“Content is king” – everyone said. So I started writing blogs, set up a few email marketing campaigns, tried social media marketing; but nothing seemed to work well for me. My email list wasn’t growing and the website bounce rate was also high. I always felt I was missing something extremely important.
Then someone said: Lead Magnets.
Setting up different types of lead magnets immediately grew list size and audience engagement. It also reduced bounce rate and improved session duration.
You probably know what they are. And if you don’t, I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of lead magnets and have even given your email address to get one.
In this in-depth guide, let’s understand what lead magnets are, why they work, and the top 10 lead magnet ideas that have worked for all kinds of sites. Also, there will be plenty of lead magnet examples for you to refer to. And yeah, we will also look at things that are easy and quick.
So what exactly is a Lead Magnet?
A lead magnet is a valuable resource that you give away in exchange for your prospect’s email address. It’s typically a downloadable content that people get after signing up for your email list.
There are no hard-written rules when it comes to lead magnets. But it’s got to be an incentive, something they will find useful.
So it’s anything that will “attract” your “leads” to give their email address to you.
Downloadable content like templates, eBooks, cheat sheets, checklists, white papers, videos etc. work best as lead magnets because you can deliver them instantly, and there is no real cost of delivery.
Lead magnets work for all types of prospects (B2B and B2C). And the more important thing about lead magnets is that they build trust between your brand and your prospects. They are not bait to catch leads, treat them as the beginning of long-term interaction opportunities.
Here’s how lead magnets work:
Step 1: A visitor comes to your website
Step 2: You show them a lead magnet offer
Step 3: The visitor accepts your offer, provides his/her contact information, and downloads the lead magnet
Step 4: Now the visitor is a potential lead. You can start sending offers, discount coupons, educational resources, and product information to engage and convert this lead.
But there’s a catch…
Let’s consider the example of HubSpot here. They are the guys who made the concept popular. They’ve done lots of lead magnets – including their famous website grader tool.
But back in 2017, HubSpot started with a 130-lead magnet campaign. That literally meant a lot of free content. The results of this campaign were massive. These lead magnets were shared 54000 times across different social platforms.
However, here’s the catch. All these 130 lead magnets didn’t do well. In fact, 77% of the social shares were generated by the top 10 lead magnets of HubSpot.
So, having any lead magnet isn’t enough. You’ll need lead magnet ideas that resonate with your audiences. Otherwise, no matter how many free resources you distribute, the results will not meet expectations.
It’s time we got smarter with lead magnets!
It’s fair to ask these questions, “Why do I have to create free resources? Why is a lead magnet even important? With so many people using lead magnets, has it lost its effectiveness? What efforts does it take to create a lead magnet? Can I not just ask my audience to give me their email address because I’m sending useful content in my newsletters?”
Let’s dig deeper.
To be honest, every consumer is highly protective when it comes to their personal information. They already receive 120+ emails every day. They don’t want another marketing email in their inbox. So, if you ask for their contact details without offering anything in return, they’re probably just going to skip.
But with lead magnets, things change. If your prospects feel that they’re receiving something valuable in exchange for their contact information, they can change their mind. The generic newsletter signup requests don’t work that well now. To get something from the prospects, you have to offer something to them. And it’s got to be something instantly useful to them.
Here’s an example. Say you publish a blog titled, “Top 10 ways to use Chatbots to improve Customer Service” and at the end of the blog, you add a CTA (call to action) seeking the readers to join your email list.
Alternatively, you create a downloadable ebook on the same topic and include some strategies and case studies as well. This time, you’re writing a shorter blog, keeping the most important content in the ebook. In the blog, you ask them to download this ebook for free, just by providing their email and subscribing to your list.
Which strategy will work better? I have tested and found that the second one works better. But feel free to try on your own.
A Quick Lead Magnet Checklist
Like we saw in the Hubspot example earlier, all lead magnets don’t work. So, the lead magnet you offer has to tick all these boxes:
- Does the lead magnet solve a problem?
- Is it too generic? (The more specific the better)
- Does it contain something unique? Something not found elsewhere?
- Is it easily understandable?
- Does it include some tested strategies that are easily deployable?
- Is the lead magnet relevant to your brand promise?
- Are you making it easy for people to get it?
Check out Icegram Engage’s extensive library to get some cool lead magnet ideas and to build content email marketing strategies to generate tons of marketing leads.
