Digital entrepreneurs are often looking for lead magnet ideas and asking us how to create a lead magnet. To help, we’ve put together a complete guide that will walk you through the process, so you can get started generating leads and selling more.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- What is a lead magnet?
- Do lead magnets work?
- What makes a lead magnet good?
- How to use a lead magnet to grow your list and business
- 27 tips to create a lead magnet that actually works
- How to use follow-up emails to magnify your results
What is a lead magnet?
A lead magnet is a free piece of content, coaching call, or other gift that’s offered to prospects and website visitors in exchange for their email address. The lead magnet helps users solve a painful problem, achieve a goal they care about, or master a new skill.
Businesses create a lead magnet to build their email list or to attract cold traffic into their pipeline. It’s offered for free. But to gain access, visitors must enter their contact information.
This exchange is known as permission marketing. By giving you their email address, the user gives you permission to send them emails.
Do lead magnets work?
The success of your lead magnet depends on two factors.
- Does it attract the right audience?
- Do you set expectations properly, so your new subscribers are primed to buy from you?
When it comes to list building, it’s easy to get too focused on the numbers. More is better, right? But you don’t want a large list of people who will never buy from you.
If you aim to attract the highest number of people possible, qualified or not, your email marketing will be less successful. Many of the people on your list won’t care about your primary topic. They won’t want your course or coaching.
That’s why it’s important to be strategic. If you create a lead magnet that attracts your best prospects, you’ll not only build a large email list, you’ll find it easier to engage your subscribers and sell to them.
Here’s why lead magnets are so effective for building your list and knowledge commerce business:
Lead magnets attract your ideal customers like flies to honey. Because these people have shown interest in your lead magnet, you can be sure they’ll be interested in your product or service.
Lead magnets give prospects a taste of your core product. They can even get your prospects begging for the chance to buy now.
And lead magnets help you build trust. Because you deliver quality information in a free product, it builds confidence that you’ll deliver even more value in your paid product.
What makes a lead magnet good?
A good lead magnet provides real value to your target audience. It empowers them to overcome an obstacle that gets in the way of their success.
A good lead magnet is short and concise. Truthfully, it can be any length, but the best performing lead magnets are rarely long or complex. Instead, they condense the promised information into an easy-to-consume package.
A good lead magnet gives the prospect a quick win. It breaks down a difficult concept or challenge, solving a small piece of a bigger problem. In many cases, once this initial problem is solved, the prospect realizes they need more.
A lead magnet primes your prospect to buy. Because you helped them achieve this first success, they trust you to help them solve the next set of problems. It also makes them aware that there’s more to learn.
A good lead magnet helps you grow your business. When you generously offer free information that solves your subscribers’ problems, they become superfans of you and your business. They listen to you and buy from you, which helps you quickly grow your business.
How to use a lead magnet to grow your email list and knowledge commerce business
No lead magnet exists in a silo. It’s part of a larger strategy to grow your business. The lead magnet sits at the top of your funnel, attracting your ideal customers, giving them a reason to engage with your brand.
It’s designed to attract people who have never engaged with your brand before. We call this cold traffic, meaning they weren’t aware you existed and weren’t looking to buy from you.
Here’s how lead magnets work to build your list and grow your business:
You attract qualified prospects with advertising or a social media campaign. When they arrive at your lead magnet’s landing page, they’ll fill out a form to access your lead magnet. They’re then added to your email list, so you can continue marketing to them.
Your new subscribers may also be put into a funnel or sales pipeline. This happens after they download your lead magnet. They’re sent to a thank-you page. But on that page, after saying “thank you,” you tell them about your paid product and ask them to buy.
Lead magnets are a simple, strategic way to grow your business because they quickly turn cold traffic into hot prospects. In the book, Marketing Metrics, the authors explain that the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5 to 20 percent. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70 percent.
While your prospect only just opted in to your list, they’re excited about their download. That puts them in a buying frame of mind, just as if they were a long-time customer.
27 tips to create a lead magnet
Now, let’s look at how to create your first lead magnet and, if you already have one, how to optimize it to get better results. In this section, we’ll give you tips for planning and creating a lead magnet, preparing it for delivery, and getting it in front of your best prospect.
How to plan your lead magnet
Before creating a lead magnet, you need to develop your strategy. What’s your goal? What do you want the customer journey to look like? What results do you expect to achieve? Here are some tips to help you plan a lead magnet that will actually work.
1. Make sure it will help you grow your business
Ideally, your lead magnet should focus on a topic you cover in your core product. That way, when prospects finish with it, they’re primed to explore your landing page and buy.
