You got website traffic! Isn’t that great?
Whether you’re pulling in 100 visitors a week, a thousand, or more, any amount of traffic to your website is a good start for your business. When you fire up Google Analytics and watch the visitors come in, you can sit back in your chair and heave a sigh of relief.
People are coming. People are reading about you.
But wait, where are they all going?
Getting traffic to your website is only the first step. Whether it comes in through search engines, social media, or word of mouth, most of your website visitors aren’t going to go straight to your contact or products page and give you money.
So they leave. They exit your site, maybe forever, and you’ve missed the chance to stay in contact with a potential lead.
Lead magnets help you increase conversions and build an email list that grows your business
If you can’t convert website visitors into customers the first time they land on your site, maybe you can do better by collecting their information.
If you haven’t built an email list yet, you should start yesterday.
Marketing expert Ryan Holiday calls an email list your most important career asset, and writer Jeff Goins claims that everyone needs an email list—there’s simply no better way to send private, personal messages to your fans. All the best marketers agree.
But let’s say you already have a list. You put up a signup form on your site to collect email addresses, so you can stay in touch. You wait. You wait some more.
Nothing. Your website is underperforming. Maybe you get half a percent of visitors to sign up.
The (not scary, I promise) math of email list building
What if you could drive that number up? If you could increase your conversion rate to 4%—which is generally a pretty good conversion rate—what would that do to your business?
It’s hard to answer that question in the abstract, so let’s walk through a simplified example with some numbers.
Say you have a website that brings in 10,000 visitors per month, with a conversion rate of .5%. That means your email list grows by about 50 subscribers every month.
If your average revenue per email subscriber is $7, you’re bringing in $350 of revenue per month—just from your website traffic.
Ok, so what happens if you increase your conversion rate? We’ll keep all the other numbers the same, but plug in a conversion rate of 4%.
At 10,000 visitors per month, a 4% conversion rate brings you 400 new email subscribers every month. At an average of $7 per subscriber, that’s $2800 of revenue—over the course of a year, that’s almost 30,000 extra dollars that you generate without any extra work.
Put that in your piggy bank
Is this a simplified example? Of course. It doesn’t take into account email list churn (or the extra word of mouth and traffic that comes from having a larger list).
But it shows how moving just that one number—your conversion rate—can have a huge effect on your business.
How can you grow your list, get more leads, and (eventually) get more sales to grow your business?
Here’s the single most effective way to build your email list and increase conversions: lead magnets.
What is a lead magnet?
You may have heard the term lead magnet before. If not, they go by a lot of different names you could have heard of:
- Opt-in incentive
- Signup offer
- Opt-in offer
- Opt-in bribe
- List bait
So what is a lead magnet? By any name, it is a lead generation technique to get more people to give you their email address. It’s when you dangle a carrot so they don’t give you the stick.
(We can pretend that sentence made sense, right? I really just wanted to say “carrot and stick”).
Imagine your audience as this little guy. What kind of content (carrot) would he love?
Specifically, a lead magnet is when you offer something—be it a checklist, ebook, consultation, or trial—in exchange for an email address.
Instead of asking people to “subscribe to your newsletter,” which isn’t really that compelling, you offer them some kind of content or service that solves their problem.
What makes lead magnets the best method of building an email list? It gives people a reason to do something.
Think about it. You want people to sign up for your email list so that you can send them content and sell to them. But what do they get?
Yeah, they get your content. But what do they get right now? All of the best list building strategies have one thing in common—they give people something in return for joining your email subscriber list.
If you want to grow your email list, you usually need to give people something in return. There’s actually psychology research on the topic—the concept is called the “norm of reciprocity.”
That something you give them? That’s a lead magnet.
Does a lead magnet get you more customers? Not right away. But by collecting information from people interested in what you have to say, you can follow up with nurture campaigns (even automated ones) and convert sales that would have been otherwise nonexistent.
How to create a lead magnet
We’re going to dive into some lead magnet ideas—and what makes a great lead magnet—in a few moments.
Before we get to that, I wanted to address a common concern—what if you don’t know how to make a lead magnet?
If you have design chops or video editing skills, creating a lead magnet won’t be too difficult for you. Just use the Adobe product suite, or Final Cut, or your preferred software and get crackin’. The hard part for you is finding the right lead magnet ideas (which we’ll cover).
But if you don’t know much about design (I’m raising my own hand right now), it’s still possible to make compelling opt-in offers.
