If your inbox is bursting at the seams, you might sympathize with your audience – who wants to hand over their email address and get yet more emails?
This is a mindset shared by a growing number of people and it’s one of the main challenges facing marketers today.
An email list is one of the most valuable and long-lasting assets a business can have but to capture the email addresses of potential customers, you have to give them something in return.
Here we’ll take a look at one way to do just that – using high-quality lead magnets.
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What is a lead magnet?
A lead magnet is something that you give to someone in exchange for their contact details, usually an email address.
The idea behind a lead magnet is to give your target audience a valuable resource that helps them solve a problem, and that they will be willing to give their email for.
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What makes a good lead magnet?
Not all lead magnets are created equal. While it can be tempting to turn any old blog post into a PDF and use it as a lead magnet, you need to be a little bit smarter than that.
Here are the ingredients for a good lead magnet:
It provides a solution to a problem
To entice your target audience to download your lead magnet, you need to offer them a solution to a problem they are wrestling with. That might be as simple as not knowing what to have for dinner or as complex as wanting to make a major career change.
Identify your target audience’s pain points and create lead magnets that solve them. On your lead magnet landing page, make sure you highlight those pain points and direct your audience towards your lead magnet as a solution.
It relates to a specific topic
If you’re creating a lead magnet, try to make it as specific as possible. Ideally, you want to have a separate lead magnet for every piece of content you produce. This allows you to tailor your offering to the needs of different audiences who visit your site.
If you can create multiple, targeted lead magnets, you can drive more traffic to your website and capture leads. Make sure your content is always working hard for you!
It is easy to access
If you’ve ever gone to download a resource and had to wait for it, you’ll know why your lead magnets need to be accessible. Your audience doesn’t want to be left tapping their fingers. Make sure your lead magnet is ready to download and delivers exactly what you promise.
That also means getting straight to the point with any lead magnet. Don’t waste your audience’s time on pages and pages of lengthy introductions. Your lead magnet needs to capture your audience’s interest as soon as they open it so cut to the chase.
It shows off your expertise
Lead magnets are also brilliant tools for establishing your expertise in your field or industry. With the right lead magnets, you can build trust and confidence with your audience and prove that you are the right business for the job.
One of the things that makes lead magnets so valuable is their ability to establish you as a thought leader in your industry. If you create the right resources, you can quickly make a name for yourself in your field.
It adds real value
Ultimately, your lead magnets are only going to work if they provide your audience with something of real value. Any lead magnet needs to be high in perceived value and actual value. That means you need to provide a genuinely useful resource that any potential customers will love you for.
Now you know what makes a good lead magnet, it’s time to check out some lead magnet ideas and examples.
30 lead magnet ideas + examples
Keen to create lead magnets for your business? Here are 30 lead magnet ideas plus examples.
If you want to help your target audience solve a problem, why not try making a cheat sheet lead magnet? If you’re looking for easy lead magnet ideas, this is a good place to start. Cheat sheets give your audience a tool that they can use – potentially every day – and it’s the best way to keep your brand in the front of their minds.
The Corporate Finance Institute has created an excel cheat sheet to accompany their blog posts on the topic. Why not try using this lead magnet idea for your business?
Notice that the CFI also links to their free crash course too! Take a look at how the CFI uses Thinkific Plus to train financial analysts online.
Checklists are a super useful lead magnet idea. This resource is ideal for small businesses and entrepreneurs as it’s easy to create and doesn’t require a lot of resources. Simply condense your knowledge on one topic into a list of bullet points and make it into a PDF. Done.
Use checklists to accompany video tutorials, how-to blog posts, recipes and more. There really are endless possibilities with this lead magnet idea!
Another great lead magnet idea is to turn your expertise into an ebook. You can find countless examples of this lead magnet idea online. It’s a really popular choice for content creators. Why? Because it’s endlessly adaptable depending on your niche.
If you can think of a topic, you can probably write an ebook on it. Essentially an ebook is just a long blog post that you format to look good, ideally including some interesting design elements like boxes, quotes and diagrams.
However, be aware that ebooks don’t appeal to everyone. They tend to be information heavy and time-consuming to get through so if you’re creating an ebook, make sure it’s on a topic that your target audience are invested in.
