How to Generate Leads with a Powerful Lead Magnet

June 14, 2022 Content Marketing no comments

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Wish to generate more leads to your business but unsure how? Start by creating a lead magnet!

Also known as lead generators, these content marketing pieces are effective ways to grow a mailing list.

Often embedded on a landing page, lead magnets are attractive free assets that helps your potential clients to solve a problem or improve their result. At the same time, they help you to build your brand authority and trust with your prospect.

Lead magnets are also important as they form part of your sales and marketing funnel—this makes them critical in nurturing and cultivating potential clients to become your paying customers.

In this article, you will learn:

  • What are lead magnets
  • Why are lead magnets important—how do they help your business
  • What are the best types of lead magnets
  • How you can build an effective lead magnet

Ready to start generating qualified and useful leads for your business? Let’s go!

What are Lead Magnets?

Lead magnets are valuable content assets which attract encourage prospects to fill in a form (ie opt-in) to qualify to receive them. Examples of lead magnets may include the following:

  • eBooks and guides
  • Templates
  • Checklists
  • Questionnaires
  • A diagnostic tool (often online)
  • A calculator or spreadsheet
  • A free webinar
  • Instructional videos
  • Online courses (often delivered through a series of emails)
  • Product samples
  • Free trials
  • Free consultations/ assessments/ audits
  • Exclusive invitations

The best forms of lead magnets are closely associated with your core business.

If you are an accountant, a suitable lead-magnet could be a cash-flow management checklist that your lead could download. On the other hand, a lucky draw with a chance to win an iPad Pro may be an attractive prize, but it may not attract the right prospects.

What are the Benefits of Lead Magnets?

In a world that is awash with content, lead generators like eBooks, templates, and calculators helps to make your differentiated and distinctive.

Prospects filling in a lead form will appreciate the help that they can get, and this fosters brand trust and goodwill. By offering a gift (at no cost) to your prospect, you’ll trigger reciprocity in your recipient, making it more likely that they’ll give your business a chance.

They allow you to collect emails, phone numbers, and other contact particulars—without being pushy or salesy—and gives you an excuse to build a relationship with a potential client.

As the number of brand touch-points prior to triggering sales grows—they used to be 6 to 8 (rule of 7) and have now increased to 10 to 12 interactions—such contacts helps you to keep your brand top-of-mind while building mindshare and heart-share as you deliver a nurturing stream of emails to your prospect.

Finally, lead magnets help you to qualify your audience, and position yourself as an expert guide. This helps you to stake your claim in a specific domain while cultivating brand affection.

What are the Best Types of Lead Magnets?

Now that you’ve learned what lead magnets are, let us look at some of the best types of lead magnets that you can build.

#1 Expert Guides (PDF)

Is there a specific problem that your prospect is constantly bothered about? Tackle it by creating a lead-generating PDF that specifically addresses the problem.

This should be associated with your niche, and position you (or your panel of experts) as thought leading problem solvers in your field.

Ask questions that you know your customers are asking. You can use a tool like Answer The Public, Ubersuggest, or Keyword Tool to get long-tail keywords that the public are asking on search engines like Google.

Here are some examples of suitable topics:

  • How to Plan For Your Retirement By Age 55 (for a Financial Advisor)
  • How Small Businesses Can Manage Their Monthly Cash Flow (for a Tax Accountant)
  • How to Increase Your Strength and Fitness With Only 30 Minutes a Day (for a Fitness Expert)

To write the content for this eBook, you can either interview experts, compile best practices from your industry, or draw upon your own experience and expertise.

