Woe be to you if you labor under the idea that a contact form is the only – or optimal – way to capture prospect information.
Consider the odds. Your financial service or product jumps in front of a prospect needing exactly what you offer. It happens precisely at the optimal time. Had it appeared to them earlier, they wouldn’t have been receptive. Had it appeared later, the opportunity would have passed.
You and your prospects really do end up just like two ships that pass in the night. They don’t know about you. You don’t know about them. But for one brief and intense moment, your respective searchlights shine upon each other.
The bad scenario is that a prospect sees you, but you offer nothing to capture their attention. They continue on, sailing off into the night. Opportunity lost. If only you could have made them change their direction for just a while to pay attention. What you needed is a lead hook.
What a 19th century American poet can tell you about marketing
We have Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to thank for the metaphoric expression “two ships that pass in the night.” He penned it for his poem “The Theologian’s Tale,” which was published in 1873’s Tales of a Wayside Inn.
Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing,
Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness;
So on the ocean of life we pass and speak one another,
Only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.
Not even electricity was invented yet, but Longfellow did manage to capture the state of a website without lead magnets.
The definition of a lead magnet, minus any metaphors
We probably don’t want any further help from Longfellow in understanding the lead magnet. In today’s language – minus the thees and thous – a lead magnet is a specific, valuable item you offer to a prospect in return for their contact information.
Woe be to you if you labor under the idea that a contact form strategically placed on your website is the optimal way to capture prospect information. Let’s be honest. It was the same back in Longfellow’s time. If you want something from someone who doesn’t know you, something valuable has to be exchanged.
This is likely to be even more true today, when there are so many ways for our attention to be captured. Prospects prefer that you ask for permission to talk to them, and they want an example of the value of what you plan to offer in return.
It hardly has to bankrupt you. Lead magnets ask for very little. Classic lead magnets usually ask for nothing more than a prospect’s name and email address. In exchange for this information, it offers some form of education or perspective which helps the prospect either understand a problem, or figure out how to put the solution to the problem in their worldview.
If you’re a financial company, regulations may require you to ask for and divulge more than what’s found on a classic lead magnet. The objective is the same. In exchange for this information, you’re going to give them something valuable. It’s so valuable that you’ll actually cause them to change direction. You won’t just pass in the night. You’ll establish a connection.
What do you have to offer that’s valuable enough?
1. Lead with what you know
Prospects follow predictable patterns. Long before they’re interested in comparing companies who offer solutions, their focus is on the problem itself. This means that the most valuable content for them at the time provides validation that, yes, they actually do have this problem or pain point – and yes, you can help them understand it better by offering education and perspective.
Would you exchange your contact information to gain valuable insight into a report that offers detailed analysis into the current state of the problem you’re experiencing? Would you be willing to start a relationship with someone who offered statistics-driven answers that explain this problem?
If a prospect passing in the opposite direction flashes their lights at you, make sure you’re ready to lengthen that brief moment of attention by offering a free report they can download – one that offers to deepen their understanding of the problem.
2. Deepen self-understanding
Quizzes aren’t just for school anymore. The ability to harness the technology to generate interactive quizzes gives you the opportunity to offer an interesting value proposition previously not possible. In exchange for their contact information, of course.
Don’t get the wrong idea about these types of quizzes. They’re not fishing for financial information that might help you size up the value of a prospect. These lead magnets don’t have this objective. Besides, we’ve already seen the backlash of what can happen when people discover that answers to their quiz-taking efforts are used surreptitiously.
Awesome lead magnet quizzes for financial organizations ask general behavioral questions that help prospects gain insight into why they might be experiencing a money-related problem; or feeling a specific financial pain point.
3. Visual = video
Financial problems tend to be complicated. There are lots of moving parts. The default mode is to explain it in text-based reports. But what if you could transform it into a series of short video tutorials?
Few of us have trouble envisioning two ships passing in the night, but the same cannot be said about wrapping your mind around the concept of compound interest. Consider the value of offering a way to grasp complex financial concepts in a 90-second explainer video, or a series of short video courses.
4. A picture is worth …
This article is in excess of a thousand words. And little would be lost by turning it into an infographic. Consider the average financial product or service. Would it be fair to say it’s heavy on the data side?
Infographics are powerful ways for financial companies to distill their value propositions as easy-to-digest problem-solvers for prospects. What’s more, these marketing tools are highly sharable. So, your ship passing in the night might just turn around and broadcast your lead magnet to their entire network.
Content is carrier signal that gets lead magnets in front of prospects. Depending on where they are in the sale cycle, they’re searching for insight on the problem, comparing approaches to the solution, or deciding on purchasing the product or service that will solve the problem.
All of these points are optimal places to greet a ship passing in the night – aka a prospect – with a lead magnet. Learn more about our approach to content creation.