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How to Create a Lead Magnet in 6 Steps

A well-crafted lead magnet can be one of the most powerful weapons in your lead generation strategy. Exchanging an asset for a new lead is a smart way to grow an email list of individuals who are already interested in a product or service.

Lead Magnet

What is a Lead Magnet?

You might not be familiar with the term lead magnet yet, but it’s likely that you’ve already downloaded one yourself. A lead magnet is simply any piece of information that you give prospective customers in exchange for their email addresses. Lead magnets take many forms including white papers, reports, ebooks and checklists. A lead magnet can only be downloaded by consumers who’ve filled out a contact form that includes an email address.

Why Do You Need a Lead Magnet?

In the early years of the internet, marketers and businesses could get email addresses from potential customers by offering a free weekly or monthly newsletter. In today’s digital-savvy world, this traditional formula doesn’t work for attracting new leads. Potential customers want to know that you’re going to deliver value and not spam before they give up their contact information.

Lead magnets offer a highly effective way to gain new leads without a significant financial expenditure. One piece of content can be used to gain thousands of leads. The key is to focus on giving your new contacts valuable content that they can take action on. That might be a study that shows how your product improves the lives of users or a checklist that walks potential clients through a difficult or time-consuming task.

Consumers are willing to exchange email addresses for high-quality lead magnets because they know it will be difficult to find in-depth content on the particular subject elsewhere. Banner ads, social media posts and blogs can be effective advertising tools but lack the ability to get consumers to give up their contact info.

If you find yourself wondering what the difference between a lead magnet and a landing page is, remember this: A landing page is a place where a potential buyer can find out about a brand anonymously. A lead magnet is a bartering tool that earns you the time and attention of a potential buyer.

Types of Lead Magnets

There are many different types of lead magnets. Some magnets are time specific, such as webinars or broadcasts that happen at a set time. Others can be accessed by consumers at any time. These types of content are among the most effective because they don’t need to fit in with a buyer’s schedule to be useful. They can be used to gain leads at any time and from anywhere.


Ebooks are long, informational texts that are generally shared with consumers in pdf format. Most ebooks used as lead magnets are at least 3,500 words long. Some are significantly longer, ranging up to 35,000 words in length. If you’re considering using an ebook as a lead magnet, research other companies in your industry that are using ebooks. Find out about how long those books are and what kind of information they contain. Aim to make your book a similar length and to include information not available from your competitors.

An ebook can also give you a way to repurpose previous content to make it something new. Maybe you’ve already published a series of blog posts or how-to articles on a specific topic. You can expand and connect that content to turn it into an ebook.

Implementation, Buying & How-to Guides

Guides can serve a variety of purposes while offering value to consumers. The type of guide that you should offer depends both on your industry and your specific marketing purpose. A home improvement store might publish how-to guides on installing plumbing fixtures. The same store could also publish buying guides for home improvement products. A software company, however, might be better suited by publishing an implementation guide that walks potential buyers through the process of using a new software suite.

Guides serve three purposes:

  1. They give you access to consumers interested in your products or services.
  2. They help consumers feel good about investing in your products or services.
  3. They provide helpful tips that let consumers get more out of your products or services. This leads to higher customer satisfaction rates.


White Papers & Reports

Reports and white papers give consumers an in-depth look into a specific industry, trend or question. B2B businesses often use white papers to attract potential clients. These content pieces are designed to increase consumer confidence by providing in-depth, high-quality information that is actionable. White papers should provide data that is backed by research. They should also include a hook or piece of information that can’t be found anywhere else on your website.

White papers and reports also offer another way to recycle existing content. For example, you might take a dozen statistics-driven blog posts that you’ve published and give them new life in a white paper. Recycling content that required a great deal of research allows you to present a wealth of factual information to your audience without a huge time investment.


If you’re walking a consumer through the process of buying a product, preparing for a major life event or implementing a change, a checklist might be the ideal lead magnet. Imagine that you run an insurance agency that provides homeowners coverage. You want to get more prospects into your lead funnel, but the competition in your area is tough. You could offer a home inventory checklist or a disaster survival kit checklist in exchange for a potential client’s email address.