Here’s an example of an ebook from successful Thinkific course creator James Testani, maker of the Good Guitarist. This ebook is focused on strumming and rhythm guitar – something that beginner guitarists will be eager to learn.
Much like an ebook, audiobooks make effective lead magnets. The only difference is that your audience gets an audio clip to download rather than a book. This can be an interesting lead magnet that offers your audience something a little bit different to your competitors. If you’re used to talking and doing voice-overs for your online course business, you should find it easy to produce audiobooks as lead magnets.
If you’re looking for a way to build a closer connection with your audience and introduce them to your personal brand, try making a podcast. Podcasts make effective lead magnets as they’re adaptable and perfect for an on-the-go audience.
By speaking on a podcast, you can establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry while giving your business a more relatable, friendlier face. You can also provide a PDF transcript of your podcast as an extra lead magnet that listeners can download. Remember to get other experts and like-minded businesses on board as podcast guests to expand the audience for your podcast.
Depending on your niche, a quiz can be a fun lead magnet idea. Quizzes help to gamify the learning experience and can be adapted to a whole range of different topics.
To get started with creating a quiz lead magnet, brainstorm a list of possible themes and then figure out which ones will be most engaging for your target audience. You can use a tool like Typeform to create your quiz easily and hey presto you’ve got a lead magnet!
Neil Patel uses a quiz as an effective lead magnet on his website to provide users with an insight into how to improve their SEO strategy. Here’s this lead magnet idea in action:
Survey or Poll
Try asking your audience for their opinions on a topic using a survey or poll. Surveys and polls can easily be transformed into lead magnets simply by asking users to submit their email address to participate or access the results.
Like a quiz, surveys and polls are useful lead magnets because they’re quick to make and highly adaptable depending on your industry. You can also use them to give customers an insight into popular opinions and current trends related to your niche.
One of the most common and popular lead magnet ideas is the classic downloadable template. Templates allow your audience to put what they’ve learnt into practice by providing a framework for them to create their own resources. Don’t underestimate the power of a template to engage your audience and help them progress in their learning journey.
Download this Audience Research template from Neil Patel’s Free Webinar course to help you find your target audience for your lead magnets, marketing and more!
(… See what we did there?)
A spreadsheet can be a quick and easy way to add value for your audience. Though a spreadsheet might seem like a simple lead magnet idea, many people lack the knowledge or time to create a spreadsheet for themselves. Don’t underestimate how useful this resource can be!
A spreadsheet is something that your target audience will potentially use for years to come so it’s also a great way to keep your brand in their minds long-term – and they’ll thank you for making their lives easier.
When you read the word script, you might think about movies or the theatre but scripts can be effective lead magnets for a whole range of different businesses. If your target audience has any scenarios where they need to talk – think speeches, presentations, videos, calls and more – a script can be a hugely valuable resource.
If you want, you can also use this lead magnet idea like a template too. Create a basic script and then offer your audience ways to customize it. With the right script, you can create a resource that your customers will use every day.
A workbook lead magnet is a downloadable resource that your audience can use to help them solve a problem they’re facing. It usually includes steps for people to work through along with hints, tips and extra information. If you just have a 1-page workbook then that’s usually called a worksheet. Use worksheets and workbooks to help reinforce students’ learning and set homework.
If you’ve got a lot of worksheet or workbook lead magnets, you can also consider creating a resource library. This lead magnet idea is a way to extend the value of your lead magnets by giving your audience access to all of them at once.
Speaking of workbooks! Download the free Business Brand Workbook to evaluate where your business is at now and create your customer avatar
Unleash your creative streak with downloadable desktop wallpaper! This lead magnet is ideal for artists, photographers and designers. If you’ve got a creative business where you’re already producing plenty of high-quality visual content, you can turn it into a lead magnet easily.
This is a fun way to give your followers added value while also helping to keep your brand at the front of their minds – every time they open up their laptop they’ll think of you!
Thinkific course creator Kathleen Rietz offers subscribers free smartphone wallpaper to accompany her Romantic Roses painting course:
If you’re looking for fun lead magnet ideas, a downloadable calendar is a creative way to get customers interested in your brand. Create a calendar to help your audience remember important dates, follow a program or learn something new. The sky’s the limit with this lead magnet idea!
