Lead generation is tough. We ask prospects to provide us with their personal data for free, in exchange for a few uncertain benefits. If you find that a bit one-sided, we’re on the same page. Why should people give away private information?
Today's online customers can mute almost anything advertising-related. For example, the AdBlock extension boasts over 350 million downloads on both Chrome and Safari. People also rely on many other services that block all sorts of unwanted messages.
If all you do is ask a user to type in their email to become a subscriber, there’s no engagement. After all, how often do forms like this one actually persuade you to subscribe?
It’s no surprise that lead generation is a challenge. Probably the smartest way to overcome this is to offer something valuable in exchange for your customers’ engagement, such as a free guide, service, or discount.
What is a Lead Magnet?
Lead magnets are the smart approach to lead generation.
Also known as a “bribe-to-subscribe” offer, a lead magnet is a way to get your visitors’ information in exchange for something valuable.
From free trials to innovative online audit services, you can offer anything that can be received immediately via email. If it hits the target, visitors subscribe and you earn your leads without annoying them.
Lead magnets thus compensate users for their engagement with an obvious advantage.
Here, we’ll discuss different types of exchange-based lead magnets, their benefits, and the ways of adapting them to the lead generation process.
Why Should You Try Different Types of Lead Magnets (If You Haven’t Yet)?
There are several reasons why you need good lead magnets:
1. They are engaging.
Some magnets have the capacity to generate literally thousands of leads in a relatively short period of time (like these 35,000 emails received in 60 days). They ‘know’ your customer’s problems and can offer an immediate solution – that’s why they can be so irresistible.
2. They generate quality leads.
If your offer is very specific and addresses a particular audience, a lead magnet can help you attract the kinds of customers who may already be interested in what you are offering, and they may want to learn more.
3. They provide value.
Free high-quality content provides great value. If your ‘bait’ is smart and relevant, it shows your customers that you’re not just trying to sell them something and get their money.
4. They are shareable.
It's easy to share links to your research or to embed your video in a blog post.
5. They promote your brand as an authority.
Lead magnets, such as case studies, manuals or research help you position yourself as an expert in your industry. You can show your potential customers that you are good at what you do and know how to help them.
Lead Magnet Ideas and Examples
You can offer information, entertainment, or bargains – it’s up to you. The best part is that you can invent your own types of custom lead magnets, highlighting the benefits only your business can provide.
Now, let's get into the good stuff – here are 12 lead magnet examples and ideas that could transform the way you engage new customers:
1. Сontent “Bait”
Content bait is any piece of content that provides clear and immediate value to your audience. For example:
Text content: How-to guides, reports, whitepapers, cheat sheets, case studies, checklists, etc.
Video content: Video guides and video courses.
The first step is to offer a piece of content that can solve your customers’ challenges.
After they click the button and enter their information, they’ll receive an email with your content attached. This offer can be integrated into your page, or it can appear in pop-ups.
Social Media Marketing offered its Industry Report for free, providing a short description on the main page:
In addition, after spending some time on the page, visitors would encounter a pop-up window that offered a download of a free PDF copy:
Widgets are built-in tools that integrate with your website or landing pages. They provide your customers with a unique brand experience by offering them a very customized service. They also enable you to collect valid email addresses, or phone numbers, or other personal data about your prospects.
For example, some widgets offer a service, a report, or other important information that may be hard to get for free. With the SEMrush Lead Generation tool, you can place a custom widget on your website that allows you to collect business leads.
When you add the code for the widget to your page, users will see the following sign-up form:
After signing up, your potential customer receives a free report via email, while you receive both their email address and the additional data: their domains. The tool itself is customizable to your webpage – you can change the names of the buttons, the calls-to-action (CTAs), and experiment with colors.
Another way to turn your visitors into leads is to add a callback widget to your website. By inserting the code on your site, you enable your potential client to click on the widget icon to contact you directly and request a response. The right CTA and an unobtrusive pop-up window can help encourage visitors to talk to you.
As an example, Getsitecontrol offers pre-designed templates for creating custom widgets:
This is an easy way to establish individual communication with your prospects and to connect when it’s most convenient for them.
Gamification can be an effective way to attract leads. Using gaming principles allows you to collect the key information you need about your prospective clients.
You might create interactive quizzes to encourage users to leave their email addresses, and you can use the collected data for multiple purposes, for example, to customize a ‘welcome’ email series that is tailored to the answers they gave in the quiz.
Tease your prospects, entertain them with a short and simple quiz, and send the results via email; this is a tried and tested way of generating leads. Here’s an example of a simple quiz from a home decor brand:
Z Gallerie provided a personalized experience for every customer with its Style Personality quiz. As a part of its strategy, it offered personalized product recommendations to attract new prospects via a lead form after the quiz had been completed.
4. 'State of the Industry’ Surveys
A survey that exists primarily for your market research can also be used as one of the best B2B lead magnets with an eye-catching CTA. Prospects provide their opinions on the topic related to your industry, and you can, in turn, collect data about their interests.
