How to Create and Promote a Lead Magnet: The Ultimate Guide

Do you want to increase your list of email subscribers? One of the best ways in which you can do this is by offering a lead magnet. It simply means that you need to offer some valuable content in exchange for someone’s email address.

Lead Magnets are crucial to lead generation success and for creating effective Customer Value Optimization systems.

One reason why lead magnets are so common with lead generation and inbound marketing is because they work.

In this article, I’ll show you how to create a lead magnet that converts.

What is a Good Lead Magnet?

Lead magnets can be used to acquire, nurture, and convert prospects into buying customers. In simplest terms, a lead magnet is a bribe. It’s a free incentive given in exchange for potential customers’ email addresses. 

If the incentive is good enough, you could ask for even more information, such as name, address, phone number, and more. However, people put a high perceived value on their email addresses. They know that giving out their email addresses can lead to high volumes of unwanted email messages. 

Therefore, your lead magnets must be perceived by prospects as having an equal or greater value than their email addresses, or they won’t be willing to exchange their email addresses for your lead magnets.

A great lead magnet attracts a qualified audience of relevant consumers. Most of the lead magnets used by marketers today are forms of digital content, such as an ebook, checklist, worksheet, tutorial, template, or other lead-generating value-add. 

Many of the email marketing programs you create will start with a lead magnet, but those programs will fail if you’re not offering something your target audience wants enough to give you their contact information to get it.

Types of Lead Magnets

1. Useful Lead Magnets

Useful lead magnets are helpful. They help prospects solve a problem or ease a pain point. These lead magnets are created to help people save time, money, or effort because they address a problem or pain point and offer an actionable solution. That’s why useful lead magnets are often referred to as silver bullets. 

When someone needs help, a useful lead magnet gives them exactly what they need in a concise and easy-to-use format. In other words, the lead magnet does all the hard work for them. 

For example, an advertising agency might offer a tutorial to create a specific type of Facebook ad that is proven to drive results. Other examples include checklists, cheat sheets, templates, swipe files, and tutorials.

2. Meaningful Lead Magnets

Meaningful lead magnets elicit emotions. The vast majority of purchase decisions are based at least in part on emotions. Furthermore, establishing an emotional connection between prospects and your brand is one of the most powerful ways to move them through the marketing funnel. Relationships built on trust are a brand’s ultimate goal. 

Therefore, creating lead magnets that tap into prospect’s emotions can establish a strong connection between your audience and your brand. They have a meaning for consumers that transcends tangible results. 

For example, a life coach could offer a collection of journal prompts as a lead magnet. Other examples of meaningful lead magnets include videos, images, audio content, quotes, quizzes, and success stories.

3. Educational Lead Magnets

Educational lead magnets are highly practical. They provide practical steps and instructions to teach prospects how to accomplish specific tasks or develop strategies. Educational lead magnets are particularly useful in industries with long sales cycles, complex industries, and highly regulated industries. 

For example, most business owners don’t know how important it is to trademark their brand names. An intellectual property attorney could create a lead magnet that teaches entrepreneurs why they should trademark their brand names and how to do it. 

This type of lead magnet establishes the attorney as an expert in their field and helps to build trust between the attorney’s brand and prospects. Of course, educational lead magnets also indirectly promote your products or services because once prospects learn about a topic, your products or services are positioned perfectly to help them take the next steps to solve their problems or address their pain points. Other examples of educational lead magnets include ebooks, guides, courses, tutorials, reports, videos, and webinars.

4. Entertaining Lead Magnets

Entertaining lead magnets do exactly what the name implies. They entertain people. Entertaining lead magnets are enjoyable and are used to nurture prospects by strengthening their relationships with your brand. 

While not appropriate for every industry, they are very effective in a variety of industries, such as travel, fashion, and personal coaching. For example, a hair salon could send prospects a quiz to determine the best haircut for them. Other examples of entertaining lead magnets include quizzes, videos, images, cartoons, and contests.

5. Sales Lead Magnets

Sales lead magnets are created with a single purpose—to convert leads at the bottom of the marketing funnel into buying customers. To that end, they’re focused directly on a lead’s specific problem or pain point and make it obvious that the solution is your products or services without being overly self-promotional. 

While it’s less common to use lead magnets to acquire leads at the bottom of the funnel, the buyer journey isn’t always linear. That means prospects who are close to making a buying decision could find your brand and business when they’ve already reached the last steps of the buyer journey. 

