what are lead magnets

Explode your email list with lead magnets. How to create one and why you need to.

Lead Magnets explained – a nifty tool to make your email marketing list explode with new contacts. Tips and suggestions with a focus on art-selling websites.

Lead Magnets, aka “content upgrades” or “content bribes” even.

They are all over the internet.

“Download your free guide!”, or transcribe (Click here to see one of our Lead Magnets in action), get the ten most popular tips for whatever.

If you’ve spent any time reading the advice of marketing experts, googling “how to sell art online,” or otherwise trying to learn how to get traction in your art or photography business, you no doubt already know that building an email list is an important part of a successful online marketing strategy.

Here at ASF we have blogged about Email Marketing Art,  Why you need to import your email list into Facebook, and even the Anatomy of Art Sales Email.  

All of which become even more powerful when you have an email list to send to.

The truth is, in most cases people won’t buy from your website the first time they visit (unless they already know you or have some familiarity with your work).

That line is bolded for a reason.

Anomalies aside, it applies to just about every business online.  

Yet there are so so many and ESPECIALLY artists that don’t want to bring themselves to agree with it but its true.  Nobody signs up for our software out of the gates.  They do their homework, read our content, realize we know what we are talking about and then begin to consider it.

The same applies for you and your art.

Nobody just pulls their credit card out and buys on a whim. They get to know you, see multiple pieces of your art, learn about your process, build a relationship, and then they buy.

Sp you need a way to keep in touch with them, and an email list you mail regularly, even if just once a month ( do more but anything is better than none ), is the perfect way to stay top-of-mind for those folks who may not be in a position to buy today, but who will in the future.

Grow Your Art Sales with Email

An engaged email list also gives you a natural opportunity to regularly sell and make offers in a way that doesn’t feel “salesy” or overly aggressive (because you’re reaching out to an audience already predisposed to be interested in your work, which they’ve proven by signing up for your email list), not to mention the ability to share information about upcoming shows, sales and other announcements.

The challenge likely isn’t getting your mind around the many benefits of having a mailing list, it’s figuring out what to offer to get people to sign up for your list in the first place.

What Is a Lead Magnet?

list building tips

The Google search “where to buy art online” turns up over 55 million results. So we know there’s a lot of competition when it comes to where people can go to spend their art dollars on the web.

Now, the work on many of these sites may not as special, amazing, or unique as yours, but at the end of the day, if you don’t have some way to keep in touch and build relationships with potential customers who find you online, there are about a million other places they can go.

A lead magnet is a compelling opt-in incentive (sometimes called an “irresistible free offer”) that can help you build these relationships.

They give you their email address, you give them something for doing so.

Given the steep competition online and how full everyone’s inboxes are with emails these days, simply asking someone to “join my newsletter” or “sign up for updates” usually isn’t enough to get people consistently opting in to your mailing list.

That’s where the lead magnet comes in.

Lead Magnet Ideas for Artists and Photographers

lead magnets

The first step to creating an irresistible lead magnet is understanding who you’re trying to attract and what they might find useful or compelling. It’s all about your potential buyers. Once you get clear on who your ideal buyer/client/collector is, you then create something this group of people would consider valuable.

This doesn’t have to be complicated. Of course, you can go the route of creating a guide or other compelling download subscribers will get instant access to, but your lead magnet could also be as simple as a percentage off a first sale, or regular announcements about your new works or upcoming gallery shows.

One way to brainstorm ideas for your lead magnet is to figure out what people who buy your work need related to the kind of art you sell.

Here’s some ideas to get you started:

Resource Guides

opt in bribe ideas

Resource guides are a great way to get folks to opt in to your list. For example:

  • A guide on how to hang art properly or how to group art together for display
  • A PDF resource list of the tools required to hang and show art properly, with instructions on how to DIY the process.
  • Create a resource guide for collectors. This could be a simple PDF that shares 10 tips about collecting fine art or photography. This works because you’re helping your audience with something they already do – collect art – related to what you sell.

Exclusive Content

You could tease getting on your email list by offering subscriber-only access to special promotions, information about upcoming events and artist appearances, exclusive access to studio previews, and first look at new works.

Another direction is to create a private Facebook group that subscribers will be invited to join. In the group, you’d share works in progress, upcoming show information, and special Facebook-only promotions.

You could also promote access to exclusive content such as a monthly email series like “Behind the scenes in my studio” or similar, where you share works in progress and/or the stories behind your signature pieces.

In a similar vein, you could share a peek behind the curtain at your artistic process and your insights on creativity.

Exclusive Discount

Offer a one-time discount on the first purchase from your website, or free shipping.

Misc. Ideas

how to create a lead magnet

Here’s a few more ideas.

  • Create a screensaver of one of your best-selling prints that subscribers can download instantly when they subscribe.
  • You could offer your gallery & event calendar, delivered digitally.
  • What are the most frequently asked questions you get at your shows and openings? Create a beautifully designed PDF that answers these questions.

Finally, if you blog regularly, you could simply offer to send your blog posts via email, if your audience would find them valuable, entertaining, or inspiring.

If you decide on this as your opt-in incentive, be sure to position it as something special, like “Insider’s Club Letter,” “Collector’s Letter,” “Art Club Letter,” or similar.

I recently worked with a client who has a day job on a horse farm, and we decided to call her monthly newsletter “Notes from Horse Country.” In each newsletter, she shares a story about her life on the farm, notes about new works in progress, and the backstory about one of the pieces she has for sale, with a link back to her website for those who want to make a purchase.

Other Tips

lead magnets explained

Whatever route you decide to go with your lead magnet, be sure to make the benefits of signing up clear and compelling in your opt-in form language. Create a strong headline with a specific, value-driven promise.

For example, something like, “Enter your email here for instant access to [name of your guide or download], plus subscriber only special promotions and the latest news about upcoming events” is more compelling than “Sign up for monthly updates.”

And when someone signs up for your email list, send them a friendly welcome message that explains how often they can expect to hear from you and the kinds of content you’ll be sharing.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. As a deeply creative person who creates beauty out of thin air every day, I’m sure you’ll have no problem figuring out what opt-in incentive or lead magnet to create to turn web visitors into email subscribers, and ultimately, into clients and collectors. 🙂