5 Types of B2B Lead Magnets That Make for High-Performance Content MarketingEffective B2B marketers don’t settle for trendy, flashy, or random content efforts — they carefully identify the ones that work, and they use them to drive engagement through the company websites.

Since B2B marketers who use blogs receive 67 percent more leads than those that do not, 76 percent of B2B marketers in 2015 planned to increase their content marketing efforts. And since those marketers want those people finding their blog articles through search engines to eventually become leads, they pair their blogging efforts with must-read lead magnets.

What is a Lead Magnet?

A lead magnet is an attractively designed, free download or authoritative information that entices people to give some basic contact information in exchange for access to the information. Lead magnets help you identify real people that visit your website and confirm that there’s at least some interest in your product or service. Lead magnets also reinforce brand value, establish authority in your industry, position your company as a helpful resource during a buying decision, and more.

There’s just one problem — many companies struggle to identify what kind of B2B lead magnets will be the most effective for their customers and how to create them without an enormous investment of time and money.

If you’re just starting out, here’s your first break: you don’t necessarily have to generate a completely new piece of content for your lead magnet. Many companies already have materials, white papers, collateral, and more that can be used as lead magnets if they’re tweaked a small amount. In fact, if you find that people are clicking and downloading a PDF on your website, that’s a great piece to start with.

But because variety is key, it’s likely that over time you’ll need to develop other kinds of lead magnets so that there are plenty of opportunities for potential customers to show their interest.

Here are five ideas for B2B lead magnets that you can create to entice more clients to get in touch:

1. Downloadable Guides, White Papers, and eBooks

One of the most traditional B2B lead magnets are downloadable PDF guides or white papers with industry insight or original research. This is a low-risk way for a prospective client to get a taste of the content, branding, and value you offer.

Because a PDF is the most effective way to share a lot of content in a relatively small, beautifully-formatted package, this kind of B2B lead magnet is best for customers that want to be educated about a certain topic or service, or who need to have all of the details at once.

For example, one of our clients is a custom die and tool machinery manufacturing company. Since their clients often need highly technical and detailed information in order to make a purchase decision, their most effective lead magnets are the white papers that dive into a topic and share the company’s technical expertise. 40-50% of the people that see the lead magnet download it, helping to produce qualified opportunities for their sales department.

2. Checklist, Template, or Preparation Guide

Another kind of downloadable PDF B2B lead magnet is content in the form of a checklist or preparation guide specific to your industry. For this effort, you’ll want to avoid giving away proprietary information and but still provide insight into what separates you from your competitors. When done carefully, it’s a very effective way to provide a service or value to your customer that also helps them see the value of working with you directly.

For example, the same die and tool company mentioned in the first example often needs to assist its customers in developing a formal “request for proposal” (RFP). Since this is such an important part of the process for getting the best possible customized machine, the company developed a detailed checklist that walks the customer through the best way to craft an RFP.

If your company helps customers with any important, recurring problems, a print-and-use checklist or template that helps them move forward on the issue will make for a very attractive lead magnet.

3. Webinars and Webcasts

Video has been an increasingly popular form of entertainment and information online for a few years now, and even B2B marketers are jumping on the format: last year, 79 percent of content marketers used video as a content marketing tactic.

If you have an interesting blog post, set of research, or concept that you can present on, consider hosting a webinar or recording a video (or both) and presenting it as a B2B lead magnet that customers can access when they provide their information. This format will meet the needs of both visual and audial learners as well as people that prefer to learn via face-to-face communication.

Think your topic’s too technical? Then you might be an even better fit for a video lead magnet than you think. Often technical industries are overrun with text-heavy content downloads, making your video or audio recording stand out against your competitor’s content.

4. LinkedIn Groups

Getting like-minded people in the same “room” is a powerful way to make people feel successful and supported. So why not assist your customers in this way? Another creative B2B lead magnet idea is to start and moderate a member’s only LinkedIn group around a certain topic. Not only will this place your organization in the position of a thought leader and community builder, but even if you never make a sale (which is unlikely), you’ll have access to the questions, comments, and interactions of a group of engaged prospective customers.

A moderated group is a great idea for your company if you have a large customer base, a large number of people interested in your product, and are engaged in social media discussions. This will provide a forum in which participants can offer suggestions, interesting perspectives, and will enjoy participating in those discussions.

For example, Salesforce.com runs a LinkedIn group and invests in carefully moderating the group’s content and members. The result? Over 50,000 marketers, companies, and readers who are in different stages of engaging with the Salesforce product but who all enjoy being a part of that community.

5. Email Courses

Along the same lines as an instructional guide, an email course is an automated series of emails or PDF downloads dedicated to teaching a prospect about a particular tool or problem over a set period of time. And if you already have marketing automation set up, creating a course can be as simple as creating a series of emails on the same topic.

Using an email course as a B2B lead magnet might be right for you if using your product requires a certain level of education or if your sales team tends to answer the same questions over and over again.

For example, an SEO company that keeps getting questions like, “How can your company help me troubleshoot the most recent Google update?” might decide to offer a short course on the update so that clients feel that they have a professional’s insight into the changes. Or an IT company that offers remote services might provide a short educational course for non-techy clients that explains the many different types of managed services a company can deploy. In both cases, the company is demonstrating its value and expertise while forging a relationship with a prospective customer.

Want to get started with premium content and lead magnets? Read our tips here.

Lead magnets are critical to building relationships with prospective customers. Use this list to develop a few different options to increase the likelihood that your customers will find something that resonates with their needs.