How to Create a Time-Based Lead Magnet with Sean Withford

Written by Maura

On September 28, 2020
sean withford time based lead magnet blog post
Welcome to Social Post, a podcast brought to you by MeetEdgar. Each week we bring you a guest to inspire your creativity, breathe new life into your marketing strategy and get you motivated to take action in your business. Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned entrepreneur, you’ll walk away feeling like you took your social media marketing multivitamin. This week, we interviewed Eloquent CEO Sean Withford about building a time-based lead magnet.

MeetEdgar: Welcome back to Social Post, guys. I’m really excited to be joined by Sean from Eloquent today. He is going to go over some cool strategies for selling on social media. I’m going to pass it over to Sean, and we’re going to get a little intro from him about who he is and what he does, and then we’ll dive into a conversation all about social selling. So Sean, go right ahead.

Sean Withford: Thanks so much for having me on, and I appreciate it. It’s a joy to be here. I’m one of the co-founders of Eloquent. We’re a digital marketing agency, and we specifically help businesses grow and acquire customers online. I started my background in a big brand agency, so Michael McCann Erickson, and worked on all the big brands like Microsoft and MasterCard. I spent some time in the staffing industry. I was then one of the first employees at LinkedIn here in Australia and went through running a sales team, then into leading a sales team. I could see at LinkedIn, a lot of companies were working on their content strategy and how they could turn it into acquiring customers. And I could see that they needed some help, and so here we are today.

ME: Excellent. So you’ve had quite a journey and have been in a lot of different companies and industries and have probably seen quite a few sales tactics. I’m wondering if there’s just a few of them that you could give us that span all of these different career paths that you’ve been on that you’ve seen just work for each and every company or industry?

SW: I’ll give away some of our secret sauce right out of the gate. One of the big challenges that we had is, so we started out doing a lot of social media and it was good at building awareness, but the challenge was transitioning that person into a sales conversation. And so we tried a lot of different strategies. So we’ve used inbound marketing and demand generation and paid traffic and leads and funnels. And they all work.

One of the things that I think has really transformed things for our business and for our clients is focusing in on what we call a time-based lead magnet. So if you’ve heard the phrase lead magnet before, it’s whenever you see a white paper or an opt-in or a download, any of those things are all lead magnets and it’s offering your audience a chunk of value in exchange for their contact details to build out your email list. And then typically what a business will do is they’ll then focus on nurturing and sending emails to that person who’s opted into the lead magnet to find a way a sales conversation or a purchase. What we found when we looked at it really closely is, you can lose a lot of people along the way between that opt-in, that person who’s downloaded that lead magnet, and the person that ends up being in a sales conversation.

The gap between getting all these opt-ins and building your lists, and then turning those into revenue for your business but there’s this big like space in between was one of the biggest challenges. You could spend so much time nurturing and retargeting and content for a low conversion rate. Here’s what we found that was quite a more direct path for us and for the people we’re working with is thinking about a time-based lead magnet. Rather than a download or an opt-in, actually having a conversation and offering your audience a bit of time with you, either on the phone, through a webinar, through an event, through a strategy session, working them through an assessment or an audit, or a checklist. That really changes how you can engage with your audience, because you’re having those one-to-one conversations. You can offer them value if you’re doing those time-based lead magnets, we’re actually having that conversation.

And then at the end of it, we like to say you sell like a doctor. If you think about when you go to a doctor, you’ll go in, they’ll ask you a few questions, where does it hurt? Where does it hurt? Okay, here’s the problem, here’s how you can solve it. When you’re using a time-based lead magnet, it allows you to do the same. So you can jump on a call with your ideal audience, your customer, your prospects, and offer them something for free, that’s valuable and that’s tangentially related to what you do. So you can give them an assessment of their business or whatever that looks like. And then from there, it becomes so much easier to transition that into a sales conversation if it’s appropriate. At that point, you will have built up a lot of credibility with that person, but also you’ll be crystal clear on what they need and the right thing that you’ve got to offer them.

If you’ve run a strategy session and they’ve told you their exact pain points and what they need and where they want to get to, it’s really easy at the end to say, “Hey, I can help you with that if you’d like.” You don’t have to be super sleazy. I know not everyone loves sales, but philosophically, if you just think of sales as solving problems that happen to have a budget, it can make it a lot easier.

sean withford quote image

Using these time-based lead magnets was a big thing for us. If you think about social media, once you’ve got that really good time-based lead magnet, you can then use that as the call to action at the end of all of your social posts, all of your pieces of content, all of your videos, all of your blogs.