You want your brand to make a lasting impression, so be sure that your list includes all the essential checkboxes and looks great too. Design matters for a checklist. Consider using brand assets such as your logo and official colors to turn your checklist into a lead magnet that makes a strong brand impression.

Resource Guides

Some consumers need to access many different services at once. Organizations in the health care and human services industries often serve clients who have complex needs. Providing potential clients with a resource guide that connects them to other helpful organizations and websites is a great way to gain leads. A resource guide allows you to present your organization as a trustworthy partner and advisor.

Resource guides can also be used by retail-oriented businesses. Such guides are ideal if

  • consumers use your products in conjunction with third-party products or services,
  • consumers use your products for shows, competitions or exhibitions, or
  • consumers need background knowledge in a specific area to use your products.


Cheat Sheets

The instruction manuals for many products are accompanied by a quick-start guide that provides a brief overview of how to get the item up and going. A cheat sheet is similar. Cheat sheets offer quick overviews of complex processes or time-saving workarounds for tasks. They are popular with time-pressed consumers — who are some of the hardest to get leads from. These stingy consumers will exchange their email addresses for a cheat sheet that can save them time.

Think outside of the box when creating cheat sheets. They needn’t be centered around products or services. You can also create cheat sheets that focus on life hacks. For example, a men’s clothing company might offer a cheat sheet on making a great impression at a first interview. The cheat sheet would offer valuable tips, including one centered around the importance of dressing well for an interview.

Case Studies

If you work in the B2B sector, a case study can be a useful lead generation tool. After all, case studies are designed to convince potential buyers that your organization can deliver on its promises by showing past success. Using a case study as a lead magnet is a smart way to get contact information from business owners who are actively considering how well your products or services could meet their needs.

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Bonus Packs

Imagine that you run a lifestyle company. Every holiday season, you publish a series of blog posts about entertaining. These posts tend to provide quick, general tips that make entertaining seem less intimidating. You’ve seen several comments on your blogs asking for more specific content such as food and drink recipes, game ideas, and detailed decor instructions. You could offer all of these assets as a bonus pack that can be downloaded in exchange for an email address. This strategy gains leads who are already interested in what you do and are hungry for more.

How to Create a Lead Magnet

Creating a lead magnet as part of your marketing strategy is a straightforward six-step process. Before you start, establish the goals you want to meet. Set quantifiable targets so that you can measure your success later.


1. Define Your Target Audience & Buyer Persona

Lead magnets get the best results when they’re used to attract a highly specific audience. It’s tempting to create content that might appeal to a broad consumer base, but such generalized content isn’t valuable enough to earn many leads. You need to know details about your audience in order to create effective content for it.

One easy way to do that is by defining your brand’s buyer persona. A buyer persona is a general description of the kind of person who wants to do business with you. Buyer personas often include information such as age, gender, education level, income and marital status.

The sales department in most organizations is responsible for defining the buyer persona for the brand. If your organization has a sales team, tap into its knowledge to find out more about the buyer persona for which you should create content. If your organization doesn’t have a sales team, you’ll have to do some research on buyer persona on your own.

2. Research Topics that Match Your Audience/Persona

With your buyer persona in mind, start researching topics that you can create a lead magnet around. You can find topics for your lead magnet by

  • doing keyword research,
  • sending out email surveys,
  • looking at which of your blog posts have received the most traffic,
  • checking out what your competitors offer and
  • using Google Analytics to see which areas of your website get the most traffic.

Topic Research

It’s important not to rely on only one type of research. You might find that a given question has a high occurrence in searches. Before you set out to write a 30-page ebook to answer that question, make sure that your competitors haven’t already done so. Creating a lead magnet that is too similar to another company’s likely won’t get you many leads and may even leave potential customers with the impression that you’re a copycat or cheater.

