Updated: December 21, 2021
Lead magnets are great, but they can be complicated to set up on your website or other marketing channels. You can implement this valuable marketing tactic a million different ways, but the way I describe below has worked well for me, requires no coding knowledge, and is completely free!*
*Please note, Mailchimp is actively changing their automation feature and who is able to use it. This article uses the “Classic Automation” which, if you have a new account, you may not have access to (according to this Mailchimp help article). Before you dive in, I recommend skipping down to the automation section and seeing if you have access to this feature. If not, you may need a paid plan at this point – sorry! I have tried to find as many workarounds as possible, but we may be at the end of the road here!
👀 Prefer to watch how it’s done? Follow along in this tutorial (updated for 2021!) 👇
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A Mailchimp account (can be a free account – yes, you do NOT need a paid account for this – promise!)
- A PDF (or other doc type) of your opt-in
But first, what is a lead magnet and why should you use one?
Lead magnets, also commonly called opt-ins, freebies, or swipe files, are valuable free pieces of content that you give to people in exchange for an email address. Gone are the days where people will sign up for your newsletter without getting some kind of value in return. Yes, your newsletter is probably full of valuable content – but what sounds more enticing – getting something valuable that you want right NOW, or waiting to get something that may or may not be valuable to you in the future? Either way, you get the person’s email address, and with the lead magnet, your customer gets something they want immediately – win-win!
Lead magnets are a form of inbound marketing, and get people into your sales funnel with a low level of commitment and cost (yes, providing an email address is still a “cost” – we all know how many emails we already get!). From there, you can nurture those leads, form relationships with them, and eventually (hopefully) turn them into loyal customers.
What if you don’t have a lead magnet yet?
While this blog is focused on the mechanics of delivering a lead magnet you’ve already developed, if you need inspiration, check out this post from Hubspot. Just make sure your lead magnet is something your audience will find valuable – and include a call to action at the end with the ways the reader can get in touch with you. Use a program like Canva or Adobe Illustrator to make it eye-catching and aligned with your brand identity.
Let’s deliver your lead magnet!
Lead magnets can be delivered a few different ways, with the most common being:
- Post the file on a page on your website that’s accessible once someone provides their email address, or
- Send the file to the person once they provide their email address.
We’ll be using the second method in our process here. With this method, the main issue you need to overcome is being able to tag or segment your email list, so the right people get the right lead magnet when they sign up. Generally speaking, you should always operate from one email list that you then segment for different purposes (i.e. different interest areas, different sign-up locations, etc.). That means you truly only have one Mailchimp form for adding people to your email list. But you need to be able to send a specific lead magnet to a specific person – you don’t want people who entered their email address for lead magnet A to be sent lead magnet B, or vice versa.
Therefore, you need to designate people on your email list based on what they signed up for – did they sign up for your general newsletter, your grocery shopping list workbook, your free meal plan, or something else? Once they’re tagged appropriately, it’s pretty easy to send lead magnets based on a subscriber’s tag.
The problem: Automatically tagging your subscribers in Mailchimp
The problem with Mailchimp is that it’s pretty hard to a.) automatically tag people based on their sign-up location with email sign up forms built outside Mailchimp (i.e. you use your website theme’s email form, or a plugin) and b.) make a nice-looking email opt-in form within the Mailchimp platform.
What to do?! Use Mailchimp’s landing page feature!
This allows you to tag people based on the landing page they sign up on and easily deliver the lead magnet to them. You can link to the landing page from your website, social media profiles, or anywhere else. While this means you have to let go of having a sign up form right on your website, there are countless companies these days who are opting for the link/landing page combo, rather than collecting an email address right away.
Hubspot’s lead magnet within one of their blog posts opts for a link that leads to a landing page with more details and an email form, rather than placing the emails sign up within the blog post itself, which can be distracting. The landing page also allows Hubspot to describe the resource in more detail to ensure site visitors convert.
Follow these steps to deliver your lead magnet via Mailchimp
So let’s dive in. The process has three parts:
- Setting up a landing page on Mailchimp to describe your lead magnet and collect email addresses
- Creating an automation email to deliver your lead magnet to subscribers
- Putting the link to the landing page on your website, social media, etc.
Step 1: Create a landing page
To begin creating a landing page, log in to your Mailchimp account and click the “Create” dropdown at the top of the page, then select “Landing page.”
Give it a name and select your audience (should be your entire email list in most cases), then click “begin“.
Choose your favorite template to begin designing your page. I like to keep mine super simple, but the design is totally up to you!
Now it’s time to play! Add your logo, an image, drag and drop content blocks from the menu on the right side, add a “sign up form” block to capture emails, and really make it your own! (And if you need to see all of this in action, remember to check out my tutorial embedded above).
