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The Ultimate Guide to Lead Magnets


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Relationships are built on trust, and these days, that includes the relationship between businesses and consumers. 67% of people want to buy from brands they can trust. 

A key strategy to building trust with your audience is through direct communication like email. To gain access to people’s inboxes, you need a tried and true strategy to convince them to share their email address and engage with you. You need a lead magnet. 

Using lead magnets in your marketing can help you connect with your audience and nurture a relationship that turns leads into customers.

Let’s talk about what a lead magnet is, why you should use them in your online presence, and how to create a resource that converts. 

What is a Lead Magnet?

A lead magnet is a resource or tool that encourages your audience to share their personal information, such as their email address or phone number, in exchange for something you can provide. 

An effective lead magnet is beneficial for both the subscriber and the business. It provides the subscriber with a quick win and the business with a new lead. 

You’ve likely encountered a lead magnet during a visit to a new website. It’s the pop-up box that offers you a free comprehensive guide or 10-point checklist when you enter your email address. It’s the chance to snag 10% off your first order or free cheat sheet that can help you meet your goal. 

Why Do You Need a Lead Magnet?

For many online (and in-person) businesses, email is the backbone of their success. 

You may or may not appear in your audience’s social media feed, depending on the mood of the algorithm. With email, you have a direct line to every subscriber’s inbox. It’s a guarantee your message will populate their phone or computer.

To gain access to that inbox, you need their email address. And most people aren’t handing out their email just because. Gone are the days where visitors were enticed by a box asking them to subscribe to your newsletter. Our inboxes are increasingly flooded with emails. People are more reluctant to offer up their email address unless there’s something in it for them

That’s where a lead magnet comes in.

But utilizing a lead magnet doesn’t just provide you with leads. It also equips you with strategies and opportunities to convert those leads into paying customers. 

Lead magnets demonstrate your subject matter expertise. A strong lead magnet offers insight that’s not readily available with a quick Google search.

Lead magnets initiate a relationship. By funneling a lead into your welcome sequence, you begin establishing a relationship so you can build rapport and trust. 

Lead magnets provide insight about your prospects. When someone downloads a specific lead magnet, you have a clear idea of the pain point they’re trying to address. With this information, you can funnel subscribers into a targeted nurture sequence and convert them into customers or clients. 

14 Types of Lead Magnets

Use these lead magnet ideas to guide and inspire you as you create your own irresistible offer. 

  1. Ebooks 

An effective ebook offers valuable content that your audience can use to take action. While an ebook can be more than a hundred pages long, a few pages is often all your subscribers have the time or energy to read. 

Take a look at your best-performing blog posts from the past 6 months. Can you expand on a few or compile them into a short how-to guide? Like Capterra does here:

Screenshot of Capterra Lead Magnet

Capterra knows people visit their website to compare software in dozens of industries. They offer a free eBook to help prospects determine the right software for their needs. 

  1. White paper

Typically most effective in the B2B space, white papers go into detail about industry topics. They’re based on detailed research or surveys that the business recently completed, and positions the company as an expert in that area. 

Screenshot of Bonusly Lead Magnet

Bonusly is an employee recognition software. They engage potential customers with a white paper discussing what the future holds for HR professionals based on recent research. 

  1. Checklists

A checklist walks prospects through a process and helps solve an immediate problem. It can be an especially powerful lead magnet if your target audience is entering a new stage of life, such as a home maintenance checklist for first-time home owners or a checklist for someone creating their first website.  

  1. Templates

Done-for-you templates are enticing time-savers. They guide customers on their next steps and provide helpful direction that can help build their confidence. 

If you really want to capitalize on this lead magnet, you can even offer an editable version, either through Canva or Google Docs. 

Hubspot knows just how valuable their audience may find a helpful template. In their article highlighting 28 case study examples, they offer three free case study templates— all you have to do is provide some of your contact information.

Screenshot of Hubspot Lead Magnet
  1. Webinars

A webinar typically provides your audience with high-quality content via a live video stream. They’re often designed to present information during the first part and then answer questions from listeners. 

If you want to boost your conversion rate, provide access to the replay for subscribers who can’t attend the live webinar. You’ll be able to reach a much broader audience. You may even house the webinar indefinitely and offer it as a free training video. 

  1. Interactive quizzes

It wasn’t that long ago that magazines tempted buyers with quizzes titled, “Which 00’s song describes your summer?” and “Which career field best suits your personality?” 

People love any opportunity to learn more about themselves, whether it’s silly or serious. 

Skin care providers often use interactive quizzes to help visitors determine what skin care regimen is right for their needs, providing a personalized recommendation of helpful products. 

Screenshot of CeraVe Lead Magnet
Screenshot of Stacked Skincare Lead Magnet
  1. Toolkit 

What’s more enticing than one free resource?

A collection of them!

Screenshot of Cooper Lead Magnet

Cooper offers access to a free sleep toolkit for subscribers. 

  1. Workbook

More comprehensive than a checklist or template, a workbook 

  1. VIP communities

Closed, private groups on LinkedIn or Facebook can be enticing for anyone looking for community and the chance to connect with others over a shared interest. 

Depending on the size of your group, it can take a little more work on the backend, but the payoff may also be greater. You’ll have direct access to your audience via social media and email. Social media also allows for more casual interactions and the chance to demonstrate your expertise in your replies to others. 

  1. Case studies

A compelling case study is a powerful tool to highlight the impact your product has had on real clients. That sounds great on your end, but how do you interest prospects in learning more? 

Use the title to point out exactly how your client benefited. Did they save money? What pain point did you resolve? 

  1. Free tools
Screenshot of Lead Pages Lead Magnet
Screenshot of Lead Pages Lead Magnet
Screenshot of Lead Pages Lead Magnet

Leadpages knows that their audience may be overwhelmed as they map out their marketing content for the year, so they offer a free interactive content calendar– all you have to do is share your email. 

