What is a lead magnet? (+ 18 attractive lead magnet ideas)

7 min read
Rananda Rich

Wondering how a lead magnet can help you attract more business for your online shop? We’re here to help. Whether you’re just starting out or already have a website that looks beautiful, we have plenty of tips, tricks and ideas that’ll encourage more users to stick around your site.

What is a lead magnet?

Lead magnets help draw people to a business by offering something of value, usually in exchange for their email address. These are useful, yet free, offerings — think product samples, eBooks or newsletters.

Many businesses use lead magnets for building relationships with future clients and prospects.

For example, let's say you’re ready to build your list of email subscribers, service their needs and build your business. And yet, you find that traffic is slow. You notice that visitors often revisit your site, then disappear without clicking your call to action (CTA) buttons. And since they didn’t feel compelled to share any information with you, you now have no idea who they were or whether you could have helped them.

This is where lead magnets might help.

Why do lead magnets work so well?

The benefits of offering a free offering to website visitors are twofold.

On one hand, prospects get to:

  • Try out your brand before they buy
  • Receive value at no financial cost to them
  • Begin to know, trust and like you

At the same time, business owners that offer a lead magnet can:

  • Demonstrate their expertise and establish trust with users (normally with little cost and a small investment of time)
  • Build up their email subscriber list
  • Create reciprocity with their target customers

When customers receive something of value from the outset, they are more favourable to buying something later. And by accepting your gift, your visitors make a low-risk micro-commitment to you in the process.

close up of hands holding a yellow flower

What to do (and not to do)

Yes, all sorts of mistakes can happen when creating a lead magnet. Here are a few scenarios you’ll want to avoid as you draft up your ideas:

  • Not considering your audience’s interests. Giving away a free guide about decorating birthday cakes to motorbike enthusiasts is likely to draw the wrong kind of audience and deter the right one.
  • Attracting an uninterested audience. Handing out cash or goods that aren’t related to your business is not only expensive, but risks attracting too broad of an audience — resulting in an email list full of people who are unlikely to become customers.
  • Skipping stages of your customer’s journey. Offering a free course on advanced-level yoga poses may put off beginners, or even worse, injure them!

To get the best outcome and build a valuable subscriber list, aim for the following:

  • Make it appealing and relevant to your ideal customer
  • Meet your customer where they are, not where you are (put yourself in their shoes)
  • Make it interesting and valuable
  • Make it easy to access and digest
  • Ensure it is easy to use with a fast result
Woman smiling at laptop while sitting in living room

This last point of giving the user a quick win is especially important. Give your visitor the endorphin rush that comes with the pleasure of learning something new, saving time or money or overcoming a frustration. That feeling from the value you provide encourages them to get curious about further ways you can help them.

So, while it may be tempting to capture everything you know about keeping tropical fish in an eBook, an infographic outlining the “5 Steps to Creating a Vibrant Tropical Aquarium” may be far more actionable for the recipient to start with.

Relate: What is a target customer and how do I find mine?

18 irresistible lead magnet ideas

Lead magnets come in all sorts of formats and appearances. And, if you’ve ever signed up to a newsletter yourself, you’ve probably come across a few variations.

Remember, you are only limited by your imagination and the time you’re prepared to invest.

Start with one idea, then tweak and adjust it based on feedback. Once you have a winner, you can then let people know you have a gift for them on your website.

So, what are some good ideas for lead magnets? Consider the following 18 prompts:

  1. PDF downloads: Make sure it is short, succinct and valuable
  2. Infographics: This is a useful way to enhance your message visually (Make it with this free tool)
  3. eBooks: Use this as a more in-depth offering
  4. Video series offerings: This visual format is useful for demonstrating processes (how to use your product, etc.)
  5. Audio series offerings: An audio format enables the listener to learn on the go
  6. Mini courses: Let potential students experience what kind of instructor you are
  7. Quizzes: You can use handy tools like Interact and Typeform to get started
  8. Checklists: No need to be the expert all the time — giving people simple tools to find their own way can be just as useful
  9. White papers: But if you are the expert, dive deep into your speciality and create shareable information to gain buy-in (especially if you’re a B2B organisation)
  10. Digital tools: You know that trusty spreadsheet you’ve been using in-house? It might be just as valuable to your customers if you’re willing to share
  11. Complimentary 30-minute info sessions: This is a more time-consuming option, but worth it for building rapport with, and tailoring valuable insights to, potential clients
  12. Discount vouchers/codes for one of your offerings: Use a unique discount code so you can track the benefit of your lead magnet offer, compared to other price incentives you make
  13. Free customer audit or high-level review: Ensure this offer is specific and well-defined so you don’t rope yourself into an all-consuming project
  14. Offer one of your products or services for free or low cost: This is a good, low-risk experience upfront that can lead to an even bigger customer purchase later
  15. Free trial of one of your paid offerings: Again, ensure it is small enough and specific enough not to be a drain on your time or resources
  16. Exclusive material not publicly available: This might include an issue of your paid newsletter or an excerpt from your latest book
  17. Insider’s report relating to you or your customers’ world: Revealing secrets or inner workings can be eye-opening and fascinating
  18. An accountability challenge: A seven- or 30-day challenge in your area of expertise (think health, wealth, productivity and beyond) can be an excellent way to build a relationship with prospective clients

Don’t forget the next steps

Retirement Planning Arrow Drawn on Pavement

A lead magnet is only part of the lead generation process. Use the following steps to help you build a positive rapport with your audience:

  • Step 1: Make sure you collect the email address from potential customers in exchange for the lead magnet you choose to offer. It helps to let them know you won't share or sell their information to anyone.
  • Step 2: Nurture this fledgling relationship with regular, timely and useful emails. A simple, automated welcome sequence can help establish positive expectations before new subscribers become part of the normal communications you have with your email list.
  • Step 3: Ensure each point of contact, from your lead magnet to your emails to your social media, leaves a clear impression. This will help keep you top of mind when they are ready to purchase.

Closing tips for building attractive lead magnets

As mentioned earlier, lead magnets help you establish a connection with your customer. Free offerings provide a sample of your services, products and all-around brand experience. Sure, they’re a marketing tool, but just because the recipient doesn’t have to pay money for them, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t create a valuable outcome.

After all, receiving a new email address in return can be an asset for your business going forward. And, when you're able to impress, engage and solve a problem for your target audience fast, you’re serving exactly the right people who will help grow your business.

Editor’s note: Create and manage your social media posts, email marketing, business listings and reviews — all from one dashboard with GoDaddy’s Digital Marketing Suite.