How to Create a Lead Magnet

Marketing is all about momentum. You take the small wins and build upon them until you start getting the big wins. With regard to the sales funnel, a common small win is website traffic — a homepage visit or a click to a blog post.

On the one hand, it’s nice to know your company is being noticed. On the other, website visitors that don’t convert are anonymous… and they may disappear for good. How do you attach names and contact information to these individuals so you can remain in touch with them until (hopefully) they purchase from you?

Create a lead magnet!

Lead magnet- An irresistible offer provided to prospects in exchange for their contact information and other data.

A lead magnet is a piece of content that lays the groundwork for forming a relationship. The goal is to capture information that enables you to market to individuals further. Minimally, a lead magnet should get you email addresses. You may also gain individuals’ business addresses and phone numbers, but keep in mind that the more information you ask for, the more reluctant people are to respond.

Lead magnets are great for engaging “tire kickers” — the people who are just starting to gather information and aren’t yet ready to talk to a salesperson.

At any given time, only 3% of your market is actively buying. 56% are not ready, 40% are poised to begin Vorsight

Lead magnets come in many forms (which will be covered later in this article). Regardless of what is being offered, avoid making a sales pitch. The purpose of a lead magnet is to inform, not sell. Consider the characteristics of your ideal customer and what kind of content grabs their attention and gets them excited. Then, craft the content piece and promote it to your target audience.

Since you’re reading this, you likely haven’t gone through this process before or have done so with disappointing results and are looking to improve. Either way, this article will help by explaining how to create a lead magnet and get it in front of people so you can get leads into your sales funnel and begin nurturing them. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

Step 1: Identify the Persona the Lead Magnet Will Pertain To

For your lead magnet to draw interest, it needs to appeal and be relevant to your target audience. How do you do this? You start by developing personas.

Persona- A hypothetical representation of your best prospective customers based on existing customer data and additional market research.

To create personas, brainstorm characteristics of the purchase decision-makers and purchase influencers. Consider both demographics and psychographics.

Demographics include:

  • If they are a purchaser or influencer
  • Age
  • Education level
  • Job title

Psychographics include:

  • Value propositions
  • Unique selling propositions (USPs)
  • Goals
  • Most important purchasing factors

Once you’ve formed hypotheses of what you think your target personas are, confirm or refute if your hunches are correct. You can do this by surveying people in your target audience or discussing your hypotheses with current customers. For a more in-depth look at the persona-creation process, read our article An Overview of Persona Creation.

Once you know who your personas are, you can begin developing your lead magnet.

Lead Magnet Example

This free guide we offer to get contacts into our sales funnel is an example of a lead magnet.

Step 2: Choose a Topic & Format

Persona creation will give you a good idea of what makes your targets tick. Using this knowledge, you can create a lead magnet they’ve just got to have and will give up their email address to get.

Here are some characteristics of an irresistible lead magnet:

  • Provides a solution – People are always looking for ways to solve their problems. If your lead magnet provides a real solution, they’ll be interested
  • Has value – Your lead magnet should provide money-saving or time-saving value
  • Is specific – A lead magnet that speaks in generalities and doesn’t provide specific benefits won’t be worthy of a target’s time
  • Delivers a quick win – Your lead magnet should both promise and deliver a quick win for whoever accesses it. Help them achieve something without demanding a lot of time or effort
  • Easy to digest – Lead magnets shouldn’t be overwhelming. Keep it simple
  • Instantly accessible – Don’t pull the rug out from under your targets. If they give up their information, provide immediate access to your lead magnet. Don’t make them wait or have to jump through a bunch of additional hoops
  • Proves your expertise – Lead magnets should demonstrate your expertise and industry authority

Keeping these characteristics in mind, create a list of helpful, non-salesy topics/ideas that a prospective customer would find value in. Topic ideas can come from a variety of sources:

  • Your company’s marketing and sales teams based on what they know about the industry and your customers
  • Surveys of current customers. Questions like “What industry topics are you interested in?” and “What kind of content would you find helpful” can prove extremely useful
  • Online research tools. For example, sites like Answer the Public monitor search engine queries and provide insight into what people are searching. All you need to do is enter a keyword, and the system will generate an overview of searches being performed and questions being asked related to that keyword 

Once you’ve built a good bank of topics, select the one you believe will draw the most interest. Save your other topics for future use. It’s common for companies to eventually have multiple lead magnets in use at the same time. It’s also good to have alternatives available in case a lead magnet is not performing as well as expected and needs to be replaced.

Types & Examples of Lead Magnets

There are dozens of lead magnet formats from which to choose. Here are some of the most popular examples:

Checklist

  • What is it? As the name suggests, a checklist is a content piece that condenses a subject down into an actionable list
  • Major benefit: Quick and easy for the reader to consume… and for you to create!
  • Examples:
    • The Ultimate Winter Maintenance Checklist
    • Marketing Checklist for Business Owners
    • Employee Safety Checklist
Checklist Example
A checklist we created for PolyJohn’s JohnTalk content initiative.

