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What is a Lead Magnet, and How Can it Make Your Business More Profitable?

A lead magnet is a valuable piece of content you give away for free but requires a visitor to opt-in with their email to access. Their information is helpful, and so the lead magnet must exceed the value they are giving you. Once they opt-in to receive the content then, they enter into your sales funnel. Some marketing techniques are old and played out. But creating helpful, educational, or entertaining content will never get old. A lead magnet is an example of a timeless marketing strategy that works, with half of marketers saying lead magnets help gather information from potential clients

Wondering how you can use lead magnets to grow your business? Let’s look at how this marketing strategy can help you take your business to the next level.

What is a Lead Magnet?

You’ll find various answers if you type “What is a lead magnet” into Google. The discrepancy is because a lead magnet can take many forms. Simplified, lead magnets are incentives that inspire customers to engage with your brand, potentially becoming paying customers. 

At the core, lead magnets need to provide real value through helpful information.

A real-life example would be a restaurant offering a coupon for free breadsticks. It would generate interest and get more customers in the door. While they may lose money on the breadsticks, they’ll make up for it with increased sales. This example is why lead magnets are sometimes called “loss leaders.”

Using the same example, if someone was interested in the coupon enough to offer their email (or cell number for a text), they are now in your email database. If you offer specials in the future or other discounts, you can communicate with them so they are reminded to come back to your restaurant.

Lead magnet content includes:

  • E-books
  • Checklists
  • Infographics
  • Customer success stories
  • Ultimate guides
  • Workbooks or worksheets
  • Gated video content
  • Webinars
  • Cheatsheets
  • White papers
  • Case studies

What is a Loss Leader?

A loss leader means you are selling or in this case giving something away for free and losing profit. When looked at through this lens lead magnets might seem risky. This strategy works, but you sometimes have to take a loss before you start profiting. While this may be true offline, things are a little different online. Once you create a lead magnet such as an e-book, checklist, or video series, you can give it away as many times as you want without any additional expenses. The internet is the perfect platform for using lead magnets to gain more visitors and potential clients.

Why Do Lead Magnets Work So Well? 

Simple. It’s psychology. People want something for nothing. Most people jump at the chance to get a freebie – no matter what. You can leverage this hard-wired human urge to get people to submit their email addresses in exchange for the freebie, allowing you to collect information that allows you to continue the valuable relationship.

When someone trusts you enough to give you their email, ensure you earn and respect it. Continue providing valuable and helpful information. They will keep coming back to you as their source of truth.

Now that you understand what a lead magnet is, let’s review how to use them. There are various types of lead magnets, but their role in your marketing strategy is generally the same. Once you’ve mastered how to utilize lead magnets, your business will almost always see a dramatic increase in revenue.

What Role Does a Lead Magnet Play in Marketing Strategy?

Marketing is essentially applied psychology. People are hard-wired to behave in certain ways. Once you understand how this works, you can create surefire marketing strategies. That said, lead magnets are typically a part of a much larger marketing strategy, eventually resulting in a purchase decision.

Increase Sales and Drive Traffic 

Sales on the “back end” occur after your business initially interacts with a customer. In real life, this tends to be after a customer makes an actual purchase and the business collects their contact information. Online it’s a little different. The lead magnet serves as the initial interaction, and email marketing becomes the back end.

The most popular way of doing this is to build a landing page. As traffic comes along, you offer a lead magnet in exchange for an email address. Once you have a person’s email address, you can pitch offers to them as often as you want. It’s a tried-and-true method of generating sales for many online businesses. Since these people already expressed interest in your services or products, re-engaging them through email marketing reminds them to come back.

Remember, they trusted you with their email, so don’t abuse that trust by spamming them. Continue to provide helpful information and they will continue engaging with your communications. 

Ultimately a lead magnet’s role in marketing strategy is exactly what its name implies: a magnet that draws in leads. You want to ensure that your lead magnet is attracting the right demographic. For example, if your business is all about selling dog products, you’d create a lead magnet that has to do specifically with dogs, not pets in general. 

As long as your lead magnet targets your demographic, you should have no problems using it to bring hot leads into your sales funnel.

Why Should You Use a Lead Magnet on Your Website?

Whether you’re a freelancer performing a service, a brick-and-mortar business, or in the business of selling products online, you want to have a lead magnet on your website. Why? The answer is simple. If you don’t have a lead magnet on your website, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.

Think about it this way. If you have a business website set up and ready to make sales, there will always be more visitors who leave the site rather than take action. Those potential leads will be gone for good. But, if you have a lead magnet, a certain percentage of those who intend to leave will get your lead magnet first, allowing you to collect their contact info and market to them again.

Plus, there is nothing wrong with giving away information that will help someone else, even if they never become a customer. 

A lead magnet allows you to capture a larger percentage of the traffic to your website and continue to communicate with them. And let’s face it, monetizing your traffic is the entire point of having a business website in the first place. The more leads you get, the more money you make. It’s as simple as that.

How Do You Get a Lead Magnet?

Creating a lead magnet depends on the type of content you want to share. Sometimes, it can be as easy as writing a short guide that shows readers how to do something relevant to their interests and your business. Chopping up a video course or interview you’ve created is an alternative option.

Before creating a lead magnet from scratch, think about whether you have something you can repurpose. Getting creative with this can help you save time and money that you would spend creating a lead magnet from scratch. 

