What you’ll learn today
In this article, I am going to show you how to build an email list of high-quality prospects for your business by publishing articles on LinkedIn, Medium and on your blog with lead magnets.
You might ask yourself why I consider LinkedIn to be one of the best publishing platforms as of today. Let me explain.
The days when LinkedIn was just a database for CVs are long gone.
Today, LinkedIn is the number #1 social network for business in the world with over 500 million active members.
LinkedIn is always adding new and exciting features such as its own video platform and every day more than 100,000 new members join the community.
Even better, LinkedIn has overtaken Medium and is now the number #1 content publishing platform for business content.
Where LinkedIn Falls Short
The only downside of the LinkedIn content publishing platform is that it doesn’t offer a straightforward built-in solution to collecting leads or tools for building an email list.
Right out of the box there are only five ways how readers can qualify themselves as potential future leads and customers.
- They can visit your LinkedIn profile and reach out via connection request or InMail.
- They can follow you or send you a connection request.
- They can share your content with their network.
- They can leave a comment below your content.
- They can hit the like button.
LinkedIn Messages and InMails
A direct message allows you to identify hot leads who are ready to buy.
Generally speaking: hot leads are rare! The majority of people requires at least 6 to 9 interactions before they feel confident in a buying decision. To make this happen, you have to keep the conversation alive via direct messages on LinkedIn or via emails.
Unfortunately, this can quickly get overwhelming…
The LinkedIn messaging platform is very slow and doesn’t allow you to categorize and organize messages in folders or stages of a sales funnel. If hundreds of people message you on a daily basis, some messages inevitable will fall through the cracks.
You can also check out my guide on how to get a reply from anyone on LinkedIn if you want to learn more about getting the most out of this feature.
LinkedIn Followers and Connections
A more indirect approach is to grow your LinkedIn network by utilizing the LinkedIn Follow and Connection feature in combination with the LinkedIn content publishing platform. Every time you publish a new piece of content you create another touch point and build trust with your readers.
This approach is a good starting point, but it has its own complications. The LinkedIn algorithm is constantly changing and adapting to the habits and actions of readers, trying to identify hot topics and themes with the highest engagement.
LinkedIn’s logic is simple: If your newsfeed only contains things that you like, you’ll be happier and use LinkedIn more frequently. More views lead to more ad impressions and more profit for LinkedIn. Simple. 🙂
While this is great, it can also cause a few problems. Imagine the following scenario. A potential customer, let’s call her Susanne, read one of your articles on LinkedIn. She liked it and decided to follow you. Great! You just completed touch point number 1.
If you published a new article soon after, the probability that it would show up in Susanne’s newsfeed would be high and you would get touch point number 2 and so on.
On the other hand, if you got caught up in a busy client project and forgot to publish new content in a while things might look a little different. Susanne might have engaged with a whole bunch of other content in the meantime, maybe even with an article by one of your competitors.
If you published a new article long after, the LinkedIn algorithm might suddenly face a tough choice. Should he show your article or one of your competitors to Susanne? After all, there is a limited amount of screen space and time available and LinkedIn wants to keep Susanne happy. Suddenly the probability of your article showing up in Susanne’s newsfeed had dropped significantly.
Without knowing it, you might have lost the opportunity to generate more interactions to build enough trust that could have lead to future sales with Susanne.
No worries, not all is lost! 🙂 If you can generate enough engagement with your content (reading, liking, commenting, sharing, following, connecting, etc.) there is a high probability that it will show up in Susanne’s feed after all, for example when one of her friends of colleagues liked or commented on it.
How Email Marketing Fixes LinkedIn’s Shortcoming
How can you get around these challenges?
Simple, you have to get over your reliance on social media platforms by building an email list.
Here are my top seven benefits of email marketing.
- An email list is the only thing you have control over, besides your website.
- It gives you an instant and direct line of communication with potential leads and existing customers.
- With an email list you are independent of any LinkedIn algorithm changes.
- It is the only reliable and scalable way to generate 6 to 9 touch points.
- If LinkedIn would shut down one day (Please don’t! 🙏) you could still get in touch with your audience.
- It allows you to track engagement.
- It makes it possible to segment readers by interest and actions.
LinkedIn Lead Magnets
How can you build an email list on LinkedIn and merge the best of both worlds?
Well, you could just ask people to sign up for your newsletter. This will usually give you mixed results in terms of sign up rates.
A much better solution is to an attractive lead magnet.
Lead magnets go by many names, some call them opt-in bribes or freebies. They are an incentive that you offer potential buyers in exchange for their contact information such as name and email address.
Here is how they work:
- You create something that is of high value to your audience.
- Your audience joins your email list to download your lead magnet.
