The Most Effective Lead Magnets for Hyper-Technical Startups
In marketing parlance, a lead magnet is any incentive a company gives away in exchange for a prospective customer’s contact information. An author growing their newsletter list might use a lead magnet in the form of entertainment (like a free chapter of their book) or education (like a guide to getting published) to incentivize people to subscribe. An online retail brand might use discounts to get a first-time customer on the company’s email list.
Unfortunately, these breezy incentives often don’t work as well when you’re selling highly technical products. Lead magnets play vastly different roles in hyper-technical businesses than they do for simple consumer product companies. Rather than focusing on entertainment, education, and discounts, technical companies in fields like cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and blockchain must usually lean into demonstration as a lead magnet. Prospects want to see your solution in action.
Let’s explore three different lead magnets that will help you demonstrate the functionality and purpose of your product — and thereby get more prospects into your marketing funnel.
3 Lead Magnets for Hyper-Technical Startups
- White papers
- Risk-free trials
I’ve written two primary forms of white paper in my career as a copywriter. One is industry overviews, which help people understand the state of a technical industry like finance or cybersecurity. This white paper might include figures about market share across brands, challenges in the industry, and forward-looking statements about where the industry might be heading.
The other type of white paper is a product breakdown. This is especially common for companies that want to showcase what their technical product does, the problems it solves, and who would benefit the most from the product’s core features.
Both of these types of white papers can serve as great lead magnets for hyper-technical brands. The first demonstrates your understanding of the customer’s challenges. The second demonstrates how your product directly solves that problem.
One of the most straightforward forms of demonstration is a webinar. Your team can run a regular or one-off webinar to walk interested prospects through the product. Live webinars often work best because they allow you to answer questions in real time, discuss upcoming features from your roadmap, and give live calls to action for participants to take the next step.
Many webinar software programs also allow you to seamlessly gather prospect contact information. The lead-gathering functionality is often built into the tool. For example, as the host you can require participants to log in using their email address to view the webinar. You might build a landing page that requests an email address in order to be emailed a link to your webinar.
These are easy opportunities to start a conversation with your prospect, as long as you remember to follow email best practices by disclosing how you intend to use their email address.
The classic lead magnet in business-to-business (B2B) software-as-a-service is a free trial or freemium version of the tool. This is a self-led demonstration that allows new prospects to test the technology for themselves before committing to a purchase. If your product is not conducive to offering free trials, then virtual demonstrations are another popular alternative.
The key these days is to make the prospect’s trial risk free. That means being transparent about what signing up for a free trial means. Will it be difficult to cancel their subscription? Will their credit card automatically be charged when the trial ends? If so, when — and for how much?
Clarity and over-communication lead to trust and sign-ups. Complexity and vagueness lead to abandoned sign-up forms.
Creating a Powerful Lead Magnet Is Just the Beginning
All great marketing campaigns get two things right: content and distribution. Creating a powerful lead magnet is only one part of that equation. It’s a great start, but now you need to get the word out about your offering. How will people learn about your white paper, webinar, or free trial?
There are several obvious tactics, such as posting about your lead magnet on social media. These posts might encourage a few sign-ups from your personal network. You can also organize partnerships with other companies in your industry who aren’t direct competitors. In this case, the partner may send an email to their newsletter on your behalf, in exchange for a similar favor down the road.
The key is to remember why your prospects might need your product in the first place. What problem are they trying to solve? What goals are they striving to achieve? If your product shortens the distance between a person and their goal, then your marketing should make that clear. Highlight case studies of clients who’ve succeeded using your product. Write blogs that clearly define the problem.
When prospects see that you understand their challenges, it’s no longer a stretch to believe that you also know how to solve that same challenge. Now all they need is a little demonstration — which is where your lead magnet comes in.