In today’s article I am going to talk about the concept of the “lead magnet” and specifically how to build a lead magnet for your photography website.
What is a lead magnet?
A lead magnet is generally something that you offer visitors to your website in exchange for some information from them and therefore convert the visitor into a sale lead.
The goal of the lead magnet is to convert as many targeted site visitors into sales lead prospects.
Why is this important? Well, I’ve lost count of the number of photographers who tell me that their website is busy enough but they are still not getting any enquiries through.
The most obvious answer to this is usually that there are no Calls to Action on their site telling the potential client what to do next.
The less obvious answer is to pro-actively engage with the site visitor. This is where the lead magnet concept comes into play.
So how do we implement this Lead Magnet concept?
Well first of all you need to think about your prospective client – if you are a wedding photographer, then your prospective client is typically a bride looking for information about weddings in general.
So think about the type of information a bride might be looking for during the wedding planning process.
Here are some typical examples of things that could be turned into a “lead magnet”:-
- A ten step checklist to help you choose the perfect wedding photographer
- A list of the key questions you must ask before booking a wedding photographer
- A free wedding planning spreadsheet that covers everything you need to know and budget for when planning your wedding
- Our list of the top twenty wedding venues in the area and why
So hopefully that gives you some ideas – as photographers we are experts at weddings, so I’m am sure you can come up with some very useful content for a prospective wedding couple.
How do you “package” your lead magnet.
Well you need to keep the content highly readable and easy to use – but you also need to “brand” the content as yours, so that the client connects your company as the one that provided the useful information – so make sure your branding is front and centre and that your website and contact information is included there.
Unless the content is in spreadsheet form, it is probably easiest to create the content in a the form of a Word Document and then convert it into a PDF (Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format).
The Easiest Way to Create a Lead Magnet
An even easier method – and this is what I did for the example I am going to use here – I simply converted an existing page on my website into a PDF – the website article was “Twenty Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer” so it sits well as a useful document to offer my site visitors.
To convert the document I used the brilliant piece of web-based software called Designerr – it’s a great tool and the easiest way to create a Lead magnet – I can quickly add any branding I wish and a few seconds later I had a PDF Lead magnet ready to use.
What information should you ask for in exchange for your Lead Magnet?
Next – what information do you need in exchange for this useful document that you are going to provide your prospective client?
Well we need to qualify our prospects so that we know whether they can indeed be potential clients.
So think about what questions you can ask that qualifies them:-
Obviously you will need their name and email address
A mobile phone number is also useful as you can then call or text them directly
Date of their wedding – an obvious one, but remember some may still be in the planning stages and may have not yet set a date
Location of their wedding – is it within your normal driving distance etc
Have they booked a wedding photographer yet? – another obvious one.
Now you need to balance this with the power of your lead magnet – the more questions and fields you ask someone to complete, the less likely they will do so – so your lead magnet, needs to really be useful – so bear that in mind.
Okay so we now know what a lead magnet is and we now know what information we need from a prospective client in order to know whether we can then turn that lead into a potential client.
So how do we actually set this up?
Well you will need:-
- A mailing list service – you can set up a free one at Mailchimp.com
- An easy way of building a form to capture the data and embed it on your website and then send that information to your mailing list service – for this we use and recommend Leadpages
What is Mailchimp.com
Well if you haven’t used mailchimp before, at its very simplest it is a software system to help you maintain a mailing list of your potential clients – the system allows you to easily add clients to the list via automated forms and also allow you to easily bulk email everyone in your list, or even just segments of that list.
Why do you need it?
Well if you have ever tried to bulk email over 100 clients from your normal mailing client you will quickly find that many Internet-based systems will automatically start to flag your email address as a potential spam account and you can quickly find your mailserver appearing on Internet blacklists and refusing to accept email from you.
Systems like Mailchimp properly structure their emails to avoid this – you can grab a free account at Mailchimp.com – just do it!
What is Leadpages?
Leadpages is the leading data capture and landing page creation system out there.
When building an input form asking these types of questions, you don’t want your client to be distracted by other things on your website – so leadpages allows you to build a proper “landing page” with no distractions like menus or sidebars and to focus your client on the task in hand – they even provide pre-built templates which you can amend.
Furthermore, leadpages also allows you to create pop-up boxes when a client clicks a link to request information – their system is extremely good and I highly recommend it.
Of course, like everything, it does cost a few bucks each month, but you do get what you pay for – you will find other alternatives on the market, but to my mind nobody can touch what leadpages can do for your business.
Let’s go ahead and build a lead capture landing page
Once you’ve created an account on Leadpages and logged in, the first thing you will need to do is link your leadpages and Mailchimp accounts.
