Lead Magnet Or A Content Upgrade – Which Is Best?

When it comes to conversion rates if you don’t have something a bit special to offer, your visitors will click off into the sunset, never to be seen again. But, what’s better a lead magnet or a content upgrade?

Fight to the death to find out? No! In this blog post, we’ll show you the merits of both. Then you can decide for yourself.

Ready to find out how to boost those conversion rates? Read on…

What is a lead magnet?

You may not recognise the term but the chances are you will have seen hundreds.  It is difficult to find a website that does not have some form of a lead magnet on it.  It might be in the form of a pop-up, a banner across the top or bottom of the page, sidebar or links posted within the main copy.

Trust us, they are there.

A good lead magnet offers your visitor added value.  Something useful that they can use or access to information they might need.

Essentially a lead magnet is an offer that encourages your visitor to opt into your email list, through providing something of worth. Such as a bonus or handy tool (e.g. a calculator).

What are they for? 

Lead magnets are designed to be valuable enough for you to give your email address in return for the content. Email addresses are a valuable commodity to marketers.

Because you now turn from an anonymous web visitor to a contactable lead, where you can be marketed directly through your inbox.

Lead magnets are a powerful tool.  They allow you to build a list of people who have shown an interest in you. Much easier than if you use the classic contact form.

Where you can then be more strategic through direct marketing and remarketing. They can also give your potential customers a better taste of your services and what it would be like to work with you.

The thing is, it is getting harder to get people to part with their details.  So how do you do it?

What makes an irresistible lead magnet?

If you want your prospects to hand over their email address and risk being spammed to death, your lead magnet needs to be 4 things;

  • Compelling and simple
  • Of immediate value
  • Can be used repeatedly
  • Evergreen – doesn’t have time-limited valu

Developing a lead magnet 

We could write a whole other blog on how to develop a lead magnet. For now, lead magnets need to appeal to the majority of visitors to your website.  Things to think about;

  • Who is your target market?
  • What do they need?
  • What problem will you solve quickly and cheaply for them with your lead magnet?

Compel your visitors to opt into your email list.  Make the offer too good to leave without.

Types of lead magnet

lick here for a comprehensive list of lead magnet templates.  No, we’re joking but you get the idea? Types of lead magnets that you can create, which are packed with value but zero cost to you, other than your time:

  • A free trial subscription
  • A downloadable free guide
  • A free ebook
  • A checklist
  • A free tool – like a calculator

The list is almost endless and a quick internet search will provide you with hundreds of examples.  If you decide to develop a lead magnet that you want to use across most pages. Make sure it is relevant and valuable to the visitors to your site.

What about content upgrades?

If you want to target your marketing and boost your conversion rate consider Content Upgrades.  Content upgrades are essentially what they say on the tin. An offer to give you an improvement to the current content you’re reading in exchange for some details, your name, and your email address.

A content upgrade offers the reader more detailed and relevant information on the content they are looking at.

This might be a link within a blog, inviting you to access more detailed and juicy info on top of what you read.

Think back to when you saw an attention-grabbing headline from the Telegraph.  They let you read a few hundred words, get your attention and then BAM! “Sign up if you want to read the rest… where we tell you what happens.”

We don’t agree with this content upgrade approach as it doesn’t provide much immediate value, but its a memorable example because of the sheer frustration. That being said, as they are still using it, this must work for them.

However, when a content upgrade is used well they can be great.

When are content upgrades used well?

We’d recommend using them only on pages with high levels of traffic, because otherwise, you may be spending time on something that in reality, no one will use. Making sure that the content given is of value, whether that’s providing a summary of the content that’s more digestible or providing more information around already great content.

But to do this, you need to encourage giving that valuable email address in the first place, make sure you use an enticing image to grab their attention, this could be a screenshot of some of the content upgrade!

Here’s an example of an image we used for our university focused content upgrade.

If you want to read more about the clearing 2019 university landing page audit or to see this in context, click on the link below.


Is it worth it?

For a lead magnet or a content upgrade you need to consider the value you are giving to someone, is it compelling enough to give their details in exchange for?

For a content upgrade, as these typically mean more time and possibly money. You also need to consider whether it is worth your time to do. Say for example your blog had less than 100 visitors a month, is it worth hours of your time to potentially only get a few email addresses?

Or would you be better off putting together a simple but valuable lead magnet?

So there you have it

Lead Magnets are usually evergreen and largely content-agnostic and content upgrades are specific to the piece of content it’s attached to.Whether to use a lead magnet or a content upgrade, largely depends on input versus output. Consider the potential for using one over the other, weighing up whether it’s worth the extra time and money to create a content upgrade, or if a more general and quicker to create lead magnet is a better choice.

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