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15 Different Types of Lead Magnets You Can Use to Entice Subscribers [+ Examples]

Lead magnets can help to address a dire need across the online space: getting more qualified leads for your business.

A lead magnet is an irresistible bribe that offers a very specific value in exchange for a reader’s email address. Lead magnets turn website traffic into new subscribers.

An effective lead magnet is the foundation of a solid email marketing strategy: the first step to converting website traffic into live leads that have the potential to become  paying customers or clients some time down the road.

Best of all, creating an effective lead magnet doesn’t have to consume a lot of time. After you’ve finished reading this post, you should already have a couple of ideas for lead magnets that you could probably create in just a single afternoon.

Let’s get started.

1. Checklist

Checklists show the reader step-by-step what they need to be doing to accomplish a certain task. It’s all too easy for crucial things to slip through the cracks. They help to simplify a task that would otherwise seem too complex.

For instance, a checklist that shows you how to maximize your onsite SEO would be very helpful, since there are so many tiny pieces you need to get right.

Think about how a checklist could be useful in your industry—is there some complex process that you know like the back of your hand, but your readers might find baffling? If so, then to create this lead magnet all you have to do is write down a step-by-step guide to completing that process.

Checklist-Lead-Magnet

Take note of the great checklist lead magnet from Petovera. Their lead magnet helps people looking to improve the conversion rate of their sales funnels–and conversion rate optimization is certainly quite a complex process/

As an added benefit, checklists can commonly be printed out so you can advertise this lead magnet as a printable PDF that users could pin up and regularly refer to.

2. Cheat Sheet

Cheat sheets are quick reference guides that illuminate quick, obscure shortcuts that you wouldn’t normally know yourself. Put simply, a cheat sheet usually shows how to do one of the following:

  1. cut time spent on a repetitive task
  2. exploit an unknown loophole.

To create a cheat sheet, just think of a few neat hacks you use in your industry, outline them in a PDF, spice it up a bit with some good copywriting, and you suddenly have a very enticing offer for your readers.

Cheat-Sheet-Lead-Magnet

Take the “Headline Hacks” example above. Writing good headlines can be difficult, especially when you don’t have a lot of experience. This cheat sheet has over 100 different headline formulas subscribers can use to complete the repetitive task of crafting compelling headlines with much less effort.

3. Report

A report lead magnet can take a few different directions. One type of report combs through a large batch of data to make it digestible and actionable for the average reader.

Another type you could use takes a set of data that you’ve personally collected, and shares the results with your readers.

Report-Lead-Magnet

HubSpot compiles a yearly report called the State of Inbound. This report includes data and information they’ve collected from over 3,500 different marketing and sales professionals.

One side effect of reports is that they also help you stand out as an authority in your space. If your industry is a data-intensive one, then a report might just be the way to go.

4. Video Course

Video courses make for very effective lead magnets for a simple reason: people perceive them as more valuable than a bunch of written words. They seem more substantial, even if they contain the same content as a written report.

Visual content can also be more powerful because people are more likely to remember a video they’ve watched as opposed to a long-form piece of content they just skimmed over.

Video-Course-Lead-Magnet

The video course highlighted above shows aspiring authors how to successfully build an audience for their book. The free video training does upsell a more in-depth course, but the free series does provide a ton of value by itself.

Be aware, creating a professional video course does take a lot of work, and sometimes a lot of money as well. If you don’t have the budget to plan, record, and edit high quality video, then you might want to put this one on the back burner.  

5. Worksheet

Worksheets function as tools that help your readers to become better a certain job, or accomplish a specific task. Worksheets act more like a skeleton or an outline that readers can use to fill in the blanks.

Remember those old fill-in-the-blank tests you used to take back in high school? These will often have a similar format, but they’ll be geared towards solving a more pressing problem rather than getting an A+ on an exam.

Worksheet-Lead-Magnet

Strategyzer has a great worksheet lead magnet that’s perfect for people looking to show readers how their business provides value. It’s easy for subscribers to use, and does a great job instructing readers.