What product or service do you want to promote? What’s a quick win you can offer that will generate interest in your course? That’s probably your best topic for a lead magnet.
2. Choose a format that’s easy and inexpensive to create
Always remember, your lead magnet is free content. It shouldn’t take a huge investment of time or money to create it.
What type of content is easiest for you to create? Text? Video? Graphics? Lean into your strengths.
3. Look for content you could recycle
To create a lead magnet quickly, leverage content you’ve already developed. Here are some ideas for where to look:
- One lesson (or a piece of a lesson) from your course or coaching program
- A template from your course or coaching program
- An article, reformatted as a PDF
- A chapter of your book or ebook
4. Lean into video or text
While any format is fair game, a study by GetResponse found that text and video get the highest conversion rates.
What format does your audience seem to prefer? If they have a preference, create your lead magnet in that format. If not, think about the format that best presents your information.
For example, a checklist could be shared in a video, but it’s probably easiest to consume as an infographic. A how-to lead magnet can be shared in a downloadable PDF, but it might be more effective if it’s delivered in video format.
Tip: If your lead magnet is the same format as your course, it prepares your subscribers for the student experience in your paid course. At the end of your lead magnet, explain that this is just a sample of what you offer in your course.
5. Shorter is better
According to GetResponse’s study, short-form lead magnets typically work best. Only 27 percent of businesses get higher conversion rates from long-form videos. Just 41 percent get better results from long-form written content.
That’s actually good news. It may look more impressive to offer a 50-page ebook, but at the end of the day, people prefer a one-page checklist. They don’t have the time for more.
6. Create the type of content your audience likes best
If shorter and simpler content is better, what types of content should you focus on? Here’s are some types of content that have been proven to generate leads and business growth:
- Step-by-step instructions
- Lists of tools or resources
- Short email courses
- 15- to 30-minute videos
- Case studies
7. Target your best audience
One of the worst things you could do as a business owner is build a list of people who don’t want to buy from you. So don’t try to attract everyone and anyone with your lead magnet. Aim to attract people who are:
- A close fit to your ideal customer profile
- Very likely to buy from you sometime in the near future
8. Make your lead magnet irresistible to your target audience
As a knowledge commerce business, you have knowledge that other people want. Think about the questions you get asked most often. Think about the things your audience struggles with most.
If you offer to solve a problem they deeply care about, your lead magnet will be irresistible to them. Promise something your audience wants. Then clearly explain the benefit of the information you’re sharing.
9. Validate your idea, especially if starting from scratch
Even if you’re recycling content, you need to validate that people are interested in the topic. To avoid investing tons of time in a lead magnet that doesn’t get results, validate your idea before you get too far into the creation process.
Here are a few ways to do that:
- Start talking about the topic in social media. Are you approaching the topic right? Are you solving a problem people care about?
- Write a blog post on the topic and look at your traffic numbers.
- Survey friends and customers in your target audience. What topics are they interested in? What problems are they struggling with right now?
10. Think about the questions your audience asks most often
Your prospects are already telling you what information they want and need. Look at the questions they’re asking in forums, Facebook and LinkedIn groups, and comments on articles. Listen to their concerns when you talk with them.
Your goal is to create a lead magnet that gives your prospect a quick win. Find a way to help, and you both win.
11. Optimize for a high-volume keyword
Another way to discover the topics your prospects care about is to research the keywords they’re searching for in Google. For this, use a keyword tool like Ubersuggest.
Make a list of the topics and related keywords you’re thinking about for your lead magnet. Enter each of these terms in Ubersuggest. Then compare the search volume.
A search volume of 20 or less is too low. Only a few people are searching for that topic. A search volume of 500 or above tells you that it’s a topic people are interested in.
While you’re at it, play around with the way you phrase the keyword. You want to find the exact words people are using to search for your topic.
Put that same phrase in the title of your lead magnet, and use it in the headline on your landing page. That way, when anyone searches for that keyword in Google, they’ll see your landing page.
12. Don’t copy
If your lead magnet looks like every other lead magnet in your industry, you blend in. It will be hard to rank in Google. You won’t be able to generate organic traffic. It will be hard to pique your prospects’ curiosity. They may already have a lead magnet that offers the same information!
In marketing, Imitation is not flattery. It’s the fastest route to mediocrity.
When you copy the brand promises, solutions, and formats that another brand is known for, you aren’t seen as a leader. You’re seen as just another provider, and you blend in.
Try to stand out. Be different. Talk about a topic no one else is talking about. Offer a solution that only you can offer.
