Ditch Your Newsletter As Your Opt In & Create a Lead Magnet Your Membership Prospects Will Love

As COVID-19 is teaching us, we need to seek new ways of doing business. Revamping your lead generation process is one of the best ways to adapt, helping you bring in quality leads leading to better conversions.
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Several years ago, I took a course that rocked my skills and drastically affected how I would do my job.

I learned so much through Hubspot Academy’s Inbound Marketing certification class, but here’s one of the biggest insights I gained: Our association had no real lead magnet to bring in a regular stream of membership prospects. We were relying on our newsletter to drive people to join our mailing list.

And guess what?

It wasn’t working.


That began my journey into developing a lead magnet for our association. Instead of a standard newsletter, we developed a one-page pdf of helpful communication tips for the businesses that we served. We started promoting it on social media like crazy and every time we did, our mailing list grew and grew. By the end of the year, we had grown our list by 50 percent!

That was my first introduction to the power of having a deliciously enticing lead magnet to build connections with future customers in a way that felt helpful and service-oriented. That sheet of paper helped them solve some real problems that they faced and offered some helpful solutions. It also positioned our association as the source for those solutions in a non-salesy way.

Grab ’em before they’re gone

If someone wanted to join or learn more about your association, they would probably visit your website, right? During COVID-19, people are online and on their smartphones more than ever. Other than through referrals and events, websites are still one of the primary ways for a future member to learn more about your organization.

After a Google search, this future member arrived at your website. They might visit your Membership or “How to Join” sections or maybe even read your blog. They like what they see. They look around some more and think, “Hey this association has something to offer to me.” Then their phone rings, and they click away. Boom. They are gone.

Before you get a chance to get their contact information.

Before you learn anything more about them.

This happens daily when a future member visits your website and they never opt in to your mailing list. When a prospect doesn’t opt in, it’s a missed opportunity to connect with a membership lead who is interested in what you have to offer. 

Why a newsletter isn’t a good opt-in strategy

Here’s another scenario: Say a prospect finds your association after a Google search. They visit your website. They learn more about your association and as they are clicking away, a pop-up box appears, inviting them to join a mailing list to get your newsletter. 

They join your mailing list, hoping to get some general information about your association that tells them more about membership. Good for you! Or is it?

Newsletters are good, but they are a little … boring. Here are some other reasons why newsletters are not good lead magnets for your organization:

Newsletters don’t:

  • Stand out in an inbox – Your filled-to-the-brim inbox is bursting with emails. When your newsletter does arrive in your lead’s inbox, it may get overlooked completely or it may even go into a Spam folder.
  • Provide value – Association newsletters can run the gamut when it comes to quality content. Hopefully your association does a solid job of providing content that resonates with your leads and gives them enough value that they don’t hit “Unsubscribe.”
  • Provide solutions to problems – Newsletters may be packed with good information but they often miss the mark on providing specific, real world solutions that your audience is looking for.
  • Build a quality connection – A newsletter is a generic way to deliver general information. There’s nothing exciting about it. It’s like a soft serve vanilla ice cream cone versus a brownie fudge sundae with whipped cream and the cherry on top. Your lead magnet can be that cherry on the top and even the sundae itself.


What you’re missing when you don’t have a lead magnet

When you fail to have a lead magnet, it creates all types of challenges:

  • You don’t capture many leads through your website – this is counter to what your website is supposed to do – attract quality customers and generate membership leads for your association
  • You miss reaching an audience who needs what your association has to offer
  • You lose visitors, who may never return to your site again
  • You lose revenue with little or no conversions

Why you need a quality lead magnet, and how it can help you

Having a quality lead magnet helps you:

  • Attract more quality leads
  • Convert those leads faster
  • Grow your membership
  • Serve more of your ideal customers
  • Grow your revenue


Jump in – the water is warm

If the number of leads you are bringing in is not where it needs to be, there is hope.

Not only are people online more than ever, they are looking for real world solutions to their problems. Instead of struggling to grow your membership, you can entice leads with a quality lead magnet that can get them excited about your association and what you have to offer.

Don’t waste any more of your time doing business the same old way! Now is the time to take action and get your future members/customers interested in what you have to offer. As COVID-19 is teaching us, we need to seek new ways of doing things. Revamping your lead generation process is one of the best ways to adapt.

Here are the four simple steps I use to create a lead magnet:

  • Research process – In the research process, you get clear on who your ideal customer/member is, what problem you’ll solve and what your solution is.
  • Creation process – In the creation process, you determine the best delivery format for your lead magnet and develop your content.
  • Delivery process – In the delivery process, you will select a landing page and build each important element of the page.
  • Reviewing and refining process – In the reviewing and refining process, you must evaluate if your lead magnet is providing the number leads you need and that they are converting effectively. If not, then you need tweak the content and delivery process and test again.

Be proactive in coming up with a plan to generate leads for your association and develop a quality lead magnet. If you don’t, you will continue to miss opportunities to gain leads and grow. Which option will you choose?

Sign Up: Show Me the Leads Webinar

Quit using your newsletter as your go to opt-in. Give your membership leads something juicier that they can’t wait to gobble up. A quality lead magnet creates value from the start and helps them say “yes” to joining faster than you thought possible.

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • How a quality lead magnet can increase your conversion rate
  • 5 qualities of a good lead magnet
  • A simple system for creating a quality lead magnet


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