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Lead magnets help you generate leads and get more subscribers for your business.

This article makes a deep dive into the following questions:

  • What is a lead magnet?
  • How do lead magnets work?
  • How to plan and create great lead magnets?
  • What are some lead magnet ideas and examples?
  • How to promote lead magnets and capture leads?

Take notes for creating lead magnets of your own!

What Is A Lead Magnet?

A lead magnet is an item of value that helps you capture leads for your business online. It can also be defined as the first step in your lead generation process.

lead magnet attracts leads

For many brands, this means growing an email list that enables them to nurture leads further.

In practice, a lead magnet can be a valuable resource or benefit that people get in exchange for giving you their contact information like email address. We will go over different types of lead magnets later in this article.

Magnet is a very suitable term for this tactic, as the items attract your potential customers like an actual magnet attracts iron.

A lead magnet has many purposes:

  1. Attracting organic search traffic.
  2. Capturing the email addresses of prospective buyers. 
  3. Sparking interest in your products or services. 
  4. Establishing thought leadership and brand awareness.

In a best-case scenario, the lead is so impressed that wants to purchase your product right away.

How Do Lead Magnets Work?

Lead magnets bring value to your audience, and in exchange for the value, you get their email addresses or other contact information.

This enables you to keep in touch with the leads and nurture them further down the sales funnel.

Here’s how they work in practice:

  1. Your potential lead comes across your website or ad.
  2. You promote your lead magnet on the website or the ad.
  3. The potential lead decides to get the item and provides contact information in exchange.
  4. You deliver the item to the given email address, phone number, app, or other channels.
  5. The lead enjoys the magnet and you have the opportunity to nurture this lead with e.g. email marketing.
  6. In the end, the interactions might lead to purchases.

Lead magnets are often also called gated content. It means that the content is not openly available, but behind a “gate” that opens when you submit your contact details.

exchange valuable content for lead's contact details

Planning the Lead Magnet

It’s important to plan your lead magnets well so that you attract the right kind of leads. Having a large email list that does not result in any sales is in vain.

There are many things to take into consideration when designing a perfect lead magnet that actually converts.

Customer Persona and Their Pain Points

When you want to get results from your lead magnets, you must create them from your actual customers.

Who are those people? What do they want or need? What kind of pain points do they have in their life? How can you help them?

Maybe your customer persona is a busy mom with hectic routines who is looking for something that eases their daily workload.

Perhaps you are targeting people who would be interested in changing their lifestyle in a healthier direction.

Or, is your target audience business owners who are looking to accelerate their digital marketing?

align your lead magnets with customer personas

Desired Action or Next Step

Maybe your main focus is on growing your contact list, but take some time to think about how to leverage the magnet further.

If you are going to spend time creating a great resource, why not make it into a sales generator, too?

What do you want the customer to do next? How should they feel after consuming your materials?

Not an ideal reaction: “That was a nice read. Oh well, time to move on! I’ll just remove myself from this email newsletter I had to sign up for.”

The desired reaction: “This convinced me to look more into this company. I must know more!”

Stage of the Funnel

Some magnets work better at the top of the funnel, while others are suitable for the bottom of the funnel.

You don’t have to use just one magnet. You can design a new one for each stage of the funnel.

For example, a guide might be a good lead magnet for the ToFu, while a discount is BoFu stuff. 

Lead Magnet Ideas to Grow Your Email List

Next, I’ll introduce some lead magnet ideas and effective lead magnet examples from real life.

I have divided the list into different types of lead magnets: monetary, informational, useful, and entertaining.

Monetary Lead Magnets

Monetary lead magnets are something that your audience would have to pay for unless they give their contact information.

Who could resist discounted or free stuff? It’s a win-win: you get to collect leads and the leads get something for less money.

Discount codes

“Sign up for our newsletter and get 10% off!”

That’s a classic lead magnet and you have probably encountered it many times.

Here’s one example:

On top of the actual discount, the copy has a significant impact.