How to create an eye-catching lead magnet
We’ve talked about how to plan an effective lead magnet. Now, let’s talk about how you can create a lead magnet that looks great, even if you don’t have a designing bone in your body.
13. Go for plain and simple
Minimalism is in. You don’t have to be an artist. You don’t need a fancy design. You don’t need advanced tools or technology.
The truth is, a black-and-white PDF created in Google Docs can make an effective lead magnet. Keep the focus on your content. If it’s high quality, people won’t care if there’s little to no design work.
As you’ll see in a minute, it’s worth the effort to add images. But you don’t need to create a piece of art. Good design is clean and easy to read. It doesn’t draw attention to itself. It keeps the focus on the information you’re sharing.
14. Make it visual and interactive
Sixty-five percent of people are visual learners. We all learn better when we can interact with new information.
Once you’ve planned your lead magnet, look for ways to add visual elements. For instance, instead of creating a checklist in your word processor, use Canva or Visme to create an infographic. Instead of sharing statistics, create a chart or graph that illustrates the numbers.
Here are some tips for making your lead magnet more visual:
- Use the templates available in your favorite design software.
- Use photos to add interest to the page
- Add animations and/or memes to your digital files
15. Include your copyright and URL in the footer
This tip isn’t about making your lead magnet more beautiful. It’s about using it to establish your brand and build your thought leadership.
No matter what format or type of content you create, include the copyright and URL. That way, people will begin to associate your branded solutions and products with you.
16. Put your logo in a prominent spot
In a text document, put your logo at the top right of your page. Or put it in the footer with your copyright. Make it clear that the valuable information comes from you.
As a bonus, this can help you drive traffic back to your website. Sometimes your lead magnet gets shared organically. By making your branding visible, you make it easy for people to find your website and buy your products.
17. Use your brand colors and font
Similarly, use your brand colors and fonts, so all your content looks and feels like you. Big brands spend lots of money creating a brand that’s memorable. But you can get the same effect by consistently using your brand colors and fonts.
If you don’t already know the hex code (the six-digit number that represents the color), use a design tool to figure it out.
Colorpick Eyedropper is a Chrome extension that allows you to identify the hex code and the RBG formula for any color. Or you can import your logo into Canva or Photoshop, click on the colors, and see the hex codes.
Write them down. Then, in all your design work, use these colors to strengthen your brand.
18. Use a structure that’s proven to get results
A good lead magnet will grab your prospects’ attention, quickly capture their interest, and keep them engaged on every page. Here’s a proven structure for doing just that:
- Attention-grabbing headline at the top of the page. (You may create a title page if your lead magnet is longer.)
- Introduction: Explain the value of the information you’re about to share.
- Promised information: Deliver on your promise.
- Conclusion: What to do next.
- About section: Tell them who you are and what you do.
- Call to action: What’s their next step to learn more?
19. Use tools you already have
Keep it simple. The tools you already have (and know how to use) are sufficient to create a highly effective lead magnet.
- Your smart phone’s camera
- Stock photos
- Your smart phone’s camera
20. Don’t be afraid to give away your best ideas
Don’t worry about giving away your most valuable tips and tricks. You won’t cannibalize your paid products. Instead, you’ll prove that you have valuable information that your prospects want.
So don’t hold back. Give away your best stuff.
21. Don’t get hung up on the creative process
Professional writers and graphic artists don’t come up with polished drafts on their first attempt. First drafts are always awful. It’s through multiple tweaks and edits that the polished final draft finally comes into focus.
Follow this step-by-step process to go from bright idea to impressive lead magnet.
- Create an outline.
- Write your content or script, or record your video from your outline.
- Make it look good. Leverage the layout features in your word processor.
- Download a PDF or MP4.
How to set up your lead magnet on the back end
Once you’ve created your lead magnet, it’s time to set up your landing pages and delivery process. This is where the rubber meets the road. These tips will help you create a memorable customer experience, so your prospects become loyal fans.
22. Create your lead magnet pipeline
To get your lead magnet into the hands of your prospect, you need a place to host it, so you can generate a “share” link. This is the URL you’ll share with your prospects so they can download or access your lead magnet.
You also need to create a landing page and emails to automate the sign-up and delivery process. This workflow is often called a funnel or pipeline, because it walks the visitor step-by-step from first touch to warm prospect.
Creating this workflow by yourself can be complicated. But it’s easy to share your lead magnets on Kajabi. Here’s a quick rundown of how you’ll do it.
Upload your lead magnet to Kajabi. They host it for you, so you can generate a URL for the lead magnet and automate its delivery.