40 Examples of Lead Magnet You Can Create

  1. Checklist 
  2. Worksheet 
  3. Workbook 
  4. Cheat sheet 
  5. Ebook 
  6. Webinar 
  7. Timeline 
  8. Mini video course 
  9. Template 
  10. Calendar 
  11. Recipe 
  12. Swipe file 
  13. White paper 
  14. Video 
  15. Resource list 
  16. Plan or planner 
  17. Tutorial 
  18. Sample files or documents 
  19. Report 
  20. Infographic 
  21. Case study 
  22. Spreadsheet 
  23. How-to guide 
  24. Toolkit 
  25. Contest/giveaway 
  26. Discount or coupon code 
  27. Free trial 
  28. Free demonstration 
  29. Free coaching or consulting session 
  30. Audio content 
  31. Images 
  32. Quotes or quote collections 
  33. Email course 
  34. Free sample box 
  35. Script 
  36. PDF version of a popular blog post 
  37. Transcript of an interview or podcast 
  38. Presentation 
  39. Scorecard 
  40. Resource library subscription

4 Best Types of Tools & Resources for Creating Lead Magnets

Once you know what your lead magnet will be, it’s time to create it. Don’t sacrifice quality for price or time. The quality of your lead magnet plays a critical part in the perception of your brand that is created in people’s minds when they access it. This perception will directly affect their desire to engage with your brand or buy from your business in the future. 

First impressions matter a lot, so hire an experienced copywriter and a great designer to create your lead magnet for you if you can afford it. If your budget is too tight to get professional help, there are tools available that will enable you to create your own lead magnets. Following are some recommendations to get you started.

1. Design Tools

Each of the tools listed below are free, offer free trials, or are available at affordable costs.

  • Canva is easy to use and includes many free images and icons that you can include in your checklist, worksheet, cheat sheet, ebook, and other lead magnet designs. 
  • Stencil is also easy to use and offers a large number of icons you can use. 
  • PicMonkey is not only easy to use, but it also offers a variety of unique effects that you can apply to your text and images to make them stand out. 
  • is an excellent free tool for Windows users as an alternate to the pricey Photoshop software from Adobe. 
  • Gimp is another free alternative to Photoshop, which both Windows and Mac users can use. 
  • Inkscape is a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator for Windows, Mac, and Linux users.

When you choose images, fonts, and icons to use in your lead magnet designs, be sure to read the licensing information. The license explains exactly what you can use an image, font, or icon for and if you need to provide attribution to the owner in your design. You don’t want to violate any copyright laws, so err on the side of caution when it comes to using other people’s work in your designs.

2. Image, Icon, and Font Sources

Following are a variety of websites where you can find free and affordable images, icons, and fonts for your lead magnet designs. 

  • Bigstock offers a large selection of royalty-free images you can use in your lead magnets without worrying about infringing on other people’s copyrights. 
  • PhotoSpin offers fewer images than Bigstock but with a lower subscription price tag. 
  • Creative Market is a website where creative people offer their own images, fonts, icons, and more for sale. 
  • Iconmonster is a great site to find simple icons for your lead magnet designs. 
  • MyFonts offers a large selection of fonts you can use in your lead magnet designs.

3. Infographic and Visualization Tools

Infographics and data visualizations look complex, but you can create them with the right tools. Here are some to try: 

  • Visme makes it easy to create amazing looking infographics, presentations, charts, graphics, and reports using a variety of templates. 
  • Piktochart offers templates to create infographics, reports, and printables. 
  • Venngage offers templates to create infographics, reports, posters, promotional materials, and social media visuals. 
  • Creately makes it easy for you to create great-looking diagrams, Gantt charts, flowcharts, and more. 
  • MindMeister is a tool to create visually appealing mind maps.

4. Video and Audio Tools

Creating video and audio content requires a few different types of tools, including recording and editing software, such as Camtasia or Screencast-O-Matic, a video camera, and a microphone. 

You also need somewhere to host your video and audio content where people can play it back. Since these files are usually very large, it’s best not to host them on your own website hosting account. Instead, use a third-party video host, such as YouTube, Vimeo, or Dailymotion. If your budget allows it, you can host your videos using Wistia, which includes built-in lead-generation tools that integrate with most popular email marketing providers’ tools.

How To Create and Promote A Lead Magnet in 5 Steps

Creating a successful lead magnet doesn’t need to take a lot of time. In fact, simple checklists and cheat sheets that take less than 30 minutes to create are often some of the most successful lead magnets for acquiring new leads at the top of the marketing funnel and nurturing leads in the middle of the marketing funnel. 