This specific example affects visitors in three ways:

  1. “Shhh…” The pop-up makes us think this offer is a secret discount for only a few chosen people when in reality it’s probably meant for all visitors.
  2. “Signup Now!” creates urgency. You can’t get back to the offer later, so you have to seize the opportunity.
  3. “Get 20% off!” It’s hard to resist a discounted prize.

Lottery

A lottery can be a great way of collecting new contacts for your list, but be careful choosing the right prizes.

The prize must have a clear target group that also aligns with your ideal customers. Otherwise, you will end up collecting low-quality leads.

Lottery prize Do’s and Don’ts:

It’s a no from me:Go for these:
ElectronicsYour products
Generic gift cardsYour services
Travel gift cardsConsultation with you
Random product prizesSomething else directly relevant to your business

Free Samples

When customers buy something from you, top it off with gifts.

If you are a hairdresser or tattoo artist, give your new customers a related product as a freebie after the first transaction.

Present this offer in advance to attract new customers.

For example, the beauty brand Sephora offers free samples, but only for paying customers.

Free Trial or Freemium Plan

Free trials and freemium plans are the equivalents of free samples for a software company.

Free trial is almost a standard practice these days, so you might not even think of it as a lead magnet. 

It is often an essential part of a SaaS sales funnel. Few people are interested in paying for a product they don’t know that well yet.

Freemium plans are also common. They are versions of the software that have limited features compared to paid plans. If users enjoy them, they will likely upgrade at some point.

You can accelerate that process by producing well-planned, product-led email content for your freemium users.

Free Demo or Consultation

If your expertise is your product, it’s a good idea to offer free consultations. 

It not only gives a chance for you to figure out if the client’s goals align with what you have to provide, but it also functions as a great lead magnet.

It’s quite unlikely that unqualified leads would be asking for your time, as a meeting would take up their time, too.

However, don’t give too much of your time for free! 

Define a duration for the meeting, such as 15 to 30 minutes, and don’t extend it. Keep a plan for what you want to learn and achieve during the meeting.

You could even do like this eyewear company has done, and make the free consultation only a deal for paying customers:

Quote

A free pricing quote is an interesting lead magnet that has its pros and cons. It works well in the B2B field, but consumers don’t necessarily like it.

Many people, including myself, ignore companies that don’t speak about their pricing openly. On the other hand, a business client might see an opportunity for negotiation.

Requesting a quote from a company signals that the lead is likely very interested in the service. Thus, this tactic provides you with qualified leads.

Informational Lead Magnets

Informational lead magnets offer a sneak peek into your expertise. They are free resources that teach something to your potential clients.

The purpose of informational lead magnets is to offer basic knowledge about your field of expertise and build thought leadership.

When people start connecting you with a specific topic, you will be the first one they turn to when in need of assistance.

They can also motivate potential clients to start using your product or service.

Guides

Guides are comprehensive documents that instruct people to do something by themselves.

For example, if you are an email marketing company, you might create a guide on effective email campaigns.

Leads can access guides by giving the email address to which the guide is sent.

Webinars

Webinars are a growing market, and marketers view them as an effective way to generate leads.

Of course, organizing and promoting webinars is a lot of work, but when successful, they can bring you brand awareness and qualified leads.

Use the registration process as a method for collecting leads.

Pssst… Trustmary collects feedback from your webinar guests and helps you promote the next one! Check it out 👇

Podcasts

Podcasts are another popular way to build thought leadership and establish your status as an expert in your field.

One example of quality and niche podcasts is Authority Hackers. Their podcast dives into SEO and offers valuable information.

After listening to their podcast, I would likely purchase one of their courses if I was looking for a course on the topic.

Online Courses

Online courses can be lots of work, and you need to evaluate carefully how much you are willing to offer for free.

One tactic would be to offer the first lesson of a course as a lead magnet, and only paying customers could study the rest of it.

