What is a lead magnet? How and why should I create one?


Can I have your email address?



Ah shucks, I don’t blame you. You don’t know me and I haven’t given you any reason to fork over your personal information.

But tell me: What do you offer YOUR customers in exchange for THEIR contact info?

Collecting contact details from current and future customers is just smart marketing. It allows you to stay in touch until they are ready to buy.

But if you ask for something in exchange for nothing (except the promise of coming spam), then it’s not surprising when most people say, “no, thanks.”

What is a lead magnet?

A lead magnet is an incentive that you offer people in exchange for their contact information.

The incentive you offer to the customer can range from information, to entertainment, to a sweepstakes, to outright payment for the prospect’s attention. But the incentive must be overt, obvious and clearly delivered.” -Seth Godin, Permission Marketing

A lead magnet is not a “trick” to get people to join your email list. It’s a transaction. Your prospect’s contact information is valuable to you; therefore, you need to offer something valuable in return. That something might be:

  • A free trial or sample
  • A guidebook or toolkit
  • A list of helpful resources
  • A cheat sheet
  • Insider tips
  • Proprietary research
  • An ebook
  • A coupon code
  • Product comparisons or recommendations
  • Video or email training
  • An assessment or test

While some lead magnets are apps or even physical products, the easiest ones to create and distribute are free, downloadable files.

How to create a lead magnet?

The key to creating a successful lead magnet (one people take notice of and sign up for) is to make it highly targeted to your customers’ needs/interests. Here’s how to do that.

Step one: Choose what to promote

Most businesses have more than one product or service to offer. Choose just one to begin with. It doesn’t matter which one you choose (your best seller, your highest margin product, etc.) because you can always create another lead magnet later.

Step two: Choose who you’ll be promoting to

There’s a saying in the marketing industry, “if you’re talking to everybody, then you’re talking to nobody.” There may be lots of different people who could be interested in your product or service, but if your lead magnet is too broad it won’t attract any of them.

Develop buyer personas representing each of the different buyers who might be interested, then pick the one persona you’ll be talking to this time.

Step three: Choose your topic

What you cover in your lead magnet should speak to a specific problem or concern that your buyer persona faces. Your job is to provide a quick solution to that problem.

A useful tool for coming up with your topic is Answer The Public. Enter a keyword and this tool returns a list of questions real people are asking about your subject matter. Again, you don’t want your lead magnet to be overly broad or complex so pick just one of those questions (or a few closely related questions) as your topic.

Step four: Create your lead magnet

For a highly polished look and feel, outsource the copywriting and design of your lead magnet to professionals.

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, start with the copy. Keep it short and to the point. Be sure that the information you’re providing is truly valuable and interesting.

Once you’re happy with the copy use a graphic design software to make it look nice. Canva.com is a great option if you need something free but also versatile.

Now that the copy and design are done, save the file as a PDF. This is what your new leads will ultimately download.

That’s it. You’re done.

Here’s a bit of information on what to do next.

Why use a lead magnet?

The goal of lead magnets is to build your email list so that you can continue to market to your leads over time.

By providing valuable content up front, you are piquing their interest, building brand recognition, and starting your relationship on a positive note.

Check this out for ideas on what to send your prospects after they’ve requested your lead magnet.


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