Creating a Lead Magnet

The easiest way to create a lead magnet is to get someone else to do it for you. Content Journey offers lead magnets with all of our content plans. We know how vital lead magnets are to growing your business. Combined with our strategic content planning and research, our lead magnets consistently get great results for our clients.

Alternately, you could make the lead magnet yourself. Writing a short e-book or report is straightforward. If you’re familiar with the topic you’re writing about and have decent writing skills, that’s all you need to get started. You could record a video series or create a presentation if you’re uncomfortable writing.

Whatever you decide to do, your lead magnet must offer your audience value. The more perceived value your lead magnet has, the more people will take the time to sign up to get it. I used to worry about offering information that was too helpful. I thought that if I told someone else how to do X, they wouldn’t hire me. That type of thinking was wrong, and I am glad I learned my lesson. By teaching and showcasing my expertise, I am showing my audience they can trust me to build it for them. AND if some choose to do it on their own, I hope my guidance helps them be successful.

And remember, stand out from the crowd by offering your potential leads something that will truly make a difference in their lives. Don’t hold back. Give them the GOLD.

By teaching and showcasing my expertise, I’m showing my audience they can trust me to build it for them.

Lead Magnet Examples

Now that you have a good idea of what a lead magnet is, how to make one, and how they can make your business more profitable, let’s look at some examples. Remember that you can always put your own unique twist on these examples. You could even combine different types into one unique offering. But a lead magnet should never overshadow what you’re selling, however. Let’s take a look at some lead magnet examples.


The most common type of lead magnet online is an e-book. An e-book is simply a short publication for digital download. This option is super easy to create and distribute. They’re also a great choice because an e-book presents information in an easy-to-consume manner for your audience. It’s why e-books such as guides and tutorials are so popular.

It’s essential to ensure your e-book looks professional. Formatting, grammar, and spelling are crucial to creating a polished look. If your e-book looks unfinished, it will reflect poorly on your business, and you’ll lose credibility.

E-books have an important strength – the book itself is a marketing device. By putting your contact info in the header or footer if you’re a service-based business, and/or having a section at the end of the book that makes a pitch and prompts the reader to take action. If you’re selling physical products, you can also have an ad at the end of the book. E-books are extremely versatile, so there are many ways to use them to make sales.


A checklist is even more simplistic than an e-book. This lead magnet is a way to help leads get organized or complete a series of steps to perform a task. While this may seem low effort, the key here is to make the checklist genuinely valuable to your audience.

If your business is about teaching people how to shoot videos, creating a checklist that walks them through the essentials of creating a video series is an option. It would be useful to readers even though the information would be minimal.

Once again, formatting is vital when creating a checklist. Offering aesthetically pleasing content is crucial. By ensuring that the lead magnet is useful, on brand, and beautiful, your business ensures that clients are impressed by your services.


Infographics are one of the easiest lead magnets to create. The downside is that presenting them in a way that showcases their value can be challenging. You’ll have to get creative. Successful infographic lead magnets contain information that is vital to your readers. 

In the case of infographics, I still consider them a “lead magnet,” but I don’t often gatekeep them with email entry to download. Instead, I ensure they’re set up to properly index in Google and be easily understood and shareable. This type of lead magnet really ends up being a great traffic generator that can go out to live a life of its own. 

Case Studies

Everyone loves a success story! Case studies let you tell a fact-based story about your products or services and how they worked for a specific client. You can add data and quotes to the case study to make it sing. A well-written case study can minimize the risk of trying your product or service.

I love a good case study for two reasons. One, we’re able to showcase our talent and treasure as well as brag on our clients. Case studies are the best way to brag while also offering advice for other people to replicate. 

White Papers or Original Research Studies

White papers are more time-consuming than other lead magnets, but they get tons of attention. If you can perform and release original research, others will likely use, quote, and link to it. It also helps establish you as an industry expert.

Can’t do original research? Consider gathering secondary data on a topic in your industry, quoting it, and taking a stance while making recommendations for what’s next. Releasing a white paper like this puts your thought leadership on display. 

How to Present Your Lead Magnet

How you choose to present your lead magnet on your website matters. There are different options, including a: 

  • Sign-up form in the sidebar 
  • Pop up
  • Dedicated site page 
  • Content upgrade in a post

These are excellent strategies to offer your lead magnet to site visitors. Deciding which way to offer your lead magnet is a strategic decision. You need to know how your customers consume your content and which is most likely to get their attention.

There are several WordPress tools for implementing lead magnets. Two we use at Content Journey are Popup Ally and OptinMonster. We might use either or both on your site, depending on the lead magnet goals. We aim for you to get the most out of your lead magnet, so if these tools don’t work for you, we’ll find the right solution for your site. Many email service providers also offer easy-to-use opt-in tools. Active Campaign and Convert Kit are good examples. 

Following Up a Successful Lead Magnet

Getting leads with a targeted lead magnet is the first step. What you do after you get those leads is just as important. Instead of bombarding your email list with endless offers, a better strategy is to take your subscribers on a content journey. It will increase their loyalty to your brand and make them more likely to pull out their wallets.

We specialize in helping people like you grow your business through organic traffic conversions. 

We do this by providing ultra-targeted lead magnets to build your mailing list, and creating well-researched and engaging content that keeps your subscribers interested and ready to do business. If you need a helping hand with content marketing, check out our plans and book a call

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