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How to Create a Lead Magnet

Romana Hoekstra 06 July 2023

This article is also available in German.

How to create a lead magnet

Driving traffic to your website is all well and good, but let’s face it, if those visitors don’t take action and convert into leads, it’s like having a beautifully decorated cake that no one takes a bite of...

Thankfully, there’s a secret weapon that our team here at Dealfront (and other reputable marketers) uses to capture the hearts and contact information of potential customers—the mighty lead magnets! While lead magnets may sound like the latest tech buzzword, they’ve been an indispensable marketing tool for years.

However, in today’s fast-paced digital landscape, merely creating lead magnets isn’t enough. To unlock the true power of lead generation, lead magnets should be unique and high quality to compel users to willingly provide their own data (such as an email address) without feeling any reservations.

As you create your lead magnets, remember that the aim isn't only to generate leads but also to foster a demand-driven approach. Imagine your lead magnets as a gateway to a world of demand, where customers willingly seek you out, driven by a genuine interest in your product or solution.

What is a lead magnet?

A lead magnet is a free item or service that compels the potential customer or viewer of the content to opt in and exchange their contact information for the resource.

Elements of a good lead magnet

Lead magnets vary in their effectiveness and impact. While it may be tempting to hastily assemble a checklist or some reading materials, the anticipated results might fall short of expectations. Investing time and effort in creating something genuinely valuable for your audience is a no-brainer.

Here are some of the critical elements that a good lead magnet should possess:

Be relevant

If you're a B2B software provider, offering a free gardening guide may not be a smart idea. Why? Your target audience is primarily interested in software solutions, not gardening tips. Besides, someone who downloads a gardening guide is unlikely to have an immediate interest or need for B2B software.

The materials you offer as lead magnets should serve as a bridge to your paid products. They should give your audience a glimpse of the value you provide so they are more inclined to make a purchase when you eventually present them with your higher-priced offerings.

The more relevant the lead magnet is to your audience or industry, the better. While picking a broader topic might attract a larger number of contacts, it may not guarantee quality leads who are genuinely interested in your specific product or service.

Offer a specific solution

Closely connected to being relevant, a lead magnet should provide a specific solution to a problem that the target audience is facing. One mistake marketers make is trying to solve many problems simultaneously with their lead magnets. It's better to promise one thing and deliver big on it than make many promises and fall short on all of them.

Put yourself in your target audience's shoes. What are some of the biggest issues they are facing? Once you've done that, create a lead magnet that addresses one of these challenges.

If you have several Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs), you can create multiple lead magnets addressing your audience's different challenges. But even then, let each lead magnet solve a specific problem.

Provide value

While it may seem obvious, it's surprising how many lead magnets fail to deliver value. Ask yourself: Why would someone want to give you their email address if they aren't getting anything valuable in return?

To capture as many leads as possible, your lead magnet should offer high perceived value to the point that people are willing and ready to go through the necessary steps to obtain it. And once they've got it, you are responsible for delivering on your promise.

In today’s competitive market, simply asking people to join your email list for free updates won’t cut it.

You need to offer something substantial.

Instead of enticing your audience with free updates, it would be better to offer them a free trial of your product or service. At Dealfront, this is one of the strategies we use to get high-quality leads.

Create a desire for more

The fact that we’ve said you should offer value doesn’t mean you create a lead magnet that completely solves the needs of your audience. If you do that, they won’t need your paid product or service. The purpose of the lead magnet is to get them sucked in so they can purchase your other paid offerings down the funnel.

Strive to find a perfect balance between offering value and not giving away too much value for free. For example, if you are offering an eBook as a lead magnet, you can mention that it only scratches the surface of the topic. Readers can enroll in your premium online course if they want to dive deeper and access more in-depth strategies and techniques.

Don’t ignore the design

While the main focus should be on the content, the visual presentation of your lead magnet matters as well. Just imagine getting a free ebook promising valuable marketing insights, but as you open it, you realize that the pages are cluttered with unorganized text, mismatched fonts, and low-resolution images. Chances are you wouldn't engage with the material, and you'd also lose trust in the lead magnet creator. The same case applies to your audience.

Incorporate your brand colors, fonts, and style into the design. The result should be visually appealing to capture and retain the audience's attention. Just don't pay too much attention to the design and forget that content is king. Remember, substance and aesthetics.

How to create a lead magnet in 5 steps

Now that you've learned the elements of a good magnet, let's go over the step-by-step process of creating a lead magnet that converts. These are the exact steps we use at Dealfront to build irresistible lead magnets.

Let’s dive in.

