When deciding what type of lead magnet will attract the most signups (leads) for your business it’s natural to want to go right to your best offer – the thing that’ll convince first-time visitors to your site to dive right in and hire you, retain your services or purchase your product.
There’s just one problem with that – it’s not enough. And if your primary (or only) lead magnet is a free consultation, there are some things I’m willing to bet you’re doing wrong.
If your free consultation offer isn’t blowing up your calendar, there are things you can do to get it on track.
Why Offer a Free Consultation?
Why offer a free consultation at all? The short answer is that if you are someone who’s an expert in your field, time spent talking to you is valuable. People will want to take you up on your offer.
Some businesses are naturals for the free consultation offer. I’m talking about:
- Marketing firms
- Life coaches
- Plastic surgeons
- Independent insurance professionals
- Wedding planners
If your business is based on your deep knowledge of a topic or a long career, then you probably have something to offer as a free consultation.
The main reason to offer a free consultation is that it gives you an opportunity to connect one-on-one with your prospects. You’ll have the chance to build a personal connection and demonstrate what you can do to help them.
What Should Your Offer Look Like?
Let’s start with what your free consultation offer should look like. One of the biggest mistakes I see business owners make is not defining what their free consultation is. Here are some examples:
- Your call to action is too simple: “Click here for your free consultation”
- Your call to action is too vague: “Click here to schedule a time to talk to me about your business”
What I’m getting at is this: your offer must be specific and offer clear value. In other words, instead of the two examples above, you might try:
- Click here for a free, 30-minute consultation where we’ll discuss the best marketing strategies for your particular business.
- Click here for a consultation with me. We’ll talk about your challenges and map out a treatment plan
- Click here for your free consultation, where I’ll show you the three best ways to grow your business
You get the idea, I hope. Each of these calls to action has a clear value proposition where the person clicking understands exactly what they’ll get if they make room in their calendar for a consultation with you.
Should the Consultation Be Your Only Lead Magnet?
The next thing to consider is if your free consultation should be your only lead magnet. You might be thinking that since it’s the most valuable thing you have to offer, it should be enough to capture every lead. But think again.
A consultation requires personal contact and a big mental commitment to you and your business. Some of the prospects who visit your site may not be ready for that kind of commitment. They may need to be romanced a little bit, first.
I suggest offering tiers of lead magnets. For example, you might offer:
- A tips or resource sheet
- An eBook or case study
- A video series
- A consultation
Someone who’s only casually interested in your business may be willing to give up their email address in return for a tip sheet or eBook. Then, you can use a lead nurturing sequence to convince them to schedule a free consultation with you.
Build Your Authority
There’s a scene in The Princess Bride where Westley explains the theory behind taking the name of the Dread Pirate Roberts. As he puts it, “Nobody would surrender to the Dread Pirate Westley.”
My question for you is this: Are you as well-known as the Dread Pirate Roberts or are you more of a Westley?
If you’re a Westley, then you’ve got to work to increase your authority and name recognition to make your free consultation offer something that people will respond to. You can do that by:
- Guest blogging
- Maintaining an active presence on social media
- Attending events and networking
The more known you are, the more likely it is that people will be eager to grab a free consultation with you and learn about your business.
Structure Your Consultations
Let’s say you’ve got people signing up for your free consultations. That’s great news – but it’ll only help you if you make the consultation worthwhile for them. Here are some pointers.
- Decide ahead of time how long the consultation will be and stick to it. Your time is valuable and so is your prospect’s time. You should have a clear roadmap of what you’ll cover and avoid getting derailed by distractions.
- Create a basic structure for what you want to accomplish during the consultation. That means knowing what you’ll say and how you’ll say it – and how to move seamlessly from one topic to the next.
- Deliver on your promises. If you promised to give the prospect three marketing strategies to try, make sure to announce them like this: “The first marketing strategy you should try is creating a soap opera sequence to promote your new product; second, you should start making marketing videos; and third, you should fine-tune your social media targeting.”
- Follow through on the consultation. When you wrap it up, make it clear what the next step is. Perhaps you’ll follow up with an email, or maybe it’s the prospect’s job to complete your application. Whatever it is, make sure they understand. And then, make sure to follow up regularly.
These four steps will ensure that your free consultation isn’t a waste of time. The time you spend speaking to prospects will be targeted, productive, and specifically designed to get them to take the next step and buy your product or sign up for your service.
I truly believe that offering a free consultation is one of the best ways to attract new clients – if you do it right. The information here will help you to avoid mistakes and convert like crazy!
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Linda Musselwhite is an author, speaker and co-owner of Musselwhite Marketing (est 2009). Linda’s previous positions as Human Resources Administrator. Combined with extraordinary customer service makes her the obvious choice of day to day operations for Musselwhite Marketing.
Connect with Linda on LinkedIn.