Top free tools to create a lead magnet
Technology is making a lot of once-complicated tasks much simpler. Stuff like shooting video, editing it, recording audio, creating designs, making ebooks.
In other words, the stuff you need to actually create a lead magnet.
There are ton of free tools you can use to make your lead magnet, but here are some of the top tools you can use to get started.
Canva is an awesome design service that lets you make simple graphics. What makes Canva so great? It’s super, duper, incredibly easy to use.
The service has put together at least 30 different design tutorials that show you how to use it.
In Canva, everything is drag and drop. You don’t need to learn any complicated software or memorize hex codes for colors.
The below image is remarkably dumb. But I timed myself making it in Canva and it only took 44.7 seconds.
Is this dumb? Incredibly. Was it fast? Definitely.
You can use Canva to create:
- Images for ebooks, guides, and checklists
- Headers for PDFs
Huh? Yeah Google Docs is free, but how can you use it to create a lead magnet?
Google Docs isn’t the most sophisticated way to make a lead magnet, but it has two major benefits.
- It’s fast
- It’s easy
In Google Docs, you can type up an ebook, guide, checklist, cheat sheet, or other written resource to use as a lead magnet.
Then, use a free design tool like Canva to make a simple header for the lead magnet. It doesn’t need to be amazing—but having a header immediately makes your lead magnet look less like something that was, well, typed up quickly in Google Docs.
After than, all you need to do is download the Google Doc as a PDF.
Literally one button click
Boom. You’ve got your lead magnet.
Ok, you got me. Phones aren’t free.
But chances are you already have a smartphone, and that it comes with some free video editing software.
If you’re putting together a simple lead magnet, video can be really valuable. As we’ll talk about later, video content has a high “perceived value.” That is—people like it.
It won’t be quite the same as a video with super high production value—but for most lead magnets the content is more important than the video itself.
Don’t hesitate to shoot video on your phone and use it as your lead magnet.
Prezi is a presentation software that makes it easy to design engaging talks. Instead of using just “slides” like PowerPoint, Keynote, or Google Slides, Prezi gives you more flexibility in how you design stuff.
Once you’ve designed a presentation—or even an ebook—you can export it as a PDF to use as a lead magnet.
You can use PowerPoint, Keynote, or Google Slides for this too, if you prefer.
What if you want to make an audio lead magnet? Recording audio on your phone is easy enough—but how can you edit it?
Audacity is free, open-source audio software.
Is the software incredible? Not really. A professional might choose something different.
But at the same time, it is possible to produce professional-quality audio in Audacity. And if all you need to do is create an audio lead magnet, Audacity will get the job done.
How to deliver a lead magnet
Once your lead magnet is created, you need a way to offer and send it to people who subscribe. Email is usually the best way.
In ActiveCampaign, lead magnets get delivered through forms and automations. By building a custom form for your site (which you can embed anywhere you like), you can offer different magnets on different pages.
Then, once a form is filled out, you can trigger automated emails that delivers the lead magnet—and even start a follow-up sequence.
If you don’t have much marketing automation experience, this video from the free course Getting Started with ActiveCampaign is a good place to start.
And, of course, you can subscribe people to your lists and add tags whenever they complete a form.
Ok, so you have some idea of the tools you can use to create and deliver lead magnets. But what types of lead magnets should you create?
12+ types of opt-in offers (lead magnet ideas for dozens of industries)
When I was doing some background research for this article, it seemed like all of the examples of opt-in offers come from one industry—online marketing.
That makes some sense, since online marketers are the ones who came up with online lead magnets. But those lead magnet examples might not be that helpful if you run an ecommerce business, a law practice, or a gym.
Below you’ll find 12 (plus a few miscellaneous) types of opt-in offers, to help spur lead magnet ideas.
There are a few examples from the marketing industry—but I specifically looked for lead magnet examples from a range of different businesses. You’ll find opt-in offers from law firms, fitness businesses, tutoring, ecommerce, life sciences, and more.
Checklists are a fantastic lead magnet idea for two simple reasons:
- They’re easy to use
- They’re easy to make
The most effective lead magnet ideas offer things that can be used immediately. If you want to get someone’s information, you have to entice them with a pretty strong offer—and they’re going to want the benefits of that offer right away.
Checklists fit the bill! A one-page outline for a specific process gives your subscribers all the information they need in a single glance.
