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If you’re keen to start optimizing the value of your content, a lead magnet funnel is a powerful tool to help you do just that.

From reaching out to existing customers to capturing and converting new leads, your lead magnet funnel is designed to make it easy to make the most of every opportunity.

Here’s everything you need to know about creating a lead magnet funnel – including a 6-step tutorial to make your own.

Learn more about using lead magnet funnels for your business – sign up for our Free Webinar Sales Funnel course

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What is a lead magnet funnel?

A lead magnet funnel is a journey that potential customers take from downloading one of your lead magnets through to completing a purchase and beyond.

What makes a lead magnet funnel effective is that it has multiple stepping stones. Rather than just a single interaction with a potential customer, you create a cohesive pathway that leads them towards your final goal – to convert them into loyal repeat customers.

Example of a Digital Marketing Funnel

How to use a lead magnet funnel

You can use a lead magnet funnel to design and refine your customer experience. The goal of a lead magnet funnel is to make the most of a potential customer’s email address – using a series of lead magnets – and convince them to make a purchase.

A lead magnet funnel can be used to: 

  • Expand your audience
  • Develop customer relationships
  • Increase conversions

What’s more, your lead magnet funnel can make your life much easier. By designing a customer journey around your lead magnet, you can automate a lot of your marketing processes. This means less work for you and your sales team in the long run.

Want a head start? Download this guide to build a lead magnet funnel with webinars!

6-step lead magnet funnel tutorial

The path to a successful lead magnet funnel is just a 6-step process. Here’s our lead magnet funnel tutorial to show you how.

1. Start with your lead magnet

Your lead magnet is at the very top of your sales funnel. This is the asset that will get you a prospect’s email address and kick start your lead magnet funnel.

Your lead magnet might be:

  • A quiz
  • Worksheet
  • Template
  • Checklist
  • Podcast

The idea is to create a valuable resource that will convince users to give up their email address in exchange for the lead magnet.

Check out this blog for more lead magnet ideas.

Your lead magnet should be on a dedicated landing page that you direct traffic to via your content promotion on social media, blogs, ads, and more. The landing page encourages people to download the lead magnet and start the flow of your lead magnet funnel.

Related: 3 Ways to Create a Lead Magnet That Actually Converts

2. Say thank you

After a user has input their email address and downloaded your lead magnet, the next step in your lead magnet funnel is to acknowledge the action.

The best way to do this is with a friendly, personable ‘thank you’ email that introduces users to who you are and what you do. 

Depending on what lead magnet they have downloaded, your introduction will be a bit different. While you could send out a blanket email to everyone, your marketing efforts will be much more effective if you can tailor your email to different types of leads.

For instance, someone downloading a guide to getting hired as an architect will not be interested in the same things as an architecture business that wants a guide for how to hire new architecture graduates.

If you can divide your email list into different categories of leads, you can make sure your introductory email hits home. Remember this step to make your lead magnet funnel extra effective and establish an immediate connection with your prospective customer.

3. Invite to access more content

Once you’ve said hello and given potential customers an introduction to your brand, the next step is to build their trust.

The best way to nurture a new lead is to provide them with additional content that’s relevant to their interests. This is where you’ll want to bring in additional lead magnets that they might also like to access.

Here are some ideas for effective ‘middle of the funnel’ lead magnets:

This part of the lead magnet funnel is known as the ‘education’ phase. 

You are educating potential customers while also subtly demonstrating to them why they should choose your brand when they eventually come to make a purchase.

The education phase of your lead magnet funnel should ideally consist of multiple emails – between 3-7 is a good number – all of which help to build a connection with your potential customer and give your brand more credibility.

This phase is also essential for building up a clearer idea of who your lead is and what they want. By analyzing what content they engage with, you can create a more accurate picture of the kind of customer they could be. This allows you to segment your list even more.

All of this information will help you when you get to step 4.

Related: How To Generate Leads With Content Marketing (6 Simple Steps)

4. Investigate your lead

If you’ve taken the time to nurture your lead through targeted emails, content suggestions and lead magnets, it’s time for the next stage: Action.

This is the traditional sales portion of your lead magnet funnel.

By the time a potential customer has got to this stage, they are ready to make a purchase. Now you need to convince them to make that purchase through you.

You might want to pick up the phone and give your lead a call to talk in person or send a direct, personalized email. This step can help you foster a closer connection to your prospects. Ask if they have any questions about your product, services, or resources and how you can help.

You can also introduce another lead magnet here to help sway their decision. Some good lead magnets for the bottom of your lead magnet funnel include:

  • Discount code
  • Coupon
  • Free trial 
  • Free consultation
  • Live demo

This is the point where you tip the scales in favor of your product over your competitors. A lead magnet like a discount or a free trial can push them towards a purchase.

