Selling an evergreen course is a multi-step process but it all starts with attracting subscribers who are ready to become students.
Gone are the days when all you wanted (or needed!) was a BIG list.
For you to grab attention in today’s distraction-driven world, you want a list that’s super specific, laser-focused and ready-to-buy.
You don’t want freebie hunters lurking about inflating your list size and deflating your bottom line. (Nice mental picture, huh?!)
This is why if you have an online course that you’d like to sell all year long, you want subscribers who sign up excited and eager to take the next step.
And you set the pace for that with your lead magnet.
Now, I’ve seen more than my fair share of lead magnets, and I’ve worked on an abundance of evergreen launches. So I know what works, what doesn’t, and also, what your subscribers don’t want.
First up, let’s establish the identifying features of a sales-ready lead magnet:
You’ve heard of age-appropriate content, right? Your lead magnet needs to be subject-appropriate.
If you’re selling an eCourse on home organization, giving a lead magnet that’s about recipes is inappropriate. When you have random lead magnets littering your site, you’re not setting clear expectations or guidelines about what your prospect should expect.
So when you pitch them your home organization eCourse, they’re left confused and annoyed. “Hey, I thought I was getting recipes… why is Linda selling me home organization?!”
Yes, your lead magnet is your chance to create a first impression but if you throw everything but the kitchen sink at a new subscriber in the hopes of impressing them… chances are high that you’ll end up scaring them silly.
No one (and I repeat, no one!) wants to wade through content that may be great, cost zero dinero but takes hours to consume.
Which brings me to my next point…
Your lead magnet must be quick-to-consume. It should give your subscribers a chance to know you and also, a chance to experience a quick win.
The win can be emotional (clarity around their offer, for example) or tangible (less clutter on the kitchen counter, for instance).
But it shouldn’t take them a ton of time or a lot of effort to accomplish.
No, you don’t have to marry your new subscribers but you do have to create a relationship with them. You don’t want them to download your lead magnet and then, forget all about you.
The sales-ready, evergreen course lead magnets which have the highest subscriber-to-sales conversion will be the ones that set up the “know, like, trust” feature in the early stages.
To do this, you can include branding in your lead magnet and add a well-written bio section. Then add to it some social proof and authority in healthy amounts. Stay connected via your sales sequence.
5. Sets the Stage
Finally and most importantly, your opt-in must set the stage for what comes next.
Prime and prep your subscribers for your course so they aren’t hit by it out of the blue. This is the job of your welcome sequence (which, by the way, will be the next post in this series)
Now that you know what makes for an effective opt-in to sell your eCourse on evergreen mode, let’s look at a few solid ideas.
While these ideas may not be new to you, what will be new is how you can use them to sell your eCourse, so yeah… read on.
13 Sales-Ready Lead Magnet Ideas for Online Course Creators
A checklist is the easiest lead magnet to create and offer but it doesn’t have to be the least helpful. In fact, if created with intention and thoughtfulness, a checklist can be quite a powerful lead magnet that leads to high conversions.
How to Use This: A checklist can be a good filter for attracting perfect-for-you students. For instance, if you have a course that helps entrepreneurs get publicity and PR, your lead magnet can be a “Are You PR-Ready?” checklist.
Prospective students who download this can use it to evaluate themselves and see what they have and what they need to make the most of PR and publicity.
2. Framework or Blueprint
If you have a course that hinges on a specific, proprietary framework, then using that as your lead magnet is a great way to prime your subscribers and share a look-see of your process.
Frameworks and blueprints, however, are fairly common in the evergreen course niche and if you don’t want yours to get lost in the crowd, you’ll need to ensure it’s ticking all the boxes when it comes to being sales-ready. (Note: The 5 features I shared above)
How to Use This: Your framework or blueprint is a fabulous way for prospective students to get a glimpse of your process and why it’s different from everything else out there.
We’ve done this with our Profits on Tap Recipe which shares our 4-step process for scaling your service business without feeling pressured to launch a course or go down the agency route…
Pop in your details below to get a firsthand look at it.
3. Sneak Peeks and Previews
This isn’t a lead magnet I see a whole lot of but the ones I’ve seen have converted at shockingly high rates.