Illumina, a life sciences company known for selling DNA sequencers, uses a checklist to attract leads. Because they sell sequencers, their checklist is a list of things to look for when buying a sequencer.
Took me a second to catch the DNA pun in “covering all the bases”
In a wildly different niche, Phyzzle is a company that helps engineering and physics students excel in their degrees. Phyzzle uses several different lead magnets (we’ll see another of theirs later), but one of them is a checklist for engineering students.
Graduate in the top 5% and study less? Sign me up.
Finally, to return to the marketing world, SEO and lead generation expert Brian Dean offers an SEO checklist at the end of his post on…SEO checklists.
Note that this is also a good example of offering a lead magnet that relates to a specific piece of content. We’ll talk more about “content upgrades” towards the end of this article.
Wait, what’s the difference between a checklist and a cheat sheet?
Cheat sheets are similar to checklists, but tend to have a bit more information. Instead of showing steps to a process, a cheat sheet will usually have background information on a specific topic—for when you need to see it at a glance.
ChartMogul, a company that provides analytics for SaaS businesses, offers a SaaS metrics cheat sheet as a lead magnet.
This cheat sheet runs through a lot of the key terms that show up when you work at a SaaS company. If you aren’t big on the financial side of SaaS, having a cheat sheet that goes through terms like MRR, ARPU, LTV, and churn could be really valuable.
In an extremely different industry, Peter Nguyen, a men’s style coach, uses cheat sheets as part of his “style starter pack.”
Of course I want to look 10x better!
If I were a guy having trouble finding clothes that fit, I’d sure appreciate a cheat sheet based on my body type. Who wouldn’t?
Ebooks and Guides
Ebooks and guides are one of the most common lead magnet ideas.
I’ll say up front, I’m not usually the biggest fan of ebook lead magnets. They can be effective, but I think they often don’t convert as well—for the simple reason that reading an ebook sounds like work.
That said, the people that do read a whole ebook are probably more likely to turn into your customers.
If you decide to use an ebook as a lead magnet, you should keep the copy tight. It can be long—especially if you’re providing massive value—but it needs to stay engaging throughout.
Larry Law Law is a site focused on helping law students get through law school and start their legal careers. Law school—and the bar examination—are notoriously challenging. So an “ultimate guide” to law school success sounds pretty tempting, right?
I’m definitely not a law student—and you should never come to me for legal advice. But if I were, I’d listen to a guy with the last name “Law Law” (disclaimer: I don’t think that’s his real last name).
What if I graduate from law school, and want to start dating more without being creepy? Well, there’s a website for that too.
Introverted Alpha, run by Sarah Jones, is a website devoted to helping introverted men date more without feeling disingenuous. What’s the first thing you seen when you land on their home page?
If you guessed “an ebook lead magnet,” you’re a pretty smart cookie.
And, of course, there’s a similar website for women. Camille Virginia of Master Offline Dating helps women find men to date—you guessed it—without using online dating. The very first thing you see when you land on her site?
Also notice: the picture of Camille is looking in the direction of the opt-in button. This is a classic conversion rate optimization technique, because it helps draw attention to the offer.
Guides and ebooks can be really useful ways to increase conversions, and they’re really easy to put together—just write it and export as a PDF.
The key in each of these lead magnet examples? The businesses have identified really specific niche’s and created offers that solve specific problems. Reading a guide or ebook is a time investment—but people will do it if they think it will solve their problems.
One of the simplest ways to create a lead magnet is to offer a free email course.
Creating a free email course takes almost zero technical know-how. You don’t need to know how to design anything. As long as you can set up a simple welcome series in your marketing automation platform, you can create a free email course.
The structure of a free course is straightforward—just send emails.
UltyResults, a company that teaches ultimate frisbee players to do strength and conditioning, offers a free course on sport-specific workouts.
The conversion optimization agency GetUplift uses a free email marketing course as a way to collect email addresses.
And remember Phyzzle? They have a few different lead magnets, one of which is a free 5-day course on studying for exams.
As long as your free email course solves a major pain point, it can be an effective lead magnet.
The gratification for an email course isn’t immediate (people have to wait for each email)—but there’s something to be said to having contacts look forward to your emails. For that reason, email courses are often a really nice segue into lead nurture campaigns.
Video is an engaging form of content, but some people are nervous about using video lead magnets because of how hard it is to create them.