6. Top Tools/Resource List

There are probably hundreds of different tools or resources you could use to complete any Internet-related task. But that significant volume of resources begs the question: how do you know which ones are actually worth using?

That’s where toolboxes/resource lists come in.

This type of lead magnet is incredibly easy to create. All you have to do is organize a list of tools that will help your readers accomplish a specific goal. You can use a catchy heading like, “27 Tools I Use to Run My Six-Figure Copywriting Business”.

Besides a toolbox, you can also curate a list of resources that help readers to accomplish a certain task. These resources can include things like the blogs you follow, publications you read, or books you consistently use for reference material.

Tools-Lead-Magnet

Take some inspiration from Location Rebel, who uses a well-designed resource “arsenal” that promises everything you need to live a location-independent lifestyle. Sounds enticing!

7. Case Study

Case studies are like an in depth how-to guide. However, rather than being simply theoretical, they illuminate a real-life example that shows how that guide has been put into action. Case studies can be seen as an extensive testimonial of how a certain strategy actually works.

If you have a few customers already whose success stories you can showcase, then a case study might be the way to go. All you have to do is flesh out the details of the strategy your customers used and make it an actionable read.

Case studies can act as great pre-sales material, as they allow readers to put themselves in the shoes of one of your customers.

Case-Study-Lead-Magnet

Take the example above from James T Noble. If you’re in the online business space, then surely you’re heard of Salesforce. Any chance to get an inside look at such a massively successful company is not one that can be passed up.

8. Free Short Consultation

If you’re a consultant, then what’s a better way to get new clients on board than to have them get the actual experience of one of your consultations?

The only downside to free consultations is that they do have a time expense, but when you compare that time expense to the total revenue a new lead could bring, then free consultations could be a very worthwhile investment.

To weed out those who won’t actually convert into paying customers, it can be helpful to use a complex form that takes a little bit of time to fill out. The more info you have about the lead, the better you can judge whether they are a good fit for your business.

Consultation-Lead-Magnet

The free consult offer from Boostability requires a bit more info than your standard name-and-email opt-in form. If you visit their site you’ll also notice this page has a breakdown of what the free consultation includes. Both of these elements together help to ensure higher quality leads.

9. Webinar

Webinars are basically virtual powerpoint presentations with an audio walkthrough. They do take a lot of effort to execute (particularly if you bring on special guests). However, webinars can be quite effective, since the amount of effort required to create them communicates their value to readers.

Webinar-Lead-Magnet

Lewis Howes has been very successful in growing his company through the use of webinars as a lead generation tool (he even wrote the book on it).

Best of all, webinars can be also be recorded once and then used as a video lead magnet to passively generate leads.

10. eBook

eBooks are one of the first lead magnet types that Internet companies have used to get people to join their list. A lot of e-business owners today opt for “fancier” types of lead magnets, but eBooks continue to thrive for one simple reason—they work.

When creating an eBook it’s important to ensure it doesn’t get too long. I get it–it can be tempting to go explain your topic in excruciating detail, but readers are often put off by too much length.

eBook-Lead-Magnet

Michael Hyatt has created a simple eBook that helps readers to become more productive. The book helps readers solve a big problem (managing their time) with the promise of a simple, 4-strategy solution.

11. Free Trial

If you’re in the SaaS space, free trials are one of the best ways to drive customers towards an eventual purchase. Be enabling readers to sign up for a free trial, you reduce buyer inhibitions by allowing them to test out your product to see if it’s something that could be valuable for them.

A large percentage of SaaS business are already using free trials to entice new leads: if you aren’t, then you could be missing out.

The only caution is to be wary of the length of your free trial. Free trials that last forever (i.e. “freemium” plans) can result in you having to invest resources to maintain software for users who are never going to pay you money for an upgraded version.

Free-Trial-Lead-Magnet

Look how Shopify does their free trial. Land on their home-page and what’s the first thing you see? An offer to start your free trial. The only info you have to give is your email address.

12. Online Course

Online courses come in a variety of formats. Usually, these courses are pretty in-depth and expand upon material that has been touched upon in your blog posts.

