Transcript: How to Troubleshoot a Lead Magnet That’s Not Converting

February 24, 2022

AMY PORTERFIELD: “One thing I think is important is to ask if the lead magnet helped them to feel like they could continue to work with you. After all, you want your content to be sticky, right? Meaning, you want someone who consumes it to be looking for even more content from you once they get through it. Like, I want someone to listen to this podcast episode, make a change to their lead magnet, have it convert like gangbusters, and then say, ‘Amy, what else you got?’” 

INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started. 

AMY: If you know me, then you know that the Goal Digger Podcast, hosted by my friend Jenna Kutcher, who is also part of the HubSpot Network, is one of my favorite podcasts. What I love about Jenna's podcast is that she shares life and business tips, from productivity hacks and business strategies and mindset shifts to daily inspiration, and so much more. Episode 528. It's called “Surprise! I Wrote a Book!” It gave me all the feels because she shared the real raw story of what inspired her to write her very first book, and she shared her process. So good. Listen to the Goal Digger Podcast wherever you get your podcasts. And now, back to the show. 

Welcome back to Online Marketing Made Easy. So glad you're here today because we're talking about something that is oh so popular on this podcast, and it's your lead magnet, and more specifically, what to do when it's not converting like you'd like it to, when you're looking at the numbers and not enough people are signing up for this lead magnet that you work so hard to create.  

So, first, a little story time. When Hobie and I decided we were going to move to Nashville, we were hooked up with a really great realtor. Now this is going to sound wild, but our realtor, his name is Ed Eason, he also happens to be a lead guitarist for Carrie Underwood. Now, I feel like that is so Nashville: realtor by day, guitarist by night. And he's been with Carrie for years and years and years. And so he's, like, this really cool guy, probably one of the nicest guys I've ever met, and him and Hobie have become really good friends. They talk on the phone for a really long time on a regular basis, and they hang out, and it's really cool. But all the time, I'm like, “Who are you talking to you right now?” It's always Ed.  

So, here's the thing. When we first started looking for a home, we had to fly in from California to Nashville many, many times, and we did that probably two times. By the second time, I think, or maybe the third time—it felt like it took a while—we finally found a home that we really were into, and we were like, This is it. This is the house. And it was in the neighborhood that the houses were pretty old, and this house was brand new. They’d ripped down an old one and created a new one, which are seen everywhere in Nashville now. So it was the nicest home on the block, which they kind of say you're not supposed to do that. But we liked the area, and we decided to put in an offer.  

And I did an episode recently about following your gut, and this was a time I did not follow my gut. And so we put in an offer, and then we went home. I was excited, and I was showing people the pictures of it, and then I started to get this feeling like, This isn't the right house. It's just not the right house for me, because, to be quite honest, now that it's just Hobie and I and we don't have kids in the house, I want to make sure that my working situation was set up right because I work from home and I wanted a video studio and I wanted an office and I wanted a little area so that my team, because we're all over the U.S., when they did fly in, we could all work together at the house. And it didn't really quite have what I wanted, but we had looked at so many houses. You guys know the real-estate market; it’s very competitive in Nashville. So I just thought, You know, this is probably as good as it's going to get. Let's go for it.  

So then, I started to have my doubts, and I'm embarrassed to tell you this story because we flew back into Nashville to sign all the papers. And I remember it like it was yesterday. We were staying at the Hyatt's carriage house, which was so nice because we came in so many times, they saved us a bunch of money to let us stay with them. And I woke up in the morning in this carriage house, and I looked at Hobie, and he knew I was apprehensive. He knew I was starting to have doubts about this house. And so he tries to make it all better. So he's like, “Let's go sign some papers!” He's all excited. And he's not a morning person. So I'm like, “You are faking it right now, but fine.” He's like, “Let's do this.” And I said, “Babe, I don't know if this is the right decision.” And he's like, “What? We've come all this way. We're here to sign the papers. It's going to be fine. It's going to be fine, I promise.”  

