Are ethical bribes past their use-by date?

Small businesses are pretty overwhelmed with inbox and content saturation. Email lead magnets, known also as ethical bribes, are losing impact as people tire of being bombarded.

What is an ethical bribe?

An ethical bribe is simply an exchange of a free resource for names and email addresses.

That resource is known as a lead magnet and most websites will have one or multiple as eBooks, whitepapers, research reports etc.

Once the free information is downloaded, names are automatically added to email lists, newsletters or 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.

Email sequences have become the bane of many with their overuse. Whilst there has been legal acceptance/ acknowledgement the expectation is clear. And they drive people crazy.

Pushing in your face

Constant email nurture sequences pushing products and services feels like going into a used car sales yard, it’s pushy and in your face. 

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

The Unsubscribe button is a great friend and well used.

Downloading without fear

Many people have grown increasingly hesitant to download free resources due to fear of an email onslaught.    With so much freely available educational and valuable content online, the lure of ethical bribe lead magnets is losing ground.

Prospects are simultaneously more discerning and time poor. Being front of mind is critical but there are other ways to leverage your small business memorability.

I have taken a unique solution on my own website for my range of free eBooks. This strategy delivers great outcomes which I recommend other small businesses consider.

I state clearly on landing pages and in emails when delivering the eBook that recipients will NOT be put on an email spam, funnel or nurture lists. But I do offer options to other formats or contact if interested.

I do this as it demonstrates trust and respect giving confidence to prospects they can download without fear of email saturation.

I absolutely do want to know who downloads my eBooks and I get that information.  I also receive feedback of a greater level of trust and respect. Leaving people to their own devices once they have received my resources is appreciated.

Keeping front of mind

It’s very important that small businesses are kept front of mind. But truth is many who download freebies will never buy from you. Some will quickly and some a fair way down the track. Downloading now may be for a rainy day not necessarily for a current itch to scratch.

So, here are a few suggestions to build that front of mind without annoying prospects:

  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) give people the option to subscribe not just via automated lead magnets, and don’t send them too frequently.
  5. LinkedIn content strategy – valuable, entertaining and educational.
  6. Sponsorships/ Events – lots of great opportunities in person and remotely.

No doubt this topic will open wide discussion and some pushback. Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s still effective. 

Perhaps it’s time to park the ethical bribes/lead magnets and do something different to cement trust.

DARE Group Australia is a valued content partner of Inside Small Business