5 Steps To Create The Right Lead Magnet For Your Business

Your team should be drawing in more leads with the right lead magnet.

Leads are the key to growing your business.

They allow you to deliver marketing messages, own your point of contact, engage and re-engage your audience, and drive traffic to your website.

Without leads, you have nobody to sell to.

But you can’t just take any email address and call it a lead.

You need to earn leads who are qualified to buy your product and become your customer.

20 years ago you could build that kind of lead list with just a newsletter signup.

The amount of available, quality content was much smaller than it is now.

With over 4 million blog articles written every day, you need more than a newsletter that promises a blog roll to get people’s attention.

Today, we’re going to talk about the way lead magnets up the ante.

What Exactly Is A Lead Magnet?

Lead magnets are added-value exclusives you offer to your audience in exchange for their contact information.

Essentially, they’re payment for the email address you covet.

If you’re going to convince the right people to turn over access to their inbox, you need to give them a damn good reason.

You need to not only develop a great lead magnet, but you also have to do a helluva job at selling it.

If you don’t, they won’t see a point in giving you their email.

The more value you can offer and communicate, the faster and larger you’ll be able to build your lead list.

We're beyond the days of earning leads with a newsletter signup. Share on X

To be clear, an email newsletter is not a lead magnet anymore.

There’s no value there.

What might be a lead magnet is a free video course on basic car care (if you’re a mechanic).

Or, as an attorney, a downloadable will template might be valuable.

If you have a clear offer of value and an easy to use signup form that communicates what the subscriber will get, you’re good.

But let’s talk about what that looks like for your business.

The Right Lead Magnet Draws In The Right Audience

If you can decide what the right lead magnet is for your business, you’ll see a huge jump in leads.

Thankfully, the process to do so is straightforward.

Let’s walk through what you need to do to create the right lead magnet for your business.

Determine What Buyer Persona Your Lead Magnet Is For

Who is your lead magnet for?

That’s the first question you’ve got to answer if you want it to work.

Remember that each buyer persona you’ve put together has different needs from your company and gets the message a different way.

By taking the time to figure out which one your lead magnet will target, you’ll know what context to put the information into.

The next steps become much easier once you understand the way your lead magnet will attract your audience.

Sit down with your buyer personas and decide who this lead magnet will target.

Sometimes you’ll only be able to target one persona with your magnet, and other times you’ll target multiple.

That depends on whether you see an intersection with more than one persona.

Obviously, your lead magnet will go further if you can target more than one, but it will likely be more effective if you get specific.

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Figure Out What Your Lead Magnet Will Help You Get

If your lead magnet doesn’t help your audience achieve something, it’s not going to get you leads.

However, if it doesn’t help you achieve something, it’s not worth the time, money, and resources.

You need to know both before you invest any further time into creating it.

There are lots of possible things your lead magnet can do for you.

Depending on what phase of the buyer journey you intend to reach your audience at, your lead magnet can:

  • Build brand awareness and recognition.
  • Reinforce your reputation as an authority.
  • Drive new sales.
  • Encourage repeat customers.
  • Promote customer referrals.

That goal impacts the feel of your lead magnet.

It also guides the direction your lead magnet takes your users.

Remember, you’re trying to move them towards a goal.

If you don’t know what that goal is, you’re going to have a hard time getting there.

Once you’ve figured out what direction you’re going, you can decide the best way to get there.

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Select Your Lead Magnet Format

The format of your lead magnet goes right back to the buyer persona it’s targeting.

Because different people receive your message in different ways, you need to choose a format that’s best for your target audience.

You’ve also got to decide which format is going to lend itself better to the problem you’re going to help solve.

There are several different common formats to choose from, or you can be creative and think of something a little less common.

Let’s look at the more common ideas.


Checklists are straightforward, easily digestible bits of information.

Usually a step-by-step process, these help your audience solve a problem quickly.

They can be any length that makes sense.

The key is to make the easy to follow so your audience can get the most out of them without a problem.

Some great example ideas:

  • The Ultimate Instagram Checklist: 9 Steps For More Engaged Followers
  • The Podcast Checklist: 35 Steps To Building A Podcast Audience From Scratch
  • The Small Business Content Checklist: 15 Steps To Build Your Content Marketing Strategy

E-Books are some of the most in-depth lead magnets you can create.

They’re also short enough that they can be consumed in an afternoon.

Going beyond the simplicity of a checklist’s steps, an e-book explains a process to the reader in a simple way.

E-books typically range from 15 to 75 pages long.

They should also be produced in a format that works on any device.

PDF files are best.

Some great e-book ideas might be:

Cheat Sheets

Cheat sheets are the absolute most basic lead magnet.

Consumable in just a few minutes, your cheat sheet gets to the point immediately.

Your audience knows exactly what they’ll get from it and they know they can put that information to use immediately.

If you can help your audience solve a big, common problem, you’ve got yourself a great lead magnet.

Keep your cheat sheet’s length to 1 or 2 pages for simplicity.

Cheat sheet ideas that might work well include:

  • The Social Media Image Cheat Sheet: Optimal Image Sizes For Every Platform
  • The Email Marketing Cheat Sheet: 5 “Hacks” To Get Better Results
  • The Ultimate Abs Cheat Sheet: 7 Workouts For A Flatter Stomach
Swipe Files

Swipe files are like complete toolkits.