10 Best Lead Magnet Ideas and Examples for Lead Generation
You can create any kind of lead magnet. But here are some ideas that are not that hard to create and still work really well.
Checklists or to-do lists are actionable lists that almost everybody needs. More so because most of us are now finding a digital alternative to pens and diaries.
Also, checklists are the easiest to create. You don’t need any fancy apps to create one. Just create one using MS Word or Google Docs. Add some pointers, boxes, use vibrant colors, add your brand’s logo and your checklist is ready.
Here are some common checklist lead magnet ideas that work for the content / online marketing industry:
- Blog post ideas checklist (a list of how to research, write, publish and market blog posts)
- Webinar checklists (a list of tools, technologies, tasks, precautions, and pitfalls of arranging a webinar)
- An SEO checklist (a list of all points to ensure that your site is SEO optimized)
Extra brownie points to checklists that are printable. That way, people who are still comfortable with the old-school methods can tick-off things from their to-do lists with a pen.
Once the checklist is done, combine it with a two-step opt-in form. In the first step, audiences need to fill-up their contact information and in the second step, they can download the lead magnet.
Let’s see how HubSpot created its webinar checklist:
HubSpot has created a colorful GIF webinar checklist. We can see how HubSpot summed-up the entire process of arranging a webinar in 6 pointers.
Arranging a webinar involves a lot of aspects. So if I use it, I will know what to do and when. This is definitely a good lead magnet example.
The format of a checklist and a cheat sheet can be similar. However, a cheat sheet is different in the sense that it offers us some tricks that we can follow again and again. Cheat sheets help us get results with some secret tips that work every time.
Cheat sheets are tempting. Say, I’m a blogger and I am always looking for tricks to rank my blog on Google’s first page. If I get a free cheat sheet that helps me with the tricks to rank every blog on Google’s first page, will I not want it? Of course, I will.
A downloadable cheat sheet is an example of one of those lead magnets that is very helpful to your audience. Once they download it, they don’t have to remember complex sequences of tasks. They are likely to use it again and again. That’s totally a win-win situation for them.
Let us go through the SEO cheat sheet from Marketgoo:
This cheat sheet is especially for beauty bloggers. We can see how Marketgoo has narrowed-down the essentials of beauty blogging in five easy steps.
This cheat sheet helps us learn some of the major beauty blogging hacks like:
- We must not overdo our content with too many keywords and tags
- We must include internal links to our posts
- Beauty bloggers must include their latest blog links to their Instagram bios
- We should use specific keywords
- We also learned that videos are a powerful tool and beauty bloggers should focus on video SEOs as well
A beauty blogger can take a quick glance at this sheet every time they’re creating a new blog post. It’s that easy.
Mini-Courses and Tutorials
A lead magnet idea that has been doing the rounds lately is mini-courses. These are educational courses and tutorials. I recently found out that online education is a $275 billion industry. Also, the best thing is that you don’t need any specific qualifications or credentials to launch your online courses.
Also, there are no specific rules or patterns for hosting an online mini-course. You can include blogs, videos, slides, quizzes, downloadable PDFs, and any other resource that relates to the course.
Let us find out how HubSpot offers free courses and generates more marketing leads:
See how HubSpot offers a range of mini-courses that cover different digital marketing areas like email marketing, content marketing, inbound sales, and so on. All these courses are free and you need to sign-up for them with your contact details.
Isn’t that a great lead magnet idea? HubSpot is offering a lot of tangible value for free to the audiences and asking for their contact information in return. These courses are extremely entertaining as HubSpot has made a cool combination of videos, downloadable templates, and so on.
Mini-courses are a great way to share your learnings with your community. But sure, they can be a lot more work to create.
Bonus Tip: Whenever you launch your mini-course, don’t forget to include the number of steps involved in the course/tutorial. For example, “5 Steps to Master Email Marketing” or “3 Steps to Plan your Blog Topics”. We should remember that our audiences want to know how many stages are involved in the course and how soon they can complete it.
Webinars are getting a lot of attention these days. Webinars score high on the “urgency” factor. So, organizing a free webinar could serve as a cool lead magnet idea.
Let me explain the “urgency” factor here. Suppose you see a social media post that invites you to join a “Live Webinar on Lead Generation Strategies on the 20th of March, from 6 pm to 7 pm.”
