Convincing website visitors to sign up to your list is difficult as is, but growing your email list with qualified subscribers can be even more challenging.

After all, consumers are always on the lookout for incentives, so it’s not uncommon for them to ignore forms and popup ads that don’t offer anything of value.

To avoid being ghosted by your target audience, your best bet is to use lead magnets.

In this post, we’ll walk you through the nitty-gritty of lead magnets and how you can use them to fill your email list with contacts, as well as qualified leads that can be sent through a customer journey.

What are lead magnets?

Lead magnets are incentives that brands offer website visitors in exchange for their email address and other contact information.

Lead magnets usually come in the form of downloadable content such as:

Any other piece of content that a brand’s audience might find valuable can be considered a lead magnet.

How to make an effective lead magnet

The goal of a lead magnet is for conversion. That is, to convert website or online form visitors into qualified leads and get their contact information in the process.

If you want your lead magnets to convert, here are some steps to follow:

Be specific

Avoid being generic and, instead, focus your content on a specific topic.

Think about your audience and ask yourself what their issues are. Once you know the answer, you can create content that is aimed at helping your audience solve their problems and pain points.

For example, if you’re marketing towards SaaS entrepreneurs, make your content focused on common specific topics that they’ll find intriguing — such as examples of high-converting SaaS signup flows and strategies to increase your MRR.

Be unique

Your content should be something that website visitors won’t find by visiting your competitors’ websites or by going on search engines. Prospective leads won’t sign up and download your lead magnet if they can easily find that same information through a quick Google search.

Be authoritative

Whatever type of content you decide to use as a lead magnet, it’s important that you show your credibility and authority as a brand. To do so, your lead magnet should be well designed and carefully thought out, containing concrete, real-world examples, and data-backed advice.

Be straightforward

Keep the signup form of your lead magnet as simple and as short as possible. Including unnecessary details (or making the form scrollable) will only distract prospective leads from completing the signup process.

Be social

Your social media followers may not visit your website every day. As such, they may not be aware that you are currently offering lead magnets. To remedy this, you can combine your email marketing efforts with your social media campaigns. For maximum lead magnet visibility, share the links for your forms on your social media pages.

Lead magnets you can use to grow your email list

There’s a variety of lead magnet types you can offer website visitors. Let’s take a look at a few:

1. Templates

People are always looking for ways to make their lives easier, so they seek out templates for various materials, whether it’s for writing letters or creating professional-quality emails.

For example, consider how WordStream offers a free guide on How to Make Great Landing Pages as an exit-intent popup across their blog.

While this isn’t a template per se, within the guide, you’ll find advice that will help you design a great landing page.

2. Reports

Reports are long-form content pieces that typically tackle the state of a particular niche (such as The State of Digital Marketing or The State of Small Business Lending). Not only do they contain a wide range of statistics and data points, but they also offer advice on how to leverage these statistics and data.

3. Free trials

People who visit your website are often not ready to make a purchase just yet. They are merely researching options and trying to determine which is the best possible option for their unique needs.

One thing you can do to convince potential customers to make a purchase is to offer them a free trial. This is a particularly helpful tactic if your brand offers online services or software of some kind.

Free trials aren’t often thought of directly as lead magnets, but when you consider their intent, it’s very much in line with other methods mentioned in this piece.

4. Ebooks

Ebooks are electronic versions of books that are designed to be read on digital devices such as tablets, smartphones, and desktop or laptop computers.

When you offer an Ebook as a lead magnet, you can impart knowledge and share best practices about a subject that is relevant to a brand’s specific audience. For instance, a brand that offers social media services might offer an ebook entitled The Ultimate Guide To Social Media Marketing in 2019.

5. Online courses

Brands offer online courses as lead magnets with the goal of helping the audience learn a high-value skill. In the example below, the brand offers a series of courses on how to run a podcast.

By joining the course, you’ll get more education on the topic you’re interested in, and the company will collect information about you.=

Wrap up

There you have it, a detailed look at lead magnets as well as different examples of how you can use them to expand your own brand’s audience. While this post is by no means an exhaustive guide on lead magnets that contains every type of lead magnet you can use, following the advice presented here allows you to get a running start on the process.

Which one will you offer your audience?

An online course?
An ebook?
A free trial, perhaps?

It’s all up to you. Don’t be afraid to get creative. If it gets you more qualified leads, then that means the method works for you.

Ash Salleh is the Director of SEO at Campaign Monitor, where he works closely with content, copy, and analytics teams to improve site-wide optimization. Prior to his time at Campaign Monitor, he also provided SEO and digital marketing expertise at Zappos and Axiata Digital.