A lead magnet is a very effective way to take a reader to the next level in the marketing sales funnel. Lead magnets are an incentive that readers are given to download or get something, usually for free, in exchange for an email. Common lead magnets are checklists, ebooks, whitepapers, case studies, or videos. 

Lead magnets don’t have to be huge or expensive for a blog owner to create. But they have to have value. This makes them a very cost-effective way to build a list to develop trust and continually market to interested prospects. 

Value of the Lead Magnet

As a business, your goal is to generate sales. In order to generate sales, you must have prospects. Businesses that create prospect machines are able to have a steady and constant flow of interested buyers for their products or services. As a blogger who wants to make money with their blog, you must develop a prospecting machine as part of the sales funnel. 

Not everyone comes to your website ready to buy – they have not moved down the sales funnel. This could be for a variety of reasons including not trusting you or your site, their understanding of the topic, problems and solutions, or some intangible you can’t control such as a spouse saying no for now. The lead magnet serves to give the high-funnel prospect a reason to stay on your radar.

In exchange for their email, they get something of value to them that helps them ideally moved down the sales funnel. As the blog owner receiving the email, you are able to send new content, promotional offers, and new products. Depending on where a prospect is in the funnel, it may take weeks or months to convert them into a sale. As long as the blogger has the email, they don’t need to worry about a reader trying to find their site again. The site, the brand, and your message become a regular part of this person’s buying journey 

Lead Magnet Types

Because there are so many different types of lead magnets, a blogger needs to consider what they want to give for free, the resources they are willing to spend to create it, and what the follow-up is to connect the lead magnet freebie to an actual sale. 

Consider these types of lead magnets:

  • Checklist: These are easy to create and loved by readers who want a simple way to remember how to do something you explained. While they are loved, they can be easily forgotten if they don’t hit the mark with value to the user. 
  • Cheat Sheet: While a cheat sheet is very similar to a checklist, it gives the user a higher value feeling that they are getting a shortcut solution. It helps readers take the lesson and replicate it in their own business or life. By helping others removing the need to think, you create a lot of value. The problem is things can become stale and generic if prospects don’t spend some time to make the cheats relevant to their own business. 
  • Swipe File / Template: A template is a way to guide your reader through a process. Think of templates as the recipe for success. For example, we offer a great blog writing template for Ultimate Guides that shows you the basic H2 and H3 formats with the type of content you should consider for smart content flow. Swipe files are templates that readers can steal, change a few words and send out – usually used with email sequences and ad copy. 
  • Toolkit: Provides the insights that the blogger, as a professional in his or her craft and business, uses daily to be successful. This might be the web designers favorite programs for image manipulation, which makes them great and when to use them. 
  • E-book: A downloadable book promises to give readers detailed information in a free, well-designed fashion that they can refer to anytime they want. It is printable and should relate to the over niche categories your business or blog is about. 
  • Printable: Calendars, planners, craft concepts, workbooks are all examples of printables that you offer that give readers something to do and use immediately. A workbook might help them take practical action from reading your blog. This is usually considered a very high-value lead magnet.
  • Tutorial: Maybe you explained the concept in a blog and now you will offer the reader a simple step-by-step way to do this in a video or other downloadable product. Giving the reader a second thing to do from your work is a great way to build trust and confidence in your brand and products. 
  • Gated Content: This is hidden content and works great with longer content such as pillar articles. If you’ve captivated the reader in the first few paragraphs and they want to read more, they are likely to hand over an email to see the rest of the content. 

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Using a Pillar Article as a Lead Magnet

A lot of people ask me why to create a 10,000-word blog article of pillar content. The first reason is to send Google a message that you are an authority on the topic and create a centerpiece that other content links to – connecting the cyber dots of your digital footprint. But bloggers make a good point: who reads 10,000 words in a blog?

Most readers, though not all skim even shorter articles. However, with the right format and H2/H3 header combinations, longer content serves a huge high-funnel solution. The other thing some clients do with pillar is to convert it into an e-book. This becomes something the reader can download in exchange for an email and print out or keep on file. 

Do you have the pillar article online and as a download?

As mentioned above, you can use pillar content in two direct ways as a lead magnet: convert it into an ebook or use gated content for most of it. It’s up to you how you want to offer it and may be worth testing. It is my opinion that most readers feel that online content on a non-subscription site should be available and it can feel a little off to have to put an email in to finish an article. I know I’ve bounced from more than one site using this tactic. However, that isn’t to say test both and see what works best. 

Creating the Lead Magnet

Now that you have some ideas about what types of lead magnets exist, you need to put the elements in place to make it an effective one. While it may just be an “email” they are giving that they can opt out of at any time, people don’t like spam or a thousand emails that clog their inbox. When creating your lead magnet, keep these things in mind. 

Components of a Good Lead Magnet

Here are the components of a good lead magnet:

  1. Quick to Digest: a 400-page book may have a lot of value but is hard for a reader to absorb. For most products and services, a short, easy-to-understand e-book is perfect for readers without being overwhelming. 
  2. Solves a Real Problem: for a lead magnet to have value, it has to be something the customer wants or needs, thus it has to be relevant to real problems and issues they have come to your site to solve. 
  3. Gives a Quick Win: Readers should know that by getting your lead magnet, the will be minutes or hours from solving a problem they have and implementing the solution. Help them win to build consumer confidence. 
  4. Is a High-Value Item: A checklist may not seem like it has a lot of value but it is the information behind it that has value. Your lead magnet should have both actual and perceived value. 
  5. Instantly Accessible: People online are always looking for the fastest way to solve a problem. This means you don’t want to delay in getting them their lead magnet. If you have an entire questionnaire, you’ll lose prospects in the process. If you do require a confirmation of email, be sure to tell them to look for it in the spam or junk mail. Set expectations and deliver quickly to build consumer confidence. 
  6. Highlights Your Unique Value Proposition: Make sure your lead magnet shows your unique value proposition, what makes you different and better than the competition. This should include expertise, special formulas, or systems. 

Ready to build your first lead magnet. Join our list to get our lead magnet workbook that will take you through the steps of creating a simple but effective freebie that converts. 

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