At the same time, videos can make really effective lead magnets for two reasons:
- They are extremely consumable
- They have a high perceived value
For most people, watching a 9-minute video takes less effort than reading a 20-page ebook. And because video is relatively more difficult to produce, the people that do produce it have an advantage—people think it’s valuable.
Hold on, I need to cover my screen while I write this next part. Our video guy Danny is just a few desks away, and I don’t want him to see what I say next. Ready?
Making videos can be easy (sorry Danny).
Yes, great production value is hard. Video editing can be difficult. If you run an established business—or the type of business where your customers expect your work to have high production quality—you really do need to have that production.
Also, having the resources and know-how to make great videos opens up more options for the types of videos you can produce.
But for many small businesses most of the time, people aren’t expecting outrageous production. If you have a message that would be easiest to relay through video—shoot it on a phone or starter camera.
That’s what our two examples did, and that made sense for the type of businesses they run.
Eric Cressey of Cressey Sports Performance is a strength and conditioning coach with a focus on baseball players (especially pitchers). He’s widely renowned as an expert in the field—both because of his prodigious technical skills and the great content he publishes.
He’s also a great deadlifter. He and I are roughly the same height and weight—but he deadlifts around 660 pounds, compared to my *cough cough grumble grumble.*
So what do you see when you land on his site?
A video on deadlifting.
That’s a pretty compelling offer, coming from a world-class deadlifter.
Note also that this video doesn’t need to be anything spectacular from a production standpoint. You could film it on a potato and I’d still watch because of Cressey’s expertise—a phone will get the job done.
Still in the health industry, Darya Rose of Summer Tomato helps people lose weight without dieting. When you visit her website, you’ll quickly be delivered this offer.
Lose weight eating what I love? Get healthy without struggling? AND she has a PhD? Sign me up.
I love these two examples of video lead magnets because they each illustrate one of the strengths of video.
For Cressey, can you image how hard it would be to write a manual on deadlifting? Can you picture yourself at the gym trying to read through a stack of papers on squeezing your glutes? It’s much easier to present that information visually.
Summer Tomato’s video could probably have been presented as a written guide—but creating a video increases the perceived value of the opt-in incentive. I’d be willing to bet it improved conversion rates.
Reports tend to be more appealing to a technical or B2B audience. But if you’re in that type of industry, they can be a powerful lead magnet.
Knowing industry benchmarks and trends is really valuable—so valuable that some reports cost thousands of dollars to access. If you have the capability to offer some kind of valuable report for free, it can be a powerful lead magnet.
MuleSoft, a company that helps software interact with other software, offers a whole host of reports that they use for lead generation.
If you have access to a data source and the know-how to analyze it, a free report can be a really effective lead magnet idea.
Free trials are an incredibly common lead magnet, especially for SaaS companies.
If you have a product you can offer for a limited time, there’s no better way to show potential customers what they could be getting. Especially when products are expensive, customers are much more likely to buy if they can try your platform for themselves.
The example for this one is simple: ActiveCampaign!
We offer a free, 14-day free trial. You can check out our trial if you’re interested in the platform (or just want to see what a free trial signup page might look like).
Coupons and discounts
A lot of the examples so far—for guides, checklists, and videos—are harder to pull-of in certain industries. Downloading a checklist from an ecommerce site is kind of a tough sell.
That’s why a lot of ecommerce sites use a different type of lead magnet—one that’s specifically tailored towards their business model.
Coupons and discounts can be an effective way to collect email addresses—and sometimes convert directly into customers. Saving money is compelling. Because a huge part of ecommerce is picking up first-time buyers, it makes sense to use coupons to attract them.
A lot of ecommerce sites keep their subscriptions simple, saying something like “sign up to get notified of the latest deals.” That’s ok, but it can be taken a step farther.
Australian clothing retailer Cotton On offers a 20% discount for signing up for their email list.
Look at how simple that is! It doesn’t take any complicated design work. Just a simple box that flies in and offers a discount.
Craftshack, an online beer store, offers a similar discount for joining their email list.
If you’re interested in a product but not convinced, a coupon might be just the push you need to give up your email address. That makes them an attractive lead magnet.
Templates and examples
If you have artistic ability that your audience needs, creating a template or sample can be and effective way to show value.
Lucidpress is a company that sells easy-to-use design software. One of their major lead magnets is a collection of ebook templates.
If you need to create a beautiful ebook but don’t have any design skills to speak of, having a template to work from would be really valuable.