Later made this handy downloadable social media calendar to help creators and marketers with scheduling themed content. Here’s their download page:
If you’re looking to create a community around your brand, a free membership site can be a really valuable lead magnet. Membership sites are a great way to maintain contact with your customers – even after they’ve finished your course – giving you an opportunity to update them on new products, publicize offers and share resources.
Membership options also allow your customers and prospects to interact with one-another. This creates the impression of an exclusive, inviting club that can be a major boost for your brand image. If you offer free sign-ups to your membership site, you can also capture leads for potential customers before they make a purchase.
Similar to a membership site, using gated content on your website can also work as an effective lead magnet. Gated content is simple – you hide some of your website content behind a pop up that requires an email address to enter. This creates an air of exclusivity and adds value to your site content.
Many news publications are now using gated content as a lead magnet to monetize their content. Here’s an example from The New York Times:
The New York Times is confident in the quality of their content and their audience are more than willing to sign up with their email address to access more articles.
Everybody loves a challenge right? If you want to take your lead magnet game to the next level, try setting up a challenge to help your audience learn something new, develop better habits and gain a new achievement.
Challenges are really effective lead magnets because they gamify the learning process. Rather than making your way through a course or module, you’re given a challenge to complete instead.
For a great example of this lead magnet idea played out in real life, take a look at Morning Brew’s Money Scoop challenges for Budgeting and Investing:
Morning Brew also recommends enlisting an ‘accountability pal’ to help you with completing the challenge, effectively doubling their lead magnet potential by encouraging more referrals.
A really effective lead magnet idea is a case study for your business. Case studies give potential customers an insight into how your brand can help them while also working as a brilliant lead magnet.
If you want to try producing a case study lead magnet, here are some tips:
- Tell a story with characters and conflict
- Be as specific as possible
- Include quotes from your customer
- Give it a good ending
Thinkific uses case studies a lot to share the amazing success stories of our course creators. Take a look at this example of how Later used Thinkific Plus to increase their customer retention:
One of the most powerful lead magnet ideas is video content. Videos are quick to consume and can capture your audience’s imagination instantly. On social media, video content gets more engagement than other posts so they’re easy to promote too. Simply upload snippets of your video training to your social accounts and let the leads roll in.
The best video training lead magnets turn a hard-to-grasp concept into a straightforward and entertaining clip. If you can include interactive elements, graphics and other interesting features, you can create a lead magnet that introduces potential customers to the best parts of your brand and stays with them long after they’ve finished watching.
If you’re looking for lead magnet ideas that have a high perceived value for your target audience, webinars are a great route to take. Create a dedicated landing page, add a signup form and give users access to your free webinar as a lead magnet.
If you’re a course creator, webinars, particularly evergreen webinars, are a useful way to convince people to sign up for a full paid course too. They give them a taste of your teaching style and what they could gain from becoming a student.
Here’s an example for Thinkific course creator John Lee Dumas for his Podcast Masterclass:
Read more about John Lee Dumas’ six-figure course business here.
If you’re a course creator, consider producing a mini email course as a lead magnet for your brand. An email course gives you the chance to capture the email addresses of potential leads, while giving them a taste of how your paid courses will be.
Thanks to automation tools, you can deliver your email course easily and with very little input from you. What’s more, you can also convince people to forward your email course to their contacts and extend your reach. Include sharing links to make this step as easy as possible.
Here’s an example of a Mini Course that Thinkific created for aspiring course creators:
Backed up by research and citations, a whitepaper is the right lead magnet idea if you have a lot of information to share with your audience. The best white papers are very specific and involve a deep-dive into a topic that your audience cares about.
While whitepapers tend to be more academic than blogs and guides, that doesn’t mean they have to be dry. Make your whitepaper engaging and visually interesting to make the most of this lead magnet.
If you’ve got expertise in your industry and the data to back it up, why not try writing a state-of-the-industry report? You can use research, expert interviews and surveys to compile your report. Take a look at your industry now and make predictions for the future.
