Website traffic is always welcomed, but with a hungry funnel and a need to continuously generate leads, marketers need to create lead magnets to entice visitors to hand over their email addresses.
Lead magnets are everywhere. Standing out from your competitors and creating assets that attract the right kind of leads can be easier said than done.
In this blog, we’ll explore 9 effective lead magnet ideas, and how you can ensure your magnets are attracting qualified leads who fit your buyer persona.
How to create an effective lead magnet
When we say ‘effective,’ we’re not just talking about the volume of leads. We’re looking at who these leads are and how likely they are to convert. An effective lead magnet will have a clear goal and purpose, and will be designed to generate a specific type of lead for your sales and marketing teams to nurture.
Follow these steps to create a lead magnet that really works for your business.
1. Define your ideal lead
To create an asset that magnetizes the right kind of lead, you need to understand who your ideal lead is, and what kind of problem you can solve for them or advice you can offer.
If you have a pre-existing buyer persona, this will be the best place to start. Ensure that your buyer persona accurately reflects the current state of your business by assessing the data and chatting to your sales team. If you have more than one buyer persona, it may be worth focusing on just one persona to ensure your content is as targeted as possible. This is especially true for B2B companies that target different industries or business types.
2. Identify the problem your lead magnet can solve
Host a brainstorm or workshop to identify a wide range of pain points or problems your leads may be facing, and how your lead magnet could solve them. At this stage, keeping your brainstorm as open and free as possible is advisable. You want a wealth of ideas that you can tap into for this initial lead magnet, and any more you develop down the track.
Not sure where to start? The ideas outlined in the next section will serve as a jumping-off point.
3. Align and refine your lead magnet idea
With your ideas on paper (or a Figjam), it’s time to align and refine. Start by selecting the most well-aligned ideas for your brand and product. You should be looking for things that feel like a natural extension of your offering, and may even allow for some organic brand or product integration.
Then it’s time to refine. Let’s say you’re a B2B that helps companies assess and reduce their CO2 emissions. You’ve identified that one of the quickest wins for companies is to recycle, but most companies are recycling incorrectly due to a lack of education among staff.
You know you want your lead magnet to solve this problem. Now it’s time to refine how you solve the problem. To do this, consider your buyer again. Are they more likely to be one of the employees on the ground who requires educational material or a leader on the team who needs to do the educating? Are they aware that recycling is a quick win, or is there a piece that needs to come before?
You will also want to consider where your product or offering comes in. In this example, you may be better placed creating a lead magnet like a calculator that quantifies or visualizes the positive environmental impact of recycling properly.
4. Create your lead magnet
Now’s the fun part. With your idea locked in, it’s time to create your lead magnet and get it out into the world. This step will largely depend on the type of asset you’re building. A template or whitepaper won’t take as long as an eBook or building a calculator. No matter what kind of asset you build, ensure that it looks and feels right for your brand, and uses on-brand language.
5. Build a distribution strategy
“Build it and they will come,” does not apply to lead magnets. You will need to build a distribution strategy that reaches your target lead where they are. Consider the places they hang out–whether it’s online or offline communities, social media platforms or groups, or media publications—and identify both organic and paid strategies for reaching them there.
You can also use this new lead magnet as an opportunity to retarget people who have visited your site before, engaged with your social media content or advertisements, or connected with your brand in any other way.
Finally, it’s worth considering the role a lookalike audience can play in your strategy. Build an audience in Ortto that represents your buyer profile, and sync it with your advertising platforms to create an audience of lookalikes with similar attributes.
9 effective lead magnet ideas (with examples)
There are plenty of ways to build an effective lead magnet. Some will repurpose existing content and materials, making the process fairly easy to create in-house with little budget. Others will require multiple teams, developers, third-party assistance or a budget. In this section, we’ll outline 9 different lead magnet ideas, ranging from the resource-light to the resource-heavy.
1. eBooks, reports, guides and whitepapers
Ebooks, reports, whitepapers and guides are one of the most common types of lead magnets. They are an opportunity for you to repurpose existing content, share your hard-earned insights over the years and simultaneously draw in new leads to grow your business.
Take an in-depth look at a topic you have already covered on your blog, share results from a study, or create a workbook with checklists and step-by-step instructions a reader could do on their own. Repurposing your best blog content is the easiest way to create this stuff. The process takes compiling, editing, and designing, but the end result is evergreen, and it’ll draw leads and clicks over time.
Our ‘Guide to email deliverability’ is an example of a guide that takes some existing blog content, along with additional information from our Head of Email Deliverability to create a robust guide for any company that wants to ensure their emails are actually landing in the inbox.
We use pop-ups across our email marketing content to drive downloads of the guide to ensure we reach the most relevant visitors. Setting these capture widgets up in Ortto takes a few minutes and with all your data in one place, you’ll be able to track performance over time.
Trends or benchmark reports are another great lead magnet that can be added to your content calendar with a quarterly, half-yearly or annual cadence. Take a look at the example below from social media scheduling tool Hootsuite and social media agency We Are Social. It’s a 300-page guide to the digital trends for 2022, including statistics, insights from industry leaders, and more. By creating this long-form asset with a partner, Hootsuite and We Are Social benefit from exposure to a larger audience, and an enhanced network of expert contributors to feature in the content itself.
While this kind of report can be incredibly resource-heavy, the statistics and quotes generated can be used in blog posts, social content, and other marketing or sales materials for years to come.
