Lead magnets are like hypnosis applied to lead generation. Their objective is simple: convince your visitors that they should give away their email address without any resistance.
But like hypnosis, finding lead magnet ideas that work is an art. Let’s see how you can master it…
What Is a Lead Magnet?
First things first, let’s start by defining what a lead magnet is.
A lead magnet is an incentive offered to your visitors in exchange for their contact details (email address, name, phone number, etc.).
As its name suggests, it’s thought to be so irresistible that your visitors will rush into signing up to your list.
The term is mainly used in B2B marketing to describe techniques used to generate leads.
Some marketers use the word in a B2C context to describe offers aimed at converting visitors into newsletter subscribers. In this article, we’ll stick to the B2B definition.
A lead magnet example on Blog Tyrant
Lead magnets intervene at the beginning of the sales funnel, with the objective of turning visitors into leads:
Lead Magnet Formats
Lead magnets can have multiple formats.
In its simplest form, it can be a bottom or top bar displayed at the bottom or at the top of a page where the email is collected right from the bar.
This format is interesting because it’s not intrusive, yet is very visible.
A lead magnet bar on Activecampaign.com
Some websites use popups to display their magnets to their visitors. These popups can be displayed when the user lands on the website (we agree, it sucks), just before she leaves the page (in what we call an exit popup), or once the user has clicked a call-to-action on the page.
Like bars, this format is very visible. But it can be intrusive and may diminish your visitors’ browsing experience.
A lightbox popup on SitePoint.com
Landing pages (or squeeze pages)
Some marketers also choose to use squeeze pages (pages which have only one objective: get the users’ contact details) as a lead magnet.
In that case, the marketer will have to drive traffic to this page either through on-site promotion (display banners, on-page call-to-actions, popups, etc.) or external traffic sources (SEO, ads, etc.).
A squeeze page on Instapage.com
Why Lead Magnets Rule
According to research from BrightFunnel, it takes 108 days and 17.5 marketing touches to convert a lead into a customer.
This means you can’t simply assume that your visitors will convert into customers after a first visit on your website. You need a way to multiply the contacts with them to turn them into potential clients.
And to do so, email marketing is your best option. Why?
First, because it’s one of the only ways to retarget your potential customers directly. Yes, there are retargeting ads as well. But in a world where the average CTR of display ads is 0.19%, it’s not a realistic one.
Emails also offer many advantages:
- They can be personalized: If you’ve collected your lead’s first name, you can mention it in your introduction; it will feel less impersonal than display banners.
- Their content can be adapted: If you track what your leads have seen on your website, you can send content which is highly relevant to them.
- You can automate them, meaning they’ll be sent only when you want them to be sent.
No wonder B2B marketers consider it the marketing channel which has the most impact on revenue:
Lead Magnets’ Superpowers
In an email world, lead magnets rule.
To put it simply, because they convert. Big time.
Take this example from SEO superstar Brian Dean. Using a lead magnet, he was able to increase the subscription rate of one of his pages from 0.54%. to 4.82% overnight.
Or this other example from PixelMe, a pixel retargeting solution:
Their popup conversion is very close to 4%, not bad!
Let’s do a quick recap.
- In B2B marketing, getting your visitors’ email address is key to convert them into potential customers.
- Lead magnets aim at providing the best incentive to collect the email addresses you need.
Let’s dive in to the third section of this article: how to find ideas for your lead magnets.
How to Find Ideas for Your Lead Magnets
The Three Golden Rules of Lead Magnets That Convert
Let’s start with some theory.
When one of your visitors stumbles upon your lead magnet, she must be irresistibly attracted to it—so much that she feels ready to give her email address away.
In other words, from a visitor’s perspective, the lead magnet must be:
- Relevant: If the resource doesn’t look interesting, why would she bother subscribing?
- Exclusive: It makes no sense for her to sign up if she can get the reward somewhere else without giving away her contact details.
- Instantaneously useful: The lead magnet must help your visitors solve a problem they’re having right now (otherwise they will forget it).
Uncover What’s on Your Visitor’s Mind
Let’s see now how you can identify the kind of magnet that would speak to your users.
To find the inspiration, we need to understand who your users are and what they’re looking for.
To do so, we can rely on a few sources.
Source #1: Your product
What kind of product do you sell? What problem does it solve?
Let’s say I’m working for an email marketing service. It gives me a first direction: My lead magnet should focus on the needs of users who are interested in an emailing solution.
(Sorry for stating the obvious, but sometimes it’s worth discussing the basics.)
Source #2: Analytics
Your analytics can give you a good clue of what your users are after as well.
Check your page report in Google Analytics and apply a filter to keep only the visits coming from Search Engines:
It will tell you right away what kind of content is bringing your users to your website.
Let’s get back to my example. I realize that my most popular pages are about email marketing in general. Second clue: I can prepare a lead magnet focused on email marketing because it looks like a topic most of my visitors are interested in.
Source #3: Keyword analysis
If you want more information to identify the ideal lead magnet idea, use a tool such as AnswerThePublic to identify the challenges that your customers are facing.
ATP pulls keyword suggestions from Google Autocomplete. This is a gold mine for anyone who wants to uncover what’s on a user’s mind.