And so I get out of bed, I get ready, we drive there, and while I'm waiting for the guy to come in to give us the papers to sign, I'm literally on Zillow, looking at different properties. And Ed looks over my shoulder. He's like, “What are you doing?” I’m like, “Well, did you see this house? And did we look at this house?” And he gave me a look like, oh, no; oh, no. And so then they came in, and there was one issue with the house, like a permit that wasn't signed, and I jumped on it. I’m like, “Mm, I think we need to hold off.” And Ed's like, “I agree.” And then later he told me, he's like, “You're looking at houses while you're signing. I knew something was off.” So I didn't go with my gut, and it stung because I was embarrassed. I told everyone, “It's off. Let's get out of this deal. This isn't right.”  

So, why am I telling you this long story? Well, after that, we sat down with Ed, and we got really clear about why that house didn't work and what I’m absolutely looking for. And Hobie’s really easy in things like this. He’s like, “Babe, whatever you want or need for the business within the house, I’m here for it.” So I got to really just sit down and get clear, which I should've done a long time ago, about absolutely everything I wanted to see in this house that we're going to spend a lot of money on, so it was important.  

But here's the thing and why I'm telling you this story. When we went back to the drawing board and got really clear and found some new houses that were just fitting right into what we wanted, boom, we found it. Funny enough, we found it flying home from that trip. We got clear. We looked at a lot of houses. Some of the houses weren't available yet, but we knew what we wanted. Got on a plane. I kept looking on Zillow, and there it was. I’m like, “Hobie, here's the house,” and here we are flying away from Nashville, back to California. We actually put an offer on this house before I ever saw it, with the contingent of, We got to see it before we actually pay the money kind of thing. But next weekend, we flew back into Nashville and got this house, and we love it. So, we had to look at a lot of houses and get really clear before we finally found the one we wanted.  

And just like that first house that we put our offer on, your lead magnet—I know. This is a sharp turn. Stay with me here—your lead magnet might not be the right fit for your ideal community the first time out, the first time you share it, even if you think it is, even if you're like, “No, no. This could work. This could work.” But that doesn’t mean that it can't become the perfect fit with a little input from them and a little adjusting on your end. Because what I thought I wanted in a house, I had to tweak that, I had to change it, I had to rearrange the parameters, and then, boom, I found it. It fit just perfectly. And I believe that some of you have lead magnets right now that there's going to be some tweaks that need to be made. We need to kind of finesse it. We need to change the messaging maybe. Maybe we need to fully change the plan altogether. But you will get to that point where you've got a damn good lead magnet. I really feel confident about that. You got to stay with it. You can't throw up your arms and be like, “This is never going to work.” You're closer than you think. That's what I want you to hear right now. You're closer than you think.  

So, whether your lead magnet is not attracting your ideal community or anyone, really, or if you've seen conversion rates slow down, this is something that for my List Builders Society members, when we do our monthly Q&As on Zoom, these questions come up a lot. “What do I do if my conversion rates are slowing down?” Then first I'll say, “Trust me. I know the frustration, and I also know how to troubleshoot these issues.”  

So, let me start by introducing you to one of my students, Dr. Shannon Irvine. Shannon published five versions of her quiz lead magnet before hitting the mark. Five versions. What Shannon found was that if she had never pushed Publish on her first one, second one, third one, or even fourth lead-magnet version, she would have never been able to figure out what was really resonating with her audience.  

So, going back to my example of buying this Nashville house, if we didn't start moving forward with that first house and had that really awkward situation where I backed out of it, I don't think it would have forced me to get really crystal clear on what I want and what I don't want. And that's what Shannon experienced with her lead magnet. She had to go through those different versions to get to the place where she's like, “Okay. This is it. This is the one that's resonating with my audience.” So after testing and tweaking and redesigning and talking to her audience, she was finally able to settle on a lead magnet that converted extremely well. And when I say well, I mean a 74 percent opt-in conversion rate, and 92 percent of people who ended up purchasing a product from Shannon started with her lead magnet, which so happened to be a quiz.  

