How to Use Content Upgrade Lead Magnets 

You’re probably already aware of the marketing practice of offering a piece of valuable content in exchange for your website visitor’ email address. We’ve been doing that for years, and many coaches and consultants have a download offer on their website. 

What is a Content Upgrade Lead Magnet?

A content upgrade is, in process, similar to the usual lead magnet that we might have on our website. The difference is that it’s created for, and related to, a specific piece of content. So instead of your website visitors only having the option of the one generic lead magnet that you offer, you can offer lead magnets created on different topics and offered to your visitor depending on the piece of content that your site visitor was reading at that time.

Content upgrade lead magnets work. It doesn’t matter what market or niche you’re in. It doesn’t matter who the people are that you’re trying to attract. As long as you get traffic to your content and you offer a valuable download for your site visitor connected to that content, then it will dramatically improve your opt-ins and you can then build your list quickly.

How to Implement Content Upgrade Lead Magnets

The process is that you start by looking at your existing posts and articles and web pages and think about the type of content that you’re sharing within those places, focusing especially on the most visited posts. 

Choose the most popular topic currently that relates to what you’re selling (ie it’s the most valuable to your business at the current time). Then create a lead magnet based around that particular topic. And then set up a way to download that specific lead magnet in a specific place on your website based on the specific content that the visitor is reading on that page. 

So, How Does it Differ from Traditional List Building? 

The clue is in the repetition above of the word ‘specific’! 

In my case, I have a generic checklist that you can get on my website, which is all about helping you to have a successful business as a home based coach or consultant whilst getting to live more.

And that’s available across my site in the sidebar and via a popup so anyone who’s interested in having a successful business and living more might download that checklist from either of those places whilst reading content on my website.

However, within my website, I have content on various topics related to areas such as marketing your business, looking after your wellbeing and helping yourself to create more energy in order to build your business.

At the time of writing this article, I have a number of lead magnets that could be available on my website. I’ve already talked about the 5 Fundamentals to Living More Checklist. I’ve also got a checklist on how to reduce stress. I have a report about how to increase your focus for better productivity, one sharing some productivity apps and a report that talks about How to Simplify your Life in 15 Minutes a Day. 

As you can see there are a whole series of lead magnets that are available for my audience and in the past I would think about offering them in sort of a ‘lump’ if you like, just on one page, so people would come to the website and get offered a whole host of lead magnets all in one go.

And that’s fine and it’s still effective if people are looking for that information (if they can find it!), but what the content upgrade lead magnet process is about is making it really easy to find those lead magnets at a time when they’re already consuming my content on the same topic. 

So, it’s about taking some content that talks about reducing stress, for example, and then in the middle of that article, offering the Stress Reduction Checklist.

You can see that, by doing that, I would be creating an offer for people that is so directly related to what they’re interested in at that time, as they are already reading an article about it, that they’re much more likely, in the moment, to download the checklist as a natural next step.

Have you Ever Been Fishing?!

Let’s think about fishermen. Fishermen go to fish somewhere, maybe a lake or a river or the sea. And those places are generally good places to fish, as there is a chance that fish will be there.

But they’re only a GREAT place to fish, if there are actually fish there. So, the most successful fishermen find out where the fish have been ‘hanging out’ and then they go fishing at that place.

So what we’re saying is that once you have created a piece of content on your website that you know people are already visiting, because they’re interested in that topic, that’s the natural place to offer them the upgrade to more, and better, content on the same topic. 

And to push that analogy further – even if you had the best content in the world and the greatest lead magnet, without visitors to that content you aren’t going to ‘hook any fish’. 

To Get Started with Content Upgrade Lead Magnets

The first thing you need to do is think about which blog posts on your website are already attracting attention.

One simple way to do that is to check your comments if you have comments set up on your website and the posts that got the most comments are likely to be getting the most traffic. 

If you use WordPress then there are various plugins that will help you to find out that information, if you use something like Jetpack, or perhaps WP Statistics, then you might find that you have that information already available on the dashboard of your website and, obviously, Google Analytics will do the same thing for you if you have that set up.

Once you know which articles on your website get the most traffic, the idea then is to read them, and determine what the main topics are and what you think the people who are reading those articles would likely want as a next step in terms of deeper content. And then it’s about creating that content and offering it to them from that particular post by putting a signup form in that content to offer something that will take them deeper on that topic.

As you go through your blog post, jot down some ideas as to the deeper value content that you might be able to create for them.

And that can include things like, a checklist, a report, a ‘how to’; it could even be a video. Think about the type of people that will be interested in that and how they’d like to consume that information and then think about what you can create.