#2 Checklists, Questionnaires and Cheat Sheets

For businesses with a shortage of time, you can try creating a short questionnaire, checklist or cheatsheet. This has a couple of advantages:

  1. It is fairly simple to do
  2. It walks your prospects through a list of ideas which they can use to solve their problem
  3. It allows you to understand the pain points which they face—this can be used for precise targeting with your proposed solution later on

Here are some examples of topics that can go into a checklist type of lead magnet:

  • 20 Must-Dos to Keep Your Client Relationships Warm (for a Business Coach)
  • 15 Mistakes to Avoid When You’re Pitching To a Prospect (for a Sales Trainer)
  • The Preventive Maintenance Checklist for Machine Tools (for a Manufacturing Company)—we actually did this for a client, and it worked!

 #3 Worksheets and Templates

These are practical and will benefit from high repeat usage, giving you to opportunity to get your brand in front of your prospect—over and over again!

A worksheet or template can be weekly, monthly, or even yearly in nature. They may include any of the following:

  • Goal planning (for a Management Consultant)
  • Homework Scheduler (for a Tuition Agency)
  • Financial Planning Excel Template (for a Financial Advisor)
  • Exercise Timetable (for a Gym)
  • Customer Buying Journey Content Planner (for a Digital Marketing agency)
  • Brainstorming Ideation Worksheet (for any Consultant)
  • Weekly Fashion Planner (for a fashion retailer)

#4 Webinars, Seminars, and Talks

If you’re in a knowledge-based industry like training, consulting or professional services (eg legal, accounting, architecture, or engineering), you may want to consider a webinar, seminar or physical talk as a lead generator.

The pros of such lead magnets? They enable you to showcase your expertise and experience to a qualified and interested audience!

Do remember though to include a Call To Action (CTA) during your event though—failing to do so could result in missed opportunities to get a sale or booking during the event.

#5 Video Mini-courses (Delivered through Emails)

If you’re more natural speaking in front of a camera than typing on a keyboard, consider recording mini video courses and give these away as lead generating gifts.

These don’t have to be long—15 to 20 minutes per video max perhaps—but they’ll go a long way in building your brand. The intimate nature of videos where you can be seen and heard in motion helps you to immediately forge a bond with your prospect.

What’s also cool about offering such mini-courses via email is that it gives you an excuse to send them a series of emails. Doing so helps to nurture your lead and usher in a sales conversion later.

#6 Product Samples

For eCommerce, Food and Beverage, and retail businesses, supplying product or menu item samples is a good way to generate a lead.

Here’s why…

  1. You can nudge your prospect to try out your product while removing risk
  2. Sampling is the best way to experience the quality of your product
  3. It allows you to communicate directly with your audience, and introduce new product offerings in the future

Do note that you’ll have to account for shipping and handling though—some brands choose to absorb these while others may pass some of the costs on to their consumers.

#7 Free Trials

If you’re in the service business like a hair or beauty salon, spa, hotel, gym, or enrichment centre, you may wish to offer a free trial in return for a prospect’s contact particulars.

(Such lead magnets also apply to Software As A Service or SAAS businesses, with virtually no incremental cost.)

Such lead magnets are great because they allow your prospect to directly experience your service. However, you have to be careful about hard-selling your paid services—doing so may backfire on you, and lead to negative Word Of Mouth.

#8 Open Houses

For venue based businesses like preschools, visitor attractions, real estate sales, theatres, and restaurants, open-houses can be an attractive lead magnet for prospects to sign-up for.

Make it a party—bring on the balloons, party clowns, and cocktails! Naturally, consider how you can nudge (not coerce mind you) your event attendees to learn what you have to offer, and find a way to continue nurturing that relationship after the event, even if they did not invest in your offering then.

#9 Audits and Assessments

For professional service providers—think lawyers, accountants, management consultants, publicists, and yes, digital marketers—consider offering a free audit and assessment as a lead magnet.

Such free services are highly valued and they help you to build goodwill and establish expertise with your prospect.