In a similar vein, Bidsketch is a software company that helps you design proposals. One of their lead magnets is a free trial—but they also offer the chance to look at a sample proposal generated by the software.
This shows off their software’s capabilities, but it also provides value to their audience. Sometimes looking at the layout of an existing proposal for inspiration is all you need to write your own.
In a lot of service-based industries, free consultations can be a great lead magnet.
Sometimes all people want is the chance to speak to an expert about their problems. In a lot of cases, you might be able to answer questions in minutes—when those same questions would have taken hours of Googling for people to answer on their own.
On your end, a consultation helps you qualify leads by figuring out two things:
- Whether you’re the best fit to help someone with their problem
- Whether they have the willingness to pay for help
The law firm Markhoff & Mittman (aka “The Disability Guys”) offers both a free guide to worker’s compensation and a consultation on their home page.
Offering both a consultation and a free guide helps them further qualify leads. Consultations can be effective, but they also take up lawyer time. Ideally, prospects towards the bottom of the funnel take the consultation—while everyone else uses the free guide.
Athletico, a physical therapy organization founded in Chicago, offers a complimentary injury screen to new patients.
What I love about Athletico is that this online form probably doesn’t drive that many consultations. But Athletico has locations all over the city, and in multiple states—every brick and mortar location also has a prominent invitation to come in for a consultation.
Who doesn’t love taking online quizzes? BuzzFeed proves that quizzes can be a way to generate massive traffic and engagement.
Quizzes can also be used as a great lead magnet—and because they make people choose between different answers, you can even use them to segment your audience by interest.
Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You to Be Rich and GrowthLab offers a quiz as the opt-in incentive on his home page.
The chance to get customized advice on earning more money is pretty compelling.
And because Sethi creates content on diverse topics like investing, negotiating salary, freelancing, and starting an online business, I’d be willing to bet he uses the results of the quiz to segment his audience.
In an example closer to home, ActiveCampaign users Platinum Skin Care used a quiz to segment their website visitors and offer them the best products for their specific needs.
This quiz was so effective that it had a 17% paid conversion rate—17% of people who took it turned into customers right after being offered a product. We even featured their story on our blog as an outstanding example of personalized marketing.
You can listen to CEO Jennifer Tilney talk about their approach to using a quiz as a lead magnet.
Quizzes and segmentation can make your lead magnets even more effective.
If you run webinars to sell your products—or just for thought leadership—you’d probably like to make your investment in them evergreen.
Webinars are a common lead generation tactic, but what do you do with the recording once the event has ended?
Offer it as an opt-in incentive. One example of this comes from online marketer Neil Patel, who has used webinars to built his email list.
Webinars are closely related to videos, but can be a bit different. They tend to be longer form, and often involve having slides with voice-overs instead of actually featuring you on camera.
We finally made it. The last category—the “plus” in “12+ types of lead magnet.”
The truth is, not all lead magnet ideas fit neatly into one of the above categories. But any type of lead magnet can be effective if it solves your audience’s need.
If you choose to break away from the 12 major categories we’ve covered, your lead magnet ideas will be highly specific to your business and audience. But a pair of examples might still help you come up with new ideas.
Chris Johnson is a physical therapist who also helps train runners. When you visit his website, the first thing you see is an invitation to access “world-class running drills.”
Maybe I used to run cross country in high school and college, and have been repeating those workouts. Or maybe I don’t know how to train for running besides just running as long as I can.
Either way, a simple list of drills would be really useful if I were trying to get more serious about running.
In a very different example, DebtHelper is a non-profit organization that helps people get out of credit card debt. One of their major lead magnets is a spreadsheet that helps people organize their expenses.
Spreadsheets aren’t usually considered “sexy”—but if solves a burning pain like credit card debt, almost anything could be an attractive lead magnet.
As you can see, you have a lot of ways to make a compelling lead magnet. Now that we’ve explored some lead magnet examples, it’s time to ask another question: what makes some lead magnets better than others?
BONUS! 16 more lead magnet ideas
There are as many different lead magnet ideas as there are businesses. If you have the resources and creativity for it, you can turn just about anything into a lead magnet.
I’m including these bonus ideas in case they spark some source of inspiration. Not all of them are widely used—and for some it’s hard to find a good example of it working.
But for the right business (maybe yours?) one of these ideas could be a winner.
