Why I don’t like lead magnets and what I’m doing instead

Rachael Cumberland-Dodd
4 min readNov 30, 2022
Photo by Don Agnello on Unsplash

Alrighty strap in, cos today I have something to confess.

Stands up, clears throat, adopts power pose.

I think ‘free’ downloads should actually be FREE
(instead of conditional free, aka you can have it but only if you give me access to your in-box)

Examples like this ☝🏽 really grate my carrots! 🥕🥕🥕

And I wonder if this means I’m a

ethical marketer
conscious business owner
naive fool or
simply, a contrary madam?

Whatever I am… I’ve resisted the idea of pumping out a lead magnet for ages and I think I know why…

  • They are touted as free when in actual factual reality I am paying with my email address (aka my energy and time)
  • Many of the ones I’ve downloaded are them are flimsy one-pagers dressed up as cure-alls — they give me the what, why but not the how. I want the how goddamnit!
  • I have downloaded tons of freebies, just so I can access the info within, then promptly unsubscribed. (I don’t need no more clutter in my in-box)
  • The automated email sequence kills me! So many of them feel tired, trite and templated.

Now folks.

I think email marketing is the bomb and it’s where I’m going to focus my efforts in ’23 and beyond. But I’m ready to do it in a way that feels good to me.

A way that attracts those who are really into what I do, and delivers huge dollops of value to those who gift me with their email address.

If you’re curious here’s my plan 👇🏽

Rachael’s 3 steps to a mighty engaged, supportive, ready-to-buy email community:

1. Create a fabulous FREE freebie on one of the following topics:

  • Where to start: how to create clients when you’re new to business
  • Niche definer: exercises to help you get clear on your WHO & HOW
  • How to grow your audience: ways to connect with your ideal client

2. Make a big deal about why my freebie is actually free

I am going against traditional marketing advice here folks, and it feels risky
(Aside from my good pal & most excellent copywriter Lauren I don’t know anyone else doing this)
So I’m gonna have to explain myself, and show my working out — my hope is I’ll attract those who dig my brand of marketing for humans and turn off those who are into growth at all costs.

PS This is solid advice ☝🏽

Anytime you’re doing something that feels contrary but so right to you, explain why.
If your prices are lower/higher than others, explain why.
If your process or approach is a bit leftfield, explain why.

No one is doing this on the internet, most online biz owners market their stuff without pulling back the curtain and explaining their thinking.
If you take on a contrarian point of view and explain why, you’ll stand out, it’ll reinforce your purpose or point of view, and attract other contrarians.

3. Invite people to sign up once I’ve delivered on the value.

Of course, I want to welcome more people into my email community, but only those who dig what I have to offer.
So I’ll give those who have (freely) downloaded my freebie to opt-in to my newsletter, like this: (Ta Lauren)

Man, I have wrestled with this ‘should my freebie be free’ idea for months;

My brain has been oscillating between

you naive fool
you’re a trailblazer,
you hobbyist biz-owner
you go, girl!
what would Seth Godin say?

And this is one of the reasons I’m writing this…to
a) Get these thoughts outta my head and onto paper so I can make more sense of them and
b) Ask for your feedback.

So, please help a confuddled girl out,
Can you do me a favour, hit reply, and tell me if I’m CRAZY NUTS or FULL OF CHUTZPAH
And more importantly, let me know which of the following FREEbies turns you on the most:

A. Where to start: how to create clients when you’re new to business
B. Niche definer: exercises to help you get clear on your WHO & HOW
C. How to grow your audience: ways to connect with your ideal client

(Or if all of them leave you cold, what do you want to learn from me?)

Much obliged x



Rachael Cumberland-Dodd

Marketing is Medicine folks. Brand-builder & messaging guide, plus evolving human being. feedmarketing.gg