Lead magnets have been around for decades and they continue to play an important role in helping marketers to generate leads. Essentially, a lead magnet gives a user something free in return for their details, along with permission for you to send them content. The ultimate aim is to push them along the sales cycle to purchase.

The best lead magnets offer visitors something that’s exclusive, valuable, and highly relevant to their pain points.

Lead magnets offer a great way to start a new customer relationship. But only if they’re easy for visitors to engage with and help them to achieve what they were promised.

If your lead magnet isn’t enticing or doesn’t promise to provide something new and unique, visitors won’t be prepared to give up their email addresses. And if, when they download your lead magnet, they’re disappointed, they’ll forever feel duped by your brand.

How do lead magnets work?

Everyone likes to get things for free – be that a gift voucher, money-off coupon, virtual number, or eBook. So, lead magnets leverage the ‘power of free’ to start a relationship with visitors. But, not all lead magnets have the same power.

An effective lead magnet can generate 20 % opt in rates while a poor one could reap you just a 3% opt in rate.

Now you’re asking how to get an opt in rate of 20%, aren’t you? Read on, to find out. In this post, we’ll outline eight ways to use lead magnets to turn strangers into loyal customers. As well as suggesting some lead magnet examples you might choose to adopt.

1. Make sure your content resonates with your target audience

Say your lead magnet, e.g. a digital eBook on mobile marketing, isn’t flying off the digital shelves when launched. That will generally be because there’s a mismatch between what your audience is interested in and your marketing collateral.

Make sure you target the right audience. When you target too broad a segment, your lead magnet invitation will end up in front of people who aren’t interested. Iron out your strategy through internal communication tools and create buyer personas for your different customers so you can work out what’s going to be valuable to them.

How to select the perfect topic and format for your target audience

For some companies, finding the perfect topic for your lead magnet is easy. For example, if you’re giving away a demo or free trial of your only product or have a pre-configured guide you know is in high demand. But for most businesses, choosing the perfect topic takes time and effort.

Firstly, you need to establish the right format for your target market – be that a checklist, free tool, or educational video. And you’ll need to establish how you’re going to deliver your lead magnet; e.g. via clickable PDF or image file.

If you’re creating a 30 page eBook, will it be read by your target audience? If your ideal customer is a busy CEO or stay at home parent, will they have time to read it? Probably not. In which case, you should consider developing a lead magnet that they can more easily consume.

Be realistic about your strengths when creating content. Will you have time to interview former clients or translate data into a fascinating story? Do you have someone – e.g. a graphic designer – to help turn your story into a case study?

To find out what your target market is reading, head to Kindle Marketplace. Look for the best-sellers in your particular category. For instance, if you are a nutritionist, you will come up with this:

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From this, you can see ‘five life forces’ and ‘veganism’ are top sellers. So writing around these themes fits with current trends.

As well as looking externally for content ideas, use your internal data to identify what your target audience is interested in. Google Analytics can tell you which of your website pages are the most popular and give you insights into the content that resonates well with your visitors.

Identify your top landing pages to see which page most visitors are attracted to from referred sources. Also look to your best performing blog posts for content ideas, and find out which have the longest visitor times on site or the most comments.

The same goes for social media. Review your stats regularly to find which topics people are gravitating towards. Then, spend time on forums to find out what else is interesting to your customers.

2. Team up with a virtual event platform

Live or pre-recorded video presentations are useful lead magnet examples as they position you as an expert in your field. They’ve become even more popular now that so many employees are working remotely. By offering real learning opportunities to your site visitors you will increase the chances of them considering buying from you. Take webinars as a prime example:

  • Webinars work best in terms of opt-in rates when they’re advertised for a limited time only.
  • Host your webinar on social networks or on your home page – add a link to a landing page with full details and a place for viewers to sign up.
  • Partner with an SaaS event platform to boost ROI, by allowing attendees to view on demand and chat once sessions have finished.
  • Choosing an online events platform also helps to keep your content evergreen. And allows you to track metrics closely, which is helpful for following up on your webinar. Knowing the data will also help you plan your future webinars for optimum engagement and lead generation.

Here’s a great example of a lead magnet webinar from Podcaster’s Paradise:

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In this lead magnet example, the presenter, John Lee Dumas illustrates how podcasts can benefit a business and teaches them the basics. At the end, there’s an upsell for further information that goes into greater detail along with a forum to sign up to.

Webinars don’t have to be long affairs – you can use a blog post as a springboard to a live talk. For example, if you’ve written an article about GDPR, convert it into a PowerPoint presentation that you can share on a file sharing app. Then deliver it via a live video conferencing platform, adding helpful visuals and a voiceover to provide extra insights that viewers couldn’t get from the blog post.

As well as inviting people to listen/watch, use their email address to solicit questions from them during the webinar and score those who speak up as more qualified leads. Then, after the event you can follow up leads to nurture them further.

Make sure to be clear on the date of your webinar when you’re promoting it via your CTA.

3. Add a subscriber count to establish credibility

If you’re offering a lead magnet, such as a newsletter on remote networking, tell people what you’ll be covering in the newsletter and how often they’ll receive it.

Another good idea is to add a subscriber count to establish credibility in the minds of potential subscribers. Someone’s more likely to sign up, if they think lots of people are already reaping the benefits, and they’re missing out.

And to make sure your lead magnet will really hit the mark, take a look at your existing high performing content. If you have a blog or slideshare presentation that really engaged readers, repurpose it into downloadable content, such as an eBook.

