Marketing Speak: How to Construct Sales Funnels & Lead Magnets

July 28, 2020

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This is Part 4 of a 4-Part Series

In this part, I'll answer show you exactly how to create

Lead Magnets & Sales Funnels...and what tools you need

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Lead Magnets

Lead Magnet Basics

We defined this marketing tool in Part 1, but here's a quick refresher:

  • A Lead Magnet is a FREE digital download offered to your readers as an incentive to give you their email address
  • Voluntarily providing their email explicitly lets you send them future emails...and you start to build your own email list

The Lead Magnet should be something quick to create & gives your subscriber a "quick win" by solving one specific obstacle or challenge, and obviously relevant to your niche.

Recommended formats

Some ideal formats for Lead Magnets are:

  • Checklists
  • Step-by-step instructions or processes
  • Templates
  • Resource lists
  • Recommended tools
  • Mini-courses

Re-purposing Content for Creating Your Own Lead Magnets

Re-purposing existing content is one of the best strategies, since you don't have to come up with something new. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Create a single-topic e-book from a portion of an existing slide deck
  • Create a text-based post from a podcast or video
  • Create a video from a tutorial post, or portion of the post
  • Create an e-book from a collection of related posts

NOTE: "e-books" aren't usually recommended for Lead Magnets because they take quite some time to create. However, in the case of the above recommendations, an e-book format is not violating the "quick to create" rule because you are creating it from existing content. The major time investment is already done when you created the original content!

What If You Have a New Website ...with no content to re-purpose?

While it is quicker to create new content from existing digital content, even if you are using paper worksheets, templates, spreadsheets, questionnaires or forms you can still re-purpose that content you use in your day-to-day business. This is especially suited to Lead Magnets if these are documents you already use with client work. In those cases, you already know what works best for your existing clients: they have already vetted those documents for you! Just convert them into digital format, or scan them into digital format!

Required Tools to Create Lead Magnets

You really only need a couple of tools, depending on the specific Lead Magnet formats you'll be creating.

For text-based documents -- those checklists, resource lists & recommended tools -- your favorite word processor is perfect! You don't need an "office suite," as free Google Docs is perfectly suited for the quick lists.

If you're creating a spreadsheet template or form, you may need Google Sheets or Google Forms, also free.

Dedicated e-book applications

This is a special category of commercial app -- cloud-based -- that allows you to upload existing blog posts and turn them into an attractive e-book, already in PDF format!

If you will be doing a lot of this type of content  and re-purposing, it is probably a great investment, because it is such as huge time-saver!

  1. Beacon -- this app lets you upload WordPress posts directly into a single e-book. They have have a free plan, with limited features, but compare features. It may be just what you need! They also have PAID pricing tiers, so do your homework and see if there is a fit. Beacon periodically runs a "Lifetime Deal" on AppSumo. These are usually far below their retail pricing, and they truly are "lifetime" licenses!
  2. Designrr -similar to Beacon, but they handle multiple formats, including transcribing podcasts. There is no FREE plan, but they do offer a free 7-day trial so you can try it out for yourself and see if you like it.

Tool Recommendations

Just go with what you have right now! You can get stuck in comparison shopping and nothing gets created. Stick with the free software/apps and get something created quickly. Learn by experimentation exactly what you are most likely to create, most frequently. You can always add a new tool later if it is really necessary!

How to Create Your Lead Magnet

Step 1: Create the document

The easiest way to create these -- if you're not already using them in your current business -- is to type them up in your favorite word processing program or note-taking app.

Better yet, scan in existing documents and convert them, if necessary, into PDF format. The point is to create something quickly (your time is money)!

Once created, you'll need to convert it into PDF format. Since PDF is now an open source format, nearly every word processing program or app will have this option built in. Save the file with a name descriptive name, since your subscriber will see this name.

Step 2: Upload your document into the Media Library on your WP website. You will link to this file in following steps.

That's it! Your lead magnet is complete!


Marketing & Sales Funnels

Constructing Your Funnel

This "funnel" you are creating is an abstract -- although possibly familiar metaphor -- concept. If this is your first time imagining your own sales funnel, it helps to visualize the actual activity flow. Take a look at the following diagram:

Sales Funnel Graphic

Sales Funnel indicating process flow, from initial 'Opt-in' to actual download delivery.

Planning Your Funnel

Now, before getting ahead of ourselves -- and keeping these funnel parts in mind -- it's important to plan out your funnel.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Consider your existing website "categories." These categories should form the infrastructure of your content marketing, so let them guide you as you plan your funnels... Yes, I said funnels, plural! Each of your categories -- at the very least -- should have its own funnel. For right now, I only recommend you create ONE funnel for a single category, just to keep things focused. Once you've completed planning & creating your first funnel, the rest will be much easier!
  • For each category, brainstorm the content -- articles, tutorials, videos, podcasts, etc. -- that will be most helpful for your readers... Again, remember you're helping your readers solve one of their most pressing challenges. If you already have lots of content, it's even easier: just review each of your top posts with a focus on how a Lead Magnet can complement those posts. It may help to think... "How can I add more value?" (If you've already figured out some initial Lead Magnets, this step will identify which posts actually get an added "opt-in" form added to that post. I'll cover that shortly.)

Additional Inspiration

Sometimes it helps to see what others are doing, especially if this is new to you.

