In this guide, you’ll learn what makes a great lead magnet, who’s doing it right, and how to design your own highly effective lead magnets.
A robust email list gives you access to a loyal, receptive audience on an ongoing basis.
“Subscribe to our newsletter!” just doesn’t work anymore as a list-building tactic.
Consumers are wearier now more than ever before about increasing the volume of email they’ll receive.
Who wants an inbox full of spam or irrelevant offers? No, thank you.
What Is a Lead Magnet?
A lead magnet compels your site visitors to exchange information, such as their email address for access. This can be a piece of content such as a whitepaper, ebook, or newsletter.
It’s content that drives awareness but also provides information that helps a potential customer engage and find interest in your product or service.
Or, a lead magnet might be a free product sample, trial subscription, demo, or other product/service-related incentive.
Of course, no one freely gives their email address away. Lead magnets need to offer the reader value in exchange for their opting in to receive messages from the brand in the future.
What Makes a Good Lead Magnet?
The best and highest-converting lead magnets have these important things in common:
Even the best offer will fall flat if it doesn’t resonate with your intended audience.
It’s important to remember, too, that a high volume of low-quality leads can backfire big time, costing you a lot of wasted time in follow-up.
Make sure your lead magnet serves a needful purpose with a valuable target audience segment of yours.
They Have Perceived Value
What are you offering that is worth giving you my email address for?
If it’s something I can find elsewhere in a quick Google search, I’m probably not going to bother signing up for your list.
The best lead magnets offer expert insight, insider knowledge, a quicker way to get something done, or some other creative and unique solution that solves a real problem for people.
How are you going to help me out – will accessing your lead magnet save me time or money, or make my life better in some way?
Take my email! Take my money!
They Serve Your Business Purposes
A great lead magnet delivers on that initial promise you made when asking the person to give you their email. You never want to leave them hanging with a clickbait-esque offer you can’t deliver on.
But if you solve the entire scope of the problem that makes that lead a good candidate for your business… what was the point?
The best lead magnets solve enough of the problem that the person recognizes that you are the expert (or your product is the answer) and can take them the rest of the way.
10 Examples of Great Lead Magnets
Check out these lead magnet examples, and brainstorm with your team around which format might best suit your marketing goals and customers’ needs.
A whitepaper is an in-depth thought leadership piece that shares unique data, perspective, or advice with your audience.
It helps your reader understand a complex issue and exactly what steps they need to take to resolve it. They’re particularly useful in B2B marketing, where clients often have a longer sales cycle and need a lot more information to make a purchasing decision.
Let’s take testing and measurement systems manufacturer Dewetron, for example. A prospective client of theirs might wonder, what’s the difference between the two standard testing systems used for electric vehicles?
And so their recent whitepaper Efficient Analysis of Electric Vehicles provides the answer.
Webinars give your audience a chance to dig into engaging video content and, often, to ask questions in a Q&A session.
And if you offer them on-demand after the initial live event, webinars can deliver leads for months and even years to come.
Keep each webinar narrowly focused on a specific problem or pain point. DocuSign does a great job of this.
There’s no question what each of these is about, or who they’re meant to serve.
3. Mini Guide or Ebook
Like a whitepaper, ebooks and other guides solve a specific problem. And like whitepapers, they can range in length from a few pages to 100+ pages.
However, unlike whitepapers, ebooks tend not to be data-heavy; they’re easy reading and often conversational guides that help readers fully understand a topic.
Ebooks can be educational, entertaining, or even highly visual.
Search Engine Journal’s ebook library is a good example of the power of this lead magnet format.
Each one takes a deep dive into a focused topic, helping the reader truly master it. That’s definitely worth the exchange of an email address.
How many times have you created a spreadsheet, slide deck, checklist, or other content from scratch and thought, “There has to be an easier way!”
Editable templates are a great way to avoid reinventing the wheel. Why not build on the experiences of others and cut your own learning and administrative curve in the process?
Todoist is an excellent example of templates as lead magnets at work.
The popular list-making app offers dozens of templates to help simplify all kinds of tasks, from grocery lists and meeting agendas to book writing, employee onboarding, social media planning, and more.
And of course, to gain access to each one, all you have to do is create an account using your email address.
5. Product Samples or Trials
Who doesn’t like to try before you buy?
Sephora takes the traditional experience of sampling products in-store and applies it online with an option to have two product samples shipped to your home.
Of course, these lead generator samples have to get there somehow.
In order to process your free samples order, you either need to sign in or provide your address and email as part of the guest checkout experience.
And that’s where you’re asked to sign up to receive further communications.
This lead generator is even more powerful because if you like the product, you’re not only going to be more receptive to future offers but likely to immediately purchase, as well.
6. Automated Evaluation
Does your team have the capacity to build a tool that automates the process of delivering a custom evaluation for prospects?
That’s just what WordStream’s Google Ads Performance Grader does.
Prospects connect their Google Ads account to the grader and receive a report on how their campaigns are performing against industry benchmarks.
And who do you think they’re going to turn to for help improving those scores?
This type of lead generator is incredibly compelling as it shows the prospect exactly what they need to do. It’s just a short hop to them engaging you to help get it done.
7. Real-World Evaluation
This one obviously isn’t for everyone, as giving out free audits or other types of evaluations s can be resource and time-intensive.
However, it works well when you have a small, niche audience with instant needs.
This is especially true where giving some type of insights – such as backlink analysis from Majestic – or evaluations can lead to more business.
Many companies – especially software vendors – also offer custom audits for prospects who know they have a need but aren’t sure of the extent of it — or how to solve it.
If you can convert enough prospects so that the cost of performing the service is covered in new business, this might be worth looking into.
8. Training Videos
Maybe your prospects are aware of your brand but just not quite sure about you yet.
In that case, giving them access to training videos can be the key to converting them to loyal users.
Data visualization software brand Tableau offers a library of training videos – you just need to register to view them.
This is a great lead generator where you have complex or numerous features and want to really show off your product’s capabilities while getting prospects into your funnel.
9. Case Studies
Case studies can provide compelling proof of your company’s abilities as part of the negotiation and sales process.
But there are a couple of ways you can use them as lead generators, too.
One is by making the case study a downloadable PDF and “gating” it by requiring registration to download.
The other (and arguably more engaging) way to use a case study for lead generation is to position it as news or blog content and pepper calls to action throughout.
Research and consulting brand Wood Mackenzie shows us how it’s done with examples like this one.
The piece is positioned as editorial content and available for all to read on the website. This helps it attract organic search traffic, too.
And like the best case studies, it immediately identifies with the reader versus approaching them from a “Look what we did!” point of view.
As you learn more about how to navigate LNG procurement as a first-time buyer, you’re also asked to connect with their team and discuss your unique circumstances twice on the case study page.
10. Quizzes, Surveys & Polls
Interactive elements that enable you to learn more about your prospect and follow up with targeted information for them are a win-win.
And according to SurveyAnyplace, you can lower your cost per lead by up to 90% with lead generation quizzes.
Tools like theirs enable you to provide personalized reports, vary the completion message depending on the user’s input, and directly integrate with some CRMs so you can easily follow up with leads.
The Best Lead Magnets Benefit the Business & Your Customers Alike
As you can see in the examples above, the goal here isn’t to trick or force a prospect into handing over their email.
Your lead generator is the first step in building a relationship based on trust and respect, with a reciprocal exchange of value.
Find an offer and format that supports your business goals and the needs of your target customer.
That’s a win!
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All screenshots taken by author, July 2021