Step 1 – Link Leadpages and Mailchimp
To do this Click on your account name in the top right of the leadpages dashboard and then click on “Integrations”.
You will then see a list of services that Leadpages can connect to (lots of them) – click on Mailchimp and you will then see a box prompting you for your API Token – to get this we need to open a new browser window and login in to our Mailchimp account.
So login to Mailchimp and then click on your account name (top right) and then click “Account” – on the screen that appears click on “Extras – API Keys”
Scroll down and click on the “Create a Key” button
The screen will refresh and you will see that an API key entry has appeared with the current date and time. Under “Label” it will say “None Set” – click on this and name it “Leadpages”, just so you remember why this API key was created.
Now click on the API key itself – the key will be highlight and ready for you to copy – type Ctrl+C (or Cmd+C on a Mac) to copy the API key.
Now – switch back to your Leadpages browser page and paste that API key into the API Token box in leadpages – click on the box and type Ctrl+V (or Cmd+V ona a Mac) to paste this value into the field.
Now click on “Connect” – the screen will refresh and it will show that your Mailchamp account is connected.
Step 2 – Upload your Lead Magnet
In leadpages click on your account name and click on “Lead Magnets”
This is where all your different lead magnets are stored on leadpages – so you can have different lead magnets for Wedding clients, lead magnets for Portrait clients, commercial clients etc.
Click on the Create New Lead Magnet button
The following screen appears – you can upload the PDF document you are sending your client as well as create the email that will be sent to them.
So you need to write something like this:-
“Here’s your free guide – ‘Twenty Questions you must ask your Wedding Photographer before booking’
If you have any questions – even general wedding questions, please drop me an email or give me a call on 01234 567890 – I’ve photographed hundreds of weddings, so when it comes to questions about weddings, I’ve usually covered most of them – I’d be delighted to help in any way I can.”
Step 3 – Configure your mailing list
Within mailchimp you should already have a “List” set up – this is where you store all the email addresses and build up your database of prospects.
If you don’t already have a list ready to capture these leads, you’ll need to create one – so login to Mailchimp – click on “Lists” then click the “Create list” button
The system will prompt you to make sure that you do indeed want to create a list.
You will now be prompted for a list name and the default email address and from name that you will use when writing to your email list.
Note that you also have to include your contact details and an explanation of where they signed up to the list.
So for this example I am using the following settings:-
List name: Wedding-Prospects
Default from email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Default from Name: Alan at Alan Hutchison Photography
Remind people why they signed up for your list:
“You completed a form on my website asking to download our list of the top twenty things to ask when booking a wedding photographer”
Note that you can also set notifications so that Mailchimp will email you as soon as people sign up to you list.
Step 4 – Add the additional fields you will need
As we are going to be qualifying our potential clients by asking them questions, we will need to add these fields to our mailing list
In the example page I am going to build I want to gather the following information:-
- Client’s Name
- Email Address
- Date of their Wedding
- Have they booked a Photographer yet?
So let’s add these fields in our Mailchimp List
1. Login in to mailchimp
2. Click on “Lists” in the top menu bar
3. Select your existing wedding client list that you created above
4. Click Settings
5. Click “List Fields and *|MERGE|* Tags”
You should now be presented with a screen like this:-
6. Click on Add a Field and continue creating the rest of the fields – we’ll need a DATE type field for our Date of Wedding – note that you are given the option of setting the date input style for your local area. Then add a “RADIO BUTTON” type field that let’s us select from a list of choices – the system defaults to offering three choice, so change the first two to Yes and No and delete the last option.
Your field setup page should now look like this:-
Notice that I’ve left the Date of Wedding field as NOT required – this means the client can leave it blank if they haven’t booked their wedding date yet. It’s your choice if you wish to make other fields required – but for me I just really need to know their email address, and whether they have booked a photographer yet.
7. If you haven’t already done so – click on Save Changes to make sure everything is saved in Mailchimp.
Step 5 – Building our landing page
Login to Leadpages and click on “Create New Page”
Leadpages offers a huge array of landing page templates:-
For this example I am going to use the “New Basic Squeeze Page” – you can quickly find that one by typing “New Basic” into the search box at the top of the list of page templates.
Click on the image of the Template and you will see a button that says “Use Template”
You will then be prompted to give your landing page a name – I used “Wedding Prospects”
Leadpages uses a Drag and Drop page designer which allows changes to be made very easily.
First thing we will want to do is get rid of that beach scene and replace it with a suitable wedding image – and by suitable, I mean where your subject is to the left or right and will not be hidden by the sign up box in the middle of your page.
