How to Build Lead Magnet to Attract Customers

Lead Magnets are one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal to convert traffic into leads, helping you to build a list of prospects that you can nurture over time. In this article, you’ll learn how to create a Lead Magnet that drives a steady stream of leads to your business. Upon completion, you’ll have a Lead Magnet that will provide your customers with more value and keep them coming back for more.

How to Build Lead Magnet to Attract Customers
How to Build Lead Magnet to Attract Customers

What You’ll Learn:

  • Learn the process to build a Lead Magnet that increases the number of leads and customers you’re attracting to your offers
  • Optimize and improve your Lead Magnet using the Lead Magnet Checklist

Table of contents

Understand the Purpose & Role of a Lead Magnet
Understand the Objective
Defining a Lead Magnet
Create Your Lead Magnet
Choose a Customer Avatar
Make a Promise
Title the Lead Magnet
Decide on a Type of Lead Magnet
Report/Guide
Cheat Sheet/Handout
Toolkit/Resource List
Video Training
Software Download/Trial
Discount/Free Shipping
Quiz/Survey
Assessment
Blind/Sales Material
Audit and Optimize Your Lead Magnet
Download Your Lead Magnet Checklist
Is It Ultra Specific?
Is It One Big Thing?
Does It Speak to a Known Desired End Result?
Does It Provide Immediate Gratification?
Does It Shift the Relationship?
Does It Have High Perceived Value?
Does It Have High Actual Value?
Does It Allow for Rapid Consumption?
Run the Play

Understand the Purpose & Role of a Lead Magnet

Understand the Objective

In this article, you’re going to learn how to create a Lead Magnet that drives a steady stream of leads to your business.

But before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to build and leverage your Lead Magnet, let’s take a minute to make sure you understand how it fits into the bigger picture of your marketing strategy.

We explain this “bigger picture” in detail in our article called, Customer Value Optimization: How to Build an Unstoppable Business. So rather than rehash all that information again, we recommend you go there now and read the article carefully. Read it multiple times if you have to.

It’s vital information.

You might even want to print out this Customer Value Optimization (CVO) Flowchart:

Customer Value Optimization (CVO) Flowchart
Customer Value Optimization (CVO) Flowchart

Anytime you lose your way with your Lead Magnets (or any other marketing tactic), refer back to this flowchart. It will remind you of the greater strategy and put you back on track.

As you can see, the Lead Magnet is at the very top. It’s the entrance, the doorway into your marketing funnel. For this reason, your Lead Magnet is the highest leverage point in the entire CVO process.

Your Lead Magnet’s goal is simple, yet crucial: it converts traffic into leads, helping you to build a list of prospects that you can nurture over time.

Lead Magnets don’t make money directly, but, if you employ them properly… they are very lucrative.

In the next lesson, you’ll learn more about Lead Magnets and see some examples.

Defining a Lead Magnet

So what IS a Lead Magnet?

Conceptually, a Lead Magnet is exactly what it sounds like: a “magnet” that pulls prospects into your marketing funnel by giving them a specific chunk of value in exchange for their contact information (usually an email address).

Think of it as an irresistible bribe.

More specifically, a Lead Magnet can take many forms: a file (PDF, spreadsheet, video, etc.), a discount or promotion, a software trial, and so on.

It’s usually delivered via an opt-in form. Any decent email service provider can build forms like this:

Any decent email service provider can build forms like this.
Any decent email service provider can build forms like this.

As we mentioned, the goal of the Lead Magnet is to generate leads for your business.

If you build your Lead Magnets properly they will convert well even to cold traffic from sources like Facebook Ads and Google Ads.

We’ve applied the Lead Magnet concept to dozens of businesses in nearly every niche you can imagine. It simply works.

For an example of what a Lead Magnet looks like, let’s look at one of our best-performing Lead Magnets to date: The Social Media Swipe File.

Here’s the landing page for the Lead Magnet:

Here’s the landing page for the Lead Magnet.
Here’s the landing page for the Lead Magnet.

