Editor’s note: This post was written in 2021 and, while the best practices remain as relevant as ever, the article has been updated to include even more insight into how to create high-value lead magnets. Dig in!
Lead magnets are powerful tools for your business. They establish credibility, educate your customers, and help you collect valuable leads. When executed correctly, they essentially put your lead generation on autopilot and you’ll reap the rewards for as long as the content remains relevant.
The trouble is, if you’re a marketer heading up a small team, or a business owner wearing many hats, you need how to create a lead magnet quickly and easily.
Fortunately, we’ve got heaps of ideas that you can create in under a day. Keep reading to learn all about lead magnets and discover 15 ways to build them in 30 minutes or less.
What is a lead magnet?
A lead magnet is an incentive (usually a piece of gated content) offered to prospective customers in exchange for their contact details. Some examples of lead magnets include ebooks, checklists, videos, courses, and coupons.
People aren’t going to hand over their email addresses for no reason. So, by offering a lead magnet that gives them a quick win or solves a problem, you’ll be much more likely to generate leads for your business.
Breaking it Down: Stages of Creating a Lead Magnet
There are three stages in building a high-converting lead magnet: content, delivery, and promotion.
Stage I: Content
What will your lead magnet be? A downloadable guide? A free coupon?
The internet (and this article) are filled with plenty of great ideas and examples. You can either go all in and invest a ton of time and money into making some high-value freebies, or you can repurpose almost any kind of content you already have.
Either way, your lead magnet has to provide enough value that your audience be willing to trade their email address in order to get it.
Stage II: Delivery
The next thing to consider is how you’ll deliver and gate the content. This is generally a three-step process
1. Squeeze page
A squeeze page is a landing page that promotes your lead magnet, with the goal of collecting a prospect’s email address. These pages are usually fairly short and often include a brief description of the lead magnet, a few benefits, and a form where visitors can enter their email and any other information you need from them.
2. Thank-you page
This is the page the visitor sees after they download the content or fill out the form. It’s good manners to say thank you and to tell them where they can find their content (in most cases this will be their inbox). You can even sneak in another call to action. Something like, “Thanks for downloading X! Join our free Facebook community and share your thoughts!”
3. Delivery email or download page
Once the visitor fills out the form, you’ll email them the link or file with the content. If you prefer, you can also take them directly to the download page.
Stage III: Promotion
The promotion of your lead magnet is just as important as the content. If you want people to download it you need to let them know it exists.
Here are three ways to spread the word about your new lead magnet:
- Website pop-ups and alert bars: Want to let your website visitors know about your lead magnet? Use pop-ups and alert bars to draw attention to your content and drive traffic to your squeeze page.
- Blog CTAs: Your blog is often the first place your customers find you. If you have a lead magnet that’s relevant to one of your blog posts add a CTA to encourage visitors to download it and learn more about the topic.
- Online ads: If you’re a newer business that doesn’t get a lot of organic traffic, or you just want to give your lead magnets an extra boost, search and social media ads are a great option.
Do lead magnets work?
Spend enough time on the internet and you’ll see that lead magnets are everywhere. Everyone is using them—from your local yoga studio to your dog food manufacturer.
And that’s because they work. In fact, in a recent poll of Leadpages customers, 52.9% said that lead magnets were the number one way they generated leads for their business. They beat out free trials, free consultations, referrals, and many other popular lead generation methods.
Need more proof? Talia Wolf of GetUplift reportedly grew her email list by 4,000 subscribers from just one lead magnet: a simple cheat sheet she promoted using an exit-intent pop-up.
So, lead magnets are definitely one of the best ways to grow your leads. However, there’s one caveat: your lead magnet needs to offer something of value. Mediocre lead magnets will deliver mediocre results, so put the time and effort into creating something awesome so you can reap the rewards.
What makes a good lead magnet?
A quality lead magnet is good for both users and your business. Prospects get a valuable piece of content that teaches them something new or helps them solve a problem, and you get a lead that you can build a relationship with and hopefully turn them into a paying customer.
Here are three keys to creating a lead magnet your audience will love.
