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Lead Magnet 3.0

Note: This is a reprint of a previous Emergent Marketing Newsletter. If you’re not receiving our email newsletter, you can subscribe here.

The Emergent Marketing Newsletter is a (mostly) fortnightly newsletter by us, André Chaperon & Shawn Twing, with a focus on modern marketing, writing, and learning.

Happy Friday!

Been listening to LP (Laura Pergolizzi) this week. So good. Very mellow. Good for writing.

I'm going to get a *little* controversial this week. Cos why not, right?


We all know what a lead magnet is.

Everyone uses them to “encourage” (irresistible bribe) someone to trade their contact information (typically an email address) for something free and of value behind the curtain.

According to an article by DigitalMarketer:

The goal of the Lead Magnet is to maximize the number of targeted leads you are getting for an offer.

99.9% of marketers will vigorously nod their head and wholeheartedly agree with this statement.

But what about the 0.1%?

I disagree with that statement.

Optimizing to “maximize the number” of leads is a very different dynamic to optimizing for (happy) customers downstream.

In many cases optimizing for “maximize lead-flow” will have an adverse effect on the type of customer that's created downstream (referred to as local optima in systems thinking).

For the record: I'm not picking on DM. They're the 800-pound gorilla, and their definition is shared far and wide.

I call this lead capture set up: Lead Magnet 1.0.

It has remained unchanged since … well, since forever.

There was never a 2.0, let alone a 3.0 because 1.0 has pretty much been perfect for the masses and hasn't needed changing.

Why fix something that ain't broken, right?

Well, that's not entirely true:

2.0 has been around for a long time but never received much love at the time. So it quickly faded away.

I was using Lead Magnet 2.0 back 2007 from an idea I had gotten from Eben Pagan. It worked very well.

But 2.0 can't hold a candle to 3.0. So I'll forgo explaining what 2.0 looked like, and move directly to 3.0.

Before I do, lemme ask you a question:

What do you think is wrong with the dynamic of the Lead Magnet 1.0? You know, the obvious negatives in your mind (if any)?

Think about it for a bit.

It's not a trick question btw.

Okay, here's a hint:

Think about it, not as a marketer, but as a visitor; a prospect staring down the barrel of an opt-in form.

That should help. Have another go.



Answer: The “risk” is all on the prospect, no?

Let me unpack this idea to make it a little clearer.

There's a promise of “value behind the curtain,” right?

I promise, cross my heart and hope to die, Mr or Mrs Prospect, that you'll love this here lead magnet bribe thingy.

… but an email address MUST COME FIRST, right?

D'ah. Obviously.

This is because marketers really covet email addresses.

And they're shit scared of missing the opportunity of someone leaving without giving it up (hence the popularity of the exit pop that prospects all love so much).

(Anita says I don't do passive-aggressive very well. lol)

From the marketers perspective, though, THEY know what's behind the curtain. It's certainly worth an email address in their opinion.

But that's the wrong viewpoint.

What about from the visitors perspective?

They're flying blind, remember.

The burden of trust is all on their shoulders.

And yes, even when the offer is free.

Because it's not free, is it?

Not from the visitors perspective.

Not by a long shot.

Make no mistake: time and attention have an opportunity cost.

Visitors are well aware of this.

They understand this.

This is the distraction economy, after all. Attention is fleeting.

This, in my opinion, has always been the primary flaw in this setup.

Let's look at what Lead Magnet 3.0 looks like:

This is when the dynamic is turned upside down.

I've been saying (and teaching) this for years.

It works like this:

You lead with value (value = context + insights + ah-ha moment).

You don't REQUIRE them to trade their email, only their attention.

The entire dynamic is rigged in their favor.

They get to consume the “lead magnet” BEFORE they commit an action (next level of intent: like their email or some other action).

Here's what I have. Read it. Watch it. Download it. It's on me. No opt-in required. Enjoy! If you liked it, I have more of that. Even better.

The “lead magnet” becomes the website copy, the presell, the story, the article, the educational content.

… all BEFORE the opt-in.

Right there on your website: front-and-center.

The value is there, proudly out in the open, for them to SEE AND JUDGE AND LOVE OR HATE.

This change in dynamics will 100% pull your best prospects forward (have a powerful attraction force like a tractorbeam).

Now the opt-in, for the right person, will be a no-brainer.

They'll dive through head first and gladly give up their best email address.

There's always more to give.

You will not lose the opportunity of capturing the email address of your best people.

The reframe is to set up a dynamic that PULLS them in. Only THEN do you give them an opportunity to opt-in.

This is how you earn the attention of the people WORTH doing business with.

The big shift is that now you'll be optimizing, not for lead-flow, but customers downstream.

Earning attention comes first tho.


Lead Magnet (3.0) = your stuff proudly out in the open, front-and-center, front-loaded with:

  1. world-class info that's relevant,
  2. with context,
  3. that produces an insight,
  4. and creates an ah-ha! moment (the feeling of unexpected surprise).

That's the formula for real value.

Here's the kicker, so pay attention:

This idea of leading with value (before any “ask”) is universal.

It's not a tactic.

It's a strategy that supports a fundamental first principle (something I learned from Jay Abraham a long time ago).

Lead Magnets aside: you can apply this concept to all parts of your marketing where some “ask” (action) is required.

It can be a buy button. An application process. Whatever. Be creative.

Oh crap:

I've just breached 1,100 words which is a signal I need to sign off.

When I publish the web-version of this email, I'll include an example that demonstrates the idea I've just unpacked.

Was speaking to a friend, George Bryant, on Monday…

He's one of the highest paid business coaches in the world. He told me a story of how he helped a client sell a digital course (at 10x the price the client couldn't originally sell it for).

He applied this same universal principle I've just unpacked for you here.

My conversation with George

I just helped one of my sales students do this and he's the best sales guy in the world. I mean, literally, the best high ticket sales guy. He said, “I'm trying to sell this course. Can we just stop trying to sell this fucking course that nobody wants to buy?” And I said, “I'm going to take one video from that course and we're going to sell it for ten times what you were selling the course for.”

So we literally took one video. We gave it away for free. The course was a full course, 100 videos and then it had 12 calls that came with it. I said, “I want you to post that one video for free. At the end of the video, splice in an offer that says you'll take a 15 minute call with anybody who made it to that point. It implements once they submit their homework and then sell them the 12 calls for ten grand.”

And he sold 20 of them in one day.

He'd been trying to sell the whole course with 100 of those videos with that one in it for $997 for six months. And so we just took the one thing, put it on the front and said, “We'll hold you accountable with that one thing.” Then we helped people achieve that thing.

Have yourself a badass weekend!

André “give first, give openly” Chaperon

P.S. (reminder for some):

The “closed pilot” of Lean Business for Creators (LBC) opens for one final time on July 1 to 7 (just over a week from now).

I unpack ideas like the one in this email; then I show you how to build your own “Lean Customer Creation Funnel.”

In fact, the LBC page is a “version” of a Lead Magnet 3.0 in action:


If you're interested in being part of this (it's *not* for everyone), scroll down to the red button and opt-in to the waiting list.

(Unless you're already on the list. Please don't add yourself a second time.)