Step 1: Acknowledge your customers’ pain points

As we mentioned earlier, lead magnets should solve specific problems. Therefore, the first step is to identify what problems or pain points your target audience may be having.

Here are several approaches you can take to gather information on your customers’ pain points:

  • Talk to sales: Engage with your sales team to get firsthand information about the challenges and pain points customers frequently encounter. These interactions can provide valuable insights into the specific pain points that your lead magnet should focus on.

  • Talk to customer service: Customer service representatives interact with a diverse customer base and receive all manner of questions and complaints. As such, they may have the insights you need on customers' pain points.

  • Gather data from the platform: Analyze data from your platform or analytics tools to identify the most frequently used features. Then, examine the problems or pain points these features aim to solve.

Use the knowledge from the steps above to develop lead magnets that directly address the main points. Once you’ve done that, A/B test the different lead magnets to optimize their effectiveness.

Step 2: Establish your targeting goals

Before creating a lead magnet, set specific objectives regarding the audience you want to reach and engage. This entails determining the specific audience segments that will benefit the most from your lead magnets. For example, consider the different stages of the buyer's journey (awareness, consideration, decision) to decide the type of lead magnet needed to meet the needs of your audience at each stage.

Other types of targeting goals to consider include:

  • Behavior-based targeting. Analyze your target audience's online behaviors and actions, such as website visits or engagement with specific channels, so you can create a lead magnet that aligns with them.

  • Demographic targeting. Identify the specific demographics such as age, location, gender, or occupation of your ideal customers. This way, you can develop a targeted lead magnet that addresses the needs of your users.

  • Interest-based targeting. Focus on the passions, hobbies, and activities that ignite interest within your audience. Social media is a great place for this because you’ll see the kinds of things someone posts about regularly. This allows you to create a lead magnet that captures their attention and deeply resonates with them.

Step 3: Create and design the content

Create content around the three or so pillar points that you’ve established. Whether it’s eBooks, whitepapers, videos, or webinars, your content should provide actionable value and deliver on your lead magnet’s promise.

To build trust in your business, ensure your content is accurate and back it up with facts and data. You can even include case studies for further credibility. And instead of merely talking about your product or service, focus on showing how the product or service can solve the needs of your audience. Show, not tell.

Apart from building content around your pillar points, you can repurpose your existing blog posts. However, make sure the content is clearly different as Google doesn’t like exact duplicate content. Use the information on your blog to create something unique that offers value.

Also, utilize tools like SEMrush and Clearscope for keyword and structural research to set your blogs up for success.

Lastly, create enticing content that people want to read to encourage more opt-ins. Very few people will subscribe to your content if they can get what you offer from countless other sources with a simple Google search.

For example, if you’re a SaaS company offering a software tool that helps service providers maximize their productivity, offering a genetic checklist titled "Basic Tips for Productivity Improvement" may not cut it. Service providers are already aware of this stuff, and such a lead magnet doesn't offer any significant value or differentiate your offering from competitors.

A more enticing lead magnet, in this case, would be a comprehensive industry report titled "The State of Productivity in Service Provider Operations: Key Trends and Strategies.” This report offers unique information that service providers may not easily find elsewhere. It also provides valuable data, trends, and strategies that service providers can leverage to enhance their operations; hence it's more likely to appeal to them.

Step 4: Build a conversion funnel

Leads don’t just magically appear out of thin air. They need to be carefully nurtured and guided through a well-crafted tunnel.

During this process, you need to strategically raise awareness for your brand, arouse people's interest in your offering, and establish trust before people can respond to your lead-generation efforts.

Here are the 5 stages of the conversion funnel:

1. Awareness stage

This is the discovery stage. You need people to be aware of your brand, products, or services. Create informative and visually appealing lead magnets to capture potential buyers' attention.

You can increase your chances of being discovered by potential leads through various approaches. This can include things like running targeted ads on your social media platforms or implementing SEO strategies to optimize your website and content for relevant keywords.

2. Interest stage

Now that you have your prospect's attention, you need to maintain their interest in your brand by demonstrating that you can offer value.

Create valuable content through blog posts, webinars, videos, or any other channel that seems fit for your prospects to position yourself as a leader in your field.

3. Consideration stage

Your audience has a specific pain point—show them how your product or solution can address that pain point.

For example, you can share case studies, testimonials, or success stories to showcase the benefits and results achieved by previous clients. 

4. Decision stage

In this stage, you need to convince the prospect that your product or solution can do what it promises, so they can make up their mind to buy your solution.

You can provide clear calls-to-action (CTAs) that prompt them to take the desired action, whether that's scheduling a consultation or making a purchase. Another way to do this is to send them automated follow-up emails or retargeting ads to remind them of their interest and encourage them to complete the purchase. 