Turning industry data into a downloadable lead magnet is a simple way to establish your authority in your field and capture email addresses in return. State-of-the-industry reports and predictions can also help to build confidence in your brand. With this lead magnet idea, you can position your brand as a safe pair of hands to help guide potential customers through any upcoming shifts and transitions in your industry.
Michael Page uses state-of-the-industry reports and predictions as effective lead magnets to provide information to their target audience. Here’s an example from 2021:
When you go to the trouble of writing a book, you want people to read it right? Make the most of your high quality content by offering a sample chapter as a lead magnet. This acts as a teaser to tempt potential customers into making a purchase. Anyone can input their email address and get a sneak peek inside your book.
Using a sample chapter as a lead magnet can also give you a clearer picture of who to target with future promotional content and topics related to your book.
If you’ve got a mobile app offering, this is a really straightforward lead magnet idea to use. Before users can access your app contents, ask them to sign up with an email address and create an account.
As far as lead magnet ideas go, this is a good option as users are already accustomed to handing over their email address whenever they start using an app. Other brands have already laid the groundwork for you so for your target audience, inputting their email address will be a no brainer.
If you have a product release on the horizon, use this lead magnet idea – a waiting list! Like the line outside your favorite bar, club or coffee shop, a waiting list gives people the impression that your product or service is in high demand. It’s also a brilliant way to build your email list while giving people access to something they want.
The waiting list idea is especially effective if you have limited time offers or limited release products. Your waiting list lead magnet shows people that you care about customer loyalty and you’re invested in helping them access your product or services.
If you have a smaller audience, you might like to try using a free consultation as a lead magnet idea. This option isn’t suitable for solo entrepreneurs with a big following but if you have the time, a free consultation can be a really valuable lead magnet.
Free consultations give you the chance to show off your expertise and give your brand a friendly face. If you’re a course creator, free consultations are a great way to establish an immediate bond with your course community and foster more brand loyalty. You can also utilize a spin selling script [LINK] to convert prospects into customers.
Thinkific course creator MyTutor uses a free tutor-matching service that helps potential customers find the right tutor for their needs:
They also include a short survey to learn more about their customers’ goals and kick-start their sales funnel.
Coupons and giveaways
Lead magnet ideas can also include giving potential customers an incentive to buy your product. Lead magnets like coupons work well for convincing people to make a purchase. They’re effective because prospects can associate their sign up with an actual monetary value. They get X amount in return for their email address.
Coupons and giveaways are really common for retailers but course creators can also use them. Thinkific course creator Miss Excel uses discount codes to mark milestones for her business. This helps followers to feel part of her community while encouraging them to make a future purchase.
Here’s an example of a promotion from her Instagram:
Like coupons, discounts are also great lead magnets for encouraging potential customers to go ahead and make a purchase. They’re usually used as a ‘bottom of the funnel’ lead magnet ideas after you’ve educated prospective customers on your brand and your product range.
By this point, customers have a clear understanding of what you do and how you can help them, they just need to take the final step. A discount code is a nice way to entice them to do just that. It doesn’t need to be a huge amount, as little as 5-10% will do.
If you have a subscription-based product, a free trial is a useful lead magnet idea to have up your sleeve. Free trials give your audience access to your product for a limited time only so they can have a look at what it would be like to be a customer.
A free trial doesn’t have to include all of the features of your full product – just enough to get your audience hooked. A free trial can also be an opportunity to gather feedback from your target audience. If they don’t convert their trial into a paid subscription, give them the option to complete a survey to tell you why.
You know when you’re shopping for perfume and the sales assistant slips a couple of samples into your bag? You can use the same tactic as a lead magnet on your website. A product sample or product demo is an inside look at one of your products. Try using product samples for video and audio content by offering a clip as your lead magnet.
Workable uses a product demo option to entice prospective customers. Their sign-up form also gives the option to receive more resources and invites to events via email, leaving the door open for future lead magnets. Here’s their landing page:
Put these lead magnet ideas into practice…
With so many lead magnet ideas out there, all that’s left to do is choose the ones that are right for your target audience and your content. From video training to free trials to webinars, you can get really creative with lead magnet ideas for your brand.
To learn more about lead magnets and email list building, sign up for Neil Patel’s free Webinar Sales Funnel course.