4. Think about where to place your lead magnet

In general, a sensible place to put your lead magnet is on your blog posts. Readers of these have already indicated they are interested in your content – especially if it’s long form. Put the opt-in in text only, expanding on what your reader is already looking at. Many people ignore pop-ups but read the text linking to your opt-in.

Promote your lead magnet by offering it as a content upgrade within the post. Your lead magnet will probably contain more in-depth content and information than your blog post. So, readers will be able to find out more about your topic by upgrading.

For example, if your lead magnet is a Tip Sheet with 10 collaboration tools for business, share five of these within the post and ask for a visitor’s email in return for receiving the rest.

These lead magnet examples are prime candidates for sharing on social media where you can get more free traffic. Share a link with a teaser text and optimised image on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media sites frequented by your target audience. You could also create multiple tweets or pins that point to your landing page.

Before you share your lead magnet on social media networks, ensure your website features your opt in in prominent places. Consider placing your lead magnet at the top of your pages, i.e. above the fold, in the footer, or in the sidebar. If your blog uses a sidebar, a square image or vertical Pinterest style image might be the most suitable style for your opt-in.

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You could also use a slide-in, which is less obstructive than a pop-up. Or, show your opt-in message as people are leaving your site, as they try to close the page. This won’t disturb visitors but it will remind them to sign up before they go – it’s an opportunity to grab their full attention.

Offering a lead magnet can also be a successful part of your guest posting strategy. Try offering the freebie in your guest author bio for best results.

5. Offer your pricing details as a lead magnet

This may seem counterintuitive, but providing pricing details in return for customer emails can be an effective way to improve lead generation. People are keen to find out what companies charge. They are generally happier to buy from companies that are upfront about pricing. That’s as they can see whether a product or service is affordable or not.

This tactic is particularly suitable for service companies, where pricing differs between competitors. These lead magnet examples can be put on your homepage, and you can include individual lead magnets for each of your relevant service pages.

6. Offer free consultations or limited time trials

These lead magnets invite potential customers to get to know your brand and establish credibility. Most prospective customers fail to buy because they’re not sure about what you’re offering. By offering them the chance to connect with you personally through your usual communications platforms, you can help boost their confidence in your company – and move them along the path to purchase.

Free consultations offer you a chance to build a one-to-one rapport with potential customers and get to understand their pain points. In order to provide an effective free consultation:

  • Set expectations. How long will the consultation last, what will it cover, and what can your leads expect to take away?
  • Make the consultation genuine by putting your customers centre-stage. Don’t use it as an opportunity to give them a hard sell.
  • Provide your experts with a ‘soft script’, which should include a brief introduction about your services.
  • Follow up after the consultation with even more useful information. This could include sending them even more lead magnets or case studies to show how you’ve helped people in the past.

Make your marketing inviting and entertaining so it stands out. Precisely like the below ad from Canva. The ad stands out in an engaging way and, importantly, offers potential customers real value in terms of a 30 day free trial, for clicking through.

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Give prospects the option to connect with you in various ways – by video-conferencing, live chat, or a VoIP phone call. Place these lead magnets on your pricing page as well as on service pages.

7. Offer a free checklist

A free tip, cheat sheet, or checklist is a simple yet effective lead generation technique. These lead magnet examples are easy to prepare, simple to read, and offer immediate value to visitors. Aim to place these on a blog page to supplement the post

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To make things easy for you, repurpose one of your high performing blogs into a checklist by simplifying it into a series of bullet points. Remove any points that don’t deliver actionable advice. If your blog post is on a complicated subject, this can help simplify matters; if you write about business ideas, you wouldn’t talk about pet care. And it’s something prospects can refer back to when they need a memory refresh.

Then, split the list into numbered steps so that readers can follow the outcomes. You could also offer the checklist in a printed form – that way people can tick off items on the list as they go. This makes it instantly more practical and it compels people to read to the end.

8. Offer an email course

This involves visitors subscribing to a series of emails on a specific subject. This type of lead magnet can increase rapport between both existing and prospective customers. For example, a course on screen sharing could involve a series of lessons on the advantages of screen sharing, advanced sharing options, how to optimize sharing a full screen video, etc.

By regularly seeing content from you in their inbox, subscribers will feel more strongly connected to your brand. While these lead magnet examples are particularly popular with SaaS companies, they can be used for just about every niche.

Here’s an example of an email course offered by Wistia

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Make sure to integrate your products and services into the course materials to boost awareness and make participants more likely to buy from you. Start a campaign for email list building or place the lead magnet on pop ups across the website – or if they’re more relevant to a specific service or product place them here instead.

Creating winning lead magnets doesn’t have to be difficult, as long as you identify the right ones for your business and clients. While they come in all shapes and sizes, from demos and tip sheets to eBooks and webinars, your lead magnets must align with the needs of your target market and buyer personas.

So, do your research and find out the type of content your prospects like to read. Then, create lead magnets based around that. Make sure to A/B test your lead magnets regularly so you can see which are working and which are not.

For example:

  • A/B test to see whether in-content or side-bar lead magnets are working well
  • Test whether a ‘teaser’ which shows a glimpse of the lead magnet or an image works best
  • Try testing a package of lead magnets vs. a one-off freebie
  • Test placement, usability, and design elements to see which are your best-performing

Lead magnets are a great way to increase subscribers. So, if you don’t have one, you could be missing out on tons of new potential customers for your brand.

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