Content marketing is my favorite. The idea of creating something valuable, giving it away for free, and allowing it to facilitate a connection with the exact people you want to help? It's such a wholesome way of generating leads.
Content marketing comes in many forms. There's the public content, available for all to find and consume—things like blog posts, YouTube videos, and quick tips shared on Facebook or Instagram. Then there's the content that's offered in exchange for a person's contact information. That's what we call a lead magnet.
What is a lead magnet?
A lead magnet is a piece of content that is designed to compel people to exchange their contact information for access to the content. Your lead magnet might be a short eBook—The Ultimate Guide To Buying A Home In Metro Atlanta—or attendance at a free online seminar—How To Buy A Home With No Down Payment.
For a lead magnet to be effective, it must be something that is relevant and valuable to your target audience. The content should reinforce your brand and demonstrate your expertise.
Creating a lead magnet is just one step of a bigger lead generation process. You also need a strategy for making the lead magnet findable online, and a strategy for following up with the leads you acquire. Here's what the complete process might look like:
- Create a lead magnet. Remember, this should be something that is relevant and valuable to your target audience. Consider enlisting the help of a graphic designer, writer, or other marketing professional.
- Build a landing page that explains the lead magnet and includes a form for people to fill out so they can access the item. Your form should include a field for name, email address, and timeline (e.g. I want to buy in 6 months, I'm just here to learn, I want to sell in 6-12 months, etc.). By including a timeline question, you get a better idea of how to segment your leads.
- Build a thank you page that leads are sent to after submitting the form. This page should thank them for their interest and provide instructions on how to access or download the free resource. It's also a good idea to let them know that they've been added to your mailing list, just in case they want to opt out. (Disgruntled email recipients are best avoided.)
- Promote your lead magnet on various platforms—in a social media post, via your existing email list, in one of your blog posts, on your website, via a PPC ad—and link to your landing page.
- Assign each new lead to the proper email drip campaign, based on their timeline. Check out these tips for lead follow-up to make sure you're getting your email marketing just right.
Now that we've covered the basics of lead magnets, let's get to the fun part! Below, you will find 5 lead magnet ideas and real life examples of each.
Lead Magnet Idea #1: Guide
A buyer's or seller's guide (in the form of a PDF) is definitely one of the most common lead magnets, and for good reason. It should be pretty easy to create, because you already have tons of expert knowledge on the subject. And it's geared toward exactly who you want to attract—potential buyers and sellers.
You'll probably want to create your guide to be specific to the geographic area you serve. Be sure to include your city, state, or metro area in the title of your guide.
If you serve a niche market—first-time buyers, listings, seniors, historic homes, luxury, vacation homes—be sure that your guide is written with those specific consumers in mind.
Pittsburgh realtor Christa Ross created a Home Buyer's Guide that she says, in the description, is "perfect for first-time buyers or for those that just want a refresher on buying in Western PA."
Her form includes a dropdown where leads qualify themselves as "I'm just browsing" or by timeframe: "I want to buy in the next 6 months," "...the next 6-12 months," or "...next year."
Other guide/ebook ideas to consider:
- [City] Relocation Guide
- Everything You Need To Know About Buying Old & Historic Homes In [City]
- The First-Time Home Buyer's Guide To Down Payment Assistance Programs in [State]
- Downsizing: A Buying & Selling Guide for Empty-Nesters in [City]
Lead Magnet Idea #2: Educational webinars
It's safe to assume that at least half of your target audience would prefer to watch a video rather than read an ebook. That's why a webinar makes a great lead magnet! Keep the webinar educational; you're teaching them something, not selling yourself. Run a seminar on the pros and cons of renting vs. buying, or tips for saving up for a down payment, or take a cue from City Chic Real Estate—they hosted a Zoom webinar called "Buying When You're Broke" (and created a nice graphic to promote the event on their Facebook page).
You can get a lot of use out of just one webinar. Record your live presentation and repurpose the video as a downloadable lead magnet on your website.
Lead Magnet Idea #3: Free Home Valuation
Offering a free home valuation is another popular lead magnet for real estate agents. In fact, some real estate website providers (like Firepoint) have this feature built in so you can quickly generate the reports.
The Bob Kelley Team in Philadelphia has a stunning website with a large call-to-action for a free home valuation. They use approachable, jargon-free language—"Find out what your home is really worth"—and have a two-step form that first asks for your home address and then brings up the lead capture form.
Lead Magnet Idea #4: Weekly Market Reports
People who are thinking about buying or selling a home want to know what's going on in the housing market—but the data can be quite overwhelming. That's where you step in! Choose a few stats to track each week and explain what those numbers mean in a way that the average consumer will understand. If you can make the market sound approachable and conquerable, people will be happy to receive your emails each week.
To entice people to subscribe to your weekly newsletter, it's a good idea to give them a little preview. On realtor Ann M Huddock's website, next to the "Subscribe Now" call-to-action is a button to "See Past Issues." A quick peek at her past issues allows people to see the value she provides.
Another thing I love about her lead magnet is how she proactively lets subscribers know when to expect the newsletter—every Wednesday at 2pm Central Time. It's clear that she makes this outreach a top priority.
Lead Magnet Idea #5: Quiz
A quiz is a fun, interactive way to generate leads, and you can get really creative with the subject matter. M/I Homes, a homebuilder company based in central Ohio, has created tons of quizzes covering a variety of topics—everything from "Are You Ready To Buy A Home?" to "What's Your Cincinnati Community Crush?"
M/I Homes' quizzes have serious Buzzfeed vibes that will resonate with a younger, first-time-homebuyer crowd, but your quiz could certainly be geared to a more experienced audience.
To get people to take a quiz, they are promoted in Facebook posts. Every quiz ends with a lead capture form inviting quiz-takers to "Register To See Your Results." And after all of those intriguing questions, who could resist?
To Attract Real Estate Leads, Give Something Of Value
Sharing valuable, educational content—whether through a written guide, a live or pre-recorded webinar, or a home valuation report—is a surefire way to attract leads, establish your expertise, and begin to earn trust.
So when you start creating your next great lead magnet, get into a "giving" mindset. Who do you want to help? How can you help? What knowledge can you share with hopeful buyers and sellers to help them on this journey?
To learn more about lead magnet best practices, check out this article on the Firepoint blog: How To Use Lead Magnets To Attract Real Estate Leads.