If you fill out the form on this page, you’ll be taken to a sales page for a related Tripwire Offer (which is the next step in the CVO after the Lead Magnet). Notice there’s a notification at the top of the page letting you know that the Lead Magnet will be sent to your email:

Notice there’s a notification at the top of the page letting you know that the Lead Magnet will be sent to your email.
Notice there’s a notification at the top of the page letting you know that the Lead Magnet will be sent to your email.

Sure enough, here it is:

Sure enough, here it is.
Sure enough, here it is.

The link takes you to a landing page where you can access a PDF download that is ultra-specific, easily consumable, and most importantly, valuable for anyone trying to run a successful social media campaign.

Here’s what it looks like:

Here’s what it looks like.
Here’s what it looks like.

Every business, and therefore Lead Magnet, is different. But this is a great example to illustrate what Lead Magnets are all about.

One last question we sometimes hear is: how many Lead Magnets should you have?

The answer can vary because it depends on the needs of your business and your current offers and funnels. But most companies should have at least one Lead Magnet for each of their different customer avatars (AKA buyer persona).

Now let’s get started building YOUR Lead Magnet!

Create Your Lead Magnet

Choose a Customer Avatar

An effective Lead Magnet is ultra-specific and highly relevant to your prospective leads.

This is much easier to do if you choose a single segment of your market to focus on.

The mistake that most marketers make is trying to “be all things to all people.” In other words, they try to make their Lead Magnets appeal to too many people at once.

Counterintuitive as it might seem, you want to take the opposite approach. Rather than create your Lead Magnet for a broad audience, you’ll get better results if you niche down and speak to one specific segment of your market.

As an example, imagine you were a real estate agent. You might have these 4 different customer avatars:

  1. A 65-year-old couple interested in buying a second home near the ocean
  2. A 40-year-old couple planning to sell their home due to a divorce
  3. A single young professional interested in a small starter home near her office
  4. A 30-year-old couple needing a larger home due to the birth of a child

Can you see how each of the above customer avatars have different problems, fears, desires, motivations, etc.?

Consider how different a Lead Magnet would be for each of these segments.

Take a few minutes and lean back in your chair. Visualize the EXACT segment of the market for which you will build this Lead Magnet.

ACTION ITEM: Decide on the customer segment you will target with this new Lead Magnet.

Once you have your customer avatar in mind… move on to the next step.

Make a Promise

In the previous step, you chose a SPECIFIC customer avatar.

Now, it’s time to make them a promise. (AKA an offer.)

As legendary direct response marketer Robert Collier said:

“Attempt to enter a conversation already going on in the mind of your prospective lead.”

In other words, find something that your prospects are already thinking about, worrying about, struggling with, etc.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What are your prospects’ concerns? Fears? Desires?
  • What conversation are they already having, and how can you enter that conversation with your promise?
  • What VALUE will you give them in exchange for their contact information?

Don’t kid yourself, this is a transaction. You give them value and they give you their contact information.

More importantly, this is likely your FIRST transaction with this prospect… so make it a great one!

That said, remember that the value you deliver with the Lead Magnet should be ultra-specific and easy to consume.

It should NOT be a 14-day course. It should NOT be a 300-page book.

Yes, you want to deliver tremendous standalone value. And yes, you deliver that value with a 14-day course or a book. But you want to do it as quickly and simply as possible. If your Lead Magnet is too long, elaborate, or complex, it will dramatically reduce the number of people who actually consume it.

Example:

Remember our 65-year-old couple interested in buying a retirement home near the ocean? What conversation is already going on in their minds?

Perhaps they’re strongly considering buying in Florida but are concerned about the resale value of the property.

As a result, your Lead Magnet promise might look like this:

“Discover the 3 most beautiful beachfront retirement communities in Florida that have seen INCREASES IN HOME VALUE. We will include descriptions of these communities, pictures of the rooms and amenities, and the pros and cons of each area.”

See how this promise (offer) would appeal to someone who is wanting to buy a retirement home in Florida but worried about declining home values?

ACTION ITEM: Think about the conversation going on in your customer avatar’s mind, then write the promise (offer) you will deliver upon in your Lead Magnet Worksheet & Checklist.

Title the Lead Magnet

Now that you know who you’re talking to and what you’re promising them, it’s time to give your Lead Magnet a title.

