What is a lead magnet

What is a Lead Magnet? Your Introductory Guide


Gaining the attention of people on the web is a significant challenge these days.

Consumers online have endless options to choose from when it comes to deciding which companies they want to interact with, buy from, and more. On top of that, today’s brands are dealing with the challenge of rapidly shrinking attention spans.

Visitors spend an average of 15 seconds on your website.

The majority of those people will hit the back button, never to return.

So, how do you make sure that you can both acquire and convert the traffic that you earn?

The easiest option is to give your customers something that they want to subscribe to – something that they can see genuine value in — a lead magnet.

Here’s your guide to magnetizing your site with the right assets.

What is a Lead Magnet?

So, what are lead magnets, and why does your business need them.

Well, if you aim to grow an active email list in 2020, a lead magnet will help you to convince your audience that they should sign up to your list.

Lead magnets offer buyers a sufficient incentive in exchange for contact information.

Sometimes it’s an eBook, other times it’s a report, whitepaper or video.

Crucially, your lead magnet always needs to be something that’s genuinely appealing to your target audience.

An email address is a very personal thing. It gives you access to your customers wherever they are. As such, people aren’t just going to hand over their email address without an incentive.

Even if your customers love your brand, they won’t give you the key to their pockets easily.

A lead magnet is how you convince your customers that they’re giving you something of value in exchange for something useful in return.

It’s an equal exchange.

For instance, when Backlinko started offering customers a content upgrade in exchange for their email address, its subscriber rate jumped from 0.54% to 4.82%.

Backlinko lead magnet example

What Makes a Good Lead Magnet?

Now that you know the answer to “what is a lead magnet,” you need to know how to design an actually effective one.

Like a Call to Action, your lead magnet encourages your visitor to do something.

What’s more, just like a CTA, you need to optimize you’re your lead magnets to ensure that they connect with your target audience.

Because all customers are different, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for building the perfect lead magnet. However, there are a few things that you can do to improve your chances of creating something valuable. For instance:

  • Solve an actual problem for your audience: If you want people to opt-in to your offer, then you need to show them that you’re sharing something genuinely valuable. Take a look at your customer avatar, and ask yourself whether your lead magnet is giving your clients something that’s going to overcome a problem for them.
  • Provide a quick and easy win: Your lead magnet needs to promise and deliver smart solutions to your customer’s problems. Audiences want something fast and convenient on the web. They don’t want to hand over tons of information just to get a basic eBook. Make sure that you’re making the conversion easy.
  • Deliver the right balance of value: Depending on how much information you’re asking for from your audience, you need to provide something that gives more value in return. For instance, a customer will think it’s a no-brainer to give their email address in exchange for a free gift or a top 100 list. However, they won’t want to provide their name, contact details, and other information in exchange for a one-page blog that they could read elsewhere.
  • Make it instantly accessible: If you want your audience to fall in love with your brand after they’ve acquired your lead magnet, don’t make them sit around waiting for it. People love instant gratification. A download or something that you can email to your customer is a good idea.
  • Demonstrate your UVP: Finally, ideally, your lead magnet should be something that’s relevant to your company. It needs to show off your unique value proposition, and what makes you special. This will convince your audience to come back to you in the future. For instance, if you’re a social media marketing brand, a guide to social medial strategies will demonstrate your thought leadership, expertise, and ability to help clients.

Mulesoft lead magnet

MuleSoft designed a guide/report for its lead magnet. Why? Because it provided quick information that solved genuine problems for its audience. Additionally, it was easily downloadable, accessible, and demonstrated the company’s knowledge regarding SaaS apps:

How Do You Create a Lead Magnet?

Okay, you’ve got the basics down when it comes to understanding “what is a lead magnet” and how you can define a good one. Now, it’s time to begin building lead magnets of your own.

Lead magnets are very simple when you know how to create them. However, it is essential that you plan your decisions carefully. You need to ensure that you’re offering the right value to your target audience. This means:

Step 1: Know Your Audience

First and foremost, one of the biggest mistakes companies make when trying to convert visitors with lead magnets is attempting to attract to many people at once.

Just like you segment your email lists to ensure that you’re speaking the language of each individual customer, you should be targeting your lead magnet towards a specific group of people. Decide which persona is most important for you to convert right now and build your lead magnet around that.

For instance, BidSketch knew that some of its customers were agencies looking to connect with clients. As a result, it’s lead magnet focused on creating valuable proposals. There’s a quote from a happy customer above the request for an email address, and all you need is an email address, no credit card details required:

Bidsketch lead magnet

Combined with an email marketing tool (Drip), BidSketch used it’s lead magnet to earn 35,000 new subscribers in the first six months.

Step 2: Know Your Value Proposition

After you’ve successfully identified the kind of prospects you want to reach, you need to give them a reason to connect with you.

The best value propositions, as mentioned above, are the ones that offer genuine value in an easy-to-access format. Instead of trying to provide your customers with something that you think they might want, focus on delivering something that you know that they need.

For instance, Southwest Airlines knows that its customers are constantly searching for cheap deals on flights and trips. As such, it provides an easy way to “click n’ save” with discounts on journeys.

Southwest email lead magnet

Find an obvious problem that your customer needs to overcome, and use your copy to give clients exactly what they need.

Step 3: Choose Your Type of Lead Magnet Carefully

There’s a good chance that you already know what kind of lead magnet you’re going to offer. However, there are often several options to choose from, so it’s important to make sure that you think carefully about how you’re going to reach your audience. You might even decide to A/B test a number of different options, from eBooks to software downloads.

The first thing you need to do is to keep things simple. Complex lead magnets will distress your target audience and make it difficult for them to understand the benefits you’re offering.

Additionally, make sure you focus on your strengths as a brand. If you’re great at delivering amazing content, then it probably makes sense to design a video, tutorial, or even an eBook. For instance, David Siteman Garland created an all-access guide to promoting and profiting from online courses:

online course lead magnet

By sharing his expertise, David could give his clients something that they genuinely wanted, without having to seek extra outside help.

Remember, you can also consider things like cheat sheets, free trials of software, discounts, surveys, assessments, reports, and whitepapers too. The options are practically endless.

Step 4: Create and Measure

Finally, it’s time to design your lead magnet.

Remember to focus on your target audience every step of the way, and make sure that you’re delivering real value in exchange for the emails that you want.

For instance, Podcaster’s Paradise concentrated on providing customers with a way to monetize their own podcasts with a live webinar. Additionally, they encouraged the idea of FOMO (fear of missing out) by asking customers to “claim their spot”:

podcaster's paradise lead magnet

Once you’ve launched your lead magnet, ensure that it’s having the intended impact on your audience by measuring your click-throughs, conversion rates, and sign-up numbers. If you’re not driving the right results, ask yourself whether it might be time to try something new.

With so many lead magnet options to choose from, there’s no reason to stick with one that doesn’t work.

Go Forth and Get Magnetized

Effective lead generation is crucial for any business.

Well-designed and optimized lead magnets will help you to attract the kind of customers you need and build an email list that benefits your brand.

While it can be challenging to decide what kind of lead magnet you want to create, understanding the answer to “what is a lead magnet” will help you to move in the right direction.

Don’t miss the opportunity to bring more amazing customers and clients to your company. Get your lead magnets up and running today!



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