This post can easily create a sense of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) in your mind. That’s because webinars take place for a limited time and unlike regular videos or podcasts, you cannot listen to them afterward. That’s exactly why you may end up registering for this webinar.
Also, arranging a webinar is not something to freak-out about. Yes, there are lots of moving parts in a webinar and you need to figure out technological solutions. But especially after Covid-19, a lot of us are used to hosting and participating in online meetings. Webinars are quite similar.
Lead magnet webinars don’t have to be too complex. They don’t have to be long with multiple speakers. Short webinars with 3-4 specific things that your audience can learn is a perfect lead magnet example.
Did you know that webinars have amplified lead generation for Neil Patel? So much so that he turned his homepage into a webinar registration page!
I have attended a lot of webinars. They are of the following two types in most cases:
- Webinars that offer you guides, instructions, tips to achieve something. These webinars are useful. They have helped me set my goals and have addressed my pain points in accomplishing something. I personally enjoy attending these webinars.
- I have been part of webinars that offer discount codes or invite you to purchase something from them. They work well too, but make sure your audience is ready for the offer before making it.
If you’re using the webinar as a lead magnet idea, it’s better to make it knowledge-centric. Trying to make a sale out of a lead magnet webinar doesn’t sound good. Just try to offer your audiences some value and collect their contact information in exchange. Selling can wait. Build trust first.
Also, don’t forget that date/time are everything in a webinar. So, your CTA must include these two factors. Do not forget to mention the timezone as well!
Cool Tip: Don’t have a clue on what to present on your very first webinar? Try this. Take any blog you have recently published on your website. Convert it into a PowerPoint presentation with images, charts, and visuals. You’re almost done. Now present it on a live video platform.
I have experienced some of the greatest conversions of all time with quizzes. The reason being the fact that quizzes are super easy and entertaining. Here’s how a quiz lead magnets work.
You set up a witty or fun quiz on our website. At the end of the quiz questions, you request the participant to provide their email address to know the quiz results. Because they have answered the questions, they want to know the results – and how they compare with others.
Quizzes can be about a common interest (Harry Potter / NBA / Celebrities), personality traits (Types / Emotions / Stereotypes), or even puzzles. If I can successfully create a quiz that either entertains them or provokes their thoughts, I have a very good chance of generating new leads.
I frequently click on quizzes that say, “Are you smarter than a 5th grader? Answer these questions to find out.” I mean, such a heading makes me anxious, straightaway. I feel like I have to prove to myself that I am smarter than a 5th grader. Ha ha! What about you?
BuzzFeed has mastered the art of using quizzes as a lead generation trick. Here’s an example:
Does it matter if Blair will invite me to her party or which “Friends” minor character matches my personality? No, it doesn’t!
But will I click on these quizzes to find out? Hell, Yes!
So, if you’re planning to arrange a lead magnet campaign, you can always start with a quiz!
E-books used to be a massive lead generator even a few years ago. But, nowadays, their popularity as a lead magnet is declining. With checklists and cheat sheets around, e-books don’t work very well anymore. People don’t want to consume a long e-book when they can easily get hold of all those points at a quicker speed using checklists.
That’s exactly why I recommend mini e-books. Mini e-books are shorter in length as compared to regular e-books and have relatively higher chances of conversion.
I was pretty nervous the first time I decided to create an ebook. I was worried about making it from scratch. However, I found out later that I can merge a few compelling blogs together to make an ebook.
For example, suppose these are a few blogs that have been published on your website:
- Best Italian Food Items of all time
- 5 Things to eat on your first visit to Italy
- 10 Italian Desserts Everyone should Try at Least Once
- 3 Classic Italian recipes you Must Know
You can now merge all these blogs into a mini e-book titled: Italian Food 101: A Complete Guide.
With this e-book, you’re putting all the similar topics in a single place. Your audiences will not have to look for different articles to find about “Italian food”. And that’s exactly what a good lead magnet should try to do. Helping our audiences to attain more value at lesser efforts.
Even though e-books don’t work that well these days; a compelling and detailed ebook that is a thorough read will always have lead generation capabilities.
Check how our WordPress Plugin Icegram Engage can help you add compelling CTAs to promote your mini eBooks:
Planners & Templates
Take a look at HubSpot’s content marketing planner:
HubSpot has been distributing similar planners as their lead magnets for a while now. Their planners are industry-specific.