1. The content is genuinely useful to your audience
The first step to creating a good lead magnet is to put yourself in your audience’s shoes. What are their biggest challenges? If you can create a lead magnet that solves one of these issues for them it’s sure to drive a lot of conversions.
Check your inbox, social media, and forums to see what questions your audience is asking. Find a common question that you can provide a quick solution for and build your lead magnet around that.
For example, Laurie Wang is a social media consultant and coach. One of the biggest issues her audience has is planning their social media content. So, she offers them a free social media planner to help them solve this problem.
If you can solve one important issue for your audience you’ll not only earn their email address, but likely their business as well.
2. It’s in the right format
What format should you use for your lead magnet? There’s no single right answer to this question, but it’s one that deserves a bit of thought.
If your content and subject matter are complex, you might want to consider an ebook, white paper, or even a webinar. If it’s instructional in nature it could exist as a PDF checklist, guide, or video. Or if you’re looking for a way to show compelling data, you could consider an illustrated infographic.
You should also consider your audience. What stage of the buying process are they in? What do they need to know? What’s the most efficient way to deliver that information?
At Leadpages, we support a lot of our customers’ lead magnets. So we reviewed the effectiveness of different types of lead magnets and created a handy chart that organizes them according to their promise of engagement and ease of consumption:
Furthermore, a recent study found that webinars are the most popular type of lead magnet, both among marketers and consumers. So, if you feel your content is a good fit for this medium a webinar is a great choice.
Just keep in mind that these graphics and stats, though grounded in data, are just guides. Deciding what type of lead magnet you wish to use is a holistic decision that should be informed by more than generalized data on conversion rates.
3. It’s relevant to your business
If you’re a business coach it doesn’t make sense to offer a free exercise plan. First, because your audience likely isn’t looking for that kind of product, and second, because someone who downloads an exercise plan likely isn’t looking for a business coach.
Your lead magnets should act as a stepping stone toward your paid products. They should give your audience a taste of what you have to offer so when you finally pitch them on your higher ticket items they’re more likely to convert.
So, make sure your lead magnets don’t just generate leads, but also work to convert them into paying customers.
4. The landing page is optimized for conversions
You might have the best lead magnet in your industry—but if your landing page doesn’t do a good job of conveying the value no one will download it.
Here are a few tips to maximize your landing page conversions:
- Choose an attention-grabbing headline: Focus on the primary problem you’re solving and use straightforward language so readers easily understand what they’ll get.
- Include an image of your lead magnet: If it’s a digital product you can use a screenshot or create a cover. Having an image makes your lead magnet more tangible.
- Use benefit-rich copy: Don’t just state features—list the benefits so users understand why they should want your lead magnet.
- Keep your lead-gen form short: Just ask for their email, and maybe their name if that’s absolutely necessary. The shorter the form the more conversions you’ll get.
Consider A/B testing a few different elements on your landing page to ensure you’re using the best headline, image, and copy possible.
Pro-tip: Running a business is a lot of work, so chances are you don’t have the time to fuss over all these details. Leadpages templates are already optimized for conversions and easy to customize, so you can launch your landing page in a day or less.
How to create a lead magnet: 15 ways can build them fast
The idea of a lead magnet that generates leads for you 24/7 is exciting. But it can be difficult to create a high-value lead magnet while you’re also trying to run your business.
That’s why we’ve created a list of 15 lead magnet ideas that you can create fast. Many just require you to repurpose existing content, while others are super simple and can be built in under a day.
Choose the lead magnet format that’s right for you, then get to work on creating something that will start growing your email list.
1. Content upgrades
These are basically freebies attached to high-performing blog posts that improve the content in the posts.
For example, you could take the best-performing blog post on your website, jazz it up with new and more-detailed info, make it more usable, maybe add a couple of images, and turn it into a PDF (Or a PowerPoint or a video or anything that suits your prospects).
Your lead magnet can also be content that complements the post you’re upgrading. Here are a few ways you can upgrade the value of your content:
- Add checklists or Excel sheet planners to your post (like a real estate rental checklist or a party-planning checklist)
- Link to a gated video of a webinar or a tutorial
- Include more value—for instance, if your blog was about how to plan a camping trip, make a buying guide for specialty gear
If you check out Mattia Di Stasi’s blog on how to build a list of potential crowdfunding backers, you’ll notice he includes a CTA at the end for his free ebook on 3 Simple Tips to Success on Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
There’s a good chance that someone who’s already reading a blog on crowdfunding will be interested in downloading the ebook as well.