Okay. So, I want to say that again. She had five versions of a lead magnet, and the fifth version, that turned out to be this quiz, 74 percent opt-in conversion rate—very high, for the record—and 92 percent of the people who ended up purchasing a specific product from her, they actually came from first taking the quiz. That's incredible.  

So, today I'm breaking down five phases you can work through to troubleshoot your lead magnet so you, too, can start converting at a really high rate. But here's what I want to say before we dive in. Sometimes you won't hit that nail on the head right away, but what you'll get from sharing your lead magnet, even if it flops, is guidance on what your audience wants and what they do not want and really what resonates with them. So if you're struggling with your lead magnet, work through these phases one at a time, and I promise that you’ll eventually find one that your audience absolutely loves.  

Also, I've created a free resource for you that you can grab by heading to my show notes. So go to So In this free resource, I've taken five real-life examples from my own students, and I've broken down the tweaks and edits that I’d make to improve these lead magnets, from their landing page to their actual lead magnet to their email sequence. You're going to find it immensely helpful when you're thinking about revamping yours. So again, go snag that free resource in my show notes, because it's very actionable. When you see it in action, when you see the examples, it will really come to life. Let's get to it. 

Starting with phase one, put your ego aside. Just because you created the resource and you love it doesn't mean it's perfect for your audience. Ugh, I know. There's nothing worse than having to check your ego at the door after you've poured your blood, sweat, and tears into something. I've had that happen over and over again.  

I remember one of the first lead magnets I put out there. It had to do with Facebook marketing and how to—back in the day, it was all about how to customize your Facebook page. You could change things around. Some of you don't know this, but on Facebook back in the day, you could have a landing page that people see before they get on your page. And you could do an opt in; you could do a video; you could do so much more than you can do now. And I remember I created an opt in for that landing page for my Facebook account, and no one signed up for it. It was not anything they wanted. And I even created a video to talk about it, so I was really mad. I’m like, “Come on.” So I've been there.  

But the good news is that it's not wasted time. Just like I said in the intro, each lead magnet that you create is a learning opportunity if you let it be. You're one step closer to hitting it out of the park with a lead magnet that draws in the masses. So just because you're a lead magnet needs some tweaking, whether that be a lot of tweaking or a little tweaking, it doesn't mean you got it all wrong. And this is actually something we'll work through in phase two and three.  

But for now, a few places to look when determining if you missed the mark. Are you giving away too much content? Maybe it feels overwhelming to people. Are you using the right messaging, or does it need a little tweaking? Does it seem irresistible? Are you speaking in a way that you're using the words and phrases they would use? Are you mentioning or sharing your lead magnet in enough places? You can't just put it out there and think people will come to it. I'm talking every single week, you're finding new ways to mention it on social. And are you giving your ideal community what they need to cross that invisible bridge? Remember, the invisible bridge is where they are now versus where you want them to be, in a place ready to buy. So if they need to cross the invisible bridge to get to that place ready to buy, what do they need to know, understand, be aware of before they’re ever in a place to give you money? So are you giving your ideal community what they need, the information they need, to get to that place across the bridge? Or maybe, maybe it's just the design. Is the font too hard to read? We have absolutely used font that's really hard to read. So this may sound silly, but it happens more than you think.  

Now, these are things you may not be able to identify yourself. You're looking at me, thinking, “Amy, nice questions. I don't know the answers to these questions.” Well, you can lean on your ideal community to get the help of an outside perspective, from people that really matter, the people you want to sign up for this.  

So that leads me to phase number two. Now that we've set our egos aside, as hard as that may be, it's time to talk to the people who make up your ideal community. It's quite possible that you already spoke with a few of your ideal customers before creating this lead magnet, or maybe you haven't. Either way, it's a valuable step, and you don't want to skip it.  

Now, if you're not really sure where to find your ideal community, don't worry, I've got you covered. Start hanging out in Facebook groups where your ideal community spends time. Is there an entrepreneur further ahead than you who offers or teaches something similar? See if you can lean into their community a little bit until you start creating your own. That doesn't mean go into someone else's community and promote your lead magnet, but you can offer valuable insight and start genuine conversations with others to understand what they're looking for.  

