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Lead Magnets: Why You Need Them and How to Use Them In 2021



  1. What are lead magnets?
  2. Benefits of using them
  3. Types of lead magnet
  4. Lead magnets that convert
  5. Steps to create a lead magnet that converts
  6. How to get people to opt-in
  7. Do’s and Don’ts

Lead magnets. What are they and how do you use them?

We mention lead magnets frequently in our posts although you might be more familiar with us using the term “freebie”. That’s basically what a lead magnet is, a freebie you offer as an incentive in exchange for information from your website visitors. 

You can use any type of content as a lead magnet including eBooks, video tutorials or downloadable toolkits. In principle, you can use any type of content your customer may find useful or helpful as a lead generation tool. 
If you want to nurture more qualified leads, build a valuable email list or grow your revenue, you should definitely consider using a lead magnet. As an added bonus, they are usually not too difficult to set up, especially if you already have some good content ready to go.
A lead magnet can be seasonal, time-sensitive or evergreen like the one above. Evergreen means you can use it at any time of the year and there are no time restrictions on it. With more and more people unwilling to part with their email addresses, it makes the most sense to use evergreen lead magnets. 
This lead magnet works because it creates a lead from potential customers’ needs. By this we mean it identifies a problem and offers a free way of fixing the problem. Why this lead magnet works:
  • It attracts people who are already searching for ways to improve their website. It caters to the need to improve website performance.
  • The lead magnet gives them a way to fix this by offering the person who fills in their information free advice to fix the problem. A quick win.
  • The report is not automated, it is written by an expert, not a machine. This communicates value by showing that an expert is willing to offer up their time for free to help the potential customer.
  • The report allows the expert to communicate their knowledge and experience through the report
  • The report presents an opportunity for the expert to offer their services to implement the recommendations

Why Do You Need to Be Using Lead Magnets?

The online world is busy which makes it difficult to stand out above your competitors. To be noticed, you need to be going above and beyond just best practices, especially if there is a lot of competition in your industry. Lead magnets can help you do that. 

Lead Magnets Build Trust and Authority

Potential customers have one key question, “how can this benefit me?”. But how do you answer this question? And how do you tackle those who haven’t yet built up enough trust with you to spend money with your business?

The answer: lead magnets.

Lead magnets show your potential customers that you’re not just trying to do a hard sell. It communicates that you’re interested in giving them value, and not just taking their money. It’s a great way for you to shine a light on your expertise, prove that you know what you’re doing and that you really know how to help them. It also communicates that you are an authority figure in your industry.

As well as the obvious benefit of generating leads, another great benefit to lead magnets is that they allow you to send email comms to opt-ins.

It may take some leg work to begin with but it’s worth it for the long-term advantages.

So, what makes a good lead magnet? To understand this, we first need to understand the common types of lead magnets. Skip this section if you’re familiar with them.

Common Types Of Lead Magnet

1. Books and eBooks

Books and eBooks are free content upgrades that can and do work. But they need to be rich with original content if they’re going to work long-term. With so many eBooks available online, you need to make sure yours is the best it can be. Your aim should be to produce an eBook of so much value that the consumer feels like they’re stealing. A way to add additional value is to offer a physical book which can then be ordered from your website.

2. PDF Resources

PDF resources are another great form of a free content upgrade. They are a nice way of complimenting a blog post or case study and adding more value to it. They include printable checklists, instructions, guides, and more.