To do this – click on Styles icon of the left
You should then see “Page Styles” panel. Scroll down until you see the Background section.
At this point you will see that you can change the background image – as this will be a full screen image, I resized one of my wedding images to 1920 pixels wide and saved it as a jpeg at 60% quality
Next we need to change the Text that shows in the center of the Screen
Click on the text area in the centre and you will see that you can directly edit the content.
For this basic example I changed the text to read:-
The Twenty Questions You Must Ask Before Booking a Wedding Photographer
(This list will save you hours of planning time and money)
N.B. You will see I am listing the product (my report) AND the benefits – i.e. giving them a reason to download it
My landing page text now reads like this:-
Step 6 – Configuring the Input form
So far so good – we have a basic landing page – now we need to configure the form
Click on the “Download the Report” button
You should see a “link” icon – click on this
The screen now shows that the button is linked to a “Leadbox” named (in my case) “My Leadbox 1”
Click on View/Edit
The pop-up form then displays – ready for you to edit it
The first thing I want to do is get rid of the “50% complete” progress bar thing – from feedback this confuses the hell out of non-techy people – hover over it and click the little trash can icon to delete it.
Next change your header text to “ALMOST THERE! Please complete to details below to access your free time saving report”
I then changed “ENTER YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS TO GET STARTED” to “Please tell us a little about you and your wedding plans”
Now we need to configure the fields that the form will prompt for
Click on the Email address box and an “Edit the form” section will open up on the left of your screen.
The settings show three options:-
3. Follow Up
At the bottom of the Integrations section – click on the “Add an Integration” option
You should then see Mailchimp – click on that and it will prompt you to confirm the list in Mailchimp that you are connecting to – in this case I am connecting to my Wedding-Prospects list – select this and click Done (very important to click the Done button here due to a minor bug in Leadpages which doesn’t properly refresh the available field unless you do)
Now click on 2. Fields
You will see we can now add additional fields to our pop up form
Click on Add a Field – you can then pick the additional fields that you setup in Mailchimp
Once you select a field you can then edit the Field label that is shown on the form, and the placeholder text that is shown in the field box.
This is how I configured my fields to look like:-
Now click on 3. Follow Up
The settings you use on the Follow Up page determines what happens when our client click the button to submit their details.
You can see we have a number of options – for this simple test example I am just going to leave it at the default setting which sends the user to a default Leadpages thank you screen. I would however recommend that you set up a special “Thank You” page on your own website that you would send them to after submitting the form as this looks much more professional.
Now we add our Lead Magnet to the form!
You will note that there is an option to send a file to the user – this is where we attach the lead magnet that we uploaded in Step 2 to our form.
So click on the Add a File option and you should then see the lead magnet file you created at Step 2.
Select your Lead Magnet from the drop down list and then click on Save and Close Form.
Check that your form Status shows “Saved” in the top right of the screen – or click Update if prompted.
You can now preview your landing page – it should looks something like this :-
You can see the live page here: https://photoproseo.lpages.co/wedding-prospects/
That’s all great so far but it does have an ugly domain name? Fortunately you can change that using the handy WordPress plugin that Leadpages provide, which allows you to host these leadpages as a URL directly on your own WordPress website. Details on how to do that can be found here.
So my final landing page can be seen and accessed here – go ahead and fill it in and you will see for yourself how it works. Don’t worry you won’t be adding yourself to a real mailing list!
Now we can get really clever!
So we’ve built a landing page – it has an input form which gathers lots of useful information in exchange for sending the prospect some information (our lead magnet).
That’s great I hear you say – but what else can we do?
Well click on this link for a live demo of the power of Leadpages.
See what happened? – we can embed those same forms from our Landing page anywhere on our website.
This is called a “Leadbox” and now that you’ve set one up via the landing page exercise above, you will find it very easy to create your first pop up box like this one.
We can add this almost anywhere on our site.
From a Marketing point of view I would typically market the Landing page on places like Facebook. Elsewhere I would then use the pop-up Leadbox concept to entice site visitors to accept my lead magnet.
How to Build a Lead Magnet – Summary
So there you have it – how to build a lead magnet for your photography website and convert site visitors into real prospects and sales leads.
We showed you how to create a Lead Magnet using Designerr
We showed you how to create a mailing list in Mailchimp
We built our landing page and input form in Leadpages
We then showed you how to utilise the power of Leadpages to embed additional input forms anywhere on our website.
Please do share this with your friends in the industry – I’ve always found that photographers that do well in business are the ones who freely share information with each other.
I do hope that you enjoyed this article – if you spot any mistakes, please let me know in the comments – at over 3000 words, I’m sure there will be something I have missed.