14 Ideas For Insanely Effective Lead Magnets

Paige Southard
November 9, 2015
14 Ideas For Insanely Effective Lead Magnets

Generating leads can be a pain in the you know what.
People aren’t always willing to fork over their email.
We get it. Your email fills up at such a rapid rate, giving yours out can seem like saying goodbye to any remaining hope of an empty inbox.
The key to generating quality leads is through lead magnets. A lead magnet is an incentive to get consumers to hand over the golden ticket that is their email address.
Here are 14 incredible lead magnets that Rob & Mike talked about on an episode of Startups for the Rest of Us.

Email Course

Generating leads is about authenticity, building trust, and value creation.
[Tweet "Generating leads is about authenticity and value creation"]  
One of the best ways to build trust with your consumer base is to educate them. Email courses (typically 5-7 daily emails) establish your company as a resource that offers valuable information before ever having to spend a dollar on your product.
Benefits of Email Courses:

  1. Establishes you as an expert
  2. Gets the consumer in the habit of hearing from you
  3. Helps build trust over a longer period of time
  4. Tells email platforms, like Gmail, your emails belong in their inbox not their spam folder

A couple of downsides to email courses are that they take longer to create than other lead magnets and some markets may be over saturated with email courses.  Be aware it might be more valuable to provide an e-book or cheat sheet to uniquely capture your audience.
Sweet Fish has a 5-day crash course on how to write the perfect blog post. Get it in your inbox by signing up in our opt-in form in the footer of our website.

2) Report

Reports are typically about 5-20 page collections of best practices and a declaration of what your company stands for. They are a way for people to get to know your company and absorb some of what your company does best.
Consider your audience. Do your consumers prefer audio, video, or text reports? Knowing this will make a huge difference in sign ups and open rates.
Tip: When offering a report, link it to a relevant landing page to drive traffic to your website.

3) Cheat Sheet or Handout

If you’re looking to create a new lead magnet by tomorrow, cheat sheets and handouts are perfect. They can be drafted with minimal effort and pushed out quickly.
Cheat sheets break down into three easy steps:

  1. Write it out- write things that have made your life easier daily
  2. Make it pretty-don’t go crazy, but do make sure your logo is somewhere to be seen
  3. Share it- quickly be known as an awesome and helpful resouce

Check out this sample cheat sheet overviewing Google AdWords provided by Software Promotions.


Templates are fantastic for getting people familiarized with your product.
If you sell invoicing application software, offer a downloadable template that the consumer can try out. Templates are great for the do-it-yourself audience. It gives them a sneak peek of your product, hopefully leading them to become a customer down the road.
You can see a great example of a sample proposal lead magnet on Bid Sketch.

5) Video

Invodo reported that using the word “video” in email subject lines boosts open rates 19%, click-through rates by 65%, and reduces unsubscribes by 26%. This infographic by HighQ shows other impressive statistics about video usage and consumption, including the fact that 45% of marketers believe that video marketing is effective for lead generation.
A video with good production value, proper editing, and an intriguing title can become a high-value lead magnet. When trying to capture leads, a video title that draws people in is crucial. Check out these tips from Kopywriting Kourse on headlines that sell.
People are busy. Edit the video down to a manageable length for people to watch in between meetings, on the bus, or during their lunch break. This way they will be more likely to make it through the whole video.
Tip: A great way to condense a video is to cut out the time it takes to fill in forms or wait for screens to load.

6) Tool Kit

Tool kits include resources such as checklists, spreadsheets, and guides that will help people do something faster, easier, or smarter.
They are a way to show off the benefits of your product by breaking down the manual way of doing a task that your product could automate for them.
It’s basically saying- “If you want to do it the long way, here is how you do it, BUT our product takes this long process off your plate.”