  1. Content upgrades

We love utilizing content upgrades as lead magnets at BDOW! (Formerly Sumo). When people find helpful information in your blog post, they’re likely to engage with a resource that goes deeper on the topic. Here are just a few we’ve utilized—

Screenshot of Sumo Lead Magnet
Screenshot of Sumo Lead Magnet
Screenshot of Sumo Lead Magnet
  1. Coupon or discount code

Free shipping and discount codes are most often used by ecommerce businesses. When customers visit their website, a popup asks them to enter their email address– and often phone number– to receive their discount code. 

  1. Free trial

Sometimes all it takes is getting your foot in the door to show customers your service is worth using. 18.2% of users convert after having access to a free trial. This statistic is even higher in the B2C space, with an average conversion rate of 57%. 

Screenshot of Emeal lead Magnet

Visitors to the eMeals website are offered a 14-day free trial as well as bonus content to further entice them. 

  1. And more…

Your options aren’t limited to the examples listed above. Lead magnets come in dozens of other formats including product samples, free audits, training videos, swipe files, free courses, contests, consultations, and more. 

Tips To Increase Your Lead Magnet Conversion Rates

An effective lead magnet provides an immediate win. They’re relevant, educational, and immediately available. Check out these recommendations to help you create a resource that converts. 

Know Your Target Audience

Your lead magnet should be something that appeals to your target demographic. It’s better to have 20 leads from people looking for your exact services than 200 leads from the general public who will immediately unsubscribe. 

Offer Insight

If the information you’re offering is also available at the top of page one Google results, there won’t be much motivation for people to subscribe. 

Draw on your insight as an experienced expert in your profession. What past mistake of yours could other people learn from? What do you wish you knew when starting out? Are there ‘industry secrets’ that people would benefit from knowing?

Monitor Your Metrics

Metrics can help you evaluate the success of a lead magnet. 

  • Conversion rate: What percentage of prospects sign up for your lead magnet after viewing your landing page or opt-in form?
  • Engagement rate: What percentage of leads engage with your lead (download, open, click) once they have access?
  • Timing: How soon after receiving your resource do subscribers engage with it?

Follow Up

Once prospects have downloaded your lead magnet, they should be automatically funneled into your welcome sequence. 

74% of people anticipate receiving a welcome email as soon as they subscribe— but you don’t have to limit yourself to a single email. In fact, sending a welcome sequence results in 51% more revenue than if you just sent a single email

Aim for 4-6 emails in your welcome sequence. Once subscribers receive all of those, they can be moved onto another list that fits their needs. 

How To Create a Lead Magnet

Creating a lead magnet doesn’t actually begin with creating the resource. Before you ever open up Canva or send a brief to your graphic designer, you need to determine exactly who you’re trying to engage and why they should be interested in what you can offer. 

Invest a little time in brainstorming  and designing a targeted lead magnet and the result is a steady stream of prospects who are likely to convert into paying customers. 

Step 1: Determine your target audience

There may be one ring to rule them all, but you shouldn’t be relying on one lead magnet to rule them all. Most experts agree that the ideal number of lead magnets for a business to have is 15. 

Although you already have a clear idea of who your target demographic is, consider how you can niche down even further with this specific lead magnet. Is there a subsection of potential subscribers who you really want to connect with? Now is your opportunity. 

Think back to the sleep toolkit that’s offered by Cooper—

Screenshot of Cooper Lead Magnet

The company offers coaching for parents of children from birth- 10 years old. This specific lead magnet, however, appeals specifically to parents who need support getting their kids to fall and stay asleep. 

By utilizing multiple lead magnets, you can funnel subscribers into a sequence that targets their specific needs.

Step 2: Identify a pain point

Your pain point should be narrow and specific. A strong lead magnet solves a single problem. 

Let’s say you want to target new dog owners with your lead magnet. You know that many owners struggle with teaching their dogs commands, so you want to provide insight into obedience training. 

The problem is that obedience training, while a specific focus, can still involve a wide array of topics. Those dog owners are either going to download your lead magnet and forget about it or search for something that targets their specific struggles. You’re better off choosing a single command to focus on, such as how to teach your dog to come the first time you call, every time or strategies for raising a friendly dog

Step 3: Decide how you can help

What exclusive experience and expertise can you offer to help visitors resolve the pain point you’ve identified? 

The format of your lead magnet should appeal to your target demographic and the specific pain point you’ve determined. For most instances, this is easy to decipher. A business considering your software probably doesn’t need a fun printable, but would be swayed by a persuasive case study. Harried parents who are interested in making their own baby food don’t have time to watch your webinar, but would happily sign up to receive a checklist that walks them through the materials they need to make their own purees. 

Step 4: Outline your lead magnet

A lead magnet is one of the first interactions you’ll have with a prospect. Focus on helping, not selling. All of the content should provide value— there will be time to sell once you’ve established a stronger relationship. 

Like other copy, keep the lead magnet short and to the point. Use the same strategies you would for an engaging blog or article— include bullet points, separate your content into sections with subheadings, and include relevant graphics. 

Step 5: Create your lead magnet

Things start to get exciting when you see your work start to come together. Budget comes into play here as you decide whether to design the lead magnet yourself or hire a professional. 

Step 6: Publish your lead magnet

Lead magnets are often offered through CTAs and pop-up boxes, but you may also want to house it on a landing page. You can learn more about how to create a landing page that converts here. 

Savvy businesses also sprinkle lead magnets throughout their website. You can find them in headers and footers, in sidebars, and linked throughout a blog post or product page. 

Lead Magnet Inspiration

Ready to start creating your own lead magnet?

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