This fitness coach organized a Christmas calendar where she shared various stretch and mobility moves each day for free:

White Papers or Original Research

Customers, especially business clients, are hungry for data. If you are about to purchase something big, you want proof that it truly works.

White papers are extensive reports on a specific topic. They explore the background of phenomena and present data and statistics.

You could also conduct original research on a topic that is closely related to your business.

Case Studies

Just like white papers and research papers, case studies present actual results from a real client.

When collecting leads with case studies, you need to promote the content by putting the sharpest edge forward. 

Get the most impressive numbers and results from the case, make them into a luring headline and ask readers to submit their email addresses if they want to read the whole story.

Pro tip: you can also make case studies in video form, which makes the easier to digest and consume.

Newsletter

Even though lead magnets are often used to get people sign up to your newsletter, sometimes the newsletter itself can work as a lead magnet.

However, you need to be quite an authoritative actor in the field, or publish original and thorough content if you want people to find your newsletter interesting and valuable enough.

Creating a newsletter with high actual value demands great content marketing skills, true expertise, and effort.

E-Book

Finally, an e-book is a broader information resource. You can combine all previous content types into an e-book.

Make sure that the content you share in the e-book actually results in qualified leads and even sales. Otherwise, you have done all the work for little profit.

Useful Lead Magnets

Useful resources are hands-on materials that help your leads do or organize their daily tasks.

Once again, remember that these resources should reflect your business and what you have to offer.

Checklists

Checklists help leads to keep track of actions they should take for a certain project. You only include a short description of the actions, and leave room for curiosity.

Let’s say you create an SEO checklist. Once the lead sees how many steps an SEO strategy includes, they might realize that they need your help to complete the checklist.

Templates

When you do something well, you can use your knowledge to craft templates that help potential leads achieve similar results.

Once they notice how well your templates work, they might feel intrigued to purchase your product or service.

Cheat Sheets

A cheat sheet is a document that includes notes and instructions in a concise format. It saves your leads time, as they don’t have to learn everything from scratch.

Printables

If applicable to your business, you can create digital materials that your customers can print.

Such things could be e.g. a calendar, a to-do list, or a note sheet.

Toolkit

A toolkit can include multiple resources from the above list.

Combine a checklist with a guide, and add a printable to-do list. You have a toolkit.

You might even throw in a free trial with your software tool.

Here’s what Element Three’s marketing toolkit includes:

Online Community

One way to collect email addresses is to grant access to different relevant online communities.

One of the most popular platforms today is Slack, but Facebook groups could work as well, especially for smaller businesses.

Make sure your online community is generating actual value for the leads. It could revolve around your products or services, or be based on sharing knowledge.

Encourage user-generated content like customer reviews, images, videos, discussions, and questions.

One of the companies successfully leveraging communities is Superpath:

Entertaining Lead Magnets

Finally, let’s look into entertaining lead magnets.

These tactics might best work in consumer marketing.

Videos

While videos can be informational and useful, I’ve placed them in this category. After all, videos aren’t as heavy to consume as text.

Lead magnet videos can be tutorials, funny short films, or recordings of webinars and other events. Whatever works best for your company and generates qualified leads!

Provide a short snippet that catches the attention of your potential customers, and lets them gain access to the full video in exchange for contact information.

Quizzes

A quite common marketing tactic is to provide a free quiz about a relevant topic.

If you are a cosmetics brand, you might create a quiz that asks about the lead’s skincare concerns. If you are a dog shelter, you might quiz the customer’s personality and what kind of pet would suit them.

When the potential lead has completed the quiz, they must submit an email address which the results of the quiz are sent to.

Voilá! You have a contact.

Here’s an extract from Florence by Mills:

Games

If you have lots of resources that you can allocate towards creating a personalized game for your brand, why not test it out?

Another question is how many qualified leads it brings you.

If you sell games, maybe it can be beneficial to you in terms of new customers. If you are a B2B company selling expert services, not so much.

In the best case scenario, a fun game can still boost your visibility and brand awareness.