The idea of a sneak peek or preview is you give free access to a small part of your paid program so you whet the appetite of your subscriber, you prime them and you also help them get those quick wins that they want.
Think of this as a free trial with limited features.
How to Use This: If you have an eCourse that has multiple modules and plenty of bonus content, then giving a sneak preview of say, the first 2-3 lessons from Module 1 or a few bonus materials will be the perfect way to set the stage and build the know-like-trust factor.
Also, this is pretty much the easiest to create since you already have the course content ready, right?
One of the most used (and sadly, abused) lead magnets is the humble eBook.
Writing an eBook and linking it to your course is quite easy to do (and easier if you have my How to Write an eBook in 7 Days eCourse). But what’s super important is ensuring that your eBook is a quick read and, above all, it’s quick-wins ready.
How to Use This: For starters, make your eBook to the point and front-load it with a quick win.
For instance, if your eCourse is about budgeting for busy moms, show them how they can shave off $30-$50 every month by say, using ONE of the techniques you teach in the course.
The quiz is a fun, interactive and fairly new entrant on the lead magnet scene which makes converting even seasoned marketers quite easy.
Quizzes create lower resistance because they gamify the entire sign up process. They spike curiosity and actually, excite your subscribers about finding their “results.”
How to Use This: Create your quiz so you can actually segment your target audience into 3-4 different buckets and help them self-select their next step which, of course, is your online program.
For instance, if you have a course that helps busy moms stay fit, your quiz can help them identify what their greatest challenge is – time, accessibility, money or not knowing what workout is best for them. You can then, put them into 4 different buckets/segments and tailor your email funnel accordingly!
6. Case Study
A case study or actually, a carefully selected suite of case studies can make for a powerful lead magnet. Not only will your audience see themselves in your success stories but they’ll also learn how others were able to use your program to overcome challenges and obstacles to accomplish the results they have been wishing for.
How to Use This: Choose students who fit the 3-4 different audience profiles for your target audience.
Let’s say, your eCourse is all about helping homemakers create prettier homes. Your lead magnet can be “How 4 Women Created Picture-Perfect Homes on a Shoestring Budget”. And those 4 women will be your case study features.
Ideally, get your case studies professionally written and designed so they have a powerful impact on your prospective students.
Gotta love cheatsheets since they are easy-to-use, easier-to-create and, of course, give quick wins galore to your audience.
Cheatsheets, like checklists, should be laser-focused and help your prospective students have an a-ha moment that makes them want to know more about your program.
How to Use These: Cheatsheets work really well for courses that are more tactical-based, like a course on website design, for example. Use the cheat sheet to help your prospective student identify what’s holding them back and then, share your course as the solution to overcome that hurdle.
The goal is NOT to overwhelm (or underwhelm!) your audience. The goal is to help them take ONE baby step forward so they can see that you know your stuff and that you are the best person to help them. For example, if you’re teaching entrepreneurs how to design their website, your cheatsheet can be “The 1-Page Audit CheatSheet” to help them see what their website needs and that your program can help them accomplish it.
8. Templates, Swipes, and Scripts
Say what you will about templates, swipes, and scripts, these babies are the best lead magnet for courses that teach fairly complicated or challenging topics. Yes, like copywriting.
Templates, scripts, and swipes are easy to test out for your prospect which makes the buy-in SO much easier. #quickwinftw
Again, this will depend on your audience. But if you have a course where your audience is either beginners or those with very little time to spare, templates, swipes, and scripts will be real winners as lead magnets.
How to Use These: Give your prospective students a template, script, or swipe that is easy to test out and use. It has to relate to your program, but the GOAL of that template needs to be radically clear. Don’t just fling 300 Headline Templates at them. THAT may make you feel very generous, but it’ll only overwhelm your students. The chances are once they download it, they’ll never open it again. Instead, give them a SINGLE script or template that they can use in a SPECIFIC situation.
Going back to my PR course example, if you give them a 15-word email script to pitch hard-to-get-on podcasts… THAT is bound to get their attention AND encourage them to implement it FAST too!
9. Tools and Resources
Are there any tools or resources that you’d like your students to know about and use BEFORE they join your course? Create a ‘get ready’ toolkit PDF or resource library to give away as your lead magnet. That way, when they sign up for your course, they’ll have what you need them to have and actually hit the ground running.