5. Conversion stage

By now, the prospect is convinced of what you are offering, so go ahead and close the sale. Be sure to provide exceptional customer support during the sale and promptly address any questions or concerns they might have for a seamless process.

After the sale, you can request feedback or reviews from satisfied customers to build social proof and credibility.

Step 5: Set reminders to optimize

After creating the lead magnet and sending it to the world, you can sit back, relax, and watch those sales pour in effortlessly, right?

Wrong!

Creating a lead magnet is just the beginning; continuous optimization is necessary to maximize its effectiveness. Set up reminders to analyze user feedback, scrutinize performance metrics, and make data-driven tweaks. You’ll discover new opportunities to give your lead magnet that extra oomph, increasing your chances of getting more conversions.

Lead magnet examples

In this section, we cover some of the best lead magnet examples to give you inspiration when creating your own.

Leadfeeder’s blog lead magnets

Our article titled “61 Lead Generation Tools & Software We Love for 2023" on the Leadfeeder blog uses two guides as lead magnets to capture leads. The first guide is titled "A Complete Guide to B2B Lead Generation,” while the second one is titled “A Guide to Using Leadfeeder for Marketing.”

B2B Lead Generation Guide Leadfeeder
A Guide to Using Leadfeeder for Marketing

To access the full guides, readers must fill out a form, thus giving the Leadfeeder team their contact information.

Hubspot’s blog lead magnet

On Hubsot’s blog post titled, “What is a Lead Magnet? 20 Lead Magnet Ideas and Examples [ + Step-by-Step],” there is a lead magnet at the bottom of the page providing 150+ content creation templates. Here is a screenshot of that lead magnet:

Complete Collection of Content Creation Templates by Hubspot

To download this lead magnet, you’ll need to complete four steps as shown below:

  • Step 1: Provide your name.

  • Step 2: Provide your email address and phone number.

  • Step 3: Provide your website URL and company name.

  • Step 4: Indicate how many employees there are in your company.

The Semrush Academy

On Semrush Academy’s home page, you’ll find an invitation to learn a course for free from various industry experts and get a certification that can enhance your career.

Semrush Academy

To get started on these courses, you need to create a Semrush account, which requires your email address at least to start.

Search Engine Journal’s free ebooks

Search Engine Journal has a library offering lead magnets in the form of free ebooks. These ebooks cover a wide range of topics, from PPC, SEO, content marketing, and more.

Search Engine Journal eBooks

To download these ebooks, you need to provide your contact details, including your name, work email address, work phone number, job title, company name, company size, and website URL.

Justinmind’s free tool

Justinmind offers a free design and prototyping tool as a lead magnet for their target audience.

Justinmind free tool

Users who install this lead magnet tool get a valuable tool that can help them create UI assets, prototypes, and simulations while the company gets their email addresses. It’s a win-win.

Lead magnet ideas to try

Keen to develop some lead magnets for your business? Here are 16 lead magnet ideas you can try.

Free ebook

Free ebooks are one of the most popular lead magnets out there, and this isn’t by mistake. Over 55% of small businesses say ebooks have the highest conversion rate of all short-form written content.

Users looking to get a deeper understanding of a topic or solution tend to love ebooks, as they offer more depth than typical blog posts.

You don’t have to write fresh content for an ebook. You can compile your most impactful blog posts on a related topic into an ebook format and then add a new introduction and conclusion.

Tools

Giving out a free tool in exchange for contact information may seem like a disadvantage for the provider, but it's not.

Think about it. What better way to demonstrate the usefulness of your products to prospects than offering them a taste of your offering for free?

If the tool can help them solve a problem or simplify a complex task, you can be sure they will stick around for a long time, allowing you to introduce your other paid offerings.

Freebie

Everybody loves freebies! Offer something of value to your audience, such as a free sample, trial, or limited version of your product.

By giving them a taste of what you offer, you can create excitement, build trust, and increase the likelihood of conversion. Just ensure the freebie showcases the best features and provides a positive user experience.

Online course

Online courses are self-paced educational programs delivered through a video-sharing platform or learning management system. If done well, online courses can position you as an authority in your field and help you nurture long-term engagement with your audience.

However, unlike other lead magnets in this list, online courses can take time to create. You'll also need to invest in video editing tools, recording equipment, and scriptwriting tools to create the course.

Internal expert advice

Leverage the expertise within your organization by providing exclusive advice and insights from your internal experts. This could take the form of Q&A sessions, expert interviews, or downloadable guides that demonstrate your teams’ industry knowledge.

Free guide

Sometimes, coming up with original content is hard. This is especially true if you're in a well-established industry. So, what do you do?

