A lead magnet (a.k.a. an optin bribe) is something amazing that you give away for free in exchange for an email address. This doesn’t have to cost you anything to create– most lead magnets are digital materials like PDFs, MP3 audio files, or videos that you can create yourself at minimal or no cost. It can be absolutely anything you want, so long as it provides value for free.
Lead generation often uses digital channels, and has been undergoing substantial changes in recent years from the rise of new online and social techniques. In particular, the abundance of information readily available online has led to the rise of the “self-directed buyer” and the emergence of new techniques to develop and qualify potential leads before passing them to sales.
: a function of e-mail software that automatically sends a response to incoming messages Unanswered e-mail is as big a turnoff as unanswered calls. Consider using your ISP's autoresponder to acknowledge received e-mail. It lets the visitors know their message arrived and gives you an opportunity to thank them for visiting the site.— Victoria Hall Smith, PC World, January 1999
Clearly, there has been a huge change in the traditional buying process.  In fact, according to Forrester, buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through their buying journey before they even reach the vendor. The reason this is happening more and more is because buyers have so much access to information that they can delay talking to sales until they are experts themselves.
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