Don’t rush through this step. Your title matters—a LOT.

The headline you use for the Lead Magnet can make an enormous difference in the conversion rate.

This is very similar to the process of writing headlines, email subject lines, blog post titles, and so on.

If you’re new to writing these, it’s worth your time to learn the basics before writing your Lead Magnet title.

Example:

Remember that our promise to the 65-year-old couple was…

“Discover the 3 most beautiful beachfront retirement communities in Florida that have seen INCREASES IN HOME VALUE. We will include descriptions of these communities, pictures of the rooms and amenities, and the pros and cons of each area.”

Here is a potential title for our Lead Magnet:

“3 Recession-Proof Retirement Communities on the Beautiful Florida Coast”

In the next module, we’ll look at the different types of Lead Magnets you can create.

ACTION ITEM: Determine your Lead Magnet’s Title, and write it in your Lead Magnet Worksheet & Checklist.

Decide on a Type of Lead Magnet

Report/Guide

There are a ton of different types of Lead Magnets you can create. Reports and guides are among the most common types of Lead Magnets offered by information marketers.

The advantage is that they are usually mostly text, are easy to create, and can be delivered instantly via email.

Here’s an example Visitor’s Guide Lead Magnet for leads that will be visiting New Orleans:

Here's an example Visitor’s Guide Lead Magnet for leads that will be visiting New Orleans.
Here’s an example Visitor’s Guide Lead Magnet for leads that will be visiting New Orleans.

Cheat Sheet/Handout

Calling your Lead Magnet a “Cheat Sheet” or “Handout” tends to work well because it promises easy consumption and a quick win for your prospects.

These are generally very short (one page or so) and cut straight to one ultra-specific point.

We’ve used this type of Lead Magnet with great success:

We’ve used this type of Lead Magnet with great success.
We’ve used this type of Lead Magnet with great success.

Toolkit/Resource List

For the right business and market, a “Toolkit” or “Resource List” could be the perfect type of Lead Magnet.

Design Thinking for Educators offers this free toolkit as a Lead Magnet:

Design Thinking for Educators offers this free toolkit as a Lead Magnet.
Design Thinking for Educators offers this free toolkit as a Lead Magnet.

Video Training

If it makes sense and you have the skillset, video can be a very effective way to deliver on your Lead Magnet.

(And if you’re camera-shy, you can even create a super-simple screencast using software like Camtasia or Screenflow so you don’t have to be in front of the camera.)

This example highlights a video series by Donald Miller of StoryBrand, who does a great job of using video as a way to deliver tremendous value to potential leads. Also, notice how StoryBrand makes a point to keep the length of the video series short, making it quick to consume:

Notice how StoryBrand makes a point to keep the length of the video series short, making it quick to consume.
Notice how StoryBrand makes a point to keep the length of the video series short, making it quick to consume.

When you click the “Get Free Access” button you are prompted to enter in your name and email to get the 3-video series:

When you click the “Get Free Access” button you are prompted to enter in your name and email to get the 3-video series.
When you click the “Get Free Access” button you are prompted to enter in your name and email to get the 3-video series.

Software Download/Trial

Software companies often offer a free trial of their software as a Lead Magnet.

Here’s how Sprout Social, a SaaS tool that provides social media management and optimization, asks for an opt-in to start a free trial:

Here's how Sprout Social, a SaaS tool that provides social media management and optimization, asks for an opt-in to start a free trial.
Here’s how Sprout Social, a SaaS tool that provides social media management and optimization, asks for an opt-in to start a free trial.

Discount/Free Shipping

For those selling physical products, discount clubs or free shipping offers can be an effective Lead Magnet.

Here’s how Framebridge, an online frame store, generates new leads using a $10 discount offer in exchange for their prospect’s email address:

Here's how Framebridge, an online frame store, generates new leads using a $10 discount offer in exchange for their prospect’s email address.
Here’s how Framebridge, an online frame store, generates new leads using a $10 discount offer in exchange for their prospect’s email address.

Quiz/Survey

This type of Lead Magnet works a little differently. Many companies provide a quiz or survey, then prompt you to enter your email to see your results.