They’re easily consumable and immediately actionable. What’s not to love? Ebooks, white papers, guides, and other lead magnets that take longer to create can be just as successful, but you need to consider your goals, your target audience, and their immediate needs to determine which type of lead magnet will deliver the best results.

Think of it this way: A lead at the top of the funnel who has never heard of your brand, products, or services is far more likely to give you their email address to enter a contest, access a free template, or download a swipe file that will save them time and effort than they are to sign up for a webinar or download a case study. 

You need to start to build a relationship and trust in your brand before you can expect someone to schedule an hour of their time with you for a webinar or be interested enough in your products and services to read a case study. 

These types of lead magnets are usually more effective for nurturing leads in the middle of the funnel and converting leads at the bottom of the funnel. This isn’t always the case. A checklist could be a great lead magnet for prospects at the bottom of the funnel, or a webinar could be successful when used to acquire leads at the top of the funnel. 

Most importantly, lead magnets can attract new prospect to all parts of the marketing funnel depending on where a prospect is in the buyer journey. They can also be used to attract existing leads on your email list to different parts of the marketing funnel. 

For example, they could be used to pull a prospect from the top of the funnel to the middle or from the middle of the funnel to the bottom. The lead magnet you use depends entirely on your goals and audience.

Step 1: Choose Your Lead Magnet

The first step is to pick a lead magnet to offer to prospective customers. That means you need to know who your target audience is and what they need so you create a lead magnet that they’ll actually want. Start by asking yourself these three questions: 

  1. What problem or pain point does my target audience have? 
  2. What can I teach my target audience that will make things easier or better for them, or what can I give them that will make them happier? 
  3. Are my products or services relevant to this problem or pain point, and can my target audience solve this problem or pain point with my products or services?

Once you answer these three questions, think of ways to solve your target audience’s problem through content that you provide in a lead magnet. 

For example, if a massage therapist’s target audience has a problem with back pain from sitting at their computers all day, they could offer a video lead magnet with exercises to alleviate that specific pain or a shopping list filled with natural herbs and essential oils that can be used to ease back pain.

Once you think you’ve selected your lead magnet, ask yourself these five questions:

  1. Does my target audience want this? 
  2. Does my lead magnet provide a tangible benefit or result for my target audience? 
  3. Will my target audience be satisfied when they receive this lead magnet? Is its value worth the perceived value people put on their email addresses? 
  4. Does this lead magnet present my brand and business as trustworthy, helpful, and knowledgeable rather than self-promotional? 
  5. Does this lead magnet solve my target audience’s problem or pain point, giving actionable information that makes their lives easier, better, or happier?

Your answers to these questions will tell you whether you’ve chosen the right lead magnet or if you need to start over. 

Now, let’s back up and consider the five aforementioned types of lead magnets you can choose from: useful (helpful), meaningful (emotional), educational (practical), entertaining (enjoyable), and sales (profitable). Depending on your target audience and where prospects are in your overall marketing funnel, the lead magnet you choose to create will vary.

Rather than missing the opportunity to connect with them, a sales lead magnet can delay their final purchase decision by adding your products or services to the evaluation process. 

Ultimately, they might choose your brand over the others they’ve been considering, but you’d lose that sale if you hadn’t tried to connect with them in the final stages of their purchase process. 

For example, a photographer could offer a deep discount on wedding packages as a lead magnet to highly targeted audiences at the bottom of the funnel. Other examples of effective sales lead magnets include white papers, ebooks, reports, free trials, free demonstrations, guides, case studies, coupon codes, and free coaching or consulting sessions.

Step 2: Design Your Landing Page and Opt-in Forms

With your lead magnet ready, it’s time to give it a home online—a place where you can send prospects to learn about it and provide their email addresses to access it. Depending on your goals for your lead magnet and how you plan to promote it, you might be able to create one or more opt-in forms, which you can display in multiple places on your website. 

For example, if you’re offering a content upgrade to people who read a specific blog post on your website, then an inline, pop-up, or lightbox opt-in form would be perfect choices. When someone visits that blog post, they’ll see your opt-in form, learn about your lead magnet, and have the option to easily request it.

Sometimes, your lead magnet will need its own web page, so you have a URL to send people to learn about it and request it. For example, if you’re advertising a free ebook using Facebook ads, you need to include a URL with the ad that people can click on to learn more and opt in to receive it. In that case, you should create a landing page for your lead magnet. 

A landing page is a special type of web page that is dedicated to promoting one specific thing, such as a lead magnet. Lead magnet landing pages are filled with promotional messages and useful information about the lead magnet so visitors are motivated to submit their email addresses to download the lead magnet. They’re visually appealing and devoid of extraneous links and information that detract from the page’s single purpose of promoting the lead magnet.

