What’s a lead magnet and why should you create one?

advice | business | copywriting

I’ve never been a fan of corporate-speak or jargon. And yet here I go talking about “lead magnets”. You can’t get any more corporate than that, can you?! But I’m willing to let go of my little bugbear for a moment because I want to share what I know about lead magnets with you. They’re a great tool you can have in your business portfolio! So, what’s a lead magnet when it’s at home then, eh? And why should you create one?

woman typing on laptop with apple and cup of tea, creating a lead magnet

So, what is a lead magnet?

In simple terms, a lead magnet is a free resource you offer out in exchange for an email address. It’s ultimately a method of being able to get people to sign up for your mailing list. I’m assuming you have a mailing list, of course. But if you don’t, keep reading.

You might know lead magnets by another name. They have a few! An email opt-in or sign up is another common name for them. Some people refer to them as resources or freebies, to name a few alternatives. Ultimately, its purpose is to generate leads for your business. Which is why I’m not too down on the name ‘lead magnet’!

What is a lead magnet?

But why do you need one for your business?

Let’s be honest here. The main reason you’re offering free information is in return for someone handing you their email address. It’s a transaction, of sorts. Because growing your email list is crucial. Why? Well, you might think social media is the best way to get your business out there, but what control do you have over that? Think about it. How many times have you noticed a change in your reach when the famous “algorithm” has been adjusted? And here’s another thought. If Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or whatever other platforms you’ve been harvesting all your eggs in were to crash tomorrow, what would you do? Having an email list is vitally important and getting people on that list even more so. THAT is why you need a lead magnet. 

And before you grumble and moan, let me give you another incentive for email marketing. Did you know that it’s estimated that for every dollar you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average $38 return? That’s the standard currently! Email marketing works because the people on your list are expecting to hear from you. They want to hear from you, that’s why they dished up their email to you in the first place. And being able to sell to a warm lead instead of a freezing cold one is a much simpler task.

It’s not all about your email list, though. Lead magnets go a long way to building up that know, like and trust factor in your business. If you’re willing to share valuable information in return for an email, people are more likely to hand it over to you than if you were asking for their credit card details. Am I right?

woman creates a lead magnet at her desk

What makes a good lead magnet?

Got you convinced? Then let’s talk about what makes a good lead magnet. Because people won’t sign up for any old rubbish, you know!

For a lead magnet people can’t resist, you need:

To solve a problem

Your lead magnet should solve a common problem that many of your audience experiences. It’s time to start exploring your clients’ pain points people! 

To offer a solution

There’s no point just pointing out a problem. You’ve got to tell people how to fix it too! And if you can do that with a quick and simple response, you are onto a winner.

To be specific

A generalised topic won’t necessarily appeal to more people. Instead of casting a wide net, niche down and get specific about a problem. You can always create more than one lead magnet to cover many niches!

To make it a quick and easy read

Keep that lead magnet reasonably short, clear and simple. Make it pretty and make it fun for your signups to read. If it’s long and tedious, all it’s going to do is sit in their downloads folder. They probably won’t read it, and they probably won’t stay on your email list either.

To give something of value

While your lead magnet might not actually be worth money, it should give the perception of value. In other words, it might be information they could find free from anywhere on the internet. But if you can present it in an interesting way, with extra information they might not find anywhere else, you’re adding your extra value to that magnet. Perceived value will mean happy subscribers, who may even shout about you to others!

To deliver it promptly

Don’t leave people hanging around waiting after they’ve trusted you with access to their inbox! Set up an automation and make sure they get their freebie straight away.

To be the expert

Create a lead magnet about a subject you know tons about and can talk about confidently. This is your niche. Tell ’em what you know!

Potential Lead Magnet Ideas

  • An ebook or PDF guide related to your industry
  • A template spreadsheet
  • A checklist
  • An educational video
  • A pre-recorded webinar or online tutorial
  • An audiobook
  • A voucher or discount
  • A free trial 
  • A free script, such as for sales calls
  • Calendars
  • Recipes
  • Planner pages
  • The first chapter of a book
  • Colouring in pictures

The list goes on and on! Think about your skillset and what you could quickly produce, think about your business and industry and what would be relevant. 

Then get to it and start creating your lead magnet!

Did you know I offer a lead magnet creation service? Get in touch to find out more.