12 Effective Lead Magnet Ideas

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If you don’t have an email list, you need one. Effective lead magnet ideas are what you need to actually help you convince people to subscribe.

12 Effective Lead Magnet Ideas

What is a lead magnet?

In business, the term “lead” can refer to anything that gives you contact information for a potential future customer. One of the best ways to collect leads is via your newsletter, and the best way to get people to sign up for that is by using a lead magnet.

So in short, any kind of incentive you offer to get people to sign up for your email list is a lead magnet.

Do you really need a lead magnet?

Yes, you do. Your longtime committed customers may gladly give you their email address just because so they can hear from you about anything you want to tell them, but they’re already your committed customers so you don’t need to try to win them over to buy your products or services. On the other hand, sometimes someone isn’t ready to buy anything from you. They don’t know much about you. But they may be willing to receive emails from you if they think it will benefit them in some way and cost them nothing but joining your list.

That’s where lead magnets come in.

12 effective lead magnet ideas

Any of the following can be examples of great incentives to get website visitors to sign up for your list.

1. Free Guide

You can write a guide about any aspect of your business or something that relates to it. It doesn’t need to be long. Even a guide of a page or two that explains how to do something can be enough of an incentive to get someone to sign up for your list. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer and answer a question that you think they might be asking.

2. Free Checklist

If there is a process related to your business that you can detail in a checklist, that might be a very popular lead magnet. If you were a successful YouTuber, you might have a checklist of all of the steps that someone should take every time they plan, film, and upload a video if they want that video to get lots of views.

3. Free Resource List

A successful makeup artist who has a beauty blog might offer a resource list with the names and links of her favorite products and colors of makeup for every skintone. That would be enticing to anyone interested in learning exactly what the pros use.

4. Free Cheatsheet

People love cheatsheets. It’s quick information that helps someone know how to do something without having to invest a lot of time looking it up. A website guru with a DIY website blog might offer a free CSS cheatsheet for email subscribers to reference anytime they are tweaking the css on their website.

5. Free Template(s)

If I were an Instagram guru, perhaps I would offer you a bundle of 10 free Instagram templates in Canva. I’m not an Instagram guru, but I do know how to use it, so I have made some Instagram post templates for you in Canva, and you can grab them in the item below!

6. Gated Website Content

Gated content means content that someone cannot access until they have subscribed to your email list. You can gate a portion of an article or blog post. Maybe the gated content includes a video or some kind of download. Or in this case, I’m going to gate this link to those Instagram post templates I was telling you about in #5.


7. Free Webinar

In case you don’t know (although I’m assuming most everyone does), a webinar is just a virtual lecture or presentation about a topic presented via online video – either live or pre-recorded.

This one is a classic lead magnet. If you’ve ever watched a webinar online, you’ve joined someone’s email list. You may not have realized it was happening, but that’s why you get the emails after the webinar reminding you what it was about and the action you need to take to reap the full benefits of whatever was promised in the webinar.

If you have any topic about which you can present content and offer some sort of insider information, you can record a video webinar and have the video linked in some unlisted location and viewers can only watch it if they enter their email address.

8. Free eBook

Let’s say you’re a realtor and you have a lot of insider information about the area where you sell property. Put it all together in a little ebook, along with tips on getting a house ready to sell or tips on what to look for in a house. You can even just type this up in Word or Google Docs and save it as a PDF and make that your free ebook lead magnet. Nothing fancy is required! The only thing you want to be sure of is that your lead magnet has some helpful tips that will attract visitors to subscribe so they can gain instant access.

9. Discount(s)

This is a tricky one. We all know how this works. A lot of stores will offer a 10% discount (or 15% or even 20%!) to new email subscribers. Who hasn’t signed up for this at one point, just to get the discount.

In the past, I remember Longhorn Steakhouse used to offer a coupon for a free appetizer for email signups. I don’t know that they still have that incentive. I imagine that got expensive!

This can be a super effective strategy to get people to give you their email address, but what makes it tricky is that people have no obligation to say on your list once they get that discount and complete their purchase. If you bombard them with lots of sales pitch emails after they sign up, you can bet they will unsubscribe just as quickly as they subscribed.

On the other hand, if you offer a signup discount and then promise them useful emails that will add value to your subscription in some way and then offer other discounts on occasion in the future, that can be a winning strategy.

10. Membership

Perhaps you actively write a blog with lots of tips and information. You might want to think about gating a lot of content on your blog and making it for members only. That doesn’t mean you have to charge for memberships, but what it means is you can have articles locked so only members can read them. This will likely keep people subscribed, as well, provided you don’t abuse them with a bunch of harassing sales pitches.

11. Special Interest Calendar

There are many reasons why it might make sense to offer a sample calendar as a lead magnet. Perhaps you are a travel expert and you know when some of the best festivals are happening around the world (or even around your state). It might make sense to put all of that together in a calendar and offer the calendar as a free download for folks who subscribe to your newsletter.

Maybe you are a gardening expert. You can offer a free download of planting schedules for various kinds of plants by planting zone.

An organization and productivity expert might offer a calendar template in Trello or Google Calendar showing you how they plan their social media posts. (Here’s an example calendar template by Trello expert Justin Gallagher on how to set up a Personal Productivity Planner.)

12. Swipe File

A swipe file is just a document or collection of content that shows you how other people do things for their own business or customers.

IMPORTANT: Swipe files aren’t meant to be copied word-for-word. They are only meant to serve as inspiration for other creators to come up with content that will work for their business. Sometimes it can help to see what others are doing in their business to help you get the juices flowing to create your own stuff.

Examples of swipe files might include:

  • Facebook ad copy
  • Restaurant menu designs
  • Email marketing copy
  • Pricing structures
  • Sales Pages
  • etc.

If you create content that could be easily placed in a swipe file, that might be an outstanding lead magnet.

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