Pro tip: Find your top-trafficked article by using Google Analytics or seeing which content is most frequently shared from your social media accounts.
2. Podcast and video transcripts
If you’re podcasting or filming videos for your business, you can create transcripts and distribute them as lead magnets. Transcripts might be easier for some to consume, while others simply prefer having a written copy of the information. Since you’ve essentially already created the content, this lead magnet idea is a no-brainer.
Creating a transcript might sound time-consuming, but you can speed up the process with online transcription services like Rev, Trint, Otter, TEMI, or Datalyst.
Accompany the transcript with an engaging intro and conclusion, spice up the body copy, and add a checklist or a template to it, then turn it into a PDF and go!
Pro-tip: If your company does webinars, you could bundle a transcript along with the video (or even without the video) as a lead magnet long after it is over.
3. Audio versions of blogs
There are many people who consume audio content while commuting and on breaks. So bring your high-performing posts to them in audio form. Like an audiobook, but for blogs.
If you’re recording yourself, you can use a free service like Audacity, or invest in GarageBand or Adobe Audition (or hire a professional).
Business coach Marie Forleo uses audio lead magnets on her website to great success:
If the mind-blowing success of BuzzFeed is anything to go by, it’s clear people love talking about themselves.
Quizzes are exciting and make people feel like you care about them. Plus, they’re so easy to make, using specialized tools like Typeform and Interact, or Airtable.
They’re also great lead magnets because they provide the additional benefit of being able to segment your leads. Nutritionists and diet consultants use quizzes a lot, as do financial consultants.
5. Swipe files
For copywriters, a “swipe file” is a compilation of their best copy: sales letters, emails, blog posts, or other projects that they might want to literally “swipe” and revisit later. It’s like Pinterest, but for work.
There’s probably a “swipe file” equivalent in your industry or company. You could compile successful sales pitches, productivity protocols, blog posts, or really any “best of” work that your readers will find useful.
Pull your documents into a PDF and go!
6. Analytics and data visualizations
People want to believe your claims and concrete data builds credibility. So don’t hold back—share real-world results, stats, and figures.
Dig up your Excel documents, graphs, marketing results, split-test numbers, results from experiments, and schedules. If you’ve done original research, turn that into a gorgeous presentation.
They could even take the form of white papers or downloadable data visualizations (you can use services like Infogram for this).
7. Product previews
Ideally, your lead magnet should help pre-sell whatever product or service you’ll eventually ask your subscribers to buy. So, it makes sense to offer them a preview of what they’re going to get.
For instance, this nutritionist sells plant-based nutrition programs and coaching, some of which cost hundreds of dollars. So she’s put a wellness book together to give her target audience a “taste” of her approach to nutrition.
If you’re an author, you could share a chapter of your book. If you’re a graphic designer, it might be a website template. If you’re a real estate agent, it might be a quick list of properties.
With this type of lead magnet, it should be crystal clear to your prospects where and how they can purchase your product. You can even include a call-to-action link within the preview that sends them to your sales page.
8. Tools and Calculators
Most lead magnets are one-trick wonders (where you just make the world’s most beautiful download and it’s done). But tools and calculators can really go the extra mile or two. If you give your audience a tool that they keep coming back for you’ll go a long way toward earning their business.
Take this Monthly Expense tool by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) that just does the math for prospects.
These tools and calculators can be gated or not. Either way, the point is that people have to keep returning to your website to use it because it’s so useful for them. You can build one quickly with tools like Ucalc and Calconic.
9. Top resources or tools
You’ve likely achieved a lot of the same goals your audience wants to achieve. So, they’re probably very interested in the tools you used to get to where you are.
Make a resource guide and put together a list of your favorite tools, apps, websites, and books you’ve used and would like to recommend to your audience. This one’s quick to create since you already know all the tools and just need to write them down.
Pro tip: Ideally, your list should end with your company or business website. After all, if you don’t use it, why should anyone?
