What Are Lead Magnets?

What Are Lead Magnets?

With over two billion online shoppers and over half of website visitors spending less than 15 seconds on a website, marketers must use every tool in their arsenal to keep a prospect’s attention. That’s where lead magnets come into play. Lead magnets help marketers curate lists, build value, and promote more.

Marketers know that there’s no other piece of information they can receive from a prospect that’s more valuable than their email address. After receiving a prospect’s email address, marketers can begin the lead nurturing process by sending relevant and targeted information. As recipients receive this information, they move through the marketing funnel.

Even though there should be a call to action asking site visitors for their email address on every page, this begs the question—why would they want to take this action? What do they receive in return? The short answer—lead magnets.

What is a Lead Magnet?

Marketers use lead magnets as part of their digital marketing strategies. Lead magnets are free products or services prospects receive in exchange for giving marketers their contact details. For example, a marketer might offer long-form content or a free consultation after a prospect fills out a form with their contact details, like their name and email address.

Lead magnets occur during the second stage of a prospect’s conversion path and can be evergreen, seasonal, or time-sensitive. That means marketers can use lead magnets anytime throughout the year.

Evergreen Lead Magnet Examples

  • Cheat sheets summarizing complex processes into digestible steps or bullet points.
  • Checklists that offer quick, bulleted guidelines for how to perform a task
  • eBooks, guides, and whitepapers focusing on the target audience’s pain points or other topics of interest

Seasonal Lead Magnet Examples

  • Holiday gift guides with special promotions and discounts
  • How-to content like how to start seeds in time for spring planting.
  • Resources, like seasonal checklists for home maintenance or a video teaching how to prune shrubs


  • A coupon for a business’s product or service
  • Early bird access to a new product or service
  • Free admission to an in-person or online event

High-quality lead magnets provide quick wins, solve problems, are specific, and are quick to digest. They also provide high value, are instantly accessible, and demonstrate your expertise in the field.

Lead Magnet Types and When to Use Them

If you want your business to generate leads, lead magnets are the best way to accomplish this goal. The trick is knowing which magnet to use, why it’s beneficial, and when you should use it.

Checklists, Templates & Worksheets

Because downloadable and printable content is easy to consume, they convert quickly. For example, a checklist condenses everything prospects need to know in a single and actionable list. Plus, they’re quick and easy to create.

Templates are also easy to digest and provide a quick win because they give prospects a starting point where the next step only involves filling in the blanks. For example, a template allows prospects to copy, paste, customize, and use that content to solve their problem.

That leads us to worksheets—they’re an actionable way for prospects to figure out how to solve a problem. By creating an editable worksheet or workbook, prospects can download these materials to their computer and use them at their pace.

eBooks, Guides, Reports & Whitepapers

EBooks, guides, reports, and whitepapers are probably the most common lead magnets because you don’t have to start them from scratch. Look at your top-performing articles or blog posts. Then, repurpose them into these assets. That way, you can add more content to those posts visitors click on the most and offer them an opportunity to save it to read later.

For example, if you create a guide, make sure it solves your prospect’s problem. Make it understandable and clear by including step-by-step guidelines, tips, and recommendations. Or, if you write a report or whitepaper, be sure to include research and data that prove to potential customers or clients that you’re an expert within your field.

Free Spots in Classes, Webinars & Workshops

Live classes, webinars, and workshops with limited runtimes give prospects a sense of urgency and play on a website visitor’s fear of missing out. Giving prospects a free spot in one of these sessions allows them to participate “live” and then return to the content later on by clicking the “on-demand” link they receive when it concludes.

For example, if your ideal customer prefers watching videos instead of reading text, your offer is that much more appealing. Plus, you can mention your paid products or services at the end of the session. After they feel they’ve learned something valuable, they’re more likely to progress to the next stage of the buyer’s journey.

Other Freebies (Plans, Shipping, Trials, and More)

If your company sells complex services, a free trial is an excellent tool to help prospects decide how far they want to move through the funnel. Free trials allow prospects to look at their account, test services (or products), and acquaint themselves with what’s available.

Free shipping allows prospects to receive a tangible item from you. For example, if you have physical copies of your book, consider offering it at a discount (or free!) with free shipping. Other freebies include coaching sessions, consultations, quotes for services, resource lists, took kits, training, and more.

Subscriber-Only Resource Vault (Guides, Templates & Checklists)

If you’ve created a significant amount of lead magnets, like guides, templates, and checklists, for example, offer them as a subscriber-only resource vault. Create a single page on your website containing links to downloads for each of your lead magnets. That way, prospects have “premium access” to everything you offer.

For example, you might have a prospect who’s looking for a planner, checklist, workbook, and webinar about how to use these materials. Because they have access to your vault, they have everything they need to work on solving their problem and move them further through the funnel.

Lead Magnet Mistakes

The ultimate goal of a lead magnet is to attract the right leads to your email list. The content should help prospective customers while simultaneously growing your list with the right people. Many lead magnet mistakes could hurt your brand.

Creating Too Many Lead Magnets (Too Much Gated Content)

You may feel tempted to create a quick one-page lead magnet for every blog post or article you publish. While that grows your email list quickly, it also means there’s less time to market those magnets to your target audience. Ideally, it would be best to hone in on one or two magnets that you know your target audience needs to help solve their problem.

Creating too many lead magnets also might lead to inadvertently targeting people who are looking for freebies. Creating too many lead magnets also means you’re gating a significant amount of content. That sends the wrong message to your prospects. Instead of finding the resource they need, they’ll feel like you’re only trying to market to them.