These are some ways you can utilise PDF resources:

a. Cheat Sheets

Use cheat sheets to get straight to the point. You’ll recognise them as checklists or blueprints.

b. Guides or Reports

These are popular types of lead magnet. Industry reports tend to be a popular way to get people to opt-in and position yourself as an industry leader.

c. Toolkit or Resource Lists

This type of PDF resource attracts users by being simple, straightforward and often reusable. For example, an estate agent may release a checklist for people who are moving house which covers the steps they need to take for a stress-free move.

d. Case Studies

As well as using your case studies to show off your work, you can also use them as lead magnets. People want to see customer success stories more than ever. Producing more in-depth case studies with catchy headings can help you collect warmer leads for example:

  • How X Tripled Its Sales In Just 1 month
  • This Health Club Member Lost X Weight With This Simple Habit

If a user enters their details to view or download a case study, more often than not, they are considering purchasing from your company.

e. Video or Email

You can use free training in the form of an email series or demo videos to show how something works. They entice users to sign up for something like a free trial and to try the product in real life. Although video courses and demonstrations can perform well, they can use up a lot of time and resources to turn it profitable.

3. Evergreen Lead Magnets

The most versatile lead magnet is an evergreen lead magnet. They can come in any of the above formats and rarely go out of date. The difference is they take less time to set up, less time to upkeep and offer more value. Examples of these include free trials, bespoke calculators, templates, free shipping, discounts, and swipe files. Swipe files are digital folders where you keep a collection of useful media. For example, a collection of work out videos, a sample of email subject lines, a sample of blog page templates, a template of a teaching plan. They’re valuable because they usually inspire the consumer or help them to achieve something.

Lead Magnets That Convert

The most logical option is to start with an evergreen lead magnet. With many sites using content upgrades (PDFs, eBooks & video demos), the value of them began to diminish. Consumers have started to become blind to opt-ins.

Not only do evergreen lead magnets offer more value, use up less time and less resources than content upgrades, but they also have other benefits.

1. They Offer Immediate Value

A lot of content upgrades repeat what’s included in the blog post with hardly any new information. Others can be too time-consuming. With an evergreen lead magnet, your users get instant gratification.
For example
Imagine you run a marketing agency and you decide to use swipe files as a lead magnet. You create a collection of ‘10 Facebook Ad Templates To Improve Click-Through Rate’ and ‘50 Email Subject Lines To Improve Open Rates’. Once the user opts-in, they are redirected to a swipe file which can quickly be applied to their marketing strategy.
Another example of this is a user subscribing to a newsletter for instant access to a calculator that tells them what their advertising ROI is. They receive instant insight into their marketing performance.

2. They Invite Repeated Usage

By offering an evergreen lead magnet you invite consumers to return to your brand, again and again. It’s a great way of getting potential customers accustomed to your brand and marketing.
Examples of evergreen lead magnets include swipe files, a website template library, free delivery for life & free subscriptions.
They even work even if you are an eCommerce business. We’ve mentioned offering free delivery for life which is a good one for attracting repeat customers, but you could also offer a free piece of content. This works well if its designed to solve a pain point.
For example
Imagine you have an online DIY store with hundreds of products. You don’t need to design a lead magnet for each one, but you could offer a free guide (either written or video) showing the best way to strip wallpaper. You could then have it on each relevant parent page.

3. They Stay Evergreen

With evergreen lead magnets, the trick is to regularly return to it and make sure it’s still as relevant. Doing this ensures it offers as much value as it did when it was first created. A strong evergreen lead magnet should only need tweaks here not a complete revamp every couple of months.

Steps To Create An Evergreen Lead Magnet

Step 1 – Identify Customer Pain Points

What are the common obstacles your target customers experience? Your lead magnet should help overcome these. Make it about what they want to know rather than what you want to say. Start by addressing something they care about or something they need help with.
For example
A personal trainer might know that a lot of people struggle with working out at home and staying on track with their diets. Their lead magnet might offer bodyweight workouts that they can do at home with no equipment. Another idea could be to produce a free 1-week meal plan tailored to individual goals.

Step 2 – Identify Your Customer ‘Wins’

Your lead magnets must provide instant gratification rather than solve long-term problems.
For example
For a digital agency, offering a free website review with tailored recommendations is more beneficial than offering a free content strategy guide.
Give your potential customers a quick and simple win that shows your expertise and they can take something from it.