So you might, for example, have a popular blog post that’s talking about the benefits of walking. An upgrade could be a checklist that promotes walking every day and how to make that happen including some of the preparation that people need to go through in order to do that, or it might be a journal to record their daily walks and their reflections and the things that they see as they walk, or it could be an email challenge so that over a period of five days you encourage your reader to take action and do those daily walks and you do that in group format online

The Pros and Cons of Using Content Upgrade Lead Magnets

Let’s think of some of the pros and cons of using content upgrades to grow your list.

They are an effective way of growing your list but, as with anything, there pluses and minuses and it’s good to be aware of them so that you can decide whether this strategy is appropriate for you in your business at this current time.

  • they have a higher than average conversion rate. And that’s, as we’ve already said, because they’re so focused on offering the exact content that your site visitor is hoping for when they come to the article. So the content upgrade is really relevant to that single page or that single topic and, because of that relevancy, the conversion rate is high.
  • They can help to build your business as a leader in your field. If you think about the sites where they just offer one opt in  Lead Magnet across the whole site, and compare that to the sites that you’ve been to where there are different types of content for different needs. You can see already how having a more complex system might be more beneficial for your business, and for your audience.
  • If you think about marketing your business online being a bit of a numbers game, having more lead magnets across a whole series of topics that directly relate to what your audience are looking for immediately starts to give you more chance of getting more people on your mailing list.
  • Once you’ve created your content update lead magnets, they can be used for multiple purposes. As with any content marketing that you do online, there’s always an opportunity to repurpose it, eg you could sell a selection of the lead magnets combined into an ebook, you can create short videos using them as a script. You can use them in your autoresponder.
  • It’s easy to create a good content upgrade lead magnet – checklists make great content upgrades. It’s also easy to just create a PDF out of content that you have already or write some content out of your head, from your knowledge, and turn that into a quick video. It can be really easy to put together a beginner’s guide, a transcript, resource lists, recommendations – all of those ideas be used to create valuable pieces of content that you can turn into content upgrade lead magnets.

Let’s move on to thinking about the cons of content upgrade lead magnets. 

  • The biggest negative to content upgrades, and actually probably the only one, is the time it takes to create them, and the time it takes to set up the marketing infrastructure around delivering them, including specific autoresponders for that particular topic rather than just the generic ones that you use on your site already. 

Create a Repeatable, Outsourceable, Process

Content upgrade lead magnets are so powerful for building your list and building and boosting your profile as a leader in your niche that the time it takes for you to create them and create the infrastructure around them is really worthwhile and something that you definitely need to consider.

My top tip is – once you’ve created your content upgrade lead magnet and process once, make sure that you write yourself a checklist, or maybe use something like Asana to create a task list, so that you can easily follow it yourself for the second and the third and the fourth lead magnet that you create.   Then you are also able to consider outsourcing it or certainly elements of it. 

You Need to Create Tonnes of Value for your Audience

And that’s whether you’re offering a free lead magnet or selling a product or service – your clients should always feel like they get loads more from you than they were expecting.

Remember, with content upgrade lead magnets, the name implies that you are ‘upgrading’ the content that they’ve just read in your article. The next piece they’re going to download needs to build on what they’ve already read. It needs to give them more information, something more usable, something that’s going to take them to the next stage. 

But do bear in mind that content upgrades should be short and actionable.

You need to create something that takes them to the next level in terms of the content they’ve already read, but you don’t want to give them too much information that makes it something they don’t want to read or do anything with, so checklists can work really well for that. And, just being really aware as you’re designing your content that it’s scannable, and it’s easy to follow along, and learn from.

That means that when they download the checklist, report or whatever, it doesn’t take them too long to consume it, but it does give them some benefit really quickly. You could argue that longer content might be even more valuable and you’re probably right – that’s what programmes and books and so on are about. But what you want is for your site visitor to digest the information that they’ve downloaded quickly.

I think all too often nowadays people offer an ebook, in exchange for an email address, the person downloads it and then it just sits there not being read and not being used. And obviously one of the points of giving somebody something from your website and getting them to join your list is that you want to start building a relationship with them by helping them to do something that they need to do and so you can take them further on the journey with you and potentially sell to them in the future

Remember people now have really short attention spans, much more so than in the past. They don’t want to commit a lot of time consuming content, even if it is valuable, so make sure that your content upgrade lead magnet is short and sweet and does actually hit the spot for them. 