Challenges and Competitions

Sometimes a fun challenge or competition can bring you more leads.

If you are a fitness brand, why not launch a 7-day or 30-day training challenge? In case you are branding a certain lifestyle, you could create a challenge where people test out your principles for a set time.

You get extra benefits if you encourage people to share their challenges by making social media posts.

For example, the non-profit organization Veganuary raises awareness and collects potential patrons with a one-month-long vegan challenge.

Use Trustmary to Promote Your Magnets and Capture Leads

Trustmary’s lead generation widgets are a great way to promote your lead magnets and capture the lead’s contact information.

They are packed with social proof, as you can add customer testimonials and reviews to accelerate conversions.

The lead generation widgets can be added to your website by using one simple code snippet, and the pop-ups are configured for specific pages in the Trustmary app.

Forms

Trustmary’s lead generation forms can be personalized to fit your brand and collect a prospect’s contact information.

They are easy to set up on your website or landing page and turn your page into a lead-generating machine.

With a lead generation form, you can help potential customers request pricing information or express interest in your product or service.

Here’s one stylish example of lead gen form loaded with social proof:

Chatbots

Let your potential customers talk with a smartly sequenced chatbot.

The benefits of having a chatbot include

  • Personalized customer experience
  • Conversational lead generation
  • 24/7 availability
  • Instant responses

The above features are important for a contemporary customer, who values personalization and instant gratification.

Here’s an example of what kind of chatbot you could create with Trustmary:

Read further tips on designing your lead generation chatbot.

CTA

Trustmary includes various Call To Action widgets spanning from simple designs to forms with images or video.

Here’s one way to use a CTA widget:

Pop-ups

One option to promote your lead magnets are various pop-ups.

You can choose a smaller CTA bar pop-up, or opt for a full-screen exit intent pop-up.

Conclusion and Next Steps

What comes to creating effective lead magnets, only your imagination is the limit.

However, remember a few principles:

  1. The lead magnet must have a high perceived value for your ideal customer. Thus, remember to analyze the needs and interests of your target audience.
  1. Make sure that the lead magnet motivates the lead to take the desired action, like signing up for a newsletter. Offer an easy way for the lead to complete the action.
  1. Some type of lead magnet is better for the top of the funnel, while others work best for the bottom of the funnel. Consider what is the right lead magnet for each situation.
  1. Finally, make sure that the ROI of your lead magnet is at a sufficient level. It makes no sense to create an elaborate branded game if it does not generate lots of high-quality leads and even sales.

Ease your workload by using one smart platform for promoting your lead magnets.

Trustmary is a tool that includes lead generation forms, pop-ups, widgets, and chatbots. They help you promote the materials and collect potential leads’ contact information.

The special thing about Trustmary is that you get to collect and utilize social proof in your lead generation efforts

Customer reviews accelerate conversions and help website visitors trust your company. When you show customer reviews next to your lead gen forms or CTAs, you can gain more leads.

Book a meeting with us to discuss your options further 👇

Further Reading

FAQ

What are lead magnets?

A lead magnet is a valuable resource that you can use to collect leads. They are free of charge but require the potential leads’ to leave you their contact information. This way you can grow your email list or list of potential clients, and the potential client gets something of value: informational, useful, monetary, or entertaining.

How do lead magnets work?

Lead magnets turn website visitors into leads. It is a transaction between you and your potential client: they give you their contact details and you give them something helpful for free.

How to create a lead magnet?

Creating a lead magnet requires knowledge of what your potential customers would find so valuable that they would exchange their information for it. A lead magnet should solve a particular problem for your leads and also convince them about your expertise. In practice, lead magnets can come in various forms. I recommend you look into different types of lead magnets, choose the best fit, and then start researching how to create one.

What are some lead magnet examples?

Some examples of popular lead magnets are e.g. a free guide, a discounted price, an educational video, an online course, a cheat sheet, a free sample, or a free download.