You know how important lead magnets are to your business…
Understanding that fact isn’t the hard part.
The hard part is figuring out how to make a lead magnet that actually converts.
Because let’s face it―making a lead magnet costs time and money. And few things are more frustrating than pouring those resources into making a lead magnet that misses the mark and doesn’t produce.
That has happened to me more times than I’d like to admit.
But, luckily, those failures have helped me figure out how to make lead magnets that work.
I’m talking lead magnets that generate 8,000+ average monthly opt-ins for a site I work with:
And in this guide, I’ll show you exactly how I create these lead magnets (along with giving you lead magnet templates) so you can create a lead magnet that fills your email list with new leads month after month.
4 Principles Behind All Great Lead Magnets
Before we dive into how to make a lead magnet, it’s super important to make sure you understand the principles behind lead magnets that work.
Because when you create your lead magnet with these principles in mind, it’ll convert better AND wow your prospects—making them much more likely to buy from you (and sooner).
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Principle #1: It Offers “Next Level” Content
All lead magnets give your prospects the “next level” of content.
Let me explain…
Bob comes to your site, reads a blog post on how to create an online course, and sees a lead magnet offer.
He’d be much more likely to opt-in if your lead magnet was a guide to selling your online course than he would be for a guide on setting up your online course.
Because you already showed him how to create and set up his course through your incredible blog post but you haven’t talked to him about how to actually sell his course because it was outside of the scope of the blog post.
Selling his course is the natural next step he’ll take when his course is ready.
That’s what next level means here.
You want to offer lead magnets that take your prospect a level deeper than your free content did.
So, if Bob opts-in, you’ll have given him two incredible pieces of content for free.
Principle #2: It’s Hyper-Relevant
Building off the last principle, the lead magnet you offer has to be incredibly relevant to the content your prospect is reading/watching.
That means you need to make several lead magnets (takes a lot of time and I’m still working on it myself!) and offer different ones based on each category you create content around.
So, for instance, if you ran a writing blog, you’d need AT LEAST one lead magnet for:
I highly recommend Thrive Leads for this. They make it incredibly easy.
[This is an affiliate link but I use them for every site I’ve ever made and they are incredible. So, I’d recommend them anyway.]
Principle #3: It’s Incredibly In-Depth
There isn’t a rule of thumb here with content style or length, you just need to make your lead magnet as valuable as possible.
The easiest way I’ve found for figuring out what it will take to make a lead magnet “incredibly valuable” is putting yourself in your website visitors’ shoes…
If you were them, would this lead magnet:
- Grab your attention—making you interested in opting-in?
- Clearly answer your questions or give you an easy-to-follow action plan?
If a lead magnet thoroughly and clearly answers questions and/or gives readers a proven, easy-to-implement action plan for something, it doesn’t matter how long it is.
Length isn’t the point—quality is.
You just want to make sure your lead magnet covers a topic (even if it’s a small one like writing blog post introductions) in depth.
Principle #4: It Has High Perceived Value
Finally, your magnet needs to look sharp from a design standpoint.
You don’t have to pay $1,000s to a designer to make it look pristine or anything, but it does need to look like a designer made it (and not your little brother using Microsoft Paint).
Surprisingly, I’ve had good luck with a few Fiverr graphic design providers who create solid lead magnets for a few hundred bucks. I’ll talk more about this later in the post.
The main thing you’re looking for here is a well-made cover, some light design work on the inner pages, and a quality about page at the end.
If you make your lead magnet in Microsoft Word and export it as a PDF, it will impact how your customers perceive your brand.
How to Create an Irresistible Lead Magnet: The Ultimate Lead Magnet Checklist
Step 1. Generate a list of quality lead magnet ideas.
I’m going to tell you the opposite of what your 2nd grade teacher told you…
There are bad ideas.
…Especially when it comes to what you offer your website visitors.
If a potential customer thinks an offer is irrelevant, low-quality, or simply not intriguing, it’s possible they’ll associate your brand with those negative qualities in the future (and won’t interact with you in the short-term).
So, it’s vital to have a vetting process for all of your lead magnet ideas.
The main things to keep in mind while brainstorming are:
- The topics you create content around (on your blog, YouTube channel, podcast, etc.)