Template

  • What is it? An outline that serves as a starting point for the user. All they need to do is fill in the blanks
  • Major benefit: Provides the user with a customizable, tangible item they can use at their business
  • Examples:
    • Sell sheet template
    • Invoice template
    • Contract template
Contract Example

A contract template we developed for JohnTalk.

Case Study

  • What is it? An example that details the real-world application of a product or service
  • Major benefit: Provides evidence of value and demonstrates your company’s expertise
  • Examples:
    • Case Study: How a Website Upgrade Helped Increase Sales
    • Case Study: Boosting Productivity with Automated Systems
    • Case Study: Cities Get Innovative to Save Thousands
Case Study Example

A case study we designed for Waterline Renewal Technologies.

Guide

  • What is it? An in-depth content piece that educates the reader on a particular topic
  • Major benefit: Provides detailed education that users will appreciate, especially because it came at no cost
  • Examples:
    • A Beginner’s Guide to Choosing & Implementing Accounting Software
    • The Ultimate Blueprint for Finding New Customers
    • The Business Owner’s Guide to Understanding Digital Marketing
Guide Example
A guide we developed for JohnTalk.

Product Literature

  • What is it? High-level, introductory content that provides an overview of a product or service
  • Major benefit: Users can learn about potential solutions without committing to anything or even having to speak with a sales or customer service rep
  • Examples:
    • [Company Name] Corporate Brochure
    • [Product Name] Spec Sheet
    • [Product/Service] Sell Sheet
Product Literature Example

A corporate brochure we designed for Waterline Renewal Technologies.

Toolbox

  • What is it? A collection of tools such as calculators, templates and worksheets the user can apply at their company
  • Major benefit: Users get multiple tools that will benefit them and their business at no cost
  • Examples:
    • Marketing ROI Toolbox
    • Contract Bidding Toolbox
    • Inventory Management Toolbox
Toolbox Example

The Marketing ROI Toolbox we offer includes multiple calculators and a template.

On-Demand Video

  • What is it? A video a user can access and watch after registering/submitting their information
  • Major benefit: Videos are highly engaging and a good way to share information since people are visual learners by nature
  • Examples:
    • Industry Trends Webinar
    • How-To Tutorial Video
    • State of the Industry Video
On-Demand Video Example

A screenshot from an on-demand demo video done by our client Key2Act.

Regardless of the type of lead magnet you choose to offer, make sure it is of high quality. Just because you’re giving it away for free doesn’t mean you should cut corners on the content. This is your opportunity to impress potential customers, so make a good impression.

If you don’t have the skills, personnel or time to develop a professional-quality lead magnet in-house, you can hire a marketing agency with a team of experts in copywriting, graphic design and videography. The ROI you get from an agency may surprise you.

Step 3: Promote Your Lead Magnet

Once your lead magnet has received the final stamp of approval, it’s time to put it to work so you can start attracting new leads. You’ll first need a distribution channel — a way to collect information and provide access to the content. Typically, this is done via form submission on a landing page.

The landing page should sell the lead magnet by:

  • Showing a visual preview
  • Providing background information that explains the value the user will gain
  • Making it easy to gain access — Don’t put too many questions on your form!
Landing Page Example

The landing page we use to distribute our Marketing ROI Toolbox.

How do you get people to your landing page? Here are some common ways to promote a lead magnet:

On Your Website

Capitalize on the website traffic you receive by directing to your landing page. You can do this by putting static ads/plugs on one or more of your pages or by implementing pop-up ads.


The plugs we have on our website to promote our lead magnets.

Using Social Media Ads

If users don’t convert during a website session, that’s ok. You can retarget them with ads on social media if you have the pixel and insight tag set up. This enables you to put your lead magnet offer in front of them on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Social Ad Example

The Facebook retargeting ad we use to promote our Marketing ROI Toolbox.

Using Google Ads/PPC

Another way to promote your lead magnet is to utilize Google Ads (previously known as Google AdWords). Pay per click (PPC) instantly delivers traffic by placing your lead magnet ad at the top of the Google search results page.

By Sharing Links

There are many unpaid avenues where the link to your lead magnet landing page can be shared:

  • Organic social media posts
  • Google My Business posts
  • Whatever sales tools are utilized by sales reps (For example, LinkedIn messages or bio details)

Start Attracting Leads Today!

Ready to create a lead magnet and start attracting leads like never before? Now that you’ve read this article, you can put the 3-step process into action. You’ve also got plenty of lead magnet and promotion examples you can reference if you need inspiration along the way. Good luck!

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