A lead magnet is an incentive given to potential customers for providing contact information, such as name and email, through a company’s website. This exchange works because both the company and consumer have something to gain. Whereas companies receive data they can use for marketing communications, the consumer gains some sort of content as an incentive. We’ll discuss this in greater detail later.

The typical conversion path for a lead magnet contains the following:

  • Call to Action (CTA) - this is a tagline and button that encourages customers to act on the lead magnet offer.
  • Landing page - This is the area where customers submit their information. This area can be combined with the CTA (as done in my CTA below).
  • Thank You Action - Once the customer submits his or her information, he or she will be redirected to another landing page or receive a download or email containing the incentive.

For creating such lead magnets, there are dozens of popular third party tools. With some coding savvy, lead magnets can easily be created on websites too.

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What are common types of lead magnets?

App/Tool Permission

Look at all of the apps on your phone. How many of them have you had to provide at least an email to access? Most if not all of them. Mobile apps are natural lead magnets. This is why Facebook and Twitter have some of the most robust amounts of data in the world.

Exclusive Content

E-books. Cheat Sheets. Guides. Webinars. Podcasts. Resources. The list goes on and on. There are a million types of content that companies offer to generate new leads. The content that cannot be accessed elsewhere on the web is bound to get consumer attention.


Companies frequently offer webinars that offer educational value, continuing education credit, and even certifications. By offering this content, companies can showcase products, inform customers, and generate new information for new leads.

Exclusive Access

“Sign up to read the full article” – how many times have you seen this? Exclusive access sections are frequently used to generate subscription revenue or lead information at a minimum. It’s worth noting that this type of lead is not always a paywall. Many websites offer free tools, exclusive content, and other valuable features in these “member’s only” areas.


Free trial

This is your age-old “7-day trial, if you don’t like it you’re aren’t obligated to buy it” strategy. Customers get a free test run of a product, and the company gets relatively qualified lead data. Companies must be careful not to give away full benefit of the product within the free trial timeframe. For example, I signed up for a 30-day trial for For 30 days, I researched every one of my ancestors and exported all the data. Once the 30 days were up, I never used the product again.


This is the exchange where someone subscribes to receive a monetary discount. For consumers this exchange of data for a discount is a great win and dollars saved. For marketers, this will generate many new leads, but they may not be interested in long-term engagement as I discussed in my article, “7 Ways to Reduce Your Email Marketing Unsubscribe Rates.”


As a sister to the free trial, the free consultation is a great option for leads that are more qualified. These consumers submit information, and the company directly consults with the contact. Of all lead magnets, this personal option will lead to a high conversion rate, yet it is one of the most time-consuming options.


Surveys can be used as a way for customers to submit profiles to the company or market research. In a research project I recently conducted, I shared a survey on social media and easily obtained several hundred names and emails. While I did not use this data for lead generation, many companies do. Just make sure to clearly communicate the intentions of the survey, how the data will be used, and how consumers can unsubscribe.

What are the traits of a good lead magnet?


Consumers are more skeptical of sharing their data than in years past, and they know that lead magnets are designed to harvest information. With this in mind, companies should not charge money for lead magnets if they are aiming for a big return. The hurdle is big to convince a consumer to both share information and pay for a lead magnet. At that point, it’s essentially a transaction.

Exclusive / High Value

The Lazy company recycles publicly available content into a lead magnet. When consumers access this content or tool, this results in an underwhelming user experience. If consumers feel underwhelmed about a freebie item, this may negatively impact the company’s brand perception and the likelihood of conversion. That’s a nightmare scenario. To maximize lead experience, ensure that your magnets are truly exclusive and high quality and your conversions will increase.


Lead magnets should aim to create a singular, quick win for consumers, and the CTA should clearly communicate this function. I like to think of a great lead magnet as something you will bookmark, because you are going to use it frequently in the future.


A recurring theme throughout this article is that consumers are skeptical of how and where they share their data. For lead magnets to work, consumers must feel confident sharing their data. Consumer’s least favorite lead magnets are the ones that surprisingly require a credit card number on the final step of the submission path. For businesses to be successful, consider only requiring the minimum information at first (email or name and email) before building that trust in later communications. If your lead magnet is designed to acquire more personal information, make this apparent in the CTA, so there are no surprises that may cause your lead to bolt.


Lead magnets take time to create. If you do a little research, some companies dump big bucks into creating lead magnets that are so good they can put some lesser products out of business. With this in mind, focus on creating a tool or piece of content that will stand the test of time. If you can get extended mileage out of a magnet, it will save your company on R&D as well as investment into the product.


Before embarking on creating a kick-ass lead magnet, flesh out your plan for data management. Are you going to have a third party handle the data? Do you plan on integrating into your CRM system? It’s easy to overlook this data, but it’s very important. Lead magnets are the entry point for a contact into your database. Establishing a defined funnel will save your team time and money in the future.

What are your thoughts? Any lead magnets that are working for your team that I didn’t mention? I would love to connect on Twitter. Tweet me @markdfleming2