These are one-page PDFs that provide a list of tips that help your audience achieve a quick win.
They might include habits, regimens, schedules, productivity hacks, strategies from your business playbook, calendars, recipes, and other shortcuts.
For example, if you’re a mechanic, your personal shortcut might include “the fastest way to change your own oil” or “the fastest way to check your engine.”
11. Video clips
Have you created videos in the past? If so, give away your “best of” video content as a lead magnet.
This could include clips from your past recorded webinars, a snippet from a conference presentation, or even video blog content.
You can give away downloadable videos or links to your video clips. If you decide to give away a video link, it’s best to post the video on an S3 server where you can share the link publicly.
If you already know how to edit videos, you can cut a clip out of an existing video fairly quickly. If you’re not a video editor, you may want to hire one on Fiverr.
Take a look at your company’s shared drives. Chances are, a few gems are buried in there, such as a couple of super persuasive slide decks, or an amazing keynote presentation.
Slides are digestible content that make information easy to consume. Assuming you own the rights to your particular presentation, you can easily give away a slide deck as a downloadable. (If you hosted the event, you likely have the right to use it. If you sponsored an event or you were a guest speaker, you may need to seek permission.)
Another way to create a high-value lead magnet is to pull together a list of anything related to your business. Potential lists to create include:
- Email subject lines
- Best (and worst) _______
- Must-read/watch/view things
- Favorite _______
- Inspirational _____
- Pro tips for your industry
- Strategies to perform ____________
- Uses for your product or service
- Questions to ask before you _________
Use your list to educate your customers about your product or service. Once you have the list jotted down, use an online graphic design tool to add a little flair, then create a PDF that you can distribute to your audience.
14. Your personal routine
We all have routines. If you find a routine that your potential customers will find valuable, give it away as a lead magnet.
This could include your pre-work schedule, things you do throughout the day to stay productive, or the routine you used to accomplish a specific goal.
For example, a life coach might offer "The three things I do every morning to make sure I have a productive day."
People love infographics because they’re a visually-friendly way to display a lot of data. Simply do a quick search on Pinterest and you'll see hundreds of infographics.
Even if you’re not a designer, you can still turn your best content into infographics with the right apps. Once you’ve selected the right topic to transform into an infographic, use a tool such as Venngage to quickly create free infographics from pre-built templates.
How Leadpages helps you up your lead magnet game
One of the unmissable steps in making lead magnets is promotion and sharing. If you’re tired of messing with code or sending your lead magnet to a developer (who has the time, right?), Leadpages makes it easy to send lead magnets out by yourself in just a few minutes.
Here’s how Leadpages makes collecting leads and sending out lead magnets a piece of cake:
1. Landing page creation
Need a landing page for your new lead magnet? Simply choose a professionally designed template (many of which were created specifically for lead magnets) and then customize it with the no-code Drag & Drop Builder. You can easily launch your page in a day or less.
2. Deliver your lead magnet
Drag and drop your lead generation form onto your landing page and connect it to your lead magnet. You can either use Leadpages’ lead magnet delivery system to send the link to users or integrate with your favorite email marketing platform.
3. Backup delivery for your existing subscribers
In the case of most major email service providers (ESPs), email confirmation messages are only sent once (when a new subscriber is added). So, unless you’re using tags or advanced automations, any existing subscriber who opts into your list will not receive your lead magnet. This is where Leadpages' lead magnet delivery saves the day. Leadpages ensures every opt-in (whether they’re already on your list or not) receives the free content that was promised.
4. Auto-updates for link changes
If you change the link of your lead magnet, simply update the setting within your account and Leadpages will update the link inside the emails. For example, if you send an ebook and later update it, simply update the link inside Leadpages and when your subscribers open the email, they’ll have the most recent asset.
Create your first lead magnet today
As you can see, you probably already have plenty of content and knowledge that can be easily repurposed into a lead magnet. Think about which part of your business’s existing content holds the most promise and combine it with any of the ideas mentioned above.
Once your lead magnet is ready, consider building a landing page with Leadpages to promote it. Try Leadpages free for 14 days and give it a test drive. Tell us in the comments!
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