They include all the essential tools to complete a specific objective.

Consider which tools might help your audience with their biggest problems.

Then, list and/or include them in your download.

If you have tools that you’ve created and can provide to your clients, that’s even better.

The most important thing is providing the resources they need, saving them the time to find them.

Swipe file packages might include any of the previously mentioned lead magnets as well as other resources you can come up with.

Great ideas for toolkits include:

  • The 7 Apps I Use To Make Great Content
  • The 3 Tools Every Small Business Owner Needs
  • The 5 Financial Tools I Can’t Live Without
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Develop A Lead Magnet Based On The Product You’re Selling

Now that you know who you’re targeting, what you’re trying to get out of it, and have a format, it’s time to choose the content.

This step is important because it sets the tone for the direction your leads take.

You’ve got to fill your lead magnet with the right information.

Clearly, every marketing effort is supposed to eventually wind its way into a sale.

Building an email list through a lead magnet is no exception.

With that in mind, how is your lead magnet going to take your lead the direction of the product or service you want to sell?


Build your lead magnet as a derivative of your product.

For example, if your target product is golf lessons, you wouldn’t want to build a lead magnet that taught about baseball equipment, would you?

Chances are the people researching baseball equipment aren’t looking for golf lessons.

Something more effective might be a checklist that teaches readers how to improve their posture and stroke.

People downloading that are definitely looking to get better at their golf game.

In other words, your lead magnet should have information that relates to your product.

There are tons of ways you can decide exactly how to do that.

Just make sure it takes your lead the right direction.

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Feature Your Lead Magnet In The Right Calls-To-Action

Now that you have a lead magnet, you need people to find it.

Ideally, nobody will visit your website without seeing a lead magnet related to their interests.

Getting that right is going to take a bit of marketing automation.

However, it all starts with placement.

You need to be sure your lead magnet is presented to your site visitors prominently and powerfully.

There are several ways to make that happen.

And until you choose how you’re going to execute one or all of them, your lead magnet isn’t done.

Use A Pop-Up

Pop-ups are the most popular way to catch your audience’s attention and put a lead magnet in front of them.

You’ll find them on nearly every website that has something to sell.

Because they’re so common, people are getting used to seeing them.

They don’t get as irritated as they used to.

Especially because a good pop-up doesn’t interrupt the experience.

The best pop-ups are the kind that only shows up when you’re about to leave.

They’re called exit intent pop-ups, and they only show up when your mouse is headed off the page.

Build a great exit intent pop-up with a beautiful design, be sure it doesn’t come up more than once per day per visitor, and you’ll see a ton more subscribers.

Put It On The Side

Using the sidebar to display your lead magnet isn’t always the most effective.

But because it’s non-intrusive, it’s not an irritant.

Plus, it’s always visible to your site visitors.

That’s going to offer them more opportunities to sign up for your list.

Create an eye-catching design that demonstrates the value in a simple way.

Tell your audience exactly what they’ll get.

Make your form simple and only collect what makes sense for the lead magnet.

You won’t get as many signups per page visit, but you’ll make up for that with visibility.

Highlight It On The Home Page

If your primary sales process involves a lot of lead nurturing, your lead magnet should be your website’s primary call-to-action.

The top of the home page is the perfect spot for it.

That’s going to make it the first thing many of your site visitors see.

It will capture their attention immediately.

If they’re a fit, they’ll move quickly into the sales process.

The kind of lead magnets that are perfect for this placement are usually quotes, assessments, or samples.

Anything that logically requires a response.

When your clients expect your input to be a part of the process, they’re more likely to give you their contact information before you’ve handed them any kind of value.

Insert It In Your Content

You may have noticed on our blog articles that an email form sits in the middle of each.

Those are calls-to-action for our lead magnets.

They work well because we offer value before we ask for an email address.

We prove, through our content, that we know how to help you market your company.

When you couple an offer of additional value with someone’s existing interest in similar content, you can capture way more leads.

People are already invested in hearing what you have to say.

By offering the lead magnet in the middle or at the end of the content, you can demonstrate knowledge first.

That’s going to build trust in you before they give you their email address.

Which ultimately makes exchanging information much easier for them.

Set Up A Landing Page

Sometimes your audience needs to go directly to your lead magnet.

Maybe you’ve earned their traffic through a social media channel or a paid ad.

Maybe it was an offer from your podcast or YouTube channel.

Regardless, sending them to your website to find your lead magnet among a bunch of other information they didn’t ask for is a bad idea.

Instead, give them just two options: download your lead magnet or leave your site.

Reducing their options improves the odds of signup.

It also brings the value of your lead magnet into direct focus.

The biggest benefit is that a landing page allows you to go into so much more detail without being overwhelming due to the available space.

Combine complete information with a compelling design and you’re sure to see more sign-ups than ever.

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What You Should Know About A Great Lead Magnet

By now you ought to understand what a great lead magnet can get you and how to make one.

You also should know how to make sure it gets seen and downloaded.

If you apply that knowledge, you’re going to see rapid growth in leads and sales.

Most importantly, you’ll start to earn more qualified leads than ever before.

And that’s what makes the time and effort it takes to build a lead magnet worth spending.

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5 Steps To Create The Right Lead Magnet For Your Business

by Michael McNew Read in 10 min