Why email lead magnets are losing impact

In the age of email overwhelm and content saturation  email lead magnets are losing impact. Known also as ethical bribes is there a better way to educate and influence prospects?

People are growing tired of being bombarded and treated as forgetful numskulls that need constant sales messages and service reminders in their inboxes.


So what is an ethical bribe? Simply put it’s an exchange of a free ‘something’ for names and email addresses to add to email lists.

That ‘something’ is known as a lead magnet. It’s all common knowledge and most websites have some form of lead magnet as a taste tester.

Once that something is downloaded (a report, eBook, whitepaper etc) names will be automatically added to newsletters and other business lists.

Or the download triggers an email nurture sequence (ENS).

An ENS is an automated and queued set of emails that are sent to prospects/lead from a marketing automation platform or auto-responder over a scheduled period of time.

They have become too common and overused in volume and frequency. Sure there has been a legal acceptance/ acknowledgement you will be added to a lists.

You know the type of sequence where over a period of a week or two every day or second day you receive a salesy email to follow up giving more information etc.


Constant nurture sequence emails pushing products and services feels like going into a used car sales yard.   It feels like being harassed to buy and it is.  I get it that it’s important and tempting to keep in touch with people who expresses interest in what you do.

But truth is that anything that is FREE is not necessarily an expression of a desire to engage further

But people will either want to follow up or not. And nurture sequences turn many right off. There are better ways to keep front of mind than bombarding inboxes.

The Unsubscribe button is well used and or email addresses added to junk lists.  


Many people are becoming increasingly hesitant to even downloading free resources due to fear of an email onslaught.  I see this particularly in the solo and small business market. The big end of town is different and the value and high end trust generally explicit.

With so much freely available  educational content online the lure of the lead magnets appears to be nose diving dramatically

Prospects and consumers are simultaneously more discerning and time poor.  Sure being front of mind is critical and there are many ways to ensure keeping brands that including regular newsletters.


I have taken a unique path for the five free eBooks (call them lead magnets if you will) I have on my website

I state clearly on the landing pages before downloading and in emails with the eBook that the recipient will NOT be put on an email spam, funnel or nurture lists or a newsletter automatically.

Why do I do this? It gives confidence to prospects to download valuable resources.

Now I am a curious beast and I do definitely want to know who downloads my resources of course. This is critical for my marketing and development and I get that information. 

What I do give in each email with the download are options for them to contact me, subscribe to my LinkedIn newsletter or request further information. It’s up to them and by gee has my enquiries skyrocketed with the building of trust and respect..


Back to the feedback I mentioned.   I have had four new clients recently who first downloaded some of my eBooks in their discovery process of choosing a service provider to solve their problems.

They also downloaded other information from other providers who added them on a treadmill of follow up emails that became overwhelming.

They were turned off by the email onslaught and pressure to engage further. They felt I offered a more trustworthy approach which turned into direct enquiries.

Great reasons to give your free resources away with the assurance that the person will NOT be added to email spam and sequences.

And if you have an email newsletter get people to OPT IN separately.


We all need and want to keep front of mind with prospects. Some will never buy from us, some will immediately and some very much later.  Here are a just a few suggestions:

1/ Media articles & PR – cannot stress enough how powerful being in niche and mainstream media is talking on your subject matter expertise.

 2/ LinkedIn Newsletters & because they are subscriber based and non-threatening

3/ Website blogs – keep this fresh and regular for Google juice

 4/ Email newsletters – (truth is I no longer do them), but they can work really well. But get people the option to subscribe not just via automated lead magnets. And not too frequent.

5/ LinkedIn content strategy – valuable, entertaining and educational.

 The discussion of why  email lead magnets are losing impact will create much ado.  But for solo consultants and small businesses I really encourage you to be bold and don’t follow the pack.  There are more effective ways to build trust.


These are 2 excellent articles and videos covering a wide range of lead magnet, email and tripwire topics

Why I Don’t Marketing Funnels   &    No More Lead Magnets


If you would like to discuss how to build a better prospect content and media strategy book an initial 90 minute consulting session here.


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