Lead Magnet Ideas: What Is Right For Your Business? (With 11 Examples)

Lead magnets are a huge opportunity to get new leads for your business. If you don’t have any, you are missing out. However, it is increasingly difficult to come up with lead magnet ideas that are relevant to your audience.

That’s why so many business owners ask themselves if they really need them as lead magnets can be very time-consuming to create and distribute.

Short answer: yes, you do!

In this article, we’ll show you that you don’t need to spend endless hours devising and writing yours – you can use one (or more) of the lead magnet ideas that we’ll suggest and create your lead magnets quickly and effectively.

What Lead Magnets Are And Why You Should Have (At Least) One

If you’re totally new to the world of lead magnets or if you have a vague idea of what they are, you’re in the right place.

Before finding out the best lead magnet ideas for your business, we’ll first look at what lead magnets are, then we’ll give you three reasons why you should create one and how to choose the best one for your business.

Let’s dive in!

Lead Magnet Ideas: A great way to get new leads
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Lead Magnets Explained

Lead magnets are bits of consumable content that are made to attract your potential customers to your products or services in exchange for their personal information like email address and name.

They can take a number of forms. They can be a PDF guide, a cheat sheet, or a discount coupon. What they have in common is that in exchange for your lead magnet, people will be willing to give you their contact information – most commonly their name and email address.

Lead Magnet Ideas: Most common contact information are name and email address
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“But I already have a newsletter signup widget on my website. Is it not enough to get my potential customers' email addresses?”

Well, no. You’d missing out if you’d only have that. Let me show you why.

Lead Magnet Features

There are many lead magnet ideas you can use, but when you are looking at what they need to have to be irresistible, it comes down to these features:

  • Specific. When you pick the topic, make sure it’s well defined. If you have a broad theme, consider splitting it into more than one lead magnet. They could address different segments of your audience.
  • Problem-solving. When choosing what your lead magnet should include, make sure you are solving a problem your audience has that’s related to that topic. Give answers rather than just describe the problem at length.
  • Quick win. Provide an easy-to-implement solution to your prospects’ problem, something they can immediately use to make their life simpler without any add-ons.
  • High (perceived) value. it relates to the quality of your lead magnet. You’re already ahead if you make sure that it is super specific, solves a problem your audience has and provides a quick win.
  • Easy to consume. It relates to specificity but it’s slightly different. It comes down to the format and length of your lead magnet. Lists and cheatsheets are usually easier to digest than lengthy PDFs.
  • Easy to access. Don’t overwhelm your prospects with questions or lengthy procedures to get your lead magnet.
  • Relationship shifter. When someone raises their hand and opts-in for your content, they’re showing they’re ready for the next step of their journey from a passive skimmer of your content to an engaged prospect.
  • On-brand. Write about something that relates to your brand and that will resonate with your audience – or you won’t have leads that are interested in your product or service.

Reasons to Create a Lead Magnet

First, let me reiterate that: lead magnets are NOT email signup widgets. They’re much much more. Read on to find out why you should have a lead magnet on your website and pick one (or more) from out lead magnet ideas to get the right leads for your business.

Lead Magnet Ideas: reasons to create a lead magnet
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The most obvious reason is that your email list will grow with qualified leads. That’s because you’d create a very specific lead magnet that will address one (crucial!) pain point of your audience and give actionable tips on how to solve it.

Basically, your lead magnet will segment your audience for you.

This is super important for you because once you have their email address, you’ll be able to retarget them with information about your products and offers that are relevant to the segment they opted-in for. And devise your email retargeting strategy.

Once users chip-in for your content, you’ll start to learn more about what resonates with them and what pain points they are trying to solve.

You can do as much research about your ideal customers as you wish ( if you don’t know where you start, you can begin here) but once you start producing content, you’ll see first-hand what topics are more relevant to your audience and entice them to raise their hands and give your their contact information.

This will help you in creating even better content for your market segments.

To recap, here are the four reasons why you should create a lead magnet right now:

  • Grow your list with qualified leads
  • Remarket those leads with relevant content
  • Get to know your audience better
  • Create more content that your audience likes

How to Choose The Right Lead Magnet

If you browse the internet for lead magnet ideas, you’ll find a plethora of ideas – but how do you choose the right one for your business and not feel overwhelmed by the endless choices?

Before we get to the nitty-gritty of lead magnet ideas, there are a few points to take into consideration:

  • Your time and resources. If you are a one-person operation or if you’re just starting out, you may not have the resources (or time) to create a 20-page guide. Keep it simple and remember one quick win, high value.
  • Your audience. You know your audience better than anyone else. What kind of message or format resonates best with them? If you don’t know yet, don’t be afraid to test and adjust on the go.
  • Your brand voice. This is something you decide early on in your company’s life and you should make sure you’re always on-brand. Your tone is what makes you unique and recognizable to your customers.
  • Your distribution outlets. Setting up your distribution channels is getting easier by the day, but you don’t want to set ten different outlets if you’re not able to follow and optimize them.

Lead Magnet Ideas For Your Business

By this time, I’m sure I’ve convinced you that lead magnets are good for your business and you should have (at least) one on your website.

It's now time to go through 11 lead magnet ideas from companies we love that you can adapt to your business. For each lead magnet idea, we’ll give you a brief description, and the pros and cons so you’ll be able to pick the right one for you.

Lead Magnet Ideas #1 and #2 – Guide and Workbook

Guides and workbooks are among the most common lead magnets around. They normally take the form of a PDF document that users can download after leaving the contact information you ask.

In this Smartflows guide, we covered everything you need to know about how to run an Instagram giveaway.

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Even if they may serve a different purpose – guides are usually more descriptive while workbooks are more practical and include fillable sheets, just like the one below from Saffron Avenue. They’re both quite long and include text and images.