These lead magnets are commonly delivered through an autoresponder course via email, wherein one lesson is sent to the subscriber every day/week. Additionally , sending regular emails to your subscribers gets them in the habit of opening your emails, which is a beneficial side effect once the course is over.

Online-Course-Lead-Magnet

This publishing course offered by Tom Morkes teachers readers how to launch a bestseller. Tom includes real-life examples from his own experience of launching bestsellers, as well as information from other popular writers like Dan Norris and Jeff Goins who have done the same.

13. Customizable Templates

Customizable templates are similar to the worksheets mentioned above, but these are less spreadsheet/text-focused and more design-based. A few examples of things that could use templates are book covers, powerpoint presentations, invoices, or business cards.

As a lead magnet, templates can especially work well when released along with a specific blog post that walks readers through the process of creating the object you’re offering a template for. That’s not to say they can’t also work as a standalone offer–you need to figure out which is the best fit for your business.

If you’re in a design-related industry, you might even already have a few of these templates lying around that you often work with. All you have to do is package them up and set them behind an opt-in form.

Templates-Lead-Magnet

This lead magnet from DIY Book Covers provides subscribers with a set of templates along with a set of videos on how to use them. If you’re looking to quickly design your own book cover, this is a great place to start.

14. Free Chapter of a Published Book

If you’re a published author, then you might want to consider giving away a portion of your book for free. It’s hard for readers to pass up on free. Plus, you have the added benefit of possible getting readers so interested in your work that they go on to buy the entire book.

Giving people a small taste of something larger is a great way to get the hooked. Once subscribers get a free taste to judge the quality of your book, if they find it satisfactory then they’ll often purchase the entire book in order to go ahead and complete their learning.

Think of this lead magnet as similar to those free samples you see at lots of supermarkets. Not everyone ends up purchasing the product after sampling it, but obviously enough do to justify the free samples as a valid marketing strategy.

Best of all, if you already have a published book, then it won’t take any additional time to create a free chapter. You just need to select which chapter to give away (probably the first 1-2), package it separately, and set up the lead magnet on your website.

Book-Chapter-Lead-Magnet

Tim Ferris has built up quite a reputation for himself in the productivity and self-help niches, and Tim’s success establishes him as a master marketer. Tim gives away a free portion of his 4-Hour Workweek book to entice visitors.

15. The “30-Day Challenge”

Challenges are a great way to build a relationship with your followers and readers. Not only do they entice subscriptions, but they also hold your readers accountable to you, which is a great way to ensure that they regularly open your emails and keep coming back to your website.

Naturally, the challenge doesn’t have to be 30 days. Choose a duration that seems like the right fit for whatever topic the challenge is on.

The format you use to setup a challenge is up to you. One way you could do it is by giving subscribers access to a private Facebook group where they can join like-minded peers completing the same challenge. Or, you could deliver the challenge through a daily email via an autoresponder sequence.

Challenge-Lead-Magnet

The 30 day squat challenge above from Uncaged Man is a great showcase of this type of lead magnet. It’s a great way for the website to both connect with their readers and introduce them to the “uncaged” lifestyle.

Summing it Up

The type of lead magnet you end up choosing will depend upon your business and the type of content your audience enjoys consuming most. You can choose to use just one, or even a combo of different lead magnets depending on your website’s niche and your audience

The key with lead magnets (just as most areas of online business) is experimentation. Don’t be afraid to test different offers to see which converts the highest. What works for one business might not work for you, so keep that in mind while you’re using one of the above lead magnets to entice new subscribers to your list.

What about you? Any style of lead magnet we missed out on? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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3 comments

  1. Hey, Jonathan,

    Nice write up here on the different kinds of lead magnets with some super examples. I’m in the process of creating some new lead magnets, so now I have an excellent resource.

    Thanks for researching and sharing the ideas here.
    – David

    1. No problem, David. Glad I could help.

  2. Victor says:

    I am reading this in Sept 2018 and I thing it’s very much still applicable for anyone trying to come up with the right lead magnet for their content like myself.

    Thanks for sharing Jonathan.

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