You can create a simple planner like HubSpot’s using Microsoft Excel. The planner can be anything about your niche that is organized on a calendar. Your audience can download and print it, and fill in their own entries. They are going to use this for a longer time which means they will see your brand over a longer period.
Similar to planners, you can also distribute templates. Templates are resources that the audience can download, customize and use on their own. Depending on your niche and audience, these templates can be something that will give a kickstart for specific challenges your audience has.
A lead magnet email template can help in creating a structured and effective email sequence. Building an email list with a lead magnet is a proven way to grow your audience and increase engagement.
- Email design templates
- Cashflow analysis and business valuation worksheets
- Life goal planners with investment calculators
- Cold email outreach templates
- Science quiz printable for Grade 6
Be specific about your planners and templates and create a handful of them. Write a blog post and offer the template as a lead magnet. I am sure they will generate a lot of leads.
A Complete Resource Guide
When we start something for the first time, how do we begin our journey? We learn from trial and error. But what if you had a guide? A guide may not always answer every question we have. But it can surely tell you where to find your answers. A free guide that lists different resources can be a compelling lead magnet.
Some of the top lead magnet ideas include free trials, coupons, exclusive discounts, webinars, and educational resources. It’s important to ensure that your lead magnet is high-quality, relevant, and valuable to your target audience.
Resource guides are a compilation of different tools, websites, blog posts, videos that can help you achieve results. This type of lead magnets work best for beginners who are new to a topic.
Have a look at this SEO resource guide from Backlinko:
This is like an encyclopedia of different SEO tools! You need to click on the type of SEO tool you’re looking for and you’ll get a large array of tools that can fulfill your SEO requirements.
I think this is a smart lead magnet idea.
Workbooks have been effective lead magnets for many. If your target audience is in the self-help or similar niche, “fill-up yourself” workbooks are great lead magnets. As a matter of fact, they are great for reviews, journaling, and deeper explorations on any topic. The hidden advantage of workbooks is that they establish you – the creator – as an expert on the topic. The audience automatically starts treating you as a trusted authority in the subject.
Here’s an example of Neil Patel’s lead magnet workbook that I downloaded to understand the concept better:
The best thing about this workbook is its minimalism. You can see how there is ample space left for us to write what we have learned or what we would include in a blog. It is another downloadable and printable lead magnet.
A workbook encourages learning through reflection. With a workbook, you can encourage your audiences to be their own teacher. They can jot down whatever they learn from their experiences in the workbook.
Like for Neil Patel’s workbook, if a beginner refers to this lead magnet, they can create a well-structured blog post at the end. You can apply this strategy in the following way:
Say, you write a blog on “11 Simple Tricks to Increase Email Open Rates Today” and add a CTA like this: “Download our Content Email Marketing Workbook for Free and craft an email that acquires more than 30% open rates”.
Try workbooks. They are easy to create and have tremendous advantages.
Videos can also be good lead magnets. If you’re bored of tutorials, ebooks, and infographics, you should give a shot to video lead magnets. Videos are more engaging.
Videos don’t always have to be some leader or coach preaching about how a brand’s products and services can benefit the customers. Instead, you can create videos with real people. For example, if you upload a video where a customer speaks about your product/service and how they’ve benefited from it, the perceived value will be higher.
A well-shot and edited video can be engaging as well as informative at the same time. That’s exactly why a 10-minute long video can grab 2x more lead generation and conversion than a 50-page long eBook.
Also, you should know that majorities of marketers are already using videos as their lead magnet. Maybe it’s time for you to join the bandwagon!
Let’s recap what we learned:
- Lead magnets increase optin conversion and signups
- They are also great way to establish your authority
- Different types of lead magnets work for different audiences and have different levels of effort requirements
- Quizzes, workbooks, and checklists can be easy to create and offer good value
- Videos, webinars, and books still work great but require higher effort. Use them where appropriate.
- You can set up multiple lead magnets on your site or on social media
- Most importantly, make sure the lead magnet offers good value and explain that value on your opt-in / landing page
Now that you’ve understood about lead magnets and different types of lead generation strategies, it’s time for you to start. Pick any one or more of the lead magnet ideas from our list and plan your campaign. Let us know in the comments about your whole experience with lead magnets.
Also, download our free WordPress plugin Icegram Engage for 120+ ready-made onsite campaigns. These include cool lead magnet templates, CTAs, and subscription forms to start with.