11 Best Lead Magnet Ideas That Actually Convert

If you want to run powerful email campaigns, you’ll need a lead magnet that converts. Period. But what are the best lead magnet ideas in 2021? And what is a lead magnet anyways?

What Is A Lead Magnet?

A lead magnet is a free material that you give to your subscribers in exchange of them giving you their email or other contact information. Lead magnets are an essential and indispensable part of every effective email marketing and drip email campaign. But you can use them in many other forms of online marketing, e.g. building a chatbot list.

In short, without a lead magnet you have a slim chance to build an email list. On the other hand, with a highly converting lead magnet you can consider one of the most challenging parts of email marketing done, that is convincing potential customers to actually subscribe to your list.

5 Tips On Best Converting Lead Magnets

You’ll find specific lead magnet ideas below, but first let me share with you my 5 best tips on designing your lead magnet. If you fail to follow any of these, chances are that your material simply won’t convert.

Tip #1: Make Your Lead Magnet Ad-Proof

Even the best idea is worth nothing if you can’t present it to your audience. A lot of great lead magnet ideas simply won’t perform because advertising them would violate the terms of the biggest ad platforms like Facebook or Google ads, thus you won’t be able to present them to your audience.

If you’ve ever had the experience of a rejected ad after long hours or even days of work, you know how frustrating this can be. I wonder why nobody speaks about this when giving you advice on lead magnets. So make sure you read those ad policies and adhere to them when designing your next lead magnet.

Tip #2: Think In Multiple Lead Magnets

Don’t expect your first lead magnet to be a big hit. In fact never expect to make it big online with only one material. Create multiple lead magnets, allow the market to decide which is best. Be specific in each one of them, and go ahead and use as many lead magnets as you like.

There is also another added benefit to this approach. If you create multiple lead magnets, you can fine-tune and skyrocket your sign-up conversion rate simply by showing the best lead magnet to your readers, based on their interest.

One lead magnet is not enough

Tip #3: Immediate Gratification

Your audience should feel that you provide value immediately after they’ve subscribed to your list. Gone are the days when you could convert with month-long email courses.

What’s really working is to offer something that they can download or install right away. Even if you plan on a course as a lead magnet, you can simply create a downloadable pdf, compiling the materials in the course. Lead magnets that provide instant gratification are much easier to advertise and they usually convert much better.

When you consider instant gratification, not only is important that your readers get the material instantly, but that they can use it right away. So don’t offer anything that asks for a long time investment. This is why lists, toolkits, etc. work best. See specific tips below.

Tip #4: High Desired End Result

You need to give a lot. Or at least you need to craft a title that promises to give a lot. 5 tips are not enough, give 10, 20 or even try to expand your list to 40-50-100.

Tip #5: Prospect’s Real Problem/Fear/Goal/Desire

You need to know your prospects’ real problem, fear, goal or desire. These are the 4 main human emotions that you can actually use to motivate people. Be it sales or simply getting their email address, if you don’t try to appeal to their emotions, you just can’t make it through in this media noise we all have around us these days.

So make sure you actually know what your target market’s problems, fears, goals and desires are, and create lead magnets that promise to solve one of those.

11 Lead Magnet Ideas

Lead Magnet Idea #1: List

The list is the ultimate solution when it comes to find the best lead magnet idea. It works in every possible market, it’s by far the easiest to compile, and people simply love it.

It doesn’t matter what niche you operate in, you can easily generate a list. And you don’t even have to think in big ideas. For me, this 94 Profitable Consulting Business Ideas list is one of my best converting lead magnets, even though it “only” lists those 94 ideas without any further explanation.

Lead Magnet Idea #2: Toolkit / Resource List

This is another type of lead magnet that people love. A toolkit or resource list gives them the feeling that they can easily achieve something they have long been longed for.

This is basically another form of the previous option (list), but here you give them something specific that they can use right away.

A few examples could be “10 best free keyword research tools”, “20 best android apps”, “8 best time management tools”.

Lead Magnet Idea #3: Cheat sheet/Checklist

This is another form of the good old list. Cheat sheets or checklists are also great, because they promise instant gratification and solving a problem.

My All-In-One SEO Checklist with 46 SEO settings to check is a good example for a lead magnet of this type.