Here are 16 more lead magnet ideas:
- Toolkit: A collection of tools/resources related to a specific topic
- Resource List: Links to the best resources on a topic
- State of the Industry: Your review or research on the state of your industry
- Predictions: Your expert predictions on events in the near future
- Calculator: Let people put in their own numbers, then email them the results
- Word-for-word scripts: Give people the exact words to say in a situation
- Manifesto or Mission Statement: Share your mission (or mission statement template)
- Case studies: Show people that others like them have had success with you
- Certifications: Offer a certification program or badge to get people in the door
- Survey: Promise to show people the results of the survey if they participate
- PDF version of a guide: Take your article or guide…and just turn it into a PDF!
- Powerpoint and Presentation Slides: Make slides from a talk into gated content
- Free book chapter preview: Give away a section of your book for free
- Original data: Put together original research (numbers that no one else can get)
- Giveaways: An online raffle!
- Contests: Like a raffle, but people can get extra entries by sharing with their network
If the first 12 ideas didn’t do it for you, hopefully these give you a bit more to think about.
Let’s talk about how to make sure that your lead magnet actually does increase email opt-ins.
What makes a good lead magnet?
Each of the above types of lead magnets can be effective—if used well.
What are the key characteristics of effective lead magnets? There are three.
1. Targeted at a specific problem
A great lead magnet solves a problem.
When you create a lead magnet, it’s tempting to throw in everything and the kitchen sink. Doesn’t it make sense to give leads everything they possibly want?
Eventually, yes. But not at first.
If you bombard people with a dozen different messages, you can freeze them into inaction.
But if you give them a single message to focus on, one that solves an acute, burning pain—who wouldn’t take action?
A lot of the lead magnet examples from earlier do a great job of this, but let’s use Darya Rose of Summer Tomato as an illustration of this.
Even though her opt-in copy has a few different benefit points, all of her points are focused on the same message—lose weight without dieting. Each specific benefit serves to reinforce that overarching goal, and the result is compelling.
When you create your lead magnet and write your opt-in copy, make sure you keep in mind—what problem are you trying to solve? Why are you the one that can solve it?
2. Targeted at a specific audience
Along with targeting a very specific pain point, lead magnets are more effective when they can target a niche audience.
In some of the examples I’ve given, an entire business is focused on a specific niche. One of the reasons that I love using Introverted Alpha as an example of good marketing is that they’ve really identified a strong niche.
Here’s their opt-in offer again.
Introverted men who don’t like “pick up artists” is ultra-specific—but that makes the messaging even more compelling.
What if you run a slightly more general business?
Segment your audience.
Platinum Skin Care’s lead magnet converted at 17% (remember, those are paid conversions) because it gave people exactly what they needed.
If your products can apply to multiple different audiences—segment!
Offering lead magnets specific to each audience will improve your conversion rates.
3. Offers a (perceived) quick win
The best lead magnet ideas solve a problem right now.
Why do people download your lead magnet? Because it solves a problem. People with problems want those problems solved as quickly as possible—ideally with as little work as possible.
That’s why checklists and videos work really well as lead magnets—they promise to solve problems and they are easy to consume immediately. A quick win.
There’s a broader lesson here, one that can be uncomfortable to face. I know I feel a little slimy typing it out, but here it is.
When you create a lead magnet, your job isn’t to give people what they need. It’s to give people what they think they need.
In a perfect world, what people actually need would be the same as what they think they need.
But it isn’t always. Maybe what someone really needs is a system that helps them count calories to lose weight—but they think they need a list of healthy recipes (even though they’ll download the list and not use it).
If you offer them a CalorieTrackerSpreadsheet™, why would they sign up? They don’t think they need that.
If you offer a list of healthy recipes, you can stay in touch. You can help move them throughout the customer lifecycle to the point where they have a better understanding of their own needs.
Then you can pitch them the thing that solves their problem.
If you think that feels a little weird—yeah, it does. And you can take some comfort in the fact that some people really will get value out of those healthy recipes.
But this kind of mismatched messaging shows up all the time. Usually it’s because you, as the expert, have knowledge that your audience doesn’t. So you need to meet your audience where they are in order to really help them.
The 3 best ways to boost lead magnet conversion rates
What if you’ve followed the best practices for lead magnets, put a lot of effort into making one, and still don’t have a good conversion rate?
One thing you might be tempted to do is jump straight into conversion rate optimization (CRO). You might get ready to do a ton of split testing, and a/b test every part of your page to increase conversions.
