How do you make a good first impression on your clients? How can you stand out from the dozens (or more) websites offering similar products or services, in a way that converts visitors into customers? How do you get more of the “right” people to hit that “subscribe” button?

When we discuss new website projects with clients, we like to be straightforward about one thing: just because you build it, doesn’t mean they will come. There are millions (if not billions) of websites on the web, so you better have a solid plan for attracting interest and engagement.

Building and maintaining a relationship with readers on your site is a process that can involve a number of different strategies. One such strategy is the lead magnet — and this summer is a great time to work on developing one!

What is a Lead Magnet?

A lead magnet is a resource offered in exchange for contact information, such as an email address, which is then used to convert visitors to your website into genuine leads. A good lead magnet should offer something specific of real value while establishing credibility.

The ultimate goal of a lead magnet is two-fold:

  • Adding value for others through a product or service that solves a problem or meets a need.
  • Building your email list and increasing your conversion rate (the percentage of users who take a desired action).

You may want your lead magnet to help you gain more business or to build community around a thought or idea. Whatever your immediate aim may be, having a strong lead magnet will help your website work with you to accomplish those ultimate goals!

Defining Your Audience & Offering

Creating a valuable lead magnet (for both you and your customers) begins with knowing your target audience: not just who they are, but what they want or need. How can your products or services satisfy their desires or offer a solution to their problems?

Take some time to define (on paper) your target customer — the ideal person you’d like to see on your email list — and consider what you have to offer that intersects with their interests and responsibilities. Taking time to do this simple exercise can help you refine your offering so it attracts the right kind of leads — the people who want what you have to offer.

If you’re not sure what that sweet spot is, check out what your competition is offering. Of course, your lead magnet should be uniquely focused on what you have to offer. It should give visitors to your site a taste of what you can do, leaving them interested in learning more. But browsing competitor’s sites might give you some ideas of what you can share that’s more uniquely situated to your knowledge or skills.

Your lead magnet can be in a variety of forms, depending on what would be most valuable to your target audience. It could offer a particular service, specific piece of information, or some other type of direction that your customers would benefit from knowing. The key is to make it specific — not offering all the information available on the subject, but targeting it to a very particular situation.

For instance, rather than a very generalized guide to public speaking, offer a piece about defining your takeaways for keynote addresses. Rather than offering an hour of coaching on any topic, narrow that down to a specific role or organizational area for which you can offer wisdom and expertise, such as managers or HR departments. That’s where knowing your audience and their needs really comes into play!

Types of Lead Magnets

Once you’ve defined who you’re seeking and what you have to offer, consider creating one of these types of well-performing lead magnets. Whichever one you decide to create, be sure to make it visible on highly-trafficked areas of your site, most likely the home page and the blog (if you have one). It should serve as a way for visitors to your site to get more acquainted with you and your work.

Ebook, sample chapter, or white paper

Offering a sample chapter, ebook, workbook, white paper, case study, or some other helpful document is a great way to establish yourself as an author or thought leader. Just keep in mind that most people website visitors do not have a lot of incentive to spend time reading a long ebook or paper. So if you do go this route, try to keep the selection as brief as possible, and include in the lead magnet description a solid reason as to why this information is worth reading. For example: “Sign up to receive a free sample chapter from my book that will teach you 5 easy ways to quadruple your income in a week.”

Resource list or infographic

If you don’t have a lot of time to invest in your lead magnet, but still want to offer some real value, consider composing a simple list of highly valuable resources that your target audience will find helpful (online tools, articles, podcasts, etc.). You can also present this information in an eye-catching infographic for more visual appeal. For example: “Sign up to receive the freelance writer’s online toolbox for free, a select list of recommended resources for getting your freelance writing business up and running this quarter.”

Email or video course

You may also choose to create some kind of email course or series of videos for your lead magnet. You can use a variety of emailing services to do this (we recommend Mailchimp or Infusionsoft), but just be sure to focus on helping solve one or more of your customers’ most urgent problems. Target your course to something specific, and be sure to tell them how they could benefit from it. For example: “Sign up to receive our free one-week #12MinuteBookLaunch course, and get ready to see real results in your book marketing — in just 7 days!”


A quiz can be a fun and engaging way to help your audience understand something fundamental about themselves and the way they conduct business. Everyone loves learning about themselves — use this to draw them into your ideas and services. Use the results page to link to more information on your website!


Though most online brands offer some kind of regular updates or newsletter via email (and most people’s inboxes could stand a round of unsubscribes), a newsletter can still be an excellent lead magnet. Clearly state the value of your newsletter and consider adding in text about the frequency of delivery. For example, someone is much more likely to sign up for “a 150-word weekly marketing tip” than “a weekly blog post.”

Measuring Success

How do you know if your lead magnet is doing the job you intended it to do? Ask the following questions:

  • Do visitors to your site opt-in to your email list?
  • Do they stay subscribed once they are on the list?
  • Are you getting an increase in interest and, ultimately, business (this may take several months to measure)?

What lead magnets have you used — and how have you measured their success? We’d love to hear about your experience!


Interested in developing an online strategy, including a lead magnet for your website, but not sure where to start? Contact our team—we’d be happy to help!