You don’t need 20 different lead magnets and 20 different offers and 20 different funnels. You need just one great reason to have a conversation with your prospects. And then you can embed that at the end of all of your social posts, put it in the comments everywhere, put it in the headers on your Facebook pages, put it in your LinkedIn profile, add it as an outro on the end of your videos. And that’s how you can close the loop on that awareness turning it into profitable conversations.

ME: I love that so much. That is an awesome, awesome marketing idea. So talking about social media, can you share how you can make sure your message is hitting your followers at the right time and in the right strategy for actually making people consume your content and convert them to leads and followers, and, ultimately, sales?

SW: Starting with your audience is absolutely crucial. The first rule of sales and marketing is no one cares about you, they only care about themselves. Everyone has a level of self-interest and that’s what gains our attention. As business owners, as entrepreneurs, as marketers, it’s our job to solve problems for our audience. We make their life easier. We help them be more successful. So our job is to help them, that’s the entire job of us as entrepreneurs. So when we think about our ideal audience, usually you’ll do something like a customer persona or an audience persona but it’s just getting really clear on the person that you’re talking to and what’s important to them.

Build out that version of your ideal audience. And then you should be able to talk about your business, or your offering, your products, in a framework of ‘I help insert audience achieve outcome using process or solution.’ You should be able to say, “I hope my audience get this desired outcome using my unique thing.” Once you’re there, then you’ve got this really crystal clear statement of how you help that audience. Then when you think about your content and social media strategy, all of your content really should be about helping your audience move closer to their goal.

What will get the most traction is just helping your audience towards their goal. That’s why informational content that helps them get where they need to go is what’s always going to perform well for you.

Think about the pain point of your audience. Think about what:

  • is hard for them
  • questions do they have
  • false beliefs do they have?
  • You wish they knew before they hopped on a call with you?
  • A roadblock that someone you’re working with mentioned to you just the other day?
  • You wish you knew when you started out that you can share with them?

Take all of these ideas and create content based on them. Because you’re going to have the most success when you’re helping them along their journey to get to that place. Then if you have at the end of that offer to the way that time-based lead magnet, the opportunity to jump on a call, jump on a conversation, go to a webinar, go to an event. That’s then going to take the people who are serious about solving that problem to take the next step.

ME: Doing that research does seem really, really helpful, and I love those actionable questions. Now, a lot of our listeners are marketers who are not exactly born as, or they haven’t gone through formal education to get a marketing degree. So for you, someone who is so versed in this marketplace, can you tell me what actually, what networks are getting you excited right now? What social media networks are giving you guys a lot of traction right now and kind of what metrics on those networks you guys pay attention to, to get the idea of what content is working well?

SW: I would say it depends a lot on your product or solution. Ask yourself where your audience is making decisions or where they are spending their time. That answers where you should be spending your time. Indicatively though I would say Facebook is still super successful. We see groups getting a lot more engagement than company pages, for example. So if you’re thinking about that time-based lead magnet, like creating a Facebook group that revolves around the problem that you solve, or you help people with and getting people in there and then offering it to them as well as a really good strategy.

If your audience is in B2B or your product or solution is for high net worth people, LinkedIn is probably one of the most affluent and educated like social networks on the internet. You can get into really great discussions there, particularly on LinkedIn right now that video has been incredibly successful.

I think YouTube is an incredible platform. I think YouTube is the world’s second-largest search platform still. The volume of people watching on there is huge. There’s still a really good opportunity there to rank for different keywords. If you’re creating video content around the problem that you solve, then you can get a lot of great stuff in there.

Personally, I love TikTok right now. So I’m spending a lot of time there. It’s really engaging. If your audience is there, then absolutely. I think everything works, but it depends on where your audience is. 

ME: I love this idea of consistency on across every network. And I totally agree. We can just take a deep breath and say, “Show up consistently, just keep at it. And you’ll learn from your past posts and you’ll always iterate and improve in the future.” And I’m definitely going to have to go look up some of your blog content. They’re showing up that many days in a row. That seems pretty awesome.

