Lead Magnets: What They Are and How to Use Them


Want to generate online leads? Then your business needs lead magnets.

The average customer is constantly overwhelmed with marketing and engagement attempts from brands across the globe. How many times have you visited a website that begs you to subscribe with a pop-up or landing page form- and how many times have you ignored those forms completely?

Nine times out of 10, we disregard opportunities to subscribe to newsletters and emails because there’s really nothing in it for us. We don’t want another website sending constant spam to our inbox and cluttering up an already chaotic space. The one time that we will take the risk, however, is when the company asking us to hand over our information makes the transaction worth our while.

In other words, people aren’t going to simply give you their information so that you can add them to your growing contact list. They need an incentive. As a marketer, it’s up to you to compel your readers into thinking you’re worth their time. That’s where lead magnets come in.


What are lead magnets?

Lead magnets are the cheese in your mousetrap.

Or, to put it a nicer way, lead magnets are something that you give away to your customers to capture their attention and convince them to hand over their contact information. Since contact information is what converts a prospect into a lead, this can also be called using an “opt-in bribe”. Not sure what I’m getting at? Here’s an extensive list of lead magnet ideas and examples.

Less than 5% of your visitors will convert into a customer on their first visit. If you don’t grab the attention of the other 95% immediately and find a way to keep in touch with them, then you could lose their business forever.

It’s not about tricking your audience into giving you a way to hound them for sales. Lead magnets are about making sure that you’re not asking for something in exchange for nothing. Remember, your customers are so inundated with newsletters, emails, and advertisements, that you’ve got to have something very impressive if you’re asking them to add yet another email to their inbox.

Simply inviting someone to sign up for a newsletter no longer generates the same results. Instead, you’ve got to give something of value to get something of value. Makes sense, right?

Today, almost every business or website with an email list will use lead magnets to attract new customers to their company, or service. However, while creating lead magnets is easy enough, creating lead magnets that generate targeted, valuable leads is much harder.


But why should I bother with lead magnets?

If the statistic above about 95% of your visitors failing to buy during their first interaction with your business wasn’t enough to grab your attention, let’s consider the following facts.

  • Lead magnets are engaging: The right lead magnet can super-charge your conversion strategy. For instance, check out this option from that lead to 35,000 emails in 60 days.
  • Magnets generate high-quality leads: Leads are great, but the most beneficial ones will always be those that are most likely to convert into sales. When a customer chooses to give you their email information, they’re what we call a “warm lead”. In other words, they’re already interested in your brand, and keen to see what else you have to offer.
  • Magnets improve user experience: If the bait you leave out for your customers is tasty enough, then it can help to give your target market an insight into the value of your brand. If customers feel as though they’re getting something great from you in exchange for their time, then they’re much more likely to feel gratified by the process of handing over information.

So, lead magnets are effective – that’s clear enough. What isn’t clear is how you can use them effectively to engage and maintain your audience.


how to use lead magnets


The first step, fortunately enough, is a common step that you should associate with all parts of a digital marketing campaign: getting to know your customer. If you can learn who your ideal customer is, what their needs, goals, and wants might be, and what you can do to alleviate concerns, fulfill their desires, and offer them value, then you’re instantly going to be on track to a great lead magnet.

After all, the last thing you want is to design an offer that focuses on something your customers have no interest in. For instance, a subscriber to a cupcake company is likely to be more excited by a free coupon, or a discount, than a resource list of articles about cupcakes.

Besides the requirements of quality and relevancy, there’s one other factor that you’ll need to address with your lead magnet choices, and that’s all about being specific. One offer from you is unlikely to make all your customer’s hopes and dreams come true, but it can address a very specific issue instead. For instance, you can’t give every customer who subscribes to your cupcake newsletter free reign to take what they want from your store, but you could treat them to a free sample of your newest flavor.

With that in mind, let’s look at some of the different shapes a lead magnet might take…


1. A toolkit or resource list

Resource lists and toolkits represent a fantastic lead magnet solution for the right buyer persona. For instance, executives in a business might want a toolkit that helps them to discover how they can become more productive in their job, or where they can go to delegate certain tasks. Alternatively, a resource list on industry blogging tips could be the perfect gift for a content marketer.

The important thing to remember with resource guides or toolkits is that you shouldn’t go too far over the top. You might include a list of five to ten apps that you recommend to make a strategy more effective, but you shouldn’t provide an overview of every app available on the market.


how to use lead magnets


2. An Ebook

The chances are that you’ve seen a “free Ebook” advertised as a lead magnet before. Plenty of companies make use of their extra content to develop books and guides that can offer extra and exclusive information to their target customers. Your Ebook may even be simply a collection of your most actionable tips from other content that you’ve posted on your website.

One very important thing to remember with Ebooks is that they should look great and read perfectly. In other words, make sure that the graphics you use are high quality, and double-check to ensure that the content of the book is formatted for easy reading. Preferably, your Ebook design should allow customers to access it on their smartphone, as well as their desktop computer.


how to use lead magnets


3. Cheat sheets and handouts

A cheat sheet or free handout can be a great way to save your ideal customer time when it comes to getting valuable information. Usually, cheat sheets are only a couple of pages long, and delivered to prospects in a PDF format. You’ll often see them in the form of mind-maps, blueprints, and checklists designed to offer value with actionable ideas and inspiration.

Cheat sheets can be popular lead magnets because they offer a specific solution to something that your ideal audience member is having trouble with. Unlike Ebooks and other lead magnet options, your customer can use your cheat sheet to start making changes to their problem immediately, encouraging quick results.


how to use lead magnets


Webinars and video training

Video is an incredibly engaging format. If you don’t mind spending some time in front of the camera, or you know someone who can create videos on your behalf, then this could be one of your most engaging lead magnet offers.

People are constantly looking to improve themselves and learn new skills, so if you can offer a training video that offers instant value to your customer, or a webinar that allows them to access advice from industry experts, they’re sure to take notice. Additionally, unlike document-based lead magnets that could sit unused in an email folder, webinars demand that your customers act and engage with your brand.

If you can’t manage a live webinar, you could always send your leads to a private page with a recorded video, or send them a recording of a webinar from the past.

how to use lead magnets


5. Product Giveaway/ Free Sample

Who doesn’t love free stuff?

Since marketing began, companies have been giving away things for free to generate interest from their customers. After all, what better way is there to show your audience that you have a valuable product that works than allowing them to play with that product themselves?

A software company might give away a limited version of their program that only allows customers to try out a few basic features, whereas a grocery store might offer some free samples of a new food or drink. The idea is that you’ll be so captivated by your first taste of a product that you won’t be able to help coming back for more.

For instance, you probably signed up to Netflix to take advantage of that free trial, and now you’re happily paying the cost of streaming every month because you couldn’t live without your nightly fix.

You can even limit giving stuff away to a discount or free shipping, but it’s worth noting that most customers will be far more excited by the prospect of getting something for free, rather than getting a small discount – particularly on an already inexpensive product.


how to use lead magnets


In conclusion

Lead magnets are a great way to entice your prospective customers to join your email list, thus entering your contacts database, and eventually into your sales funnel. But, knowing which kind of lead magnet will bring your prospects the most value is tough. Success will come from knowing your customers best, and their needs through different stages of the customer journey. And if you’re not convinced just yet, read on to learn how it’s worked out for us, at

Which of these lead magnets have you implemented in your business? How have they brought you success? Share your thoughts in the comments below.



lead magnets

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