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How to Create a Lead Magnet That Actually Gets Leads The greater the value you give customers, the more they will trust you with their email addresses.

By Eric Siu

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Alexey Boldin | Shutterstock

A good lead magnet can generate thousands of leads per month for your business. Lead magnets, those ubiquitous free offers attached to a signup form for an email list, are a great opportunity to gain targeted leads. Creating lead magnets is easy. Creating lead magnets that get targeted leads is challenging. These tips will help you overcome those challenges to create dynamic lead magnets that get great results.

What is a lead magnet?

A lead magnet is content given away to someone in exchange for their email address. Instead of purchasing an ebook, for example, they simply sign up for your email list and then receive a link to download the ebook free.

Related: 3 Reasons Local Online Lead Generation Beats Offline Lead Generation Every Time

You must give customers a reason to provide you with their contact information. Most people today are so inundated with emails, newsletters and offer advertisements that the lead magnet must be truly stellar to get people to add one more email to their inbox. Simply inviting people to sign up for your list no longer generates the results it once did. You must give something of value in order to receive something of value -- namely, a customer's email address.

Nearly every website or business with an email list uses lead magnets to attract customers to their list. The question, however, isn't whether lead magnets attract -- they do. It's how well they attract and whom they attract that is the question.

Know your customer.

All good marketing begins with knowing your customer. Who is your customer? What does he or she want, need and desire? How can your products or services satisfy those desires?

Creating your lead magnet also begins with this exercise: Defining your target customer, the ideal person you'd like to have sign up for your email list, will help you refine your content offer so that your lead magnet attracts not just plenty of leads, but well-qualified leads.

Related: How to Create a Lead Magnet That Attracts Visitors and Converts Customers

The best-performing lead magnets add great value to the customer receiving them while satisfying a need or solving a problem for customers. These lead magnets appeal to the target audience because they provide a much-needed service, important information, directions to solve a problem or some other piece of information that the customer craves.

Another attribute of the best lead magnets is that they are highly specific. They do not seek to answer all of a customer's questions, but very specific questions. Instead of "Your Guide to Parenting," a lead magnet might be focused on "Your Guide to Parenting a Child with Autism," or "Your Guide to Parenting Kids with ADHD." Each book discusses parenting, but the latter two are so specific that they will attract a very specific parent to the list.

Five ideas for lead magnets that work.

If you're ready to try your hand at creating lead magnets that work, these five ideas are well-tested. Create your customer persona first, then use the information derived from the customer persona to build one or more of the following. Remember, the more value you can add to the lead magnet, the better the results should be.

  1. The "cheat sheet." Cheat sheets are short tips, lists or worksheets that help customers solve a specific problem. Because they are short, design counts, so you might want to hire a professional design to make your cheat sheet look spectacular. The specific problem-solving nature of the cheat sheet makes it very appealing alone or combined with a short ebook that provides supporting details on how to solve the problem you are presenting in your landing page and lead magnet.
  2. Templates. Free templates for anything are extremely popular and generate lots of leads. Make sure your template supports what you are selling and doesn't supplant it. For example, if you offer social media consulting services, a free Facebook ad template or graphic generator for a Facebook profile page might be a good lead magnet. Offering a template for a full social media ad campaign,is not such a great idea, since people can use it instead of your service. Templates can be in Word, Excel or any other common program and should be designed to appeal to the target audience.
  3. Free training. Videos, workbooks, a combination of these tools or free training delivered through daily emails make for a great lead magnet. This is especially true if you sell a similar training service and can put a dollar amount on the value of the training. Think about problems that require multiple steps for your customers to solve. These can make ideal step-by-step training products for your lead magnet.
  4. Swipe files. A swipe file is a file set up to collect good examples of things that you like. For example, a swipe file of article headlines might include the 50 best headlines you've ever seen in an email campaign. Swipe files provide valuable ideas in a way that make them unique and useful.
  5. Tool kits. Tool kits can be a little more complex to make, but because they are filled with resources, they can make excellent lead magnets. You may not need to start completely from scratch with a toolkit. You can use existing resources, blog posts and other content to complete your tool kit. Common tool kits include one or two ebooks and a worksheet, a video or a checklist.

Related: Email Marketing: There's a Good Chance You're Doing It Wrong

Lead magnets continue to evolve, but one thing remains the same -- they work. The greater the value you give your customers, the more they will trust you when they give you their email address to fill your pipeline with leads.

Eric Siu

CEO, Single Grain. Founder, Growth Everywhere.

Eric Siu is the CEO of digital marketing agency Single Grain. Single Grain has worked with companies such as Amazon, Uber and Salesforce to help them acquire more customers. He also hosts two podcasts: Marketing School with Neil Patel and Growth Everywhere, an entrepreneurial podcast where he dissects growth levers that help businesses scale. 


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