And I’ve mentioned the word actionable many times and that’s something that’s really key. Give your site visitor content to enable them to actually do something different as a result of the information that you’ve given them. It may just be one thing in the whole lead magnet, but if that one thing makes a difference, makes a change, gives them something to actually do, then they’re much more likely to feel they’ve got great value quickly from what you’ve offered them.

Of course the upside of this is that it also shouldn’t take too long to create!

Promoting your Content Upgrade Lead Magnets

So let’s think about how you promote your content upgrade lead magnets once you’ve actually created them.

One of the best places to share these are on social media, and what you’re sharing is not actually the lead magnet what you’re sharing here is the actual article. 

If you think about the traditional downloads that we’ve created, where we’ve had one download for our whole website, we’ve created content to share on social media hoping that people will come and read that content and then a pop up would appear with the download opportunity for your generic lead magnet. 

What we’re now aiming for, with a content upgrade lead magnet, is to share a specific piece of content on social media, which has a specific signup form, taking them to a specific content upgrade lead magnet. Sharing those articles is easy on social media and, once people click through to your site, it guarantees that the visitors are actually going to see the related lead magnet offer, because it’s embedded into that article.

As you start to create content upgrade lead magnets and use that process to generate more than just the first one, you probably need to think about some form of automation in terms of how often and where you’re sharing those articles. 

I recommend tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer and MeetEdgar to give you an opportunity to regularly share that content, and hopefully drive people back to your website to read the articles, and then hopefully download those lead magnets. The one I use particularly for that is MeetEdgar, and there’s also one called SocialBee. They allow you to save your content so you can set up a load of social posts linked to the best articles on your website and then have them posted at various intervals onto various platforms automatically.

Think about setting a schedule for sharing your content on social media, and this goes for any content not just content upgrade lead magnets. This is about just sharing content regularly on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or wherever it is that your potential customers are hanging out.

And, in fact, if you use websites like Buffer they give you an opportunity to find out the best times to post on each of the platforms and then you can make sure that you’re posting at those times to get the most eyes on your posts!

Something else to think about is perhaps linking your content upgrade lead magnets to your profiles directly in your bio, especially when using Instagram. Think about how you might do this as part of a process. You might think about having a theme for each week or each month and changing them regularly. So that if people are checking out your bio and want to connect further with you, they get taken to one of those valuable pieces of content with that content upgrade included rather than just generically to your main website url.

Another strategy to get more eyes on your articles is to consider hosting a giveaway. You can add quite a lot of subscribers in a short period of time doing that and there’s a plugin called KingSumo  giveaways on WordPress that effectively ‘pays’ your followers to share your content on their social media and for every person that they refer to you they get an additional entry into your giveaway. 

So the more they share the more chances they have of winning whatever it is you’re giving away and obviously the more they share the more likely it is people will come back and visit your site, and potentially download your lead magnet.

Once You’re Up and Running with Multiple Content Upgrades

Here’s an idea for what to do when once you have multiple content upgrade lead magnets available. 

You can combine them into a resource library. You’ve provided value for your website visitors, they’ve been able to download a valuable piece of content, and given you their email address. After that you shouldn’t make people jump through hoops to claim any of the other free content that you’re offering. It should be about helping them and being generous with that help so that you start to build that relationship with them. One way to do that is add all your content upgrades to a resources page.

So, somebody would join your site through your content upgrade lead magnet. Then, as part of the autoresponder series, you introduce them to a resources page which has all the other content upgrades that you offer listed so that they can then download the ones that they are also interested in. Depending on your autoresponder tool, you may be able to tag those people according to the specific lead magnets that they download so that you can segment your list in the future. 

For example, you know that somebody downloaded, in my case, a checklist about stress, so they might be interested in further content about stress in the future. But if somebody else has also downloaded content about productivity apps when you’re talking about productivity and you want to make an offer, particularly around that, those are the people who might be particularly interested in that, or at least that you may target with your comms first.

Bonus tip is to check your autoresponder tool, because you should be able to analyse your audience and segment them to enable you to market to them more effectively in the future.

Hopefully this has been helpful in terms of explaining what content upgrade lead magnets are, and has given you some inspiration to think about how to create your own.

Remember, the first step is to have a look at your existing content on your website, work out what the most popular pages are, what those topics are, and think about how you can create some content to use as content upgrade lead magnets on those particular pages. 

And don’t forget to write down your process when you’ve set up that first one – how you created the content, how you set up the autoresponders, and everything else you’ve done – so that you can replicate it in future, and/or outsource it.

And finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t offer you an content upgrade lead magnet at the end of an article about content upgrade lead magnets!

Now you’re inspired and ready to create your first content upgrade lead magnet, download my checklist of suggested content formats that you could create!

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