If you want to grow your business online you need one thing.

A list.

Sure, you might have 10,000 followers on Instagram, or get hundreds of likes on your Facebook posts – that’s great for awareness.

You even have BlogWorks publish your blog (5 stars for that!)

But, to move followers to leads and leads to sales you need a list.

And to build a list you first need an offer.

That offer is called a Lead Magnet.

A lead magnet could be a simple checklist or resource guide (more on this later), or a full-blown ebook.

There are 5 things your lead magnet must do to be absolutely irresistible:

  1. Solve a real problem. The #1 job of your lead magnet is to provide a unique solution to a burning problem you know your avatar has.
  2. Be easily digestible. We all have ebooks we downloaded and didn’t read (guilty!). Your goal is to deliver something your prospect can (and will) consume in just a few minutes.
  3. Super specific. Avoid taking on the world. Instead, choose one problem you know your avatar has and deliver a complete solution.
  4. Lots of value. The more value you deliver for free, the more value your prospect sees in you. As long as you stay super specific (#3), don’t hold back.
  5. Showcase your unique value. Your reader needs to understand what is your unique experience, expertise, and solutions.

Why do lead magnets work?

As a business owner, you want to reach more customers. You also want to build that valuable: know, like, trust that motivates prospects to become leads and closer to a sale.

Your lead magnet works automatically to nurture that sales process. And it starts by getting your prospect to say “Yes”.

When a visitor to your site accepts your invitation to the lead magnet they are essentially saying “Yes” to an offer. As any salesperson knows, getting a “Yes” to your invitation is always a step closer to a sale.

Next, when they read your ebook, watch the video, or use your free template you get to prove your expertise.

And because they have joined your mailing list, you’re now able to deliver even more value with regular communications in their inbox.

7 lead magnets that really work to grow your business

Your prospects are moving closer to a sale while you are serving other clients and building your business.

At BlogWorks, it’s not unusual to receive an inquiry from someone who downloaded one of our lead magnets months before.

5 ways to use a lead magnet

Most lead magnets are used to add new prospects to a mailing list. It’s a great way to build your list and start to build a relationship.

But, there’s also some less obvious, ways to use your lead magnet:

  • Sales call follow-up – Your new lead magnet is a perfect way to thank an inquiry and add value to your sales call. As you’re wrapping up the call, ask if they would like to receive your “Latest report on best practices for _______”, or “Quick checklist of 7 things to avoid when ________.” This is a great way to add value to the call and to invite them to have a follow-up call with you, once they’ve read what you’re sending them.
  • Content upgrade – Use your lead magnet on individual blog posts to provide more detailed information about the topic (hat tip to Brian Dean for this idea.)

You can deliver your content upgrade as a simple download link or a more complicated download sequence (see below).

Speaking of content upgrades…
BlogWorks can create the perfect Lead Magnet complete with an email sequence to nurture your new followers.

  • Connections on LinkedIn – Building your LinkedIn connections? Try offering your lead magnet as an example of your work.
  • Survey incentive – You can get more responses to your market survey by offering your new lead magnet as a reward for completing the survey.
  • Podcast interview offer – Add value to your next podcast interview by inviting listeners to download your lead magnet.

How to set up a Lead Magnet?

The easiest way to start using a lead magnet is to follow up from a sales call (#1 in the list above), or direct download link on a blog article or other page on your site. There’s no setup and your lead magnet is working.

To set up an automatic delivery system for your lead magnet on your site is a bit more complicated. Fortunately, tools like OptinMonster make it easier to create the invitation to readers and the sequence that delivers the lead magnet and adds the reader to your list.

7 lead magnets that really work to grow your business

Tools like OptinMonster make it easy to set up your opt-in sequence.

Once you have your sequence created, you can choose what pages your lead magnet appears on.

7 types of lead magnets

Before you jump into writing your first lead magnet, take a minute to consider what your target market would value and consume.

It might be tempting to grind out a 5,000-word e-book, but if nobody will take the hour to read it, what’s the point?