If you’re able to design and code web pages or have the budget to hire a professional to develop landing pages for you, then you’re all set. Otherwise, you can use an affordable landing page tool to create professional-looking landing pages.

Your landing pages should include an opt-in form for lead generation. If you’re using landing pages for sales conversion goals, then you might want to include a button or link with a strong call to action on your landing page that leads visitors to another page (such as an online shopping cart) where they can complete that action (such as making a purchase).

To develop your actual landing pages, you need to understand how to create designs and content that make people want your lead magnet enough to submit your opt-in form to get it. 

Step 3: Set up an Email Automation to Deliver Your Lead Magnet

With your lead magnet created and your landing page published, it’s time to create an automated delivery sequence to go with it. Specifically, you need to create a sequence of messages to deliver the lead magnet to people who request it and then follow up with those people after the lead magnet has been delivered. 

Your lead magnet email sequence should be scheduled to send the first message with a link to download the lead magnet as soon as someone submits the opt-in form. This message should thank the person for requesting the lead magnet, and it can provide any details they need to download and use it immediately. 

Two to three days later, a second message should be sent automatically as part of this email sequence. This message can vary depending on the action taken by the subscriber when they received the first message. 

If they clicked the link and downloaded the lead magnet, they should get a message asking if they have questions or need additional help. If they didn’t click the link, this message should remind them what they’re missing out on by not using the lead magnet.

A few days later, a third message can go out with another useful piece of information related to the content in the lead magnet. You can also include links to relevant resources on your website, such as blog posts or other content. 

The key is to continue offering them useful, meaningful information to nurture the relationship. About a week later, you could send a final message reminding them that you’re available if they have questions or need help. 

For people who haven’t downloaded the ebook, you could remind them of the benefits one more time. After this email sequence ends, make sure these new subscribers are included in your email newsletter and other email campaigns in the future.

Step 4: Promote Your Lead Magnet

If no one knows your lead magnet exists, no one will opt in to receive it. You need to promote your lead magnet on your blog (write a blog post about it and include a link to it at the end of all your new blog posts), your social media posts, and any content you write for other websites. Investing in digital advertising can significantly affect your lead magnet conversions. 

Facebook ads are particularly effective since targeting is so useful, but Google AdWords and other ad networks can also be successful. Don’t just promote your lead magnet once and never mention it again. 

Only a small percentage of your target audience will see your messages, posts, and ads the first time you promote it. Instead, you need to talk about it and invest in online advertising multiple times to truly drive traffic to it and motivate a large number of people to request it.

You can also promote your lead magnet through your social media profiles by creating special cover photos for your profiles and pages on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and so on that hype the lead magnet and show the URL to your landing page. 

Another idea is to hype the lead magnet at the beginning of your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn bios and About sections along with the URL to your landing page. If you participate in online forums or Facebook or LinkedIn Groups where your target audience spends time, include a link to your lead magnet in your relevant comments or your own signature block. 

If you answer questions on and your lead magnet is relevant to one of your answers, include a link to it within your answer or at least in your bio. You can also reach out to your social media communities and online influencers you know who have the eyes and ears of your target audience and ask them to share the link to your landing page with their online connections. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your promotional efforts.

Step 5: Track Your Results

If you’ve integrated your landing page, opt-in forms, Google Analytics (or the website analytics tool of your choice), your online advertising, and your email marketing tool, then tracking the results of your lead magnet and associated marketing campaigns to promote your lead magnet isn’t difficult. 

You want to focus on which marketing investments are driving the most traffic to your landing page and which are resulting in the most opt-ins for your lead magnet. You also want to track the ratio of your landing page visitors to opt-ins and the ratio of opt-ins to the number of people who clicked the link in your delivery email message and downloaded the lead magnet. Look for conversion rates at each step and the cost to acquire each of your leads.

Conducting A/B split testing of your opt-in forms, landing pages, ads, and so on will help you improve results along the way rather than waiting until you’ve invested a lot of money in advertising to discover that the lead magnet isn’t working, the landing page needs to be revised, or your ads are ineffective. 

Final Words

With your lead magnet, landing page, and opt-in forms ready to go, it’s time to focus on creating email marketing funnels to acquire, nurture, and convert leads to customers. You do this by creating specific email marketing funnels or automated sequences (also called automations) that generate leads to build your email marketing list, build relationships with leads already on your email marketing list, and convince leads on your list to buy from you.

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