For example, if someone is researching a specific pain point, they should find content that leads them toward the solution. If their search results only lead to gated content, you’re not giving them any reason to continue clicking or to provide their email address in exchange for that resource.

Creating Lead Magnets for Too Broad an Audience

Even though your goal is to grow your email list, it shouldn’t contain anyone except your target audience. Creating lead magnets that are too broad prevents you from following up with resources you know your target audience needs. You might target leads that don’t want to know anything else about your niche or brand.

Consider the following steps to prevent your lead magnets from being too broad:

  • Be ultra-specific: Taking this step means your target audience knows you’re working toward solving their problem.
  • Create buyer personas: By creating personas, you know whom you’re targeting and that they want to continue moving through the funnel.
  • Establish a core offer: This offer should cater to your buyer personas’ unique value proposition and motivate them to download your offer.

Creating Lead Magnets Offering No Value

If you create too many lead magnets, you risk not giving your prospects valuable content. If it looks like you’re creating lead magnets for the sake of collecting email addresses, your prospects won’t find value in them, and they won’t look to you as an expert in the field.

Creating lead magnets that offer value includes the following actions:

  • Research your prospect’s needs and identify a core offering.
  • Select a topic that solves a problem and highlights the value of your product.
  • Choose a lead magnet that relates to your topic and resonates with your target audience (for example, if your audience prefers .pdfs over videos)
  • Make sure you’re showcasing content about your lead magnet topic, and then use the magnet to do a deeper dive.
  • Segment your audience by content type. For example, experts might prefer whitepapers, and e-commerce shoppers might prefer free shipping.

Creating Lead Magnets Failing to Offer a “Quick Win”

Your lead magnet should deliver one “quick win” to your prospect by allowing them to achieve a goal or solve a problem with no trouble. Promising and delivering quick wins helps move prospects through the funnel. Choose a format that provides quick delivery and helps prospects consume the resource without taking too much time.

Quick wins can go a long way with your target audience, and it’s an excellent way to build trust instantly. For example, suppose you want to give away a tutorial or training lead magnet. Your audience benefits from a short version of this asset because they can experience a quick win when implementing what they learn.

Spending Too Much Time Focusing on Lead Magnets

While creating a lead magnet is essential for showcasing your expertise and solving a problem, it shouldn’t take too long to complete. Here are steps to help you create high-quality lead magnets without spending hours on them:

  • Create an outline but treat it more like brainstorming. The outline doesn’t need to be perfect. However, it should contain the core aspects of the magnet.
  • Write a first draft that doesn’t contain bonus material or extra commentary – stick to the topic.
  • Your lead magnet should solve ONE problem.
  • Ask someone you trust, like a colleague, to read your lead magnet, proofread it, and provide feedback.
  • Even if you have someone else looking at your content, make sure you proofread and self-edit.
  • Include an activity, prompt, question, or small exercise within the lead magnet if one is not already included.

The Best Time to Use a Lead Magnet

Marketers use lead magnets to grow their email lists, create sales leads, and nurture sales leads. The best time to use lead magnets is when:

  • You want to get to know your customers better.
  • You need help with branding by allowing prospects to get your business better.
  • Your target audience needs a good reason to provide you with their contact information.
  • Your conversion rates slow down.

Remember, the first time someone visits your website, they probably won’t instantly become a buyer. Instead, they’ll conduct some research, shop around, and look at the educational content you’re offering. Gating free content within a lead magnet means you’re focusing on high-quality leads who genuinely want to receive that content in exchange for their contact information and other details.

Final Thoughts

Some products and services require a substantial investment, and when you offer valuable content to these prospects, you can start nurturing relationships that help guide prospects through their buyer’s journey. When you can entice prospects with valuable content, starting with their first interaction with your brand, you’re showing them how your offerings solve their pain points while initiating productive conversations.

Before creating a lead magnet, please get to know your target audience and the pain points they need to solve. That way, you can determine what lead magnets they find value in and what helps make their lives easier. Do you need help creating lead magnets? Turn to nDash’s team of elite writers for help.

FAQs About Lead Magnets

When would you use a lead magnet?

The best time to use a lead magnet is when you want to learn more about your customer, you need help with branding, your target audience needs a good reason to provide their contact information, and your conversion rates are low.

What are lead magnets?

A lead magnet is what marketers use to provide a free product or service to prospective clients or customers in exchange for their contact information. Examples of lead magnets include eBooks, printables, webinars, white papers, and more.

Why are lead magnets important?

Lead magnets are essential because they help brands bridge the gap between a prospect’s awareness or exposure and likeability or trust. They give your prospects time to pause and decide if they want more from your company before making a purchasing decision.

Where do you put lead magnets?

While many may opt to put lead magnets at the bottom of an article or blog post, there are many other places you can use them successfully, including:

  • Place it above the fold or page header, its footer, or in the sidebar.
  • Use a text-only anchor that links to the lead magnet.
  • Use an image as the lead magnet’s link within a blog post.
  • Add it to the top navigation bar for your website.
  • Create an exit-intent slide-in or pop-up.
  • Add it to your site’s about me, contact, or 404 error page.

How do you drive traffic to a lead magnet?

Similar to the strategies for lead magnet placement, you’ll drive traffic to them by creating pop-ups when prospects enter your website and adding them to your website’s welcome banner. You can also drive traffic by posting about them on social media, adding a link to your email signature, using paid advertising, linking to them in guest posts, mentioning them in interviews, and more.