Here’s an example with the keyword “Email marketing.”
This analysis, for example, gave me two additional questions about email marketing:
- where to buy email marketing lists
- where to get email marketing lists
From Your Visitor to Your Lead Magnet
Now that we know what your visitors are looking for, it’s time to focus on what you can offer to satisfy them.
As a marketer, you must identify a unique asset that you can give away for free.
Most companies have three main types of assets they can rely on:
- unique data
- unique expertise
- their existing customers
Let’s detail how you can build on these assets.
Leverage your expertise
See this example from Intercom?
Intercom is a company whose entire product aims at engaging audiences.
Because of this orientation, they have a unique point of view on engagement, which they used to create an entire book about customer engagement.
Let’s get back to you.
Use these questions to identify your unique expertise:
- In what industry does your company operate?
- What are its main expertises?
- If some of your colleagues speak at conferences or publish on blogs, what are the kinds of topics they discuss?
- Is there anyone on your team (including you) who has a specific certification rewarding a specific set of skills that you could leverage?
Here’s another example from Quick Sprout:
Using their SEO expertise, they built an automated service that evaluates your website performance in terms of SEO. And, of course, this helps them attract new leads.
Leverage your data
Data is another option, particularly for large companies with a wide range of customers.
Why? Because most people like to measure themselves against others.
Here’s a smart example of this strategy on Wordstream, a PPC ads management tool. They’re using the data they’ve accumulated about their customers to allow visitors to measure themselves against this data.
Leverage your existing customers
When there’s no internal data you can share, you can still survey your users to elaborate a unique point of view on your market.
This is what Salesforce does with their “State of Marketing” report.
Not always sexy, but it can work, especially if you work at the executive level.
Identify the Most Appropriate Format
Lead magnets can have many different formats. Let’s review your options and study their advantages and limits.
Checklist / Cheat Sheet
- Pros: Quick to prepare; cheap
- Cons: Often specific to a precise topic. Means you’ll have to create one for each topic
A cheatsheet lead magnet on Backlinko
- Pros: Cheap
- Cons: Can take a lot of time to prepare
An ebook lead magnet on Kissmetrics
- Pros: Because they’re difficult to create, they’re pretty rare and can attract a lot of interest. You can also use them to boost your PR.
- Cons: Can be expensive if you hire a company to help you. Can be difficult to gather enough responses.
A lead magnet based on a survey on Litmus
- Pros: Video is one of the most popular formats among internautes.
- Cons: Can be expensive, especially if you go for a professional format.
A podcast lead magnet on Entrepreneurs on Fire
- Pros: A very subtle way to collect leads. Easy to design using Fieldboom
- Cons: None that I can think of
A quiz on Infusionsoft
- Pros: E-learning is more popular than ever (source).
- Cons: It can take some time to refine the content.
- Pros: Not only do they collect email addresses, they often help qualify leads.
- Cons: They require both considerable expertise and a dev team.
This service on MXtoolbox offers to send an email to their inbox to test its deliverability. A smart way to collect potential leads!
Nine Lead Magnet Examples Which Can Inspire You
Before closing this article, let’s review some lead magnet examples for inspiration.
Let’s start with Hubspot, the company that “invented” inbound marketing.
Their lead magnet is an excellent example:
- It totally matches the topic I’m interested in (I got there by clicking a call-to-action in an article related to email marketing).
- Its title is very attractive.
- I can get a good idea of what I’ll get inside the book just by looking at the page (I can even have a sneak peek!).
This example comes from Mention, the media monitoring tool. I got there after clicking a CTA inserted in an article about SEO competitor analysis. So again, highly relevant to my need.
And the page gives a pretty good idea of what I can expect.
I stumbled upon the third example on Close.io, a sales software CRM.
They offer a content upgrade you can fill in as you read the post. There’s no way the content could be more relevant and more directly actionable. Brilliant!
This lead magnet was found on a page mentioning sitemaps. What’s interesting here is that in SEO, sitemap analysis is often part of a larger audit process. And SEMRush knows that. That’s why they offer an ebook related to the broader topic, website audit. Smart!
This one was closing an article about list building.
Look how they used power words to make their lead magnet more attractive: “Massive,”“Formula,” “Free.” Seriously, who could resist this one?
This lead magnet was embedded into an article about guest posting.
The fact that they bundled multiple resources into one kit makes it very interesting. Looks like you’ll get an entire toolbox!
Hootsuite’s example is very convincing as well. They describe what you can expect in a short paragraph. And it’s very relevant for someone looking for information about Instagram marketing.
What if you could get a free training just by signing up to a newsletter? That’s what this example from Pipedrive, a sales CRM, suggests. Tempting!
Who doesn’t want to triple the number of leads they generate? Exactly! No one! This is why the headline of this lead magnet is so appealing.
Interesting to see how they use social proof as well:
- They quote big companies (Expedia, Hubspot, etc.).
- They mention the year to prove it’s up-to-date.
- They include the logo of media in which they were featured.
There you have it. A deep-dive into finding lead magnet ideas that will convert and a quick look at 9 ways companies like Hubspot and Hootsuite use lead magnets to build their email lists and generate leads.