Creating the Right Lead Magnets for each Stage in the Buyer’s Journey

Your buyers’ journey will determine how you should offer Lead Magnets (pieces of content offered in exchange for email and/or other contact information) to lay out stepping stones to make the journey easier. Put the wrong stone in the wrong place, and you make the journey harder, and often make the journey to a sale impossible.

The typical view of the buyer’s journey looks something like this:

Awareness > Consideration > Decision

The buyer becomes aware they have a problem. They start considering what to do about it. Then they make a decision on what, if anything, to do.

This can be as simple as: “I’m hungry. What should I eat? It’s still January, I better eat a salad.” (Note, I’m actually munching on a salad as I write this. If we were in December, I’d probably be writing, “oh look, we have leftover cake…”)

If you try to close the deal while the buyer is stuck in the Awareness stage, you come across as too pushy. But if you only offer Awareness-stage content, someone who is really ready to buy doesn’t have the information they need to take action. So how do we tailor our Lead Magnets to the buyer’s journey?

First, I like to think of it as actual steps, like this:

Awareness Consideration Decision

This isn’t a simple progression– you need energy to move from one stage to the next. At times, I’ve been frustrated at “irrational” prospects who stall out on the climb, but of course, there are many situations where I’ve stopped partway through myself.

We want our overall marketing, and in particular, our Lead Magnets, to match the buyer’s journey, help them move from one stage to the next, culminating with some kind of purchase from us. Also, and this is something a lot of people overlook, we want to move prospects who don’t fit out of our sales process, saving everyone precious time.

Let’s look at some examples (don’t you love the fancy graphics?):

Awareness Consideration Decision
Upgrade hardware and software.
Upgrade computers?

Buy new hardware?

Get faster data plan for field reps?

Do we have a virus?

Make invoices simpler?

We can’t send invoices from the job site because the servers are too slow.

What might some effective Lead Magnets be for this journey? Here are some ideas.

Awareness Consideration Decision
  • How to successfully implement a modern invoicing system
  • What to look for in an invoicing system
  • 7 steps to smarter, faster invoices
  • Better invoicing, from your customers’ perspective
  • ROI calculator for different invoicing approaches
  • The real cost of slower invoicing is bigger than you think.
  • How successful companies use smarter invoicing to fuel growth

What about this one?

Awareness Consideration Decision
Hire an estate planning attorney with a lot of experience with complex estates including pets.
Set up a trust.

Set up a will.

Look into charitable contributions.

My kids and their spouses are going to fight over my estate (especially the pets) when I’m gone.

We could try something like this:


Awareness Consideration Decision
  • How to set up a pet-friendly estate plan
  • Preparing your family for your estate plan
  • What happens to your pets after you die (in Texas, etc)?
  • How to pass on the priceless parts of your estate (without your heirs going to war).
  • What happens to your pets after you’re gone?
  • How a pet destroyed a carefully crafted estate plan.

Of course, the hard(ish) part is actually creating the content itself, but the headlines give you some idea of how this works.

Now you may be saying, “but a lot of those items could fit in a different stage, or in more than one stage.” And you’d be right. These aren’t rigid, discrete steps in most cases. The idea is to target the most appropriate stage.

Does this mean you always need 3 Lead Magnets for each offering? No. You can take advantage of content that spans more than one stage, and use the content itself to help with Decision stage.

How might this work?

Perhaps the easiest form of Lead Magnet is a checklist. For example, “The 13 Things You Must Do to Protect Your Pets After You’re Gone.” Or, “7 Steps to Faster Growth Through Better Invoicing.” (I’m totally making those numbers up.)

People sometimes think that they need a whole e-book as a Lead Magnet, but not only do you not need to create a book-length piece of content, most prospects don’t want to read that much either. (It’s different if you’ve published an actual book on the subject. Although often the fact that you’ve published is the important part– they may still not want to read your book.)

If you’re stuck on creating a checklist, just think of the common questions people ask you and things that you help your clients do.

But what if they just take my checklist and do it themselves?

First, if what you do is really that simple that everyone would just do it themselves, maybe you should rethink your business. Second, some people probably will want to try to do it themselves. The ones who don’t want to pay you, who make the worst clients. The ones you’re better off without. Third, a good Lead Magnet checklist will include some items that the prospect can cover on their own. You’re not trying to make them feel terrible. Plus, you want them to take care of certain things before you start working together. Then, as some of the items get harder or more complicated, they are more likely to turn to you for help.

Turning Leads into Clients

Of course, just getting contact information is very different than getting clients. How to make sure the right leads work their way through the buying process?

  1. Offer useful content.
  2. Have a strong call to action inside the Lead Magnet itself. This can help move people up the steps. For example, instead of offering a “Free Consultation” right up front, provide a useful checklist, with a call to action to book a time to review their progress.
  3. Call them. Call right after they grab the content, if at all possible. You’re 50X more likely to have a conversation within the first 5 minutes than you are 24 hours later. I’ve seen this from the other side, when I am trying to spend money and having a hard time getting people to call me back. How come the people who always call are the ones I don’t want? 😉 Call them when they read the content again. Some email tracking is helpful here, although users may have security and privacy settings which disable it. If you use a tool like Mimiran, you’ll know if and when people are engaging with your content, so you can call and have a conversation.

So if you’re not getting good leads from your website, consider if you are offering appropriate content for the different stages of the buyer’s journey. Then provide helpful Lead Magnets that are appropriate to the stage(s) for that page, and follow up to get more conversations.

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