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Lead Magnet Creation | Free Software

Lead Magnet Creation | Free SoftwareAnother great lead magnet you can use to build your subscriber list is free software.

Now, if you’re like many people, you might immediately jump to the conclusion that “this is not for me”.  You probably know little about software development, and may not even know the simplest html coding.  

To be quite honest, I know practically nothing about software development.  But I do know that free software is an incredibly powerful way to build a list, and I do know that anybody can do it, regardless of their technical skills and know-how.  

Here’s how I teach this strategy.

Planning Your Software

Review the software you already use.  It could be link-tracking software, a WP plugin for backing up your data, or a website theme for setting up e-commerce sites.  It really doesn’t matter what the software is.  But unless you’re a whiz developer (and this post is not for whiz developers), then your best understanding of how a certain software works will be by using it.

Next, think of what you do not like about the software or WP plugin you are using.  How could it be improved?  Just ONE little improvement will do.

Better yet, think of what features your readers and visitors would find really valuable.

Again, think simple.  You’re not redesigning the internet, just finding one tiny little piece of the puzzle that could be made better.

Developing Your Software

Now, all you have to do is “develop” the new, improved piece of software you want to offer as a lead magnet.

How do you do that?

I have no idea.  I barely know html editing.  Barely.

But I do know how you can get your software developed.  Hire someone to do it.  That simple.

Put out a request for a developer to make a simple software or plugin to do what you want.  Write up concise specs.  That means, “When the user pushes the install button, this will happen;” “When the user wants to change the background color, this is how they do it.”  You get the idea.  A detailed list of things you want your software to do.

Where do you go to find developers?

Any sites where developers offer their services.  For instance, Odesk, Elance, Fiverr, to name a few.  There are so many.  

Hang out in Facebook groups where developers talk about what they do.  Private message a few that you’ve built a bit of a relationship with and ask them to consider developing a piece of software for you.

Once you start getting bids for the job, make contact with a few of the developers who seem good and who have good references and customer reviews/ratings.  Are they responsive, do you have a nice working relationship with them, and is their price reasonable?  Give it a try.

Delivering Your Software

After your software is ready to go public, make it available to your blog or website visitors in exchange for their opt-in.  

It’s really that simple.

Now, For The Bad News

Software developers cost money.

Probably nowhere near what you think, though.

This is why, for a free lead magnet software, I stress to make it simple.  You don’t want to spend a whole lot of money, but you will need to spend some.

The other bad news is support.

A lot of people will have trouble understanding EXACTLY how to use the software, no matter how clearly you explain it.  

So you will need to spend time supporting the software, answering questions, maybe even doing some webinars or teleseminars.

But Wait… Here’s the Good News

While it does cost money to have software developed, there is nothing more appealing to your visitors than a piece of software or a WP plugin.

Everyone wants a push-button solution to their problems.

If you can make your visitors’ lives just a little easier by solving JUST ONE little problem with one little piece of software, you can quickly build a truly responsive list of subscribers.

And speaking of responsive, let’s get back to the support issue.

While you will have to spend some time responding to people’s questions about how to best use the software, it’s an excellent opportunity for people to get used to talking with you, attending your webinars, catching you on Skype, and yes, opening your emails!

What do you think of offering your visitors some software or a WP plugin for a lead magnet?  I hope you see it’s not as difficult to do as you might have thought before reading this article.

I appreciate you sharing this post on your social sites, and I would love to hear what you think in the comment section below.

David Merrill 101
I'm an Internet Marketer and Online Marketing Coach. My students learn no-nonsense, power strategies and techniques to build solid blogging and internet businesses. David Merrill+

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22 Responses to Lead Magnet Creation | Free Software

  1. The Food Curator July 19, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    David always such interesting posts! I would never had considered “creating” a custom plug-in/app to fulfill a specific desire. I think most people would be scared at the thought of it too. Thanks for showing it could be easier than one thinks, even if there are both pros and cons.
    The Food Curator´s last blog post ..Leaf wrapped stuffed salmon

    • David Merrill 101 July 19, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

      It’s good to know possibilities, Michael.

      You don’t have to always act on everything, but choose which things fit your business model. That’s the kind of decision making that entrepreneurs are always challenged to undertake.

  2. Willena Flewelling July 21, 2013 at 2:14 am #

    This would be a big learning curve for me, and something I don’t need to do right now. But it’s interesting learning about something new, and you explain it well. Great job on all of these informative posts you’ve been sharing lately.

    Willena Flewelling´s last blog post ..I’m Not Afraid of Spiders or Mice or Snakes

    • David Merrill 101 July 22, 2013 at 12:33 am #

      Keep it in the vault, Willena.

      You never know if you, or someone you’re advising or masterminding with, might be able to put this strategy to good use.

      Thanks for following the series!