- The 4 principles of lead magnets that convert (“next level” content, hyper-relevant, in-depth, and high perceived value)
- Qualitative and quantitative website visitor data (behavior data in Google Analytics like time on page, bounce rate, and pageviews paired with any visitor or email subscriber comments/feedback for a specific blog post or category of content)
- General monthly search volume and trends for relevant keywords (you can use a tool like KWFinder to figure out how often a topic gets searched in Google and Google Trends to figure out the long-term interest)
You can seriously consider any lead magnet idea that:
- Is relevant to the content you put out
- Has potential to meet each of the 4 principles of lead magnets that convert
- Is backed by data from your audience
- And has encouraging levels of search volume (this will depend on your niche, but you at least want to see 500 – 1,000 searches per month combined for keywords within a specific topic)
The extra work at this stage will save you heartache later on and will ensure the lead magnet you poured your heart into doesn’t collect dust on your blog.
2. Pick your format.
PDFs are the most common format for lead magnets, but you aren’t limited to going that route.
You can also make:
- Video training
- Or even an email course
(I have a list of ideas for inspiration later in the post.)
The main thing to keep in mind when deciding on format is this:
What medium will best serve the content you’re making?
If you’re going to teach people how to set up marketing automation, video tutorials will likely work best.
If you have a ton of content, you might want to consider an email course broken up over 5-10 days.
Just keep your potential customers in mind here.
Which format would help them digest, understand, and act on the information in your lead magnet?
3. Drafting & editing the content.
When it comes to the actual content in your lead magnet, you really only have 3 goals:
- Deliver incredible value in an easy-to-understand way
- Organize everything in a logically
- Write every line with the goal of getting the reader to read the next line (i.e. use your copywriting skillz)
To keep things simple, I like to think of it like I’m writing a massive, compelling blog post.
I have a super long guide to doing that you can see by clicking here.
It has in-depth sections on organizing, writing, and editing blog content that translates well to lead magnet creation.
4. Getting it designed.
Like I’ve mentioned before, I recommend using Fiverr for PDF designs unless you have an in-house designer.
I know what you’re thinking…
“Dude…Fiverr is notorious for crappy work!”
That’s what I thought too until I started using it for lead magnets.
I figured out if you find the right gig and give crystal clear instructions, you can get a solid design for a few hundred bucks.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Head to Fiverr, type in “lead magnet design”, and filter for designers who are fluent in English and are Level One and above.
- Message a few designers who stand out and ask them how much it will cost for a lead magnet of x pages (they’ll ask how many pages and will want to see the content).
- Pick your favorite and give them unbelievably clear instructions (I’m talking so clear that you include things that seem obvious to you).
#3 is the key. Just about anyone on Fiverr can do a decent job if you tell them exactly what you want (and include visual examples).
5. Setting up delivery & automation.
Once your lead magnet is good to go, the last step is thinking about delivery and automation.
In other words, how are people going to get this lead magnet and what do you need to set up to give it to them?
For PDFs, email courses, and video training you can integrate your email list with the opt-in form and create a one email sequence that sends people the lead magnet shortly after they opt-in.
For quizzes, you can use a plugin like Thrive Quiz Builder to collect email addresses then show the user content based on their answers.
If you don’t want to fool with email automation, you can have your opt-in form redirect to an unlisted page on your site that has a link to your lead magnet.
9 Proven Lead Magnet Templates & Ideas (with Examples)
1. Make an ultimate guide from several similar blog posts.
This is one of my favorites.
The idea here is combining content from several in-depth blog posts you have on similar topics into one massive guide.
So, for example, at Leverage Creative Group, we took content from 5 different blog posts (each over 2,000 words) and created a massive personal branding bible.
This new guide shows you how to start a personal brand, craft your message, build your offerings, get website traffic, create great content, and sell products.
And all we had to do to make it was mesh content from the blog posts we already had on those topics.
This is great because it:
- Was pretty easy to put together
- Gives incredible value to our potential customers
- And has high perceived value because it’s around 50 pages of quality content
(Note: as of writing this post, the lead magnet is in the design phase.)
When This Works
This works best if you already have tons of blog content around a complex topic your potential customers want to learn about.
For example, big topics like:
- How to write a book
- How to create an online course
- How to build and grow your personal brand
If you go in this direction, make sure you make this guide as in-depth, easy-to-follow, and easy-to-read as possible.
