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7 lead magnet ideas to grow your prospect list

Lead magnet ideas: entrepreneur using a laptop

Key takeaways

  • Use lead magnets to build your email list by providing quality resources in exchange for a website visitor’s contact information
  • Lead magnets should demonstrate your expertise and directly focus on relevant problems customers might face
  • Use lead magnets such as e-books, calendars, or webinars that help you effectively speak to your target audience and their needs

No matter what type of business you run, chances are you’re always looking for more ways to reach potential customers—and one of the best ways to do this is through lead magnets.

Lead magnets are a form of content marketing used to collect potential customers’ email addresses in exchange for a free piece of content. When a prospect willingly provides their contact information (via your website’s email opt-in form, for example), they become a quality lead because they have already expressed some level of interest in your company—and they’ve given you a way to get in touch. With these quality leads, you’ll have a growing list of potential customers you can reach out to as part of your sales efforts.

While there might not be the “perfect lead magnet” that works in every instance, there are some effective lead magnet ideas that can become part of your marketing strategy to grow your business. Below, learn the basics of a lead magnet and how to create one that drives sales.

The basics of a lead magnet

While there are several types of content you could provide as part of your lead generation strategy, there are a few basic principles all business owners should follow when deciding which lead magnet ideas to use and how to use them.

Creating your lead magnet

An incredible 90% of customers are willing to share their email address in exchange for a small incentive. Offering appealing “freebies” can be the key to getting in closer contact with your target audience.

An effective lead magnet should do two things: demonstrate your expertise and speak directly to your customers’ pain points. When creating a lead magnet, consider your target market, their needs, and how these relate to your business. For instance, the target audience for a brick-and-mortar tattoo parlor is quite different from a pet company’s e-commerce site or SaaS service provider.

Lead magnets should focus on a specific challenge or issue your target audience faces and help them address it. For example, a fitness instructor trying to get personal training clients could create a piece of content (such as a video or even a free consultation) that provides a workout plan for achieving a specific exercise goal, while a lawn care provider could create a spring planting guide.

You can also break your target audience into different segments or niches and create lead magnets that focus on the needs of each individual group. If multiple groups use your business, make sure to create content that appeals to each niche. More “focused” content will be more interesting and engaging than a general lead magnet.

Giving away the lead magnet

Lead magnet ideas: entrepreneur using a laptop while holding a cup of coffee

To give away your “freebie” and collect email addresses, you need to make the lead magnet easy to find and access. For example, you could add a pop-up to your website with a call to action (CTA) that describes how to access your free resource. Some businesses even create landing pages for the lead magnet that are completely focused on explaining what the lead magnet is and how it can be useful.

It may also be helpful to advertise the lead magnet as a giveaway on social media. Highlighting the value of the lead magnet—and that it’s available for free—can entice more people to click through to download it.

After someone has submitted their email address and accessed your lead magnet, send a follow-up email in about a week or so. Your follow-up message should be designed to start a conversation with the customer about their needs and how you can help—ideally guiding them through your sales funnel and to a purchase.

7 lead magnet ideas to consider for your business in 2023

There are several types of lead magnets your business could use to appeal to your target audience. Remember, a great lead magnet doesn’t just directly address your audience’s pain points—it should also be something valuable you can create on your own to demonstrate your expertise. Consider the following lead magnet examples to get started.

1. Checklists

Checklists provide step-by-step instructions for how to accomplish a particular task or solve a specific problem. They can be created by simplifying one of your blog posts into a series of actionable bullet points, or by creating an original list with step-by-step instructions. You can make your checklist even more helpful by offering it in a printable form that allows users to check off each item on the list. You can upgrade your checklist into a cheat sheet by also providing definitions of key terms or reminders of basic principles related to the task.

2. Webinars

If you prefer speaking over writing, video content can be a powerful way to share information you would otherwise present in a blog or e-book. Research shows at least 15% of webinar attendees will go on to make a purchase. That might not seem like a high conversion rate, but if you have 100 attendees, that means about 15 of them will buy from your brand. 

Offering access to an online course can showcase your expertise and personality. Webinars could include lectures on a topic related to your business, or how-to videos where you show customers how to take on a specific task. For example, an auto repair shop could provide a how-to video on changing a spare tire.

Collect email addresses during the webinar registration process, and even if a registrant doesn’t attend the webinar, you can share the recording (and additional resources) with them afterward.

3. Guides and resource libraries

Even if you aren’t a regular blogger or confident in your copywriting abilities, you can still create an “ultimate guide” that helps your leads. Your free guide could serve as a resource library where you link to other authoritative articles that discuss the topic of your guide. In this case, you would just need to write an introduction to each section of your resource list.

For example, a financial planning firm could create a resource library featuring articles that discuss best practices for managing one’s personal finances. You save your potential customers’ valuable time in finding quality resources while still collecting their contact information.

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4. E-books

E-books allow you to provide in-depth coverage of a specific topic related to your customers’ needs. For instance, if you run a beauty salon, you could collect several of your best blog posts to quickly create an e-book of beauty tutorials. Alternatively, you could create an original workbook complete with worksheets to guide customers through a problem-solving task related to the services your business offers. Creating this type of lead magnet is best for someone with strong copywriting skills.

5. Coupons

Woman using a laptop with a discount coupon on the screen

Coupons and discount codes are a quick and easy way to grow your email list. For this lead magnet idea, you can create a sense of urgency by marketing it as a limited-time deal with a set expiration date. This makes customers more likely to provide their contact details and then act quickly to use their coupon. This type of lead magnet works well for e-commerce stores, but it can also be used to provide discounts for service-based businesses.

6. Case studies

Case studies and white papers are popular lead magnet ideas for B2B companies. For example, if you run a social media marketing agency, you could offer a case study that provides an in-depth look at how your agency helped a client achieve their campaign goals. Your case study or white paper should use a real-life example that highlights the specific strategies used while still encouraging potential clients to contact you for more information.

7. Calendars or planners

Certain types of activities, such as exercising, gardening, or meal planning lend themselves well to a calendar. With this lead magnet idea, you create a calendar with suggested activities your customers can follow as they try to achieve their related goals. Essentially, you’re using your expertise to provide an easy-to-follow guide as a sample for how you can help customers. Many free calendar templates are available online, making this a relatively easy option to create.

Use the best lead magnet ideas for your small business

While this list covers several lead magnet ideas, you don’t have to use all of them as part of your digital marketing efforts. Focus on the type of lead magnet you’re able to create and that will effectively meet the needs of your target audience. A good lead magnet will help you find new leads who are the most interested in your products or services.

By providing useful, quality content, new leads will be much more receptive when you reach out to them—or they might even reach out to you themselves. Once you build a group of prospects, learn how to guide them through your lead nurturing process so they become paying customers.

The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.