Here are some possibilities:

  • Offer a top-level audit of your client’s website (digital marketing agency)
  • Provide a calculator that estimates the profitability of your client’s business (accountant)
  • Review their existing legal contracts (law firm)
  • Assess their company’s organisation structure (HR consultant)

The twist here is that you should tell your prospect what is wrong with their current set-up and perhaps offer some simple ideas to make it right. The audit or assessment should also be fairly easy for an expert like you to do.

However, for the full menu of your services, it should come with your paid services.

#10 Recipes/ Formulas/ Step-by-Step Guides

Finally, consider giving out recipes, formulas, and step-by-step guides as lead generating magnets as another option.

These are highly valued by your target audiences while helping to positioning your business as a leader in this space. Examples include…

  • Recipe for cooking a specific dish (for a baking school, restaurant, or cafe)
  • Step-by-step guide to planting your first vegetable garden (nursery or landscaping company)
  • How to style your hair in the morning (hair salon)
  • Crafting an SEO-friendly blog article (digital marketing agency like Cooler Insights)

How to Build Your Ideal Lead Magnet

All excited to build your lead magnet? Here are some general rules that you can follow if you’re building a PDF or written lead magnet.

#1 Think about Your Area of Expertise

Evaluate your set of skills and knowledge, and think about what you or your colleagues can teach.

If you’re in a manufacturing company working as a marketer, you could interview your engineering colleagues to see if they’ve got any useful knowledge that can be downloaded into a lead magnet.

Ensure that it can be reproduced fairly easily—you’re giving your prospects a handy tool, not an encyclopedia!

#2 Research, Research, RESEARCH!

Study what your competitors are already giving out. Can you give out something comparable but better?

Use online research tools to determine what your potential customers are searching for or sharing. Trawl through your Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter feeds—which ads stand out and what lead magnets do they offer?

Jot down any ideas that you may have.

#3 Brainstorm over Your Title

Once you’ve got your potential lead magnets figured out, you should brainstorm with your team over the title.

Make sure that it has a hook that can catch the attention of your target audience. Be as specific as possible, and use the right keywords and emotional language.

#4 Sketch Out Your Content

Scaffold your content in a way that attracts your recipient’s attention. Here’s one way to do so:

  • Start with a catchy headline that directly addresses your prospect’s problem
  • Write a first paragraph that describe what the problem statement is
  • For your second paragraph, demonstrate empathy for their problem—highlight the frustrations and pains that they’re likely to experience
  • For the next paragraph, talk a little about your authority in this space—how you’ve tried different ways and techniques before finally solving that puzzle
  • In the following section, you should define what your exact process is like. What are the steps that they need to take? What should they be mindful of? Include examples
  • Ensure that you’ve included visuals to better illustrate your points. Screenshots are perfect here.
  • Make sure that you have adequate Call-To-Actions (CTAs) to nudge your prospect to contact your business should they need help.

#5 Write, Design, Produce and Edit

Your next step is to literally write, design and produce your lead magnet.

Ensure that you edit and refine your content as you go along. Do not leave anything to chance.

#6 Include a Call To Action (CTA)

Put in sufficient CTAs to ensure that you have adequate reminders for your prospect to contact you should they need your products or services. Don’t be shy about it!

#7 Check that it is Truly Valuable

Lastly, run by a couple of your friends to see that this would be valuable. Even better—ask strangers who may be your prospects to share what they think. Would this be of value to them? Would they respond to such a lead magnet if they saw it?


Lead magnets are the bellwether content pieces in the world of digital marketing. In an overwhelming cluttered world, these valuable gifts can help any business or brand to stand out.

Have you created a lead magnet with an opt-in form before? How was your experience like?

Need Help with Your Lead Generation Campaign?

Fill in the contact form below for a free content audit of your website and lead magnets!

By Walter
Founder of Cooler Insights, I am a geek marketer with almost 24 years of senior management experience in marketing, public relations and strategic planning. Since becoming an entrepreneur 5 years ago, my team and I have helped 58 companies and over 2,200 trainees in digital marketing, focusing on content, social media and brand storytelling.

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