I want to be clear about this. I don't think going into other people's communities and being helpful is the best way to grow your business or grow your email list. Use it for R&D, research and development. Use these opportunities to collect intel. So this will lead to meeting people who align perfectly with who you're looking to serve. So once you have those relationships, you can ask them for feedback on your lead magnet.  

And another way to find people who fit into your ideal community is by looking at those close to you. Do you have friends or family members who fit the description, or do your friends and family members know people who might? If you feel awkward asking for a little help here, just remember that what you're offering them is free. Sure, they're giving you some of their time, but because they fit your ideal customer, they will most likely find value in this resource that you're creating. So my suggestion is to find five people that will give you feedback on your lead magnet. And when you finally get your lead magnet in front of your ideal customers, you can ask them things like, Is the length okay? Is the type of lead magnet convenient for them, as in, do they like the format, such as a PDF or video or audio? Would they rather see it in a different format?  

And I want you to really think about who your audience is when you're choosing how long to make your lead magnet or the type of lead magnet. Here's what I mean. If your ideal community is made up of busy moms, a fifteen-page PDF that is a lot of work for them to complete is probably not going to be a really attractive or successful lead magnet, right? However, an audio that they can listen to while running around the house is much easier for them and far more enticing. So if you need help deciding what type of lead magnet, I got a really good episode. It's an oldie but goodie, and it's super relevant still. It's episode 214. It's called “The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Lead Magnet for Your Audience.” So 

All right. So, here are a few more things to ask. What do they like about the lead magnet? What do they don't like? What's missing for them? Is the design appealing, and are the fonts easy to read if it's a PDF? And how far into the lead magnet did they get, and where did they get stuck? And if they actually implement what they learn in the lead magnet, did they improve in any way? Did they have any aha moments? I think that's important. Like, you want them to go through not just checking typos and looking at the font, implement it. Do what it says, experiment, and ask, “Did this work for you?” This is all extremely valuable feedback. And once you've gotten it all back, sit with it and start to plan out how you're going to update and tweak it and improve your lead magnet to suit your ideal customer.  

I love these phases because you can put them into a project-management system—of course, right?—and work your way through one by one.  

All right. Phase number three. You've talked to your ideal-community members. You've received their feedback. Seriously, go do that phase. I know it's uncomfortable at times. It's golden information. And then from there you've compiled it, and you've decided what edits you want to make, and now it's time to put your head down and make those edits. This part is fun. It’s kind of exciting. Like, “Okay. I've got some intel that I'm going to apply right away.” And you can implement the edits and make it exactly how you think it should be. And then it's time to go back to those who you previously got input from and have them review it again. This time around, ask them how they felt about the changes and if they found it was easier to consume and more beneficial to them to help them with their goal or their desire.  

So, one thing I think is important is to ask if the lead magnet helped them to feel like they could continue to work with you. After all, you want your content to be sticky, right? Meaning, you want someone who consumes it to be looking for even more content from you once they get through it. Like, I want someone to listen to this podcast episode, make a change to their lead magnet, have it convert like gangbusters, and then say, “Amy, what else you got?” That’s my dream, right? 

Unpredictability is part of what makes starting and growing a business both exciting and terrifying. From your very first offer online to your next big launch, finding predictability in business is about as likely as finding a last-minute dinner reservation at that new, trendy restaurant you've been wanting to try on a Friday night: unlikely. A HubSpot customer relationship-management platform is here to help you grow and scale through uncertainty so that you can spend your time doing the things that you love, including going to that restaurant you've been wanting to go to forever. So HubSpot's reporting dashboard is like your crystal ball, giving you a bird's-eye view on your marketing, sales, and customer-service performance so you can get ahead of any issues before they happen. Learn more about how a HubSpot CRM platform can help your business grow better at 

Here's the thing. When I talk about creating content and putting together lead magnets, one of the questions I get asked is, “How do I know how much free content to give away versus what to keep for my paid stuff?” When we talk lead magnets, that's the number one question that comes up, so I absolutely have an episode about that. It’s probably one of my top ten. So It's called “Am I Giving Away Too Much Free Content?” So So it's going to walk you through ensuring you're giving away just the right amount of free content in your lead magnets and in your weekly original content and all of that good stuff.  