Here’s how Renée Rouleau uses this Lead Magnet. First, they add a link to the quiz on the homepage:

Here’s how Renée Rouleau uses this Lead Magnet. First, they add a link to the quiz on the homepage.
Here’s how Renée Rouleau uses this Lead Magnet. First, they add a link to the quiz on the homepage.

Then, they prompt you for your email address:

Then, they prompt you for your email address.
Then, they prompt you for your email address.

Then you get into the quiz itself, which consists of 8 multiple-choice questions:

Then you get into the quiz itself, which consists of 8 multiple-choice questions.
Then you get into the quiz itself, which consists of 8 multiple-choice questions.

Finally, you’re taken to your results page, complete with product recommendations:

Finally, you’re taken to your results page, complete with product recommendations.
Finally, you’re taken to your results page, complete with product recommendations.

Another way to use this type of Lead Magnet is to ask for the email address at the end, after the user has already gone through the questions.

Assessment

An assessment or test, particularly if it is delivered online to increase the speed of consumption and gratification, can make a powerful Lead Magnet.

HubSpot, a company that sells marketing software, has been generating leads with their “Marketing Grader” for years:

HubSpot, a company that sells marketing software, has been generating leads with their
HubSpot, a company that sells marketing software, has been generating leads with their “Marketing Grader” for years.

When you enter your website and email, you’ll see how your website stacks up in 4 areas (speed, mobile optimization, SEO, and security):

When you enter your website and email, you’ll see how your website stacks up in 4 areas (speed, mobile optimization, SEO, and security).
When you enter your website and email, you’ll see how your website stacks up in 4 areas (speed, mobile optimization, SEO, and security).

Blind/Sales Material

In some cases, the most desired piece of information for the market is pricing and descriptions of products or services.

Ikea harvests contact information in exchange for their catalog:

Ikea harvests contact information in exchange for their catalog.
Ikea harvests contact information in exchange for their catalog.

One downside to Ikea’s Lead Magnet is that it can’t be quickly consumed—instead, you have to wait for the catalog to be delivered via snail mail. Ikea could deliver the catalog digitally to increase the speed of consumption and provide instant gratification.

Now that you are familiar with some of the different types of Lead Magnets, it’s time to choose which on you will create. Remember, you want the Lead Magnet to be helpful and resonate with your intended Customer Avatar, so choose a type you think will give them a quick win in a format that suits their needs.

ACTION ITEM: Decide on a Lead Magnet Type, and check the box next to that type on your Lead Magnet Worksheet & Checklist.

Audit and Optimize Your Lead Magnet

Download Your Lead Magnet Checklist

We used the Lead Magnet Worksheet & Checklist earlier in this article, and in this module, we’ll be turning to it yet again.

Specifically, we’ll be looking at the second page of the Worksheet, which lists the 8 most critical qualities of all effective Lead Magnets:

  1. They’re ultra-specific
  2. They deliver one big thing
  3. They speak to a known desired end result
  4. They provide immediate gratification
  5. They shift the relationship
  6. They have high perceived value
  7. They have high actual value
  8. They allow for rapid consumption

Your Lead Magnet doesn’t necessarily need to have ALL these traits. But if you find that you’re missing most of them, it might be time to stop and reevaluate your Lead Magnet strategy. The more elements you can check off, the more likely your Lead Magnet is to be successful and generate high-quality leads for your business.

Next, we’ll go step-by-step through each of these 8 criteria.

Is It Ultra Specific?

The more specific the promise you deliver upon in your Lead Magnet, the better.

This, of course, assumes that the promise you are making is relevant and compelling to your prospects.

Based on what we have covered so far, how would you improve the Lead Magnet below?

Based on what we have covered so far, how would you improve the Lead Magnet below?
Based on what we have covered so far, how would you improve the Lead Magnet below?

Here’s one suggestion:

Instead of using the headline, “Let’s figure out what works for you + Free Stuff!” it might be more effective to lead with the specific book mentioned in the bullet-points to the right: “Get a Free Copy of My Most Popular Book, Ebooks the Smart Way (Downloaded Over 125,000 Times!).”

ACTION ITEM: Is your Lead Magnet ultra specific? Will your prospect know exactly what they are getting from your Lead Magnet? Is it ultra specific to their industry?