Lead Magnet Ideas: Workbook
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Pros. When writing a guide, you’re telling a story that you can articulate as you see fit. It’s great to give many examples or share resources. When it’s well designed and written, it will provide great value to your users.

Cons. It’s a great investment in terms of time and resources. And, unless you have a highly engaged readership, it can be overwhelming to digest and you could lose the specificity you need to create a successful lead magnet.

Lead Magnet Ideas #3 and #4 – Cheat Sheet and Checklist

When you compare them with guides or workbooks, cheat sheets and lists may appear easier to make. Don’t be fooled, though. They’re usually in PDF format and consist of skimmable material usually explaining a strategy or a plan.

In the example below, the topic of Amy Porterfield's cheat sheet is clearly defined and relates to a step-by-step strategy.

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Checklists are even easier to digest – and actually quite funny! Add a checkbox next to each step, so your users will have the satisfaction of ticking an item as completed once they have done it. Surely, if you are a first-time camper, you’d be thankful not to forget a thing.

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Pros. Skimmable material gets read, this is a fact. You’ll have less to write, but this will allow you to focus on one very specific topic – and you are more likely that your readers will actually go through all that’s in it.

Cons. You won’t be able to go into much detail when creating a cheat sheet or a checklist, so you may lose some of the perceived value.

Lead Magnet Ideas #5 and #6 – Quiz and Challenge

Quizzes and challenges may seem quite different, but we put them together because in both cases you are asking a bigger commitment than just leave an email address.

In the example below, the AdEspresso team devised a quiz on Facebook Ads. Being so long (and complex) it positions the company as the expert of Facebook advertising.

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Challenges, on the other hand, will involve asking your prospect to do something every day for a specific time (usually 7 days). Just like Phone Break Up did for their challenge of having a better relationship with your mobile phone.

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Pros. With these lead magnet ideas, you’ll surely bump your relationship with your prospective customers as you are asking them to engage with your content more actively.

Cons. They’re both very time-consuming to make. In particular, if you create a 7-day challenge, you need to plan it all in advance and set up your email automation. For quizzes too, you’d need to devise a well-structured set of questions.

Lead Magnet Ideas #7 – Free trial

SaaS companies use to offer a free trial as a lead magnet so that prospective customers can test the product before deciding to buy it. When doing so, you can choose to give access for a limited time or to only a few functionalities.

If you’re a SaaS company, you can decide to have prospects trial your software with or without asking for a credit card. If you choose not to require it, like MyQuickCloud, you may see your trial numbers go up.

Lead Magnet Ideas: Free Trial, no credit card
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Alternatively, if you have a layered product, like HubSpot, you can give continued free access to parts of the platform, and then use it to upsell other services you offer.

Lead Magnet Ideas: Free Trial
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Pros. If you are a SaaS company, you can evaluate giving access to (part of) your product: this is the best way to deliver on the value you offer your prospects. You’d need to make sure to give your customers-to-be reasons to stay during that time.

Cons. This is a huge investment and, if done wrong, it could depress conversions into paying customers. You could consider having different types of lead magnets, including a free trial so that you can capture leads at different stages of the customer journey.

Lead Magnet Ideas #8 and #9 -Video Training and Webinars

Video is all over digital marketing. So why not use it for your lead magnet too? Training videos and webinars can be useful to position you as a thought leader in your industry and they can be as short as 15-20 minutes to be effective.

Marketing communication firm Firespring offers free live webinars for non-profits.

Lead Magnet Ideas - Free Live Webinars
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After the webinar – or training – goes live, you can also keep it on your website as on-demand as Mixpanel does. It will continue to capture leads and in a few months, you’ll have a great list that can appeal to multiple market segments.

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Pros. The value you’re providing with this lead magnet is huge, and you’re giving it to them in an easy way to consume. You’ll also be able to strengthen your relationship with your prospective customers by getting personal.

Cons. As for other lead magnet ideas, video training or webinars require a lot of time to plan, create, and execute. You could start small, or considering audio-only to start out.

Lead Magnet Ideas #10 and #11 – Discounts and Free Shipping

If you have an e-commerce or if you’re dropshipping, you could use discounts or free shipping to entice your website visitors to leave you their email address.

Shein offers an extra 15% off the first order in exchange for contact information as soon as you start navigating on their website.

Lead Magnet Ideas: Coupons
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Nike offers free shipping to all registered members, so once you create an account, you’ll always have free shipping on your orders.

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Pros. This lead magnet can entice visitors to overcome their doubts and become customers as they see the opportunity to get what they want at a discounted price. It’s also pretty fast to create a discount via a coupon.

Cons. This may potentially diminish the perceived value of your product or services, which could then result in a decrease in sales without the discount being there. Also, this may not be the best option unless you have an e-commerce store with multiple products.

How to Distribute Your Lead Magnet

You have your lead magnet, that’s great! Now what?

You can have the best lead magnet in the world, but if you don’t distribute it in the right way, nobody will see it.

There are many tools around to help you show your lead magnet on your website. At Smartflows, we tried and reviewed ConvertBox. You may have seen how it looks like on our website already!

Lead Magnet Ideas: ConvertBox
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What we loved the most is how easy it is to use. Still, the product is really powerful and supports everything that we need to capture leads from our website. The tool is still in beta but you can use our link to get immediate access.

Make sure you distribute your lead magnet to all your social outlets – and don’t forget email marketing. It may sound weird, but that’s actually a free way to re-engage your email list with content that may ascend them from passive readers to active customers.

In this article, we covered lead magnet ideas and why they are crucial for your marketing efforts. Have you tested other lead magnet ideas that worked? Write them in the comments below!

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