How to Use This: Creating a “tools and resources” library lead magnet works well for courses that involve a fair bit of technical know-how – cooking, photography, graphic design or even, podcasting. Use this to “set the stage” for your students so that they see your course as the next step that helps them with HOW to use these tools to get the results they want.
Another great lead magnet idea for courses that have a lot of technical know-how is to use tutorials. This tutorial can be for the foundational step you want your students to take before they can take your course. The key with tutorials is to make them easy-to-consume and follow along.
How to Use This: Only create a tutorial as a lead magnet IF you know your audience will have the time and desire to implement it. If you know they are time-starved and busy and would probably never get around to watching the said tutorial, don’t waste your time making one.
Having said that… tutorials are great for programs where you’d want your students to have some basic know-how while also giving them a quick win.
For instance, if you have a hand-lettering course, a tutorial on how to write a one-word phrase like “Brave” would be AWESOME.
Random sidenote: If you’re reading this and have a hand-lettering course, please know that this idea has been selfishly inserted because I do want to take a course and would love a quick win tutorial! 😉
A challenge is a short series of videos or emails (between 3-7) that you send out daily to help your audience get clarity, and also to get a quick win or two.
Challenges have been hugely popular for a while and for good reason. They convert.
They’re interactive, they encourage relationship building and yes, they do set the stage. They tick all the boxes and make for very fun lead gen.
They’re also a fair bit of work.
Not only do you have to map out the content of the challenge, but you also have to take care of the delivery mechanism (usually videos or emails) and then, you have to have an engagement mechanism (usually through a Facebook group) to keep it interactive. So, only opt for a challenge when you know you or your team can execute on this.
And if you’re planning an evergreen launch, then you have to be prepared to run this every month and managing the logistics of that can be quite brain-boggling.
How to Use This: Create your challenge so it’s quick and painless for participants to be involved in. Don’t make it complicated or overwhelming or they’ll drop off after the first couple of days. Again, choose a foundational step they need to take before taking your course OR show them how they can overcome an obstacle in their way.
For instance, if you have a program that helps women entrepreneurs practice intentional self-care (great idea for a program, btw!), your challenge could be 5 Days to a Less-Stressed You where you help them identify what’s stressing them out the most.
12. Video Series
Now, THIS has been a lead magnet I personally have seen converting beautifully like a caterpillar into a butterfly. Only MUCH faster. Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula has immortalized video series and you usually see these during cart open/cart close launches but I’ve also seen them work wonderfully in evergreen launches.
You can have a 3 or 5-part video series where you offer value-based content to your prospective students. This helps them move forward so they reach the stage where they’re, sure as can be, ready for your program.
The advantages of a video series are, of course, rapport-building, great value, and quick wins.
On the flip side, these do take time to create. You need to script and then, record them. But if you can pull this off, they work almost as well as webinars, which are our latest fave and the next lead magnet idea for you.
How to Use This: Create a video series when you have enough curiosity-inducing content to share with your audience, and you want to use the power of video to build a relationship with them.
When your audience can see and hear you, they connect better with you.
I’ve seen these used most often in the online marketing niche but one of our clients used it successfully for her home gardening course. But, yeah, you need to have the right type of content for a video series.
And then, there are webinars.
Say what you will, webinars still work.
Webinars in 2020, though, will need to be much better if they want to draw the kind of conversions they used to.
No more fluff and faffing around and definitely no “faking” recorded webinars as live ones. That’s so 2018! 😉
Webinars, like video series, give your audience a chance to hear you and sometimes, even see you which makes for fabulous rapport-building.
How to Use This: You can use webinars for pretty much any course type or niche.
The KEY, though, is to create a webinar that gives great value and info without being overwhelming. It should help your audience see you as an expert without you being a windbag.
AND it should help them get clear on what they need to do next. How they do THATwill be with your program.
I have seen webinars convert for courses on recruitment, mindset, healthy living, interior design and accessorizing as well as in our case, scaling a service business.
Sign up below and you’ll see how I roll with our webinar.
Alright then… you have THIRTEEN lead magnet ideas that turn on the lead gen taps for online course creators.
Which one will YOU choose to go with? Which ones have YOU tested out for your audience? Let’s hang in the comments and talk about it.