The most common type of lead magnet is a short e-book. That’s great for proving your expertise and solving a problem (#1 and #5 in our list of how to make a lead magnet absolutely irresistible, above).

The problem is lots of people might download your ebook, but not everyone will read it.

Let’s look at other types of lead magnets:

1. Checklist

For some reason, the organizer in us loves checklists. They are quick to create and more likely to get opened and used than some of the longer alternatives, like ebooks.

Start by thinking of checklists you use in your business, or you’ve created for your clients.

Your lead magnet doesn’t have to be fancy. You can just get started by adding your invitation on your website

Here are some checklists ideas to spark your creative juices:

  • Home renovations
  • Business budget
  • Building an online course
  • Annual budgeting
  • Hiring a virtual assistant
  • Planning a team meeting
  • Designing a webinar
  • Employee training checklist
  • Workplace hazard assessment
  • Data protection checklist

2. Video

You might want to use a video for a lead magnet if you have existing video content (like a module in your online course) or are a whiz at creating videos.

Just like all your lead magnet options, keep it short, easily digestible, and super-specific. We host all our videos on Vimeo, which allows us to embed videos on our website, control the playback, and avoid advertising.

3. Free samples

Let’s face it – everyone loves free! The word ‘free’ gets the most attention in advertising and can be a great incentive in sales.

Here are some ideas of what you can offer for free:

  • Photos
  • Book + shipping
  • Summary ‘cliff notes’
  • Recording replay
  • Online lesson
  • Recipes
7 lead magnets that really work to grow your business

Author and marketing expert Tom Shapiro effectively uses his book as a lead magnet

A common lead magnet strategy for authors is to give away a free chapter of their book. While this is a simple way to turn an existing product (your book) into a download, it might not be the most exciting offer.

Remember, our objective is to solve a problem, be super specific, and be easily digestible. A better solution might be a Coles Notes-type book summary.

4. Report

A report lead magnet could be an impressive example of your expertise. For example, you could create a report on the status of your industry, collection of industry statistics, or customer case study.

The trade-off with a report is that while they do help establish you as an industry expert, it could be quickly out of date.

7 lead magnets that really work to grow your business

Andy Crestodina and his team at Orbit Media do a great job of publishing their annual blogging report.

5. Quiz

A quiz is sort of like a checklist, but a bit more interactive and can be designed to deliver a ‘score.’

Although it’s great to build an interactive online quiz, even a simple document that walks the reader through the questions and shows possible scores is a good start.

7 lead magnets that really work to grow your business

Even a simple quiz is a good start to adding more value for your readers

6. Template

A free template is a great way to show off your expertise and give your readers a time-saver they can use over and over. Templates could be for legal documents, budgets, brochures, resumes, or newsletters.

You don’t have to get fancy, just think of some clever solution you figured out (ours was how to write a blog post), turn that into a template with a bit of instruction and you’re set.

7 lead magnets that really work to grow your business

A great way to offer more value is to invite your blog readers to get more in-depth help with a content upgrade.

7. Toolkit

A toolkit is simply a list of equipment you recommend. A toolkit might be the quickest way to get a new lead magnet created.

Your toolkit could be a list of tools you use every day in your work. These could be online tools, like what you recommend for project planning.

Or your toolkit could recommend physical tools, like your favourite webinar set up with microphone, webcam, and lighting.

The bottom line…

It’s a little like baking cookies: almost certainly your first batch won’t be perfect, but with a little effort and perseverance you’ll end up with a valuable (delicious) result.

That’s why you need to get started.

Don’t worry too much about the type of lead magnet or getting the delivery perfect. The goal should be to launch your first lead magnet, see how it works, and start building some confidence.

A lead magnet – even a simple one, like a planning template or list of resources for wanna-be writers – can be working to attract new followers to your list while you are busy running your business.

Enjoyed this article? Here are 3 more of our favourites:

Can You Make Money With a Mailing List? 5 Ways Revealed
How to Overcome Writer’s Block With This 7-Step Template
Social Media vs. Blogging: What is Best for Your Business?

Example of quiz: Eky Handayani