- You deliver the lead magnet.
- You continue to provide value to your audience in follow up emails.
How to Create a Killer LinkedIn Lead Magnet?
Great lead magnet give readers exactly what they want.
One of the best ways to predict what someone wants is right there, in your article. The fact that someone is reading it means that this is a very interesting topic to them, so let’s give them more of it!
One of the best ways to do this is to provide a complimentary content upgrade to your articles.
Here are 10 ideas for killer LinkedIn lead magnets that increase the value of reading your article, engage readers and help you to grow your email list:
- A downloadable and printable version of your article.
- An ebook with related content.
- A cheat sheet or checklist that summaries the key points of your article.
- A worksheet with fill-in the blanks to practice and implement the recommendations of your article.
- A resource or shopping list.
- A mindmap that visualizes concepts of your article.
- An extended video or audio file, for example of an entire interview.
- Any useful and relevant download.
- Quiz, surveys or tests.
- Whitepaper or case studies.
Step by Step Guide to Create an Email List
Today I am showing you one of the easiest and most efficient lead magnets to build an email list of all times: How to create a downloadable and printable version of your article.
To get started you need four tools. A platform to publish your articles, software to create your lead magnets, a tool to capture contact information and to delivery your lead magnets and an email marketing software to store your email list including email addresses, names, and consent to market to them thanks to GDPR.
My Email Marketing Toolbox
I use the following tools for my own content publishing and email marketing process.
- My own WordPress website + Medium + LinkedIn to publish all of my articles. (free)
- Beacon to create all of my lead magnets including converting my articles into ebooks. (free plan available)
- Leadpages to collect contact information of readers who request my lead magnet and to deliver my lead magnets to new subscribers. (Starting from $17 per month)
- Drip to manage your entire email list (free for first 100 subscribers)
A reader discovers and reads one of my LinkedIn articles.
Each article contains a link to a LeadPages landing page where readers can request a downloadable PDF version of my article that I created with Beacon.
If a reader submits their contact information, LeadPages will add them to my email marketing software Drip and deliver the lead magnet to the reader’s email address.
Publish an article
If you have your own WordPress website, log into your account and create a new post.
To make your WordPress blog post compatible with Medium and LinkedIn, try to limit yourself to basic formatting styles such as Headline 1 + 2 and standard paragraphs.
Once you have finished your article it is time to publish it.
If you already published your blog post on your WordPress website, you can save yourself a lot of time by copying over your entire text over to Medium. Just visit your WordPress blog post, select the entire text including photos and copy it.
Head over to Medium, on the top right select “New Story” and then paste everything into your text area. That’s it, the only thing left is a little bit of cosmetic to remove extra line spaces and you’re done.
If you don’t have a WordPress website, just start typing instead and finalize your copy.
Once you’re done, click on publish.
Last but not least it is time to create your LinkedIn article.
If you already created your article on WordPress or Medium, just copy the entire text including media over to your text area and publish your document.
If you haven’t done so already, head over to Beacon and create a free account. Log into your dashboard and get ready to create your first awesome lead magnet.
Create a Blank Lead Magnet Project
Next, log into your account and click the “Create New” button at the top.
Select the “Blank” lead magnet type to get started.
Import your Article
Now it’s time to add some content, click the Add Page button.
Now you have two choices. Either build your lead magnet page by page or let Beacon do the work and import your entire article from your WordPress blog post or Medium article. (Unfortunately, this method won’t work for LinkedIn. LinkedIn has a strict firewall in place that blocks Beacon from importing any article)
Insert the URL of your WordPress or Medium article and click on import.
Edit and Format Your Ebook
Once you have selected a template you can easily edit the content and replace it with the content of your LinkedIn article. If you want to customize your layout you can quickly delete elements or drag and drop new elements from the Content Cards section on the left.
Create a Front Cover
Design a cool cover for your lead magnet.
Once you recreated your article as ebook click on “Publish” at the top and create a custom URL for your new ebook. If you sign up for a premium Beacon plan you can also create a downloadable PDF version that you can directly link into your lead magnet delivery system. Otherwise, you can send new subscribers to the hosted version of your ebook.
Generate a Downloadable PDF Document
Click on publish and generate your PDF.
Enjoy your beautiful PDF lead magnet that will help you to quickly grow your email list.
Next, we head over to Leadpages and create a new landing page for our lead magnet. Leadpages is a great tool to capture contact information and comes with unlimited landing pages and a great and intuitive page builder.
What makes it unique among other solutions is its ability to deliver a different lead magnet for any landing page. This is particularly useful if your email service doesn’t support any form of advanced segmentation or complex automation such as MailChimp as an example. Pricing starts from $17 per month.