Next, create your pipeline. Kajabi gives you blueprints that are designed to get results. It auto-creates every stage of the customer experience: opt-in page, email, and thank you page. Select the blueprint that’s right for you, and Kajabi sets it up for you with just a click.
At this point, you only need to write your copy and finalize your pipeline. Use this template to create a persuasive, engaging landing page for your lead magnet:
- Create a headline that’s specific, useful, and unique.
- Describe the lead magnet and the wonderful outcome your prospects get when they apply the information you share in your lead magnet.
- Create a short list of bullets that tease the information you’ll share.
- Give a strong call to action. In this case, ask them to enter their email so they can get the lead magnet
- Embed a form where your visitors can sign up.
This example adds images of the lead magnet and a quote by founder Ryan Deiss, but they’re just icing on the cake. The five elements we’ve listed here are all you need to create a high-performing landing page.
How to distribute your lead magnet
Now that your pipeline is built, it’s time to get the word out about your landing page. Here are some tips for doing that.
23. Create a distribution plan
Without a strategic plan, you won’t get the results you’re looking for. Fortunately, it doesn’t take long to map out a distribution plan. Set aside an hour and jot down your best channels and a schedule for sending out your promotional pieces.
It’s a good idea to write your social media posts and emails in advance. Then each morning, check your editorial calendar and release your promotional pieces on schedule.
24. Promote it in advance
You don’t have to wait until your lead magnet is finished to start promoting it. Announce in social media that you’re working on it. Tell your followers to be watching for your announcement on launch day.
25. Incorporate your blog
To promote your lead magnet organically, write a blog post on the same topic as your lead magnet. Or easier still, update an existing blog post. Offer the lead magnet at the top and bottom of the article, like this example from Backlinko:
26. Promote your lead magnet on your website
Promote your lead magnet in your website sidebar, on blog posts, in the footer, and anywhere else it makes sense. You never know where someone will land on your website. Make sure they’ll see your lead magnet from any page or blog post.
Tip: Consider an exit-intent pop-up, which comes up when visitors move their cursor off the page. Here’s an example by Conversion Sciences.
27. Advertise (optional)
The tips we’ve shared so far are designed to drive organic traffic. By that, we mean free traffic. But organic traffic can take a while to generate, and it’s not very targeted. If you have some budget to put into paid promotion, you’ll likely get better results.
Don’t just throw money at advertising. Make sure you’re advertising on the channels where your ideal customers are, so they’ll see your ads. Popular ad sites that work well are Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
How to follow up with prospects, so your lead magnet works
The real value of a lead magnet comes from the follow-up emails you send after someone signs up. If you give people a freebie, but don’t interact with them afterwards, they’ll forget all about you. So let’s look at how you can create a follow-up sequence that engages your audience and turns them into loyal fans.
Step 1: Send them to a thank-you page
Create a web page that confirms that you’ve received your prospect’s opt-in. On this page, you may give the link to your lead magnet. But you may choose to give them the link in their welcome email.
Either way, thank them for taking action, and tell them what to expect moving forward.
Tip: If you want to offer an upsell, do that on the thank you page. Below the thank-you message, introduce your upsell offer, its benefits, and how to get it.
Step 2: Add them to an email sequence
You want to begin engaging with your new subscribers right away. So make sure you create an email sequence that delivers the lead magnet and begins to build relationship with them.
This sequence will start with the thank you email. The second email may go out on Day 2 and the third on Day 3 or 4. Each should share interesting or valuable information, so your subscribers look forward to hearing from you. Now, let’s look at what goes into each of those emails.
How to craft effective email campaigns
A good follow-up email sequence is three to four emails long. Here’s a simple 4-email series that you could use for any lead magnet.
Delivery email. This is short and to-the-point. Thank your subscriber for signing up, and give them the URL to access your lead magnet.
Welcome and onboarding email. Tell them what to expect. Tease the insider information they’ll get in your next email.
Share an insider secret or fascinating story. Your goal is to train your new subscribers to open your emails. So make them as interesting and valuable as possible.
How can I help you? Tell your subscribers about your course or product. Explain how it will change their life. Include a link to your sales page.
Each of these emails should sound like you’re talking to a new friend. Keep them simple. Write like you talk.
Note: Don’t worry about templates. Just be yourself and aim to make a difference in your subscribers’ life.
Creating an effective lead magnet will not only build your email list, it will help you turn your subscribers into happy customers. But you need to be strategic. The tips we’ve shared here will help you create lead magnets that actually work.
So put them to work. Create your lead magnet today, and leverage Kajabi’s pre-built blueprints to start attracting your ideal clients in just a few clicks.