Eventually, split testing is the best way to increase conversion rates. Before you sink a lot of time, energy, and money into split testing—make sure you’re following some simple best practices.
If you implement these changes and still don’t see much change to your conversion rates, go ahead and think about split testing (or even take a step back and consider your overall positioning).
But here are a few quick wins that can increase conversions before you go all-in on conversion rate optimization.
1. Use a pop-up
I know, I know, no one likes pop-ups. But even though people sometimes find them annoying—they convert like crazy.
Add a pop-up (also called a lightbox or a modal) to your website, and you should increase conversion rates pretty quickly.
There are a variety of tools you can use to add a modal to your website, but some of the most popular include:
If the idea of adding a pop-up form to your website makes you uncomfortable, consider using an “exit-intent” pop-up.
Exit-intent forms are a great middle ground between annoying and effective because they only appear when a visitor is about to leave your site. That way, you can collect contact information without interrupting the viewing experience on your website.
Most of the popular list building tools can create an exit-intent form, and using one could help you make the most of your lead magnet.
Copy may be the most overlooked and most powerful way to improve conversion rates.
It seems a little strange to call copy overlooked. Doesn’t everyone know that you need to have opt-in copy?
Yes. But there’s a huge difference between having copy and having copy that converts.
Copywriting is an entire field—some people spend their entire career focusing on just copy. If you really want to go deep on copywriting, Copy Hackers is a site with some great resources on increasing conversions.
If you just need to get more conversions for your lead magnet, try to follow these five copy guidelines.
- Clear writing: If people don’t know what you’re offering them, they won’t convert. Get rid of marketing-speak, and don’t try to write clever puns until your offer is crystal clear.
- Natural language: Speak simply. Write plainly. Avoid using a lot of jargon, and sound conversational. The easier it is to understand what you’re saying, the more likely people are to convert.
- Benefits: You can offer someone a guide, checklist, video, or report. But why should they want it? Make sure you tell people how your lead magnet will help them.
- Emotion: The strongest copy is emotional. Your lead magnet solves a burning pain for your audience. Make sure your copy reflects that pain—make sure they feel like your lead magnet can solve it.
- A call to action: As silly as it sounds, people won’t download your lead magnet just because it’s there. You need to tell them to sign up with a clear CTA.
Let’s look at Summer Tomato’s opt-in copy for the third time.
The copy for this offer is excellent. It instantly and clearly communicates a clear benefit: “get a body you love without dieting.”
A great headline is the first step to grabbing attention, especially if you’re using a popup to increase conversions. You need to get attention fast—and a boring headline is the best way to get people to close out your popup. Will Hoekenga of Copygrad has an outstanding guide on writing great headlines for any offer.
And look at how emotional the language is!
- “Dieting rollercoaster”
- “Ridiculous diet rules”
- “Make your life awesome”
- “Body you love”
The great copywriting extends all the way to the call to action (CTA) copy. “Show me.” Isn’t that much more compelling than “learn more”—or even worse, “submit?”
Look for ways to amp up the emotion and clarity in your opt-in copy. You’ll increase conversions quickly.
3. Use a content upgrade
Wait, a “content upgrade?” I thought we were talking about lead magnets.
We are. Content upgrade is a term coined by Brian Dean of Backlinko—and using them increased his conversion rate by 785%.
A content upgrade is a subset lead magnets in general. When you have a high-performing blog post on a specific topic, you have an opportunity to offer a content upgrade.
Instead of offering your standard, generic lead magnet, why not point people to a lead magnet that’s specific to the content that they just read?
A good example of this comes from Peter Nguyen, a men’s style coach who writes at The Essential Man.
One of his highest performing blog posts is called “How to Buy Your First Leather Jacket.” On its own, this is a good piece of content. But take a look at what Nguyen offers in the middle of the post.
People reading about how to buy a leather jacket are probably interested in leather. So he offers them a guide about leather is a great “content upgrade.” It’s a lead magnet related to what you know people are interested in—because they’re already reading about it.
If you’re having trouble getting conversions, consider creating content upgrades for the pages of your site that have the most traffic. You’ll increase conversions on blog posts pretty quickly.
Conclusion: How to grow your email list with lead magnets
If you’re having trouble growing your email list, creating a compelling lead magnet is a great idea.
With lead magnets, you offer your audience’s problems right away, before they even subscribe to your lists.
By delivering value up front, you can convert more of your website visitors into contacts—and get more sales from leads who would otherwise have disappeared.