2. Checklists and cheat sheets
Shorter form content in the form of checklists or cheat sheets can be great lead magnets for a time-poor audience. This type of content is most effective when it is connected to a piece of longer-form content like a blog where you can include a CTA to download.
While the content itself may be shorter form and therefore quicker to create, a great cheatsheet or checklist does require some design work to ensure they are easy to read and digestible.
Here’s an example from ChartMogul. Their Ultimate SaaS Metrics Cheat Sheet includes a definition of all the most important SaaS metrics, on a simple two-page cheat sheet PDF. While the asset is ungated for those who land on the website, this is an asset that has been used as a lead magnet when ChartMogul runs social or search activity.
Quizzes have become a mainstay, particularly for ecommerce companies looking to generate new leads and first-party data. Vegamour has a Hair Quiz that helps customers identify their hair type and the best products to suit their needs. Not only does this quiz drive new leads, it also helps customers identify suitable products and gives Vegamour a wealth of data on the most common issues people are facing with their hair.
While quizzes have dominated the ecommerce world in recent years, they can be a great tool for any kind of business. Travel body Tourism Fiji has a ‘Find your Bula’ quiz, powered by third-party quiz builder Jebbit, that shares a personalized activity list and accommodation suggestions to help travelers navigate their first holiday to Fiji after the COVID lockdown.
Templates can take many forms — they might be downloadable assets available for use in products like Excel or Google Sheets, or they can be built into the product itself.
In the case of Figma, all templates are available within the product itself, and those who wish to use a template will need to sign up for a free trial to access — the example below is a template within FigJam.
Figma also has libraries of templates that users have submitted, turning templates into a growth loop whereby a user loads a template, shares it with their network, and eventually brings in another user who does the same. In this model, templates help freelancers or agencies promote themselves, while they promote Figma — win, win.
In a simpler example, Hopin has an event budget template that can be downloaded for free as an Excel, without accessing the product itself.
5. Libraries or collections
Once you’ve built up a library of assets including ebooks, checklists, cheatsheets, and templates, you may wish to group them together to create libraries, collections or ultimate guides.
These can take the form of a Google Drive, or a downloadable Zip folder. Hubspot has taken the later approach, bundling together an assortment of ebooks, checklists, reports, and templates to create a ‘Complete SEO Starter Pack.’ Once you hand over your details, you can download a Zip containing four SEO assets.
This can be a great way to repackage and repromote existing assets, generating more leads with little effort.
6. Webinars and live trainings
Webinars and live trainings are a great way to bring qualified leads into your pipeline. To make the most of every webinar and live training, ensure that it is recorded and housed on a landing page after the live event. You can then choose to gate this asset, like Asana does.
The Asana Academy has a wide range of upcoming live trainings and an archive of on-demand webinars that can only be accessed when you sign in or sign up to the product. This library has become not just a lead magnet, but a customer retention tool as advanced users can learn about new features and best practices.
The whole library is easy to sort and use, so you can find webinars and trainings that are relevant to your learning level, role, and even product plan.
7. Mini courses
Mini courses can take a range of different formats, from e-learning courses built in a third-party tool, to drip-feed email courses, to on-site trainings.
ChartMogul has a number of short courses available, many of which are delivered via weekly emails. This is a simple, yet effective, way of generating new leads and educating their audience. In the SaaS Metrics Refresher example below, you’ll see how the course is laid out over 10 weeks, with each lesson taking the form of an email.
Atlassian University offers a range of self-paced courses for their various tools, all of which are only accessible to existing users and people who sign up for a free trial or paid plan. Below is just one example, Trello Fundamentals, which teaches you how to use Trello over the course of a 90-minute curriculum.
8. Interactive tools
Interactive tools will require a few more team’s involvement, including developers and designers, but they can be an incredibly high-performing, evergreen way to promote your product.
Ortto offers our customers open rate predictions on subject lines, and recommendations on higher-performing alternatives written by AI. We recently created a tool that allows anyone to access this clever feature, in our AI subject line writer. It’s an effective lead magnet that takes existing Ortto functionality to drive use of our product.
Shopify has a wide range of tools available for ecommerce professionals, all of which are available to anyone who signs up to receive marketing emails from Shopify. From QR code generators to purchase order templates, there’s something for everyone in Shopify’s target audience.
9. Private groups
Private groups on Slack, Facebook, LinkedIn or within a third-party community tool like Tribe offer brands a way to build a community around their product and drive new leads.
One example comes from Roam Research, a note-taking tool that organizes your research. Roam had an existing community of superfans when they decided to create a Slack group around their tool. The group has now evolved, with community members sharing tips and tricks, asking questions, and making feature requests around the product.
Private groups can be incredibly time-consuming and, when done well, require a dedicated resource to nurture, moderate, engage, and grow the group. These groups often evolve and expand, prompting real-world and virtual events and meet-ups where you can identify brand ambassadors and influencers.
Creating a powerful lead magnet is all about identifying a problem you can solve for your target audience. Once you have this, you can start to identify the best lead magnet type and content inclusions to solve that problem. Ortto can help you distribute your lead magnet through pop-up capture widgets and reach the right audience with audience sync across Facebook, Twitter and Google Ads. Then, ensure you nurture your new leads with easy-to-build email and SMS Journeys and Playbooks. Sign in or sign up today to get started.
One of the advantages of self-serve SaaS with a free trial is the increase in leads. While many of these free trial users will lapse and become inactive, there are ways to regain control.
“We were looking for a solution that was really easy to use, didn’t require a tech team, and would have a robust integration with Salesforce so we could trigger sales communications in a smarter way. Nobody else out there has what Ortto has.”