  3. Pearly Quah July 21, 2013 at 3:09 am #

    Hey David,

    Awwww….this is something I am not familiar with :).

    Great to learn new tip here and I will try to understand more on how it works. You have explained it well but my brain works a bit slow to catch up with it.

    Thank you David. I appreciate you for being very generous in giving tips 🙂 Will find out more ! 🙂

    Pearly Quah
    Pearly Quah´s last blog post ..Kangen Water Malaysia Brings Interesting News On Control Of The Sex Of A Baby

    • David Merrill 101 July 22, 2013 at 12:37 am #

      I know this is getting a bit specialized, Pearly.

      Most people tend to shy away from technical things, and I’m no different on that score.

      The main point I wanted to make here, though, is that you can really act as a broker/mediator, not the actual creator of the software. But even that requires some understanding of how technology and software work.

      Good to have you checking it out, though, Pearly.

  4. Silviu July 22, 2013 at 8:48 am #

    Hi David,

    WOW! I agree with the fact that there is nothing more appealing than a piece of software or a WP plugin. However when you are not a techie guy this part may scare you, indeed.

    Finding a developer … I think this woulde be the easy part. The difficult part would be the customer support. That’s because many people won’t realize you just improve the software. They will think of you as the creator of that software and ask you a lot of question outside that section you improved.

    You need to learn and know all that software, all the functions and you need to know them well. It doesn’t work to say: “Hey! I only improved the X part. Send me questions only about that part. Don’t ask me about the rest of the software because .. I don’t know.” 🙂

    It definitely can be done and I saw people on Odesk or Elance doing just that: searching for developers to improve a plugin or create a new one that fulfills a particular function.

    It is achievable but it needs a little bit of work and courage.
    I agree that the results will be excellent.

    Have a nice day
    Silviu´s last blog post ..Boost Your Traffic with a Personal Round Up

    • David Merrill 101 July 22, 2013 at 11:06 pm #

      Thanks for you thoughtful comment, Silviu.

      Certainly, orchestrating software development is not the simplest way to build a list for your business, but it is extremely effective.

      As you say, customer support is a big part of it, but often, you can contract with the developer to feed support questions directly to him/her. This makes perfect sense, since the developer is best qualified to answer particular support questions.

  5. Clint Butler July 27, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    I remember when the “software for leads” craze was in the internet marketing community. There were tons of different PLR products. There was even a software that would package your content like a PDF into an exe file to get people to download it as software. But these days with SaSS products all over the net its a very competitive market to get involved with, even if your only giving something away. One of the best model’s to use now days is to create a WordPress plugin and give it away for free. And as your user base grows you can add more premium features to your users to buy.

    • David Merrill 101 July 27, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

      I think you’re right, Clint.

      The most popular way to get involved in free software is with WordPress plugins.

      That’s probably the best place to start for marketing purposes.

  6. Shelley Alexander July 27, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

    Hi David,

    You always come up with unique ways to drive business and be successful. I would never have thought of having my own software developed to share with my audience. What a great idea! I will have to think about what might be useful to turn into software in my field of holistic health. Thanks for the good advice!
    Shelley Alexander´s last blog post ..Honey Coconut Milk Ice Cream with Edible Flower Topping

    • David Merrill 101 July 28, 2013 at 11:23 am #

      Now, that’s a challenge, Shelley.

      I know there’s a growing use for software in all health fields, but I’m not too familiar with them.

      The best thing to do is to start with a software you already use, and think of a way it would be more useful to you if someone would add a particular feature.

      Then hire someone to add that feature as a stand alone WP plugin, for instance, and you’ve got a piece of software that others in your niche would probably find very useful.

  7. Marty Diamond July 28, 2013 at 3:06 am #

    Hi David – WP plugins are a great idea and I know from the experience of the developers that I work with that create them – they do drive traffic to your website.

    A couple of issues though – building on another plugin (fixing it or adding a feature) can be tricky because of all the rules surrounding open source. I’m no expert but I know in the developer community there is a lot of chatter about the do’s and don’ts – and apparently it’s an easy way to step on toes and find yourself on the outs with the community – which could defeat your goal

    Next is the support that’s required. They guys that I’m familiar with spend a fair amount of time on the WP plugin forum supporting their plugins – without support your plugin rating goes down and the comments can turn pretty negative. Support tends to be pretty technical (your plugin caused my site to freeze up – which wasn’t the case – but it took time to sort out what the real problem was – with no payment for the time spent)

    Last is the updates that will be required to keep your plugin compatible with the latest version of WordPress.

    If you can handle the support/update issues and don’t run afoul of the opensource rules – plugins can be a terrific source of new business for your website.
    Marty Diamond´s last blog post ..3 Blogging Secrets for Success

    • David Merrill 101 July 28, 2013 at 11:46 am #

      You make some excellent points, Marty.