3. Decide on the Best Type of Lead Magnet for the Topic & Audience

The topic for your lead magnet is the most important factor to keep in mind as you decide what type of lead magnet you want to use. Ebooks, white papers, case studies, reports and guides are just some of your options. Ask yourself

  • What question(s) does the content need to answer?
  • What types of content can be used to answer this question?
  • What types of content do my competitors have?
  • What type of content would deliver the most value to new leads?

Your lead magnet should answer consumer questions in the most digestible way possible. You want to provide content that delivers complex information without being complicated.

If you need to present in-depth information or the results of research, you might opt for a white paper, ebook or a case study. If you want to lead clients through a task, you might choose a checklist, how-to guide or cheat sheet. If you want to build blog readership or rapport with your audience, you might choose a resource guide or bonus pack. If your competitors have similar content, consider answering common consumer questions in a new format.

4. Create Content Specific to the Lead Magnet

Excellent content is the heart of your lead magnet. Once you’ve decided on a format and topic, you can outline and write the content yourself or you can write up a comprehensive order brief and hire a freelance writer. The content should be unique and should match your brand voice.

Remember that the content should also be highly specific. Make sure that your writer understands your target audience and the reasons that you’re requesting the content. The more pertinent information you can provide, the better the content will be.

5. Design the Lead Magnet

Once you have high-quality content in hand, you should put it in a beautiful package. Ugly graphics or bad formatting are big turn offs for potential customers. Creating a professional-looking lead magnet is essential to retaining your new leads. A poorly written or designed content piece will compel consumers to click the “unsubscribe” button.

Work with your company’s marketing department to create a visually compelling container for your content. If your organization doesn’t have a marketing department, you can use a site such as Canva to design one on your own. Remember that lead magnet design is a great opportunity to use your brand’s logo or colors.

You’ll also need to decide how you’ll get content to new subscribers. Some organizations choose to send files via email while others send a custom download link. It doesn’t matter which you choose. However, your content should always be optimized for delivery. You may need to use a tool like Smallpdf to keep file sizes manageable.

6. Market Your Lead Magnet

You have a beautiful lead magnet in hand. Now, you need to market it. Some of your many marketing options include

  • on-page ads on your blog,
  • Facebook ads,
  • offers via referral partners and
  • pop-ups on your site’s homepage.

If it makes the most sense to offer content on your blog or homepage, use strong on-page SEO to get potential leads to your page. You can use your marketing data to tailor Facebook ads and partner offers to your target audience.

To track the success of your lead magnet, you’ll need to use tools that allow you to capture consumer data. If you place ads on Facebook, consider using the lead ads utility to target your audience and track campaign data. Remember that you’ll also need a great teaser to attract attention on social media. Lead collection and generation tools that can be used on your own website are also readily available.

Tools to Create a Lead Magnet

The right tools make creating a lead magnet easier. As you progress through the stages of creating a lead magnet, you’ll need to use both design and marketing tools.



Helpful Tools for Lead Magnet Design

The best tools for lead magnet design include these services:

  • Beacon, a tool suite that allows you to complete all aspects of lead magnet design.
  •, a web-based app that allows you to create diagrams, flow charts, maps and more to make your lead magnets more interesting.
  • Prezi, a site that allows you to make PowerPoint-like presentations and save them as pdfs. This can be a useful tool if you want to provide content in a highly visual format.


Helpful Tools for Lead Magnet Marketing

The best tools for lead magnet marketing include these services:

  • HelloBar, a service that displays landing and exit pop-ups that ask consumers to exchange their email addresses for content.
  • OptinMonster, a service that displays integrated email subscription boxes on webpages. It is particularly useful for blog-based lead acquisition.
  • Leadpages, a website creation and management tool designed with lead acquisition in mind. Use it to create a beautiful site and pop-ups that can be used for lead magnet marketing.

The Value of Lead Magnets

Lead magnets can significantly increase inbound marketing leads. They provide value that can’t be found elsewhere, which makes the difficult task of getting consumer email addresses less painful. Remember that specificity, quality and design are key to launching a content-driven lead magnet that delivers results.

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