Woah…that was a lot of dashes.
2. Create that awesome blog post you could never find a good keyword for.
Like I talk about in my post on creating a digital content strategy, there isn’t much long-term value in creating a blog post that isn’t SEO-driven these days.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t ever create that content if you can’t find a great keyword to target it with.
Along with sending that great but non-SEO content via email marketing to your audience, you create a PDF lead magnet with it.
For example, if you help people create online courses, you could create a lead magnet that walks potential course creators through the question “Should I create an online course?”
There might not be great search volume around that keyword, but that’s a question every online course creator asks at some point and a guide walking someone through that decision would be a killer lead magnet for new course creators.
And as long as it gave great advice and covered every consideration, it could be relatively short (and would still be valuable).
When This Works
This works great if you know the content you want to write solves a problem or addresses a key pain-point your target audience struggles with.
It works even better if you can solve that problem for them quickly (in a 5-10 page lead magnet).
You can validate your idea through methods like:
- Interviews with your audience (asking them if a guide on your topic sounds helpful)
- Social listening (looking through forums and social posts from your audience to see what problems they talk about)
3. Use a quiz to give tailored advice.
Quizzes are HUGE right now (and for good reason).
When done right, they arguably give your potential customers the highest amount of value.
They literally provide great content that speaks to a prospect’s specific situation. It’s like giving a free, instantaneous consultation.
But before you jump on the quiz train, there are a few drawbacks you need to know about…
These can be hard to set up and take a TON of time.
To give you some perspective, I set one up on my homepage that gives you advice for growing your blog in the next 90 days based on your current situation.
I had to create questions that gave me insight into what each individual person might be struggling with, what their situation is, how big their blog is, what they’ve tried before, and more.
Then, based on peoples’ answers, I categorized quiz results into 3 main buckets and created 2,000+ words of content for results page (these are dynamic depending on someone’s answers).
I used Thrive Quiz Builder to set this up.
I feel like they’re pretty straightforward, but there was a learning curve for me (even though I’ve set up marketing automation before).
After testing for a few hours, I finally got everything working.
The quiz displayed the correct results based on a visitor’s answers, the opt-in form integrated with my Mail Chimp account, and tags got applied to people who took the quiz in Mail Chimp indicating that they opt-ed in through the quiz.
Looking back, it was totally worth it but it was a headache to set up.
When This Works
Quizzes work in almost any industry…if they’re done right.
- Writing coach, Jerry Jenkins, has a quiz on his homepage that shows you what’s holding you back in your writing
- Skill Crush has a quiz that tells you whether a job in tech is right for you.
You have to make sure everything’s set up and also provide incredible, relevant content to your prospects based on their situation.
If there’s one hiccup, all the work you put into it doesn’t pay off (until you fix it).
So, the question here isn’t as much when do quizzes work as it is do you have the content, technical know-how, patience, and insight into problems your potential customers have to create an outstanding quiz?
4. Create a checklist to accompany your best how-to blog post.
This is one of the easiest lead magnets to make (mainly because all the content is already done).
All you have to do is find a way to summarize your best how-to blog post into 1-2 pages.
But messing this up is surprisingly easy…
You have to put a lot of thought into what information you include on the sheet for each step without overloading the reader.
This is meant to be a digest of your huge post, but you also have to give enough information for readers to know what to do at each step.
When This Works
This works best when you have a huge, overwhelming how-to post.
An easy-to-digest checklist version of the post is super valuable because readers can download it to use and reference the post if they need more information.
5. Turn your best blog post into a PDF (and add bonus content).
This one works really well and doesn’t require a ton of effort.
Pretty much all you need to do is add 1 or 2 steps to your best performing how-to blog post and turn it into a PDF.
Since the blog post itself is already valuable, visitors are usually very interested in getting even more similar content.
When This Works
This is perfect when you have a high-performing, in-depth blog post that you can expand on.
One of my lead magnets, the how to write a blog post guide, comes with 2 extra steps not included in the blog post—keyword research and link building.
These are crucial steps that make the already in-depth content even more valuable.
6. Create an industry report.
Everyone wants to learn about the latest trends in your industry but no one wants to do the research required (outside of a few Google searches).