Step 3 – Decide What You Want Them To Do Next

Decide what you want to happen once a potential customer finishes using your freebie.
Besides adding them to your email list or using the data to improve your targeting, what is your goal? Do you want them to book a free consultation? Or use a discount code to purchase something?
Whatever you decide, your lead magnet should prompt action.
This will help nurture your leads and encourage people to do business with you.
Let’s stick with the digital agency example. Once the client has finished reading their tailored report, the relationship can be nourished. This can be done by offering them a free consultation to implement the recommendations in the report.
The lead magnet is not the endgame, it’s the start of moving customer relationships forward.

What Should Your Lead Magnet’s Landing Page Look Like?

Keep it simple.

Tell them what they will receive, how they will benefit from it, and how to get it.
Using our digital agency example, the lead magnet landing page would mention these things:
  • What: Get tailored website recommendations from an expert
  • Benefit: Improve your website’s performance with actionable insights
  • How to get it: Just provide your email address and website URL and we’ll send your tailored review to your inbox
Keep it straightforward and remove any unnecessary distractions. Make it as easy as possible for a user to complete the required action.

How To Get People To Sign Up

You can use a range of mediums to deliver your lead magnet to your target audience. These include social media, sponsored ads, landing pages, chatbots, and even blog posts. Pop-ups are still commonly used on websites to deliver lead magnets, but be careful with this one. Although they can be effective when used correctly, they can be intrusive. You don’t want people to leave your website without taking action.
Here are a few suggestions to help you drive sign-ups to your lead magnets.

Website Pop-Ups

Capture your website visitors’ intrigue with a pop-up. You can use these in two ways: have it pop up as soon as they enter the site or appear more discreetly after a set amount of time i.e. 30 seconds. To prevent it from becoming annoying, make sure it is set to remain closed from the moment someone minimises it until they are exiting your website.

Website Banners

If website pop-ups aren’t for you, consider a website banner to direct potential customers to your lead magnet.
Using the top of your website is a great way to drive traffic without imposing too much.

Organic Social Media

Utilise all the features the various platforms offer. For instance, you can post a Tweet, but don’t forget fleets. You could also consider changing the buttons on your pages from “contact” to “sign up”.
Don’t worry If your organic traffic is low on social media, this is the case for a lot of company pages. If you have a little bit of budget to spare, consider spending a little money on sponsored ads.

Paid Social Media

If you want faster results, paid social media ads like Facebook Ads can help you there. You can easily set up ads to remarket people who have visited your website without opting in or converting. It’s a great way to drive them to your lead magnet.


You should always optimise your landing page content for search engines. As well as making sure your website is secure and mobile responsive, also think about the keywords and search terms people might search for. Consider the pain points your lead magnet solves as a starting point for creating your content.

Google Ads

We’ve already mentioned using paid-for social can help boost traffic to your lead magnet. Using paid ads on Google, Bing or any other search engine is no different. You can target people who have visited your website and not converted or a particular set of key phrases and demographics. This helps to get the right people and better leads through the door.


Yes, although lead magnets are used to get new email addresses, you can also use your existing lists. The people subscribed to those lists may be interested in the perceived value your lead magnet offers. Missing this out means missing out on a potential sale.
You could also add it to your email footer for added exposure.

Summary Do’s And Don’ts


  • Use an evergreen lead magnet
  • Create an offering that has considerable value
  • Provide your potential customers with a lead magnet that offers an instant win
  • Use a wide range of platforms to promote your lead magnet
  • Make sure your landing page is optimised
  • Keep it short and simple
  • Make it clear what you want your potential customers to do (i.e. book a call, use a discount code)


  • Avoid seasonal lead magnets where possible
  • Offer something that takes a while to benefit
  • Offer something that needs overhauling regularly
  • Rely on organic social media to get you results unless you have a large following
  • Overcomplicate the landing page

Once you’ve decided to implement a lead magnet on your website, you need to add a responsive landing page to your website along with a data capture form. Depending on which platform you are using, this may be easier said than done, but we can help if you’re unsure what to do.