The Lowdown on Lead Magnets

The Lowdown on Lead Magnets

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. In this post, I am going to discuss one such strategy: the lead magnet.

What is a lead magnet?

A lead magnet is a resource offered in exchange for contact information, which is used to convert visitors to your website into leads (most likely through email marketing). A good lead magnet should offer something of real value while establishing credibility.

The ultimate goal of a lead magnet is to build your email list which, in turn, can increase 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 goal is, having a strong lead magnet will help your website work with you to accomplish that goal!

Choosing a Topic

“What does my target audience want to know more about?”—this should be the first question you ask yourself when selecting a topic for your lead magnet. Not sure? 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.

Your lead magnet can be in a variety of forms, depending on what would be most valuable to your target audience.

Here are some examples:

Sample chapter or e-book

Many Weaving Influence clients will offer a free sample chapter or e-book, since they are trying to establish themselves as authors and thought leaders in their fields. Keep in mind, though, that most people visiting a website do not have a lot of incentive to spend time reading a long e-book or sample chapter. If you do go this route, try to keep the lead magnet 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.” Cheryl Bachelder does a great job using an e-book to encourage sign-ups on her site.


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.). 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.”

Drip email course or video course

If you choose to create some kind of 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), be sure to focus on helping solve one or more of your customers’ most urgent problems.


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.

Article/whitepaper/case study, etc.

Any document that would prove valuable to your audience can be used as a lead magnet. Like with the sample chapter or e-book, be careful that the information is relevant and concise. Giant Leap Consulting does a great job of encouraging sign-ups by offering a free strategic planning workbook as their lead magnet.


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 post from my blog.” Author John Perkins has an engaging newsletter sign-up on his website.

A few words on positioning

Your lead magnet should be 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. You can see a great example of lead magnet positioning on consultant Ken Rutsky’s homepage.

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 into your 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)?

Interested in developing an online strategy, including a lead magnet for your website, but not sure where to start? Learn more about Weaving Influence’s services and contact our team—we’d be happy to help!


Image courtesy of Pixabay

About Margy Kerr-Jerrett

Margy Kerr-Jarrett is the Web Projects Manager at Weaving Influence and Development Manager for the Lead Change Group. She enjoys reading, writing, and spending time in nature with her husband and daughter. Born and raised in Indianapolis, IN, Margy has been living in Jerusalem, Israel for the past three years.

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