What is a lead magnet and why should you care?

by | Oct 28, 2016 | Funnels

I like to think I know a fair bit about lead magnets. I’ve been using them a while. Some come and go, others stick around a while. They all have one job, and one job only. That is to identify a website visitor as a lead.

So, what is a lead? Well, imaging you are in a room full of people, let’s call it a networking event. You have an hour, you need to talk to as many people as possible to tell them about your wonderful business. Who do you talk to first?

Now you might be tempted to talk to anyone, and that’s how most of us started. But quickly you realise that its a huge waste of time if they are not a right fit for your business. Sometimes it can take a while to work out if they are right, with lots of pleasant chit chat and mentions about the weather! How many people does it take until you find someone who could actually use your services? (Sounds like the start of a bad joke..) Well, it can take a whole night, and you are still not guaranteed you will ever find someone suitable to talk to.

I don’t know about you but that very reason put me off networking. Sure you get to meet lots of nice lads and lasses but I’m a busy mum as well as someone trying to build my business. Time is too precious for me to waste it like that.

Thats where lead magnets come in! Imagine going on the same room and it being full of people who are your ideal client. When you talk, they listen, they want and need what you have! Not a wasted moment to be seen.  That’s the power of a great lead magnet.

All you need to do is shout “Who wants this FREE xxxxxxxx” in your room of people and the interested parties will make themselves known.

Now what you are giving away for free plays a huge part in who you attract. Let’s say you sell baby clothes and you want to find new mums for some lovely newborn baby clothes you have in stock. What would make a good lead magnet?

Would you give away a free guide on climbing mountains? Er.. no, it’s totally unrelated. Mountain climbers may have newborns but you will find yourself with a list of people who don’t really want to hear about newborn baby clothes.

Would you give away a guide on how to feed your baby solid food? No, while you may be targeting mums, their babies are not newborn any more.

How about a guide on how to survive your first week with a newborn baby? Yes, that sounds good. It’s really specific and attracts mums who are about to have a baby.

Now, using this lead magnet you can grow a list of people who you know have just had a baby. That’s powerful for your marketing.

Finally, a test to see if you have been listening. Your ‘opt in to my email list’ message that you probably have on your website. Will that generate leads?

No, not really. It will generate a list of people who you know nothing about so you cant really sell to them in a efficient way. You will need to segment your list using marketing automation or lead magnets to make it a more valuable asset.

I’m not saying remove the ‘opt in to my email list’ message, just don’t rely on it for generating leads. Lead magnets do a far better job at..well…creating leads…

Guidelines for creating a lead magnet.

What follows are a few guidelines. As always, there are exceptions and what works in market might not work in another so these guidelines are just that. Guideline to help you understand what makes a good lead magnet and why.

  1. Use your lead magnet to help people solve one burning problem they have. If they need an answer to a problem quickly and they come across your lead magnet that promises to solve their problem, guess what they are going to do? Yes, they will download your lead magnet!
  2. Make your lead magnet specific. While your potential lead is scouring the internet for a solution to his problem he want to find the exact answer. If he wants to know how to connect his Iphone to his gmail account he won’t want to download a 100 page ebook about ‘100 Iphone tips and tricks’. The more specific you are the more attractive it will be to the right person.
  3. It needs to be quick to digest. A huge ebook will sit in someones downloads folder and it wont get read. I promise! You want to show your lead you are the person for the job (what ever job that may be). If they don’t consume your lead magnet how will they know? You need to make an impact and quick! Make your lead magnet consumable within a few minutes.
  4. Keep it relevant. Does your target market really care about what is in your lead magnet? Make it about something they care about and something they need right now.
  5. Make sure there is a next step. Ok, you have someone downloading your lead magnet, now what is the next step. Make sure is naturally fits in with what you eventually want to sell to your lead.


Here is a list of ideas for lead magnets to get you started.

  1. A guide. This is a really common lead magnet type but if it is long it will lack specificity. Keep the guide short so it only addresses just one big thing.
  2. A report. Reports are more of a B2B lead magnet. However, reports tend to be quite general and don’t answer one burning question so they don’t do as well as other shorter lead magnets.
  3. Cheat sheet. People love shortcuts to help them do things. If your cheat sheet helps to save time it will make a good lead magnet.
  4. A toolkit. As the name suggests a toolkit can be a group of documents or tools to help people do a particular job. This could have the problem of being a lead magnet that is too large to consume and therefore the true value of your offerings will never be fully appreciated.
  5. A resource list. This is a great time saver and therefore makes a great lead magnet.
  6. A quick video training. Video is great way to get your point across quickly while building that know lie and trust factor because your viewers actually get to see and hear you.
  7. Depending on whether it makes sense for your business you can offer a free trial. This is a great lead magnet to allow people to try something before they buy.
  8. Ec-ommerce sites can use free shipping or promo codes. to entice people to give their email address.
  9. Quizzes and surveys are gaining popularity, they are very engaging and can offer value as well as fun.
  10. Price lists and catalogues are sought after on line and make good leads magnets.
  11. How to guides. These quick trainings are really popular as long as it is quick and really delivers a desired result.
  12. Webinars. These are fast become a great way to sell online. They demand more commitment from the lead – they have to turn up and stay and they demand more work for you to run but they cut the sales cycle drastically and can really benefit your business.
  13. Mini training series. For leads who can commit a little more and want a bigger result, a mini training can be perfect for them.
  14. Mini challenges. This is where someone opts in for a set of mini trainings but there is more interaction from you on a daily basis. This is very effective at gathering leads but many people do not turn up to the challenge or they do not finish.




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