that doesn’t mean you have to create something completely from scratch.
One effective way to create a piece of high-value content is to wrap up existing blog posts or other information into a longer format ebook or guide, like the one entrepreneur Dylan Redekop created as his first lead magnet for his weekly newsletter Growth Currency.
He sends out weekly emails designed to help entrepreneurs and creatives grow their business — so naturally, he practices what he preaches, creating an in-depth ebook on how to start a newsletter from scratch as his first lead magnet through ConvertKit.
“It was so amazingly easy to use the landing page builder and templates that it was everything I needed,” he says. “I built it, the way I wanted to, in probably 20 minutes and could start driving people to download the resource and sign up for my newsletter.”
“Creating an account with ConvertKit doesn’t cost you anything. If you just experience the ConvertKit ecosystem, you’ll see right away how user-friendly it is,” says Redekop. “And that can inspire you to do more. If you have anything at all you want to share with the world, get a ConvertKit account and start sharing.”
You want to deliver something that your prospective subscribers can’t get with you on your other channels. You want them to feel like they’re getting an exclusive, one-of-a-kind offer that makes trading in their email address—and precious inbox real estate—worth it.
Grow your email list with ConvertKit
ConvertKit helps you build a relationship with your followers and own that connection you make with them through your email list. Get started sharing what you have to say today with our 14-day free trial.