That’s where you come in.
You can do the legwork and create an industry report with all the latest trends and statistics.
Doing all the research and adding your expert opinion lets your target customers learn everything they need to know about the landscape of your industry without having to spend hours researching.
When This Works
This is usually best for B2B niches (unless you’re in an industry like real estate or financial planning).
- The State of SEO in 2019
- Inbound Marketing Practices the Pros Are Using in 2019
- Email Marketing Benchmarks by Industry in 2019
The goal with an industry report is to wow your potential customer with your research and advice, making them interested in working with you.
7. Create a mini course.
Have a proven, step-by-step process your audience is looking for? Have instructional content your audience is dying to learn?
If you answered yes to either, a mini course could be a great fit.
The idea is creating a small course that either covers one component of a large topic (like writing blog post introductions) or gives a tutorial on how to do something (like setting up Mailchimp).
You want to give incredible content around a shallow topic so you don’t have to spend 100s of hours making the course, but still give your prospects great solutions to problems they’re facing.
When This Works
This is best when you have expertise that your audience desires (so, this is a great fit for coaches, consultants, bloggers, and agencies).
One of the best ways to figure out great topics for mini-courses is by simply asking your audience via a survey or through a few one-on-one calls.
Look for topics that can be explained in-depth relatively quickly.
Some random examples:
- How to set up exit pop-ups on your blog
- How to create a welcome email sequence that turns your new leads into customers
- How to use Ahrefs to find backlink opportunities
8. Offer a free consultation.
If you provide services, one of the easiest lead magnets you can put up in 5 minutes is a free consultation.
All you have to do is:
- Create clear guidelines on what your prospects will get and how long it will take (example: a free 30-minute home-page consultation to increase your conversion rates)
- Set up an email capture form that includes fields for information you’ll need to perform the consultation (you can also send them an automated email after they submit their email address with the questions you’ll need answered)
- Put a Calendly link on the thank you page
These have incredible perceived value and give you the opportunity to speak directly to your prospects (and convert them to customers faster).
When This Works
This works best as a stop-gap lead magnet if you operate a service-based business.
I recommend running this as your primary lead magnet (if you don’t have one already) while you develop another one (like a course, industry report, or quiz).
This isn’t scalable.
Eventually, you won’t have time to do free consultations. On top of that, a lot of the people you give consultations to might not be fit for your services.
But this is a great interim lead magnet.
9. Create a worksheet that accompanies a tutorial blog post.
Have any content that shows your prospects how to do something specifically for their scenario?
- How to create your target customer profile
- How to create a content strategy for your business
- How to create a family budget
If so, a worksheet accompanying that content could be highly desirable and easy to put together.
But don’t read “easy” and think you can make a worksheet in 20 minutes.
There’s an art to it.
You have to create a worksheet that fills the void between your content (that shows them how to do it in general) and their specific situation.
That means your worksheet has to include content and exercises that helps your prospect bridge that gap.
Your worksheet has to be general enough to account for several situations and still follow a simple, proven process that will get your prospect a result.
The easiest way to show you what this looks like is through an example.
Mirasee has a blog post on how to create a customer profile template. The post covers the what, why, when, and how (along with providing examples).
It also comes with a worksheet you can download as a lead magnet.
The worksheet is 2-pages filled with exercises not included in the post that help you craft your customer avatar regardless of the industry you’re in.
The worksheet bridges that gap and contains content not already in the blog post, so downloading it for free is a no-brainer to anyone who visits that post.
When This Works
This works best if you have tutorial content that your audience 1) responds well to and 2) wants to implement themselves for their specific situation.
Checklists and worksheets have very similar use cases but each has a few specific situations where they work best:
- Checklists work best for topics that don’t vary much depending on the reader’s situation (think processes that are 80% the same for most people)
- Worksheets work best for how-to topics that vary completely depending on the reader’s situation
Regardless of Which Type of Lead Magnet You Make, Remember This…
Your lead magnet is a HUGE component of your online business.
It’s often one of your prospect’s first interactions with your brand.
That’s why it’s so important to take the time to make it as good as it can possibly be.
- Create exceptional content
- Make it standout from a design perspective
- And make sure it’s driven by the 4 principles of all successful lead magnets
The hard work will be worth it, I promise. 🙂