You produce an ultimate guide that covers an existing topic exhaustively. Instead of visiting different websites to learn how to solve a problem, readers can rely on your guide to learn everything they need to know.

Webinars

Webinars are great lead magnets for several reasons. If you are hosting the webinar, you have a chance to connect and build rapport with potential leads right away. 

Also, webinars only occur at specific times, so you can leverage FOMO (fear of missing out) to generate a ton of emails. And if you want, you can record the webinar session and use it to deliver leads for months or even years to come.

Cheat sheets

If your audience engages in repetitive or complex work, you can offer a cheat sheet with valuable tips, shortcuts, or step-by-step instructions to make their work easier. And who doesn't love that?

Worksheet

A worksheet or workbook offers refillable content that your audience can use repeatedly. As a lead magnet, it appeals to people who are looking to complete a specific exercise quickly and with less hassle.

Coupon

Coupons appeal to many businesses as they encourage immediate action and drive conversions. You can offer exclusive discounts, special offers, or promotional codes that incentivize prospects to make a purchase or engage with your business.

Email list

Building an email list is a fundamental aspect of content marketing. You can ask your audience to subscribe to your newsletter containing regular updates, tips, industry insights, special offers, and more!

As long as you keep delivering value in their inboxes, you will nurture leads and increase your chances of turning prospects into customers.

Email course

Unlike an online course, an email course is relatively easy to create, and you don't need anything fancy. Using email automation tools, you can send a series of emails to a user, teaching them how to accomplish something.

An email course also allows you to increase your email list subscribers.

White papers

A white paper is an evidence-based leadership piece that delves deeply into a topic your readers care about. It simplifies a complex issue and helps readers understand what they need to do to resolve it.

White papers are one of the best B2B lead magnets, as most users here often need a lot of information before making a purchasing decision.

Templates

Offering a template is one of the most popular ways to get someone’s email address. In today’s busy world, many people are looking for ways to avoid creating documents or completing activities from scratch, and lead magnet templates come in handy.

You can create a template for almost anything, depending on your audience's needs.

Case studies

Case studies give potential customers insight into your company’s abilities to solve their problems, making them effective lead magnets.

Ensure your case study is as specific as possible by highlighting real customers you’ve worked with in the past and how your solution helped them. Then, make it downloadable, and require each website visitor to register their name and email address to access it.

Courses

Courses are considered premium assets. If you’ve got some knowledge or skills you want to share with the world, you can package it into a course.

Then, encourage your website visitors to sign up and access the course. People are frequently looking to learn new skills, so this could be a powerful lead magnet.

Lead magnet tactics

To enhance the effectiveness of your lead magnet, consider implementing these tactics:

  • Email marketing: Nurture leads through automated email sequences, delivering relevant content and exclusive offers.

  • Call to action: Craft compelling CTAs that prompt users to take the desired action.

  • Blog posts: If you have lead magnets that fit a blog post of yours, you can place them within the text.

  • Pop-ups and slide-ins: Utilize attention-grabbing pop-ups or slide-ins to promote your lead magnet and capture leads.

  • Landing page optimization: Create dedicated landing pages optimized for conversions and highlight the benefits of your lead magnet.

  • Podcasts: Offer exclusive content or bonus episodes for subscribers to your podcast.

How lead magnets work within your marketing strategy

Lead generation is one of the hardest parts of marketing. Today, customers are surrounded by an endless sea of content, so your offer must stand out to earn their attention.

Enter lead magnets.

A lead magnet ensures you’re only capturing interested leads. Those who sign up for your newsletter, for instance, do so because they believe in the value you are offering.

The best lead magnets allow you to nurture leads, so you can eventually convert them into customers through personalized marketing efforts.

How does Sales benefit from lead magnets?

Lead magnets can help boost your sales.

By attracting prospects who are genuinely interested in your product or service, there is a higher likelihood of conversions resulting in more sales.

Lead magnet creation involves researching the needs and pain points that your ideal customers are facing. Your sales team can use this information to personalize their approach and then tailor their messaging to resonate with each lead. This increases their chances of closing more sales.

Besides, lead magnets are essential for building an email list. An email list gives you a chance to nurture leads through the buyer's journey and establish relationships that lead to more conversions.

Conclusion

Creating a lead magnet should be on top of your marketing team’s to-do list if you want to capture leads that are interested in your products or service. By acknowledging your customers’ pain points, creating valuable content, building effective conversion funnels, and continuously optimizing your efforts, you can generate high-quality needs and nurture them into loyal customers.

But remember, the key lies in offering a unique resource that solves your audience’s main problem, so they can give you their email addresses without hesitation.

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