      Most of the downfalls you point out are resolved by keeping your plugin or software SIMPLE. I always tell my students to create a software that solves just one tiny problem.

      I’ll give you an example.

      If you look at the site, “pomodorotechnique (dot com)”, you’ll find a wonderful method for increasing your work productivity, online, offline, anyway, anyhow. As part of this system, the author uses a SIMPLE timer, specifically, a “pomodoro timer”. Now, on the official site, you’ll see that he is currently selling a physical pomodoro timer as a “fundraiser” (ie., funded proposal). At one time, though, he offered a free timer software on his site. If you google around, you’ll find other marketers who offer a free “pomodoro software” of their own. Now this software is nothing but a timer. Very, very simple. But people love it and it’s an excellent lead magnet for anyone whose niche might involve time management and productivity in any way at all.

      Using the pomodoro example, you’ll see there is no “stepping on toes” because you don’t piggyback on someone else’s software, you develop your own. Support is extremely minimal because of the simplicity of the software.

      And, finally, support is a double edged sword. Nobody wants a million people asking them how to use a piece of free software, but first: it gives you an opportunity to solve people’s problems and therefore build incredible relationships with them. Second: it gives you an opportunity to get people onto your webinars, teleseminars and other training platforms to further brand yourself, and to even offer upsells and your high-end ticket items.

      Think of this. I have 87 support tickets concerning my software. I can freak out and burn out, or I can take advantage of the situation. Blast an email to your list. “Lots of people are asking me the same question. I can’t possibly answer everyone individually, so I’ve set up a special webinar just for you guys. Tomorrow night, 8 p.m., all questions will be answered.” Now you’ve got a crowd of people attending your webinar. How many marketers jump through hoops everyday trying to get that sort of interest and enthusiasm?

  8. Sarah Arrow July 28, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

    Great advice on the “bad news” front David, having worked with a few developers I can confirm that they are not as expensive as you might think, but you do have to pay something. When you get chatting and they tell you all the “horror” stories of people wanting something for nothing, wanting the developer to provide support, well it’s a small wonder that they ever work with us 🙂
    Sarah Arrow´s last blog post ..Gmail promotions tab: Escaping the Impact

    • David Merrill 101 July 28, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

      It’s not the easiest thing in the world to pull off for sure, Sarah.

      Nonetheless, it can really be a great method for some of the more technically minded folks to consider.

      Support issues, as I’ve mentioned in some of my replies to other comments, give you a great opportunity for building relationships with your subscribers IF you do it the right way.

      In the final analysis though, it’s certainly not for everyone.

  9. Christi Johnson August 4, 2013 at 4:14 pm #

    David…you must have been looking over my shoulder all week! I have been listening to Mixergy dot com interviews and just recently fell in love with the idea of bootstrapping. I think it’s GENIUS! The challenge is mostly mental though. There is absolutely NO reason why a non coder cannot get some software built that solves a problem. Of COURSE it’s going to take work and a lot of creativity, but doesn’t everything that matters take these two things?

    Thanks so much for reminding me again that being a creative isn’t something that has to fit so neatly in a box. We can do whatever we put our minds to if our hearts’ desire is to bring pure value to our marketplace. Great article, friend!
    Christi Johnson´s last blog post ..Internet Lifestyle Network University – A Creative Person’s Review of “Crafting For Kings”

    • David Merrill 101 August 18, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

      You’re always bringing great value to folks, Christi, and I know you won’t stop.

      That’s because you are a genuine leader and truly care about your customers.

      That same initiative and caring is what will carry you through the creative and logistic processes required to introduce cutting edge software as a lead magnet.

      Good luck with it!

  10. Yorinda August 19, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

    Hi David,
    ever since I learned (the basics) of writing code I have been wondering, what else is possible.
    I looked at a few books from the library and maybe one day I have a go at creating an application.
    When that day comes I will definitely come back to your post to use all the great suggestions you are making!

    Thank you for sharing this!
    Yorinda´s last blog post ..Ketones Coconut Oil Superfuel for the Brain

  11. Mark April 26, 2016 at 9:02 am #

    What an incredibly creative marketing idea David!

    And I love your advice about only offering some
    type free software or WP plugin,that solves one specific
    problem or addresses one issue.

    And thank goodness your straight forward strategy can definitely
    be used by the non techies like myself!LOL!

    It’s a very interesting approach to say the least!Thanks so
    much for opening my eyes to it!
    Mark´s last blog post ..How Understanding Effective Lead Generation Strategies Can Give Your Small Business The Edge!

  12. Lydia Brown September 29, 2016 at 12:31 pm #

    Hi Dave, I haven’t thought about developing plugins but I’ve thought about apps to be used on cell phones. I never looked into it because I assumed working with an overseas developer would be a disaster. Thanks for sharing.

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