Create a New Leadpage
First, open the Leadpages tab at the top left corner, and then create a new LeadPage.
Select a Premade Template
Leadpages offers an incredibly large selection of pre-made landing page designs for all intents and purposes. Select a design of your choice and then select “Use this Template” at the top right corner to start.
Adjust Landing Page Copy and Design
In the page builder, you can change anything you want. I recommend removing sections that don’t really fit and to replace any placeholder images with your own. In my example, I adjusted the headline, added a description and added a 3D representation of the lead magnet as a preview image.
Edit The Opt-In Form
To make the entire system work you have to modify the opt-in form. Locate the button and click the small edit icon.
Connect Your Email Marketing Software
The first thing we want to change is your email marketing software. By default, Leadpages will send you an email notification whenever someone is submitting their details.
I recommend to sign up for a Drip email marketing account. It is one of the most advanced email marketing software solutions on the market, has a very advanced system of custom fields, unlimited tags, supports very complex automation and has a tight integration with LeadPages (LeadPages bought Drip a while ago) and best of all, Drip is free for the first 100 subscribers. So it will keep your costs low when you’re just getting started.
Select a unique name for your form and fill it in field 1. We will need this name later to add tags to new email subscribers..
Then connect and link your Drip account. If you haven’t done so already create a new campaign within Drip and link it in Leadpages in 2. New subscribers will be added to this list.
Select Your Form Fields
Next, we select the information we would like to capture. If you ask for the least amount of information, the lower the commitment to the reader and the higher the opt-in rate.
I recommend asking for both the first and last name of a person. This will slightly lower your opt-in rates but it will also qualify readers. Those who are willing to make the higher commitment by trusting you with their full name are much more engaged with your emails, which is what you really want at the end of the day.
Deliver Your Leadmagnet
Last but not least we set up the lead magnet delivery. You can add an unlimited amount of lead magnets within Leadpages. Each lead magnet has a maximum file size of up to 250MB which covers more than 99% of all use cases. Should your lead magnet ever require more than 250MB, just upload it to a cloud storage location such as Amazon S3 or Google Drive and just include the public download link in your thank you message.
Some email services use a tag-based or a list-based system to organize your contacts.
Drip maintains just one entry for each email address and uses different tags to segment subscribers depending on where they opted in or actions they have taken.
Tags are incredibly helpful for segmentation and personalization of follow up emails. To make tags work it is very important to create a consistent pattern for naming all of your tags.
I recommend the following approach.
Every time anyone of your subscribers downloads a lead magnet add a generic “downloaded_leadmagnet” tag to the subscriber. This will allow you to easily search for subscribers that downloaded at least one lead magnet or none at all.
I also recommend adding a specific tag per lead magnet. As the naming pattern, I recommend “leadmagnet_nameofleadmagnetwithoutspacesordividers”. This will allow you to identify users who might be interested in a specific theme or topic based on the lead magnet for follow up emails. It also enables you to send out a broadcast email to all of your subscribers who haven’t downloaded this specific lead magnet yet, by excluding everyone who has the correlating tag.
Create a a New Campaign
Step 1 Sign up for an account and create an empty campaign to organize your contacts.
Think of a good name for a campaign and pick something memorable that people will still recall if you didn’t send them a message in a while. Your goal is to get high open rates and this only happens if people associate the name of your list with high value.
A good starting point would be to include your name, the name of your company, your website or domain.
Connect Leadpages with Drip
Make sure that you properly named your form in Leadpages, you’ll need the exact name in our next step:
Create a New Rule in Drip
Next, create a simple rule for each lead magnet that will trigger whenever we submit a specific lead magnet.
We select Leadpages from the trigger menu and copy and paste the exact form name inside. As the action, we apply two tags. One generic tag that will tell us that this person has at some point downloaded any lead magnet and then another tag for the specific lead magnet they downloaded.
These tags will allow us to segment our readers and send them more relevant content. For example, you could send out an email to everyone who hasn’t downloaded a specific lead magnet yet, excluding those who did.
You can also add more tags for different topics and themes to segment based on interests, for example, #LinkedIn and #EmailMarketing to deliver more relevant content in the future.
We are almost finished. By now we set everything up, created an article, turned it into a downloadable ebook, created a landing page and connected a the delivery of your lead magnet and your email marketing software.
As our final step, we want to links to the landing page into our article.
I recommend to start with something simple such as “Download this article as PDF”:
Try to add the button multiple times throughout the text and not just once at the end. This has been proven to maximize the number of people who sign up for your email list since not everybody is reading the article all the way to the end.
For LinkedIn and Medium, you can insert an image button such as the one below and place the link to your landing page on it.