SW: Someone asked Gary Vaynerchuk whether they should focus on quality versus quantity of content. And his answer was, “Quantity unlocks quality.”  It’s such a simple nuance. But by definition, you can’t be good at content creation until you do a whole bunch of it. Once you’re comfortable with that, you’re like, “Well actually it’s quantity that unlocks quality.” It’s really freeing to go create a whole bunch of stuff at the first stop.

content creation quote

And the first few things may not be great. But also at that point, if I haven’t built a big audience, it doesn’t really matter, because it’s going to take a lot of time to build an audience and build an effort. And the first time that you put something out there, there’s not a hoard of people ready to tear you down because you haven’t built that audience yet anyway. That distinction of quantity unlocks quality, that’s actually the thing for me that was like, “Yeah, I should go into a lot of this.” Just like I need to make sure I show up consistently. It made a big difference.

ME: You can always count on Gary for those little word inspiration snippets! That’s a good one. So we met because we did a partner webinar together and I know that your team actually reached out to us to set this up. Can you dive into a little bit of this idea of collaboration between companies and how you guys at Eloquent actually use collaboration in your marketing strategy and how you’re seeing it work really well for you?

SW: For us, the thing that we loved about MeetEdgar versus all of the competitive products out there was our ability to build out a content calendar based on different categories. So we batched different days. Monday might be thought leadership, Tuesday might be a “how-to”, Wednesday might be a call to action, Thursday might a case study, etc. So we would go do that for ourselves and for our clients and build those different funnels. For us when it came to collaboration, so partnerships and collaborations work incredibly powerfully for your business because you can sit down and say, “Hey, who else has our audience? And then how can I offer some value to them and to that audience?”

We did that process where we started with who do we already love and what do we use? Because people who are using those things are probably our people as well. And so MeetEdgar was one of those first things that we looked at. But the best way to do it is to think about who else has your audience and then think about what you can offer that’s going to be valuable to them.

Don’t reach out to people and say, “Hey, can you sell my thing?” Well, you can, but it’s much better to say, “Hey, I’ve got this great idea that your audience might love. I would love to share it with them.” The easiest place to start that journey is the products and the platforms and the tools and the people that you’re already using because that’s what your tribe uses too. It’s a phenomenal strategy particularly if you’re just starting out or in the early years of your business. Because big platforms can have thousands and tens of thousands of people that are paying attention to their content and it will take you a long time to build out the same. But so just offering a little bit of value to their audience can work really well too.

ME: Yeah. I love that. Making sure that you’re always approaching it in the sense that you’re offering that value to the person you’re approaching. I think that makes a ton of sense. Well, I have learned so much from this conversation today and I know our audience has too, and I would love for you just to end it out here with any other marketing tip that you find very helpful for us to take some action on?

SW: So if you’ve watched that partner webinar that we did, we spoke a lot about using different sales psychology angles. My piece of advice is, go and choose a day of the week or two days to add content to social media or MeetEdgar. Think about what content you can add there that will lead to a conversation with your audience.

Then you can start to use things like social proof, like references, testimonials, case studies, comments, Facebook screengrabs from happy customers and clients, LinkedIn recommendations, put those up and start building out a bank of those that are sitting there in your MeetEdgar library. Use those pieces of content and then use the call to action from them, like “Hey, if you were going to get the results that this person did too, love to offer you a free 15-minute conversation and I’ll map you out exactly the three steps I’ll take if I was you.”

So have a look at, make sure that there’s a day in MeetEdgar in your content calendar when you’re promoting something. If you go have a look at that webinar, there’s a whole bunch of approaches that you can use around social proof or likeness and similarity and congruency, all these different psychological principles in there. But just go watch it, pick a couple and pick a day when you’re going to deliberately ask people to speak with you about their problems. Because when those people do have conversations with you, some will become customers. And if you can put it on autopilot, which is the joy of being able to do with MeetEdgar, it’s something that you can do quickly that will have a material impact over the next 12 months and growing your business.

ME: What a great rounding out the circular conversation here by bringing that lead magnet back in and making sure you’re staying consistent by using the right tools. If you haven’t seen the webinar before, watch it at the link below. 

Watch the webinar here.

It awesome way that you can get some ideas on how to come across really well to your audience and how to really motivate them to action, to make sure that they’re purchasing things that are going to change their life for the better and make you feel really good about selling as well, which is always great to get your mission out into the world. If you want to get in touch with Sean or learn more about time-based lead magnets, I will put the links in the show notes, you can find him here.


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