Lead Magnet Idea #4: Coupon / Free Delivery

This is a special lead magnet idea for e-commerce stores, and people generally love it. It also proves that you really don’t have to over-complicate things. Sometimes, even in online marketing, the simplest things work the best.

Instead of creating an e-book or any other type of lead magnet with a lot of work, why not simply offer a coupon or a free delivery for someone’s first purchase?

This way not only can you get subscribers easily (people actually love coupons and they will give you their email address in exchange), but they are much more likely to be converted into customers when they redeem their coupon.

Lead Magnet Idea #5: Webinar / Video Training

If you are able to pull off a webinar or a video training, that’s always one of the best converting lead magnets. People love these presentations, and you even have a chance to sell in a webinar.

The only drawback is that this is the type of lead magnet that needs the most resources. You need to produce videos, you might need a pricey webinar service, and of course you need to at least talk in these videos publicly. And I know many of you simply detest this latter one.

But if all that is OK with you, I would suggest you go for it!

Lead Magnet Idea #6: E-book

An e-book, when it comes to lead magnets, is basically a downloadable pdf. What’s best is that you don’t want to write a whole new book, you can pretty much reuse your other contents, and people will still love it.

Here are a couple of ideas of high converting e-book type lead magnets:

  • If you have a book, you can give the first 1-2 chapters free
  • A recipe book
  • Put together a couple of blog posts in a pdf
  • Make your mini-course (see next tip) also available as a pdf download for subscribers

Lead Magnet Idea #7: Mini-course

Even though people want instant gratification, and long email courses are not working anymore as lead magnets, you can still create a 4-6 parts mini-course and offer that for free to your subscribers.

Expect lover subscription conversion rates, just because you’re not offering something immediately, but on the other hand people subscribing for email courses are still more likely to actually stay on your list for a longer time period and become more loyal customers.

Extra tip: you can combine an e-book and a mini-course. Simply create a 4-10 series mini-course as standalone emails, but also put them together in a pdf as an e-book. You can advertise both, thus you can kill two birds with one stone.

Lead Magnet Idea #8: Template / Spreadsheet

If this is applicable in your industry, give your subscribers a template or a spreadsheet that they can use right away. The key point here again is instant gratification and high value.

Some examples would be headline templates, a post template (for websites), a marketing plan template, financial calculators as spreadsheets etc.

Lead Magnet Idea #9: Software Download / Free Trial

If you have any type of software or app what you’re trying to sell, a free download, a trial version or anything of that sort is one of the best ideas to provide as a lead magnet.

Not only will this be a high converting asset for you, but you have a big chance to sell to those people later if your product is really great.

The only real challenging thing here is to find the right balance between giving enough so that people would find your free version attractive, on the other hand not giving everything so that they would be eager to buy the full version later.

Lead Magnet Idea #10: Tests

People love tests, and taking an assessment test online is a favorite pastime for many. So a test as a lead magnet (i.e. when someone is only able to take the test or get the results once they’ve given you their email address) can be very productive.

The only drawback here is that you need at least some programming skills to actually make the test work. But if that’s not a big challenge for you, I would suggest you try a test at least as one of your lead magnets.

Lead Magnet Idea #11: Guide / Report

Giving a free report in exchange of subscribers’ email addresses used to work very well in the past years. It is somewhat outdated though, people tend to expect more immediate “gifts” than a report nowadays, such as lists.

On the other hand, providing a report instead of simple lists can always attract more valuable readers and possible customers. Also it is not that difficult to put together a report if you already have other materials. This can be as simple as creating a downloadable pdf of your best performing article. But you can always write an actual report, and even publish parts of it on your website as separate articles.

Using a report as a lead magnet, provided that it really conveys great value, can establish you as a real expert in your field. This has much more benefits as simply putting people on your list, as it can be the key when it comes to actually sell to your subscribers.

My Best Advice On Lead Magnets

Whatever industry you are in, the best advice I can give you is that you start building your list right now, using whatever lead magnet you can pull off today.

You can always fine-tune it, create new and better ones. But you will never be able to reclaim those subscribers who you miss out on because procrastinating in hope of someday creating the ideal lead magnet.

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