So obviously, you're going to go back to that same group and get feedback about your updated lead magnet. But if you put this lead magnet out into the world, you could also ask for feedback from anyone who's going to consume it. So if someone signs up for your lead magnet, you could send them an email—after you give it to them—send them an email a few days later and just say, “Hey, wanted to find out if you had time to dive into the free audio, all about x, y, z? And if so, what do you think? Did it help you? Are you still struggling? Hit Reply to this email and let me know,” whatever you want to say to them. Sometimes I like to say, if it's a PDF, I might say, “Make sure you don't miss the nugget that I gave you on page five, because that's one of the best tips I give.” Pique their curiosity so if they haven't gotten into it, they'll go back to it. But having them just “hit Reply to this email, and let me know if it helped you,” that can give you some really great feedback. So I think having that email following up a few days after they get your freebie could go a long way.  

All right. Phases two and three should have definitely left you with tons of insight in giving you the information you needed to significantly enhance your free offer. So it's time to move on to phase four, which is to do a lead-magnet blitz. That means you're treating your lead magnet like a product, and maybe you plan to do this at least quarterly. This is a big one. This is important. So that means that you're sharing your lead magnet everywhere that it matters.  

And I want to give you a few ways to get out there, share it, to cast a wider net with other people's audiences and start growing that email list. So you could designate a certain period of time where you're going to get on multiple podcasts that week or over the span of a couple of weeks, and prior to the interview, ask if you can mention the free resource during the recording. Some will say yes, and some won't, but it's worth the ask.  

Now, when you plan out your blitz ahead of time, you can request that your episode goes live during that time. So if you're going to do a blitz for two weeks and go all in with this lead magnet, you can request, if you do it ahead of time, that your podcast airs during that time. If they can't agree to releasing it at that specific time, it's still worth totally doing it, right? But you can always ask. 

Another thing to do would be to find ways to contribute to other platforms. So maybe you're going to try to contribute to a big online publication or a blog that your ideal community reads. Or you could do a social-media takeover with an entrepreneur who is beneficial and similar in ways to you and has a community like yours. So what I'm saying here is during a specific period of time, you're going all in, all hands on deck, with this lead magnet. You're going to treat it like you're promoting a product. That way, you're putting a lot of intentionality to it, and that makes a difference.  

Now, I'm not going to go into too much detail on this, because I actually did an episode called “Three Free Organic Traffic Strategies to Grow Your Audience Quickly.” So give that a listen for more tips and strategies to get your lead magnet out there. So it's called “Three Free Organic Traffic Strategies to Grow Your Audience Quickly.” So give that a listen; more strategies there.  

So, when you're posting on your social-media platforms, I encourage you to consider doing both indirect and direct posts. So this is something I don't talk about a lot, but I do talk about it in List Builders Society, so my students might have heard this. So direct posts are 100 percent focused on driving traffic to your opt-in page. Straightforward, completely obvious that you're promoting your freebie, because it leads your audience directly to your opt-in page. Indirect posts are more subtle. They might start with a story or a tip or insight, and you can still promote your lead magnet after you add value, or you don't have to promote it at all and use this instead as an opportunity to nurture your audience and to continue to build a relationship with them. 

I think it's important that you use direct list-building posts. “Hey, I've got a freebie. This is important. Click here. Go grab it. Here's why you want it,” kind of thing, but use those sparingly, and then focus more on the indirect posts that drive organic traffic to your brand and eventually help you to grow your email list. That's why I believe email-list building, it's a slow go, but it happens every single day if you mix in these direct and indirect posts on social media. So done correctly, you could definitely see a spike in your traffic to your lead magnet.  