Once you’re done customizing your landing page, click “Save & Close” on the bottom right bar.
Add a page title that describes the content of the lead magnet and customize the URL (so it ends with something a little more user-friendly).
✨ This next step is THE most important step: Tag people who sign up on this page.
You’ll see the Audience and Tags section – click “Edit Audience.” Your audience will likely be your single mailing list, so you can leave that as-is, but you will want to create a Tag for this landing page. Personally I like to name them like “Marketing Guide Download” or “October 7 Masterclass” so I can easily keep track of them. It’s for internal use, but over time you’ll likely rack up a lot of them, so I suggest having a clear, consistent naming system.
Simply click the “+” and type your unique tag name, hit enter, and it should now appear.
This is what allows you to send the specific lead magnet only to these people AND allow people already on your mailing list to sign up for DIFFERENT opt-ins.
You’ll see your tag listed under Tags – click Save.
Optional Settings for Tracking
If you would like to track the performance of your landing pages and automations, (I highly recommend you do so) then scroll down to the “Settings & Tracking” box and add the tracking options you want to enable. Save.
Last but not least, publish your landing page by clicking “Publish!”
Check out Mailchimp’s guide to Creating a Landing Page if you need a bit more instruction on this topic.
Step 2: Create the email (automation) that will deliver the opt-in
Update December 2021: Note that Mailchimp has changed where you can create automations from, and who can do this with a free plan. Follow the steps below to see if you have access to this feature. If you don’t, then you’ll need to pay for a plan. (The feature is called a “Classic Automation”).
First, click the Automations menu on the far left and click “Create” and “Classic Automations.” You may see something a little different here but you should be looking for anything on the page that says “Looking for Classic Automations?” or something to that effect.
A final note – if you don’t see anything on the screen above, the last resort is to head to your Campaigns and the Automations section, and see if there is a button there (near the middle of the page) to create a new automation.
Do you have access to Classic Automations? Great! Continue on…
Next, choose the type, which is under “Tags” and is “Email subscribers when they’re tagged.” Give the campaign a name (like “Marketing Guide Download” confirm the audience, and click “Begin.”
Here’s where that Tag you set up previously comes into play. Click “Edit” next to the Trigger.
Change the dropdown (that says “day(s)”) under Delay to “Immediately” and select your tag from the other dropdown.
Click Save Trigger, and now you’re good to go (you can skip the other settings).
It’s now time to actually design the email for sending the lead magnet to your subscribers! Click “Design Email” to finish up.
You’ll have the option to customize the subject, preview text, etc. You can design from a template or use a blank one. For my emails, I usually go with the plain text which feels more personal and allows the lead magnet to stand out, but that’s up to you!
No matter what you decide, design the email to include some kind of greeting and a link or button to your download. Simply create your text or button, select link, and select “File” and upload your document directly to Mailchimp. Then, when the person receives your email, all they have to do is click the link or button to get the opt-in.
You may consider including other useful information in your email too, such as information about your services, a link to your scheduler, or your social media handles.
That’s it! Once done, you may want to consider testing out your landing page and automation with another email address. For more detailed instructions on setting up automations, check out Mailchimp’s help article.
Step 3: Promote your opt-in
It’s finally time to promote your opt-in that you’ve worked so hard to create! First, grab the link to the Mailchimp landing page from your dashboard. This is the link you’ll use for promotion. On your website, create a button and link the button to your landing page.
Here is what my resource page looks like with all of my current landing pages and opt-ins:
Then, place the lead magnet in blog posts, newsletters, social media posts, pretty much wherever it fits and you want people to have access to it!
For example, I always like to have some sort of download (sometimes called a “content upgrade”) included in my blog posts. I use “Call to Action” blocks when creating my blogs in WordPress that look like this:
Now, you may notice your landing page URL isn’t the prettiest. If you don’t like the ugly Mailchimp URL, you have a few options:
- Use a link shortener like bit.ly
- Pay for Mailchimp to customize the URL
- Use Rebrandly to create custom URLs
- Create the link on your website and redirect it to the Mailchimp page using a plugin like PrettyLinks
Time to launch your lead magnet with Mailchimp!
I hope this post helped you see how you can use Mailchimp landing pages to automatically tag your subscribers in order to deliver a variety of different lead magnets, all while only having to maintain a single email list in Mailchimp. And as promised – no coding (or cost!) required. While it may seem like a lot of set up to start, once you have the basics in place, it’s very easy to replicate your pages and automations for endless lead magnets!
If you’re still looking for help when it comes to launching lead magnets on your website, contact us! We offer a variety of digital marketing services (including lead magnet set up) to help you better market your business and build relationships with your customers!