5. Convert to a loyal customer

If you want to transform your leads into loyal customers who will continue to purchase from your brand, you need to set up a follow-up marketing campaign. You can do this through emails and sales calls that check in on how they’re doing after making a purchase.

With post-purchase email flows, the idea is to encourage customers to revisit your site and purchase from you again. This stage of your lead magnet funnel is all about creating a path back to your lead magnet landing pages 

Here are some ideas for post-purchase emails:

Reviews and feedback

As part of your post-purchase campaign, you can ask customers for feedback on their purchases. This is a good time to send out surveys. You can also encourage customers to leave a review or share photos on social media.

Feedback and reviews are a really useful way to refine your offering and better understand how your customers’ expectations match up with reality. They are also a great opportunity for you to get some social proof to use on your landing pages and social media. Don’t skip this part of your lead magnet funnel!

Refer a friend

Take the opportunity for new lead generation by encouraging customers to refer a friend after making a purchase. Utilize your lead magnets to convince customers to share your content with their contacts. 

One of the easiest ways to do this is by offering an incentive like a discount code or coupon that customers can share with their friends, family, and colleagues. By adding this simple step to your lead magnet funnel, you can motivate your customers to spread the word about your product or service after they’ve made a purchase. 

Once a new contact signs up their email address, they go straight in at the top of your lead magnet funnel and the process starts again.

Product recommendations

One of the essentials of any good post-purchase email flow is product recommendations to encourage future purchases. You can get creative with your content for these emails but the important thing to remember is that you are recommending relevant products for that specific customer.

Some popular cross-selling emails include:

  • ‘Customers who bought … also loved …’
  • ‘We recommend…’
  • ‘Add these to your collection…’
  • ‘Treat yourself to…’

Chances are, you’ll have products and services that go hand-in-hand with one another. If you have successfully sold a course on ‘how to write a novel’, that customer is likely to be interested in a follow-up course on ‘how to market and sell your novel’ too.

Cross-selling emails are a great way to introduce customers to other products or services that they might like.

6. Keep in touch

The final stage of your lead magnet funnel is to not let your customers drop off the map after making a purchase.

You can create a whole range of different types of follow-up emails, the trick is to find the style and format that will appeal to your target audience. This step is about keeping in touch – not just one week or one month after purchase but for years after.

At this stage in your lead magnet funnel, it is a good time to utilize email newsletters to provide your customers with updates and news information on your brand that might be useful to them. This is a gentle way to keep your brand in their minds and keep drip-feeding their lead magnets and products that they might like.

Lead magnet funnel essentials

Along with the 6-step lead magnet funnel tutorial, there are some lead magnet funnel essentials you need to bear in mind. While the lead magnet funnel tutorial focuses on nurturing new leads, there are other types of leads that are still hugely valuable for your business. 

Here are our tips.

They’re still a lead even if they’re old and cold

If you’ve never had a lead magnet funnel and you’ve never worked on lead nurturing before, it’s a good idea to revisit your old leads. If you’ve been running your business for a while, you probably have leads from right back when you first started.

This is your reminder to get in touch with them!

Utilize your lead magnet funnel and reach out to your old leads to show them you remember. In this case, your introduction will be a little different as they’ll already be acquainted with your brand. This means you’re safe to launch back into one of your ‘education’ emails with suggestions for lead magnets they might be interested in.

They’re still a lead even if they’re an existing customer

Where a lot of small and medium businesses go wrong is assuming that once a person has made a purchase, your relationship with them is finished. The fact is, when someone makes a purchase, there’s still a high chance that they’ll make another purchase further down the line. Don’t waste this opportunity!

One of the benefits of a lead magnet funnel is that it gives you a pathway for existing customers to continue interacting with your brand. Whenever they download a lead magnet, you’ll get an insight into what topics and potential products they’re interested in, regardless of what they purchased before and how long ago they made that purchase.

They’re still a lead even if they’re with a competitor

Though it can be tempting to write off any leads that you know are already using a competitor product or service, the lead magnet funnel makes it possible to understand and analyze what those individuals are looking for.

If they’re downloading your lead magnets, they have a need. The trick is to find out how you can help. Rather than putting down your competitors, this is about highlighting the unique benefits of your product or service. For this type of lead, it’s a good idea to update them about special offers, price changes and new features you’ve added. That might be enough to win them over.

Need help with your lead magnet funnel?

Creating a lead magnet funnel is an invaluable way to increase your conversion rates and make sure that every lead you get is given the attention it deserves.

Create and publish a lead magnet funnel in minutes with Thinkific Funnels. Leveraging our AI powered funnel, build and publish a landing page to offer a free digital download to your prospects in return for their email addresses. Click here to learn more about Thinkific Funnels and get started.

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For more help designing your lead magnet funnel, sign up for Neil Patel’s Free Webinar Sales Funnel course.

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This post was originally published in 2021, and was updated in September 2023 with additional value.