7) Free Trial

Free trials give your consumer a taste of what the living the sweet life with your product looks like.
The consumer might sign up to try your product for an immediate sale, or they may be trying it out because they know they’ll need it down the road. In the meantime, you have their email address to be the little bird in their inbox offering deals, helpful tips, and keeping your product in the back of their minds.
When marketing a free trial, make sure to market the benefit not the feature.
[Tweet "When marketing this free trial, make sure to market the benefit not the feature."]
See the difference between these two phrases:

  • Let us write your blog posts for you. (Feature-Basic and doesn’t show why the consumer would want you to write their blog posts)
  • Let us start turning your company’s blog readers into customers. (Benefit- Much better! Clear advantage to using your service)

8) E-Book or Physical Book

If your consumers takes the time to read your content, this is a huge opportunity to get your voice heard. E-books give easy access to your content while physical books are great if you plan to host, speak, or demo at an event.
Things to consider:

  1. It isn’t something you can whip up over night- books are typically 40-200 pages, making them more work than a report
  2. Determine if your market warrants for a book
  3. Crunch your numbers to see if it is worth your time and if you have the budget to print a hard copy

9) Access to Community

Access to community is a huge asset.
Access into a community opens up opportunities to collaborate, network, and brainstorm in ways that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. It creates a new space for people to bounce ideas off of one another and learn from others in the industry.  
Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

10) Swipe File

Think of a swipe file as your creativity scrapbook, dream board, or shoebox. It’s a place to put things you love.
Neville Medhora’s KopyWriting Kourse says the rule of thumb for any swipe file is to save it if it makes you click, signup, laugh, or go “whoa”.
[Tweet "The rule of thumb for any swipe file is to save it if it makes you click, signup, laugh, or go whoa."]
It can be tools, guides, designs, text bites, artwork, or anything you’ve picked up along your professional journey that has struck a chord within you (either good or bad).
One advantage to offering a swipe file is that it does not have to look pretty. It can be given out however you’ve collected it on your computer as long as it is easy to sift through. Digital Marketer offers a social media swipe file as their lead magnet.

Digital Marketer went the extra mile and strategically lead new signups to a landing page with a case study on how they monetized Facebook with an option to buy their “Execution Plan”. A tool they describe as a “checklist on steroids” on how to monetize Facebook. Genius.
If you are fairly experienced in your craft, your swipe file can be perceived as an extremely valuable treasure trove to your consumers and entice more people to subscribe.

11) Webinar

Webinars are live meetings and seminars hosted online. They give more of a real experience when we are constantly bombarded with online media.
You can market the webinar as an exclusive experience and cap it at a certain number of people or open it up to the masses to reach a wide audience.
If you see that webinars are growing sales and building trust with your consumers, then my friend, you have found an impactful lead magnet for your market.
However, one important thing to note is that when you sign on to hosting webinars, they become a regular thing. If you know you will not have the time or capacity to host on-going webinars, you can offer a 3-part series. This keeps the exclusive feel, offers high-value content, but doesn’t bog you down for an indefinite amount of time.
Wondering how to start a webinar? Check out our blog post on how to host the perfect webinar.

12) Case Study

Case studies are perfect for showing the true benefits of using your product. It will allow you to show proof of success with existing customers through hard numbers, testimonies, and before-and-after results.
This is where we say “flaunt it if you got it”.
We know you’re probably excited about getting lead magnets up on your website by now. When exploring how to create an opt-in form, choose email frequency, and setting up automated marketing tools try out Drip.

13) Free Consultation

Free consultations are great for early stage, high-priced products. They give you the ability to figure out who your target market is, their main needs, and how to best mold and market your product.

We don’t recommend free consultations if your product is priced in the lower range, because the time it takes to book, schedule, hold, and follow up from a consultation won’t convert to enough sales to make it worth your time. With more expensive products, a free hour or two consultation can eventually turn into thousands of dollars worth of revenue.

14) Short Interview with Transcript

Cut down on your content creation time by hosting interviews.
Interviews allow you to utilize someone else’s expertise, so you do not have to do extensive research. Find someone that you admire or has made a major impact in your worklife and showcase their experience to provide resourceful answers to hard questions.
When formatting the finished product, we recommend providing at least two out of the three formats of video, audio, or text. It will allow people to consume it in their favorite format resulting in higher open rates.


Now with all of these great options, we know you might want to offer a different lead magnet for different landing pages. To streamline that process, check out this feature from LeadPages that helps you customize lead magnets for different pages of your website. LeadPages also gives the ability to sort which lead magnets from your website are ranking highest in opt-in rates.
The key to a great lead magnet is to always lead the consumer back to your product and website. The end goal of generating leads is to eventually convert them to customers. Be intentional about the content you’re offering and always keep in mind how your product will benefit them further even past the resource you’re providing in exchange for their email address.
If you want to listen to the full podcast this post was based on, you can check it out here.

Struggling with your company’s blog? Check out this free 5 part email course. You’ll learn how to turn your blog’s readers into paying customers.

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