Is It One Big Thing?

A common mistake that some marketers make is thinking that the more things they offer, the better.

The truth is actually the opposite.

When you start adding things to your Lead Magnet, it becomes less focused, less memorable, and less compelling. What you’re offering in your Lead Magnet shouldn’t be multiple things, but one thing.

Take this opt-in form from Blue Bottle Coffee for example. Notice how you can’t easily put your finger on the one big thing they’re offering?

Take this opt-in form from Blue Bottle Coffee for example.
Take this opt-in form from Blue Bottle Coffee for example.

Compare that with Death Wish Coffee, who offers one big thing with this Lead Magnet: fast, free cash off your next purchase.

Compare that with Death Wish Coffee, who offers one big thing with this Lead Magnet: fast, free cash off your next purchase.
Compare that with Death Wish Coffee, who offers one big thing with this Lead Magnet: fast, free cash off your next purchase.

ACTION ITEM: Does your Lead Magnet deliver ONE BIG THING? Make sure it’s just one deliverable and not a bunch of smaller promises.

Does It Speak to a Known Desired End Result?

The members of your market are searching for outcomes. If you can figure out what that outcome is, and deliver it with your Lead Magnet, it will make your offer much more compelling for your prospects.

Credit Karma knows that its users are looking for their free credit score, and so they wisely offer it in exchange for an email address:

Credit Karma knows that its users are looking for their free credit score, and so they wisely offer it in exchange for an email address.
Credit Karma knows that its users are looking for their free credit score, and so they wisely offer it in exchange for an email address.

ACTION ITEM: Do you think your Lead Magnet is speaking directly to your prospect’s end result? Will they be intrigued by the value you are offering?

Does It Provide Immediate Gratification?

As soon as someone fills out your Lead Magnet opt-in page, they are already beginning to forget about you. We live in a world of distraction.

That means if you want to stand out from the noise, it’s not enough for your prospects to download your Lead Magnet. They have to consume it and receive value from it as quickly as possible—in other words, they want instant gratification.

One great example of a Lead Magnet that provides instant gratification is this digital catalog from Ikea.

One great example of a Lead Magnet that provides instant gratification is this digital catalog from Ikea.
One great example of a Lead Magnet that provides instant gratification is this digital catalog from Ikea.

It doesn’t require you to read a long ebook, take a lengthy course, or watch a multi-part video series. Instead, all the prospect has to do is fill in the required information and they get a digital copy of IKEA’s catalog. This is what you want with your lead magnet. Give your prospects instant gratification in exchange for their contact information.

ACTION ITEM: Is your Lead Magnet giving instant gratification, in other words, are they getting what you promised now, or are you making them jump through a bunch of hoops?

Does It Shift the Relationship?

The best Lead Magnets do more than inform… they actually change the state and mindset of your prospect so they’re pre-framed to engage in business with your company.

This is one thing that makes a demo and a free trial Lead Magnets so effective. As soon as you sign up, your relationship with that company has changed. You’re no longer a cold prospect; you’re now a user of that software (even if you’re still on the free trial plan).

As soon as you sign up, your relationship with that company has changed. You’re no longer a cold prospect; you’re now a user of that software.
As soon as you sign up, your relationship with that company has changed. You’re no longer a cold prospect; you’re now a user of that software.

ACTION ITEM: Is your Lead Magnet shifting the relationship and taking them from a cold prospect to a warm/hot prospect?

Does It Have High Perceived Value?

Use good design, strong copy, and smart positioning to create a higher perceived value for your Lead Magnet.

This SEO Starter Pack from HubSpot includes 2 PDFs and a spreadsheet. But HubSpot wisely focuses on the big benefit behind the information in those files: you’ll learn everything you need to get your website ranking in search results.

This SEO Starter Pack from HubSpot includes 2 PDFs and a spreadsheet. But HubSpot wisely focuses on the big benefit behind the information in those files: you’ll learn everything you need to get your website ranking in search results.
This SEO Starter Pack from HubSpot includes 2 PDFs and a spreadsheet. But HubSpot wisely focuses on the big benefit behind the information in those files: you’ll learn everything you need to get your website ranking in search results.