Take a quick look at some of your favorite websites, or research some of your favorite online marketing experts.

  • Pay particular attention to spotting their FREE downloads. These are the Lead Magnets being offered.
  • Next, look at how they are offered; what is the marketing "copy" in the "opt-in" form.
  • What types of "opt-in forms" are being used (they likely have different ones in use in different places on their website).
  • Take screenshots, save them in browser clips, make notes.

Ideally, it's also helpful to see the complete funnel from the reader perspective. All you have to do is "opt-in!" Create a free email address so you know where these emails are coming from... Check them out and see if there are any strategies that resonate with you and your audience!

Putting the Funnel Pieces in Place

Again, see the diagram above. Each step in the process is numbered, and these are the details you'll be creating in each of these steps:

  1. Add the opt-in form of your choice to your chosen post. (You'll need to link it with your email delivery service, which I discuss below under Tools.)
  2. When your reader opts-in -- by completing the form with their email address and clicking the "submit" button, or similar form function -- the information is sent to your email delivery service. (Important! See the highlight box below)
  3. Immediately upon this action, your reader -- who is now your subscriber -- should immediately be sent to a Confirmation Page. This is a WP page that you create and is linked from the opt-in button action (ie, when the button is clicked). Nothing is worse from a "visitor experience" than to click on something and wondering if anything happened! Your immediate Confirmation Page is what tells the reader that their opt-in was successful! You can certainly be creative with this page... At the very least, say "Thanks!" for subscribing.
  4. Tell them what will happen next. (This depends on your email delivery service and their policies. They may have to confirm their email address, so tell them how to do that.)
  5. Once they confirm their email (a link in the auto-generated email), clicking that link should also trigger another action. This is the Download page.
  6. Create a third WP page -- the Download page -- which contains the link to the actual Lead Magnet PDF.

That's it! You've built your first funnel! Congratulations!


Make sure that none of the emails mentioned in the Funnel are sent from your WordPress website! This is an automatic SPAM trigger, and can result in a warning or even suspension of service by your ISP! I discuss details of email services under the Tools section below. 

Tools Required for Building Your Funnel

  • WordPress for creating your posts, pages, and for delivering your Lead Magnet.
  • Word processor for creating text-based 'list' Lead Magnets
  • Spreadsheet software such as Google Sheets for creating tables and tabular templates
  • (Optional) Cloud-based premium e-book services
  • Opt-in form plugin for adding opt-in forms to your WordPress posts and pages. There are quite a few services out there, in different price points and with different features. Here are a few options
  • Email Service Provider for sending automated emails shown in the Funnel diagram. This same service is also required to send newsletters and promotional emails to your subscribers, as well as transactional emails. They function completely independently from your WordPress website, and are the only safe -- non-spammy -- way to send bulk emails from your business. There are LOTS of these and prices and features vary. Recommended ESPs to research are listed below:
    • MailChimp: they offer email automation and "tagging" allowing you segment your audience. They also have a VERY generous FREE plan, and are great if your are just starting out.
    • ActiveCampaign: many more features, including advanced automation, tagging, and lots of tutorials and support. FREE trial but no FREE plan, however their pricing is also very "start-up friendly."
    • and lots of others! Just search "email services" or "MailChimp alternatives" & you'll have at least 8 recommendations to research. This is an essential online marketers tool so take your time to assess your current needs. While you can export your email list should you decide to change  to another ESP in the future, it can be a time-intensive process. It is ideal to select a service that can grow with you.

Audience Segmentation

I introduced this in Part 2 of this Series and -- with any ESP that permits "tagging"  -- you can automatically segment subscribers by the opt-in form they used to sign up.

This can be extremely useful for future marketing, as you can then send targeted content or emails, specifically selected for their area of interest.

This may not be easy to picture with only a single funnel, but imagine you have multiple funnels tied to each of your main website 'categories' as I have recommended. You can design newsletters or specific articles that only target a specific ccategory, or digital products -- highly targeted Lead Magnets or Content Upgrades -- just for those topics. Doing this increases your opt-in rate exponentially!

Always Be Testing!

One of the most important marketing strategies is to "test everything!" An extensive "deep dive" into this is beyond the scope of this tutorial! It deserves a post of its own, which I'll work on getting out here.

For now, just know that testing is important and extends to testing different Lead Magnets for the same topic (category) as well as the type of opt-in form you use. Some of the form plugins do allow testing one against the other -- such as Thrive Leads -- so you may want to consider that feature when comparing those plugins.

Part 4 of this Series has provided you with the exact steps to create your Lead Magnets and how to plan & build your Sales Funnels as well as the tools you will need.

If you found this article & Series helpful, please consider sharing it with your friends & associates!

If you have any questions on "marketing speak" that you'd like me to cover in future tutorials, please let me know in the Comments below.

And make sure to subscribe above to be notified when new tutorials are published!

Karen McCamy

I'm a WordPress Trainer & Coach, and believe that everyone should be able to build & maintain their own WordPress website... without having to learn complicated code!

WordPress democratizes online publishing and completely aligns with my values as a a Social Science major, with a degree in Anthropology.

WordPress enables everyone to build a custom & conversion-ready website.

When not teaching WordPress, I enjoy writing at my local coffee house, trying to wrap my head around black holes & multiverses, or relaxing at home with my 3 feline adoptees...

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