So, those are just some strategies that you might want to consider. And this whole idea of a lead-magnet blitz, it's something we do in our business. We actually just finished one, where we're just focused on, “Okay. This week we are getting more leads with this lead magnet.” And it might even be a lead magnet you've had for a while, and you've talked about it, but you're doing different new things to get it out in front of people. I think it's all just about being intentional.  

So, I've got a bonus out there that some of you have access to, and it's all about how to plan your promotional calendar. And in that training, I encourage you to actually plan list-building blitz. “This is a week I'm going to focus on list building. This is another week.” Actually put it in your calendar so that it happens. That makes a big difference as well.  

All right, my friend. This next phase is actually a phase I hope you don't have to do, but I'd be doing you a disservice if I didn't at least touch on it. So phase five, what to do if it's still not converting? If you've gone through phases one through four, and I mean truly put in the effort for those phases, and you're still not seeing those numbers climb, here's my suggestion to you. Start from scratch. Ugh, I know. It can be like a knife to the heart. But hear me out. If you're still struggling, I challenge you to look over past content that you've shared with your audience and take note of what performed well or what content warranted a response from your audience. Maybe on social media, you saw a huge spike in interaction and likes with a certain post. Or maybe an email you sent about a piece of weekly content that you created got a ton of positive feedback. Was there some content that got a lot of shares for you? Look into that. This is a huge green light for what your audience is resonating with, when they're starting to respond to some of your content.  

Now, you might have a really small audience. You’re like, “Amy, I've got usually five people that comment right now, but this one piece of content, I got twenty people to comment.” Well, that counts. Whatever kind of worked well for you, take that. You can use it word for word and then finesse it and make it better into a valuable lead magnet.  

This is something my student Allie Peach did. So Allie's ideal community are busy moms who need help planning and prepping meals. They're overwhelmed by the planning and also the execution of dinner, and they eat out or get takeout more often than they'd like. But they also know that eating more real food will help them reach their health goals. So they're looking for a process that they can stick to for getting it done, despite picky eaters and sporadic schedules and the other inevitable daily stressors of their lives. So Allie took bits and pieces from other content she'd previously published—parts of another lead magnet she had, content from a podcast episode—and she took all that to build out her freebie. So she took a little from everywhere. And then, she packaged it up in a fresh and more comprehensive way, and boom, her audience opted in and loved it.  

So don't get discouraged during this process. You might already have pieces of the content out there that you need to put together and package in a new way that would be really valuable. And remember what I said in the very beginning. Remember Shannon? She created four lead magnets before her fifth one hit the mark and did extremely well. You will get there, my friend.  

Are you ready for your action items? First off, head to the show notes page. So just go to and make sure you grab your free resource that goes along with this episode. And I know; a lead magnet for an episode about lead magnets, very meta, but you're going to love reading through these real-life examples and the tweaks I'd suggest to improve and make them shine. And as I mentioned, I’d highly recommend putting the first four phases into a project plan of some sort, like if you use Monday or Asana or whatever you might use, and give yourself due dates so you get this done. Depending on how many ideal-community members you plan to question and how many big changes and tweaks you plan to make, your time for this project plan will vary, but it's not something that you need to take weeks or months on. You could do this pretty quickly. But making a project plan and keeping yourself on task, that's going to avoid you pushing it off.  

Because I know—this is the hard part of my job—I know that list building is not the sexy stuff we do. It's not as fun as getting live on video or doing a webinar or crushing it with a sales page. I get that. But you can't do all that stuff if you don't have an audience. So we got to be grown-ups and put our big girl pants on and say, “All right. I'm getting it done.” And that's what I hope this episode will inspire you to do. So make this a priority if your current lead magnet is not hitting the mark. And remember Shannon Irvine's story before you get frustrated. Don't throw in the towel; stick with it. Five times until she hit that perfect lead magnet.  

All right, my friend. If you know somebody who is also trying to get their lead magnet up and running and they're struggling with it, will you please share this episode with them? Grab the link, text it to a friend, or better yet, if your audience would find this valuable, I'd love for you to share it on social.  

Thanks so much and have a wonderful day. I'll see you on Tuesday for a Shorty episode, same time, same place. Bye for now. 

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