ACTION ITEM: Is your Lead Magnet using high-quality graphics, images, and looking like it was worthy of their contact information?

Does It Have High Actual Value?

If you can deliver something extremely valuable with your Lead Magnet, you’ll enjoy high conversion rates. For example, consider our example from earlier in this article: the “Website Grader” that provides a grade of your website’s performance:

Consider our example from earlier in this Playbook: the “Website Grader” that provides a grade of your website’s performance.
Consider our example from earlier in this Playbook: the “Website Grader” that provides a grade of your website’s performance.

At the bottom of the page, the tool gives you a short and actionable list about what you should do to improve your website’s performance:

At the bottom of the page, the tool gives you a short and actionable list about what you should do to improve your website’s performance.
At the bottom of the page, the tool gives you a short and actionable list about what you should do to improve your website’s performance.

This is extremely valuable information for anyone interested in having a better website. Even more impressive is the fact that you’re provided with this complete analysis within seconds of entering your contact information.

ACTION ITEM: Is your Lead Magnet delivering the goods???

Does It Allow for Rapid Consumption?

OK… this is a big one.

Why do we keep insisting that it is important that the Lead Magnet be quick to consume?

The answer lies in the greater Customer Value Optimization process.

Wherever possible, when we are executing a marketing funnel we want to make the next offer in the funnel sequence immediately after making the prior offer.

Speaking generally, it looks like this…

  • If a prospect takes the Lead Magnet, we make the Tripwire Offer immediately
  • If a prospect takes the Tripwire Offer, we make the Core Offer immediately
  • If a prospect takes the Core Offer, we make the Profit Maximizer offer immediately

There is (usually) no better time to make an offer than directly after someone has taken a prior offer. The person is engaged with your offer right now; they’re interested right now; and if you make the next offer, right now, they just might take it.

This is why it’s important to create a Lead Magnet that can be consumed quickly.

Consider this Lead Magnet below. It will be 100 days before a prospect can fully consume it:

Consider this Lead Magnet below. It will be 100 days before a prospect can fully consume it.
Consider this Lead Magnet below. It will be 100 days before a prospect can fully consume it.

Not good if you plan to make a second offer. Why would I buy something from you if I still haven’t received the value from the last offer you made?

This is the same reason we don’t advise using a book as a Lead Magnet. It takes too long to consume and will dampen the results of your marketing funnel.

On the other hand, you’ve seen many Lead Magnet examples throughout this article that allow for rapid consumption. Like the online quiz:

On the other hand, you’ve seen many Lead Magnet examples throughout this Playbook that allow for rapid consumption. Like the online quiz.
On the other hand, you’ve seen many Lead Magnet examples throughout this Playbook that allow for rapid consumption. Like the online quiz.

Or a discount code:

Or a discount code.
Or a discount code.

So how many of these 8 can you check off? The more the better. If you can only check off 1 or 2, you might want to reexamine your Lead Magnet and make some changes before you add it to your marketing funnel.

And with that, you’re armed with the different types of Lead Magnets you can make AND the different elements that make up a successful Lead Magnet. Your Lead Magnet is now ready to launch!

ACTION ITEM: Is your Lead Magnet quick to consume? Are they getting their actual value and promise in a quick, concise method?

Run the Play

Getting qualified leads that will be interested in your core offer is an essential element of a successful marketing campaign. To accomplish this, you need to provide some type of “quick win” content that’s specific to your target audience, and relates to the main issue your core product solves. The best way to do this is with a Lead Magnet! The process for building a Lead Magnet is fairly simple. With the right preparation, stellar writing, and some great positioning with ads, your lead magnet will help you earn the interest of your ideal customers, and get your foot in the door.

For this “Run the Play” section, we are going to focus on three separate phases: Plan, Build, and Launch. While the “Build” section of this checklist (some consider this section the most fun) will take a majority of your time, it’s important to understand that the “Plan” and “Launch” sections will be CRUCIAL to creating a successful Lead Magnet.

Published by Silvia Emma

, helps boost confidence, impact, communication and presentation skills and image to create positive change in your business and life.