For example, imagine you’re planning to conduct a survey on ‘The state of SEO’ for a report that focuses on fresh industry trends.
You can encourage users to answer the survey questions and share their contact details in exchange for the whole industry report for free. Better yet, you can also offer the survey results as a data pack in exchange.
Make it clear that, in putting this report together, their opinions matter to you and other people in your niche.
Here’s how Angelfish Opinions does it:
Visitors offer to sign up for focus groups, and start receiving invitations to studies.
5. Online Demos
Live demos are useful if your product is relatively complicated, as there are always users who will skip over the “read the manual” step. After all, how often do you read the manual before you buy a product?
Engaging your customers in a question-and-answer session can connect them ‘live’ with your customer care. Let them pick a preferable date and time, connect with them via any convenient messenger service of your choice, and voila – your prospect is willingly engaging with you.
You can show them ‘in-person’ exactly how your product can resolve their problems. Your message will match their needs, and you can further learn about their challenges.
Add the possibility of sharing your screen with them, and you can show any hidden function of your service - such a level of targeting can offer great value.
6. Webinars and Podcasts
Both webinars and podcasts offer new ways to engage with your audience and can be extremely rewarding.
Firstly, you can ask industry experts to take part in your webinar. The more interesting the topic and the more recognizable the expert, the more people are likely to be engaged.
Secondly, promote your company’s expert reputation. Provide customers with useful tips while showing them the benefits of your offer, and share your industry expertise with them. You'll be building your brand image as someone who assists and grows specialists.
At SEMrush, we use both webinars and podcasts as opportunities to share our own knowledge and successful marketing case studies, as well as connecting with other leading minds in the industry to provide valuable content.
7. Online Events
You can go even further and organize online events, such as industry conferences and roundtable discussions.
Virtual events are similar to offline gatherings, but are not restricted to a single location. This is especially beneficial in these times when remote working and online meetings are becoming the norm.
Instead of granting open admission, ask people to leave their email addresses to register for an event.
As an example of this, we at SEMrush wanted marketing specialists to have the opportunity to learn from other professionals in the industry and exchange knowledge. That’s why Global Marketing Day, a free 24-hour online marketing event, was established.
To get industry insights and watch expert-led sessions, users only need to sign up and join a live stream, no matter their time zone or location.
When you consider all the benefits virtual events provide, they can be a strong incentive for people to share their email addresses.
8. Free Trials
Free trials allow your product to sell itself, eliminating such obstacles as marketing, advertising and potentially pushy messaging. When your customers decide that they need your product after trying it for some time, then you’ve provided them with a great experience.
If your product is sophisticated, complicated, or simply needs time to illustrate its benefits, offer a free trial like Netflix does:
The opportunity to get a freebie with an email can be far more engaging than the standalone message itself.
Contests have the potential to go viral. Challenge your audience and get them feeling excited about your offer, as in the following example of a consultation package giveaway from a marketing agency:
To participate, the agency hooked users in by asking them to share how they wanted to activate their business and marketing goals for 2020. This is a great way for them to engage more potential customers in their network.
10. Special Offers
Coupons, discounts, or a few useful freebies are powerful ways to entice an audience to subscribe. Captivating design, combined with the right CTA, can make your offer very attractive:
Words like “now” or “limited” can add urgency to the CTA, and motivate customers to quickly take action.
Any type of document can be used as a template, as long as it provides an outline, a draft, or a starting point.
One of the good things about templates is that users can download and customize them by filling in the blanks to suit their needs.
Here at SEMrush, we developed a Google Data Studio report template for SEO specialists:
It’s downloadable and ready to be modified and adapted to individual business needs, which makes it a great asset for marketers who are looking to add to their arsenal.
12. Live Chats
The popularity of live chats has grown in recent years. Chatbot technology that enables you to engage with your customers via a personal assistant on your website continues to evolve, and what’s more is that bots can automatically qualify your leads for you:
Drift’s chatbot can have a conversation with your site visitors, ask qualification questions, create leads in your CRM, and book meetings in your calendar for qualified leads.
These intelligent virtual assistants can chat on your website 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and serve as the best lead magnets without requiring any forms.
How to Create Lead Magnets that Engage
After you've created the bait, take the time to perfect it. Use our Ultimate Guide to SEO Copywriting to help create and optimize the content for Search. When your offer is ready, you should:
1. Give Your Lead Magnet a Suitable Name
Here are some ideas from our blog post about writing the perfect headline:
X ways to get Y; For example, "6 ways to create a landing page that converts";
X ways to get Y for/in Z time; As in “5 ways to get perfect abs in a month";
X resources for/to Y; “7 resources to manage your groups on social media";
X tips for Y; "9 tips for success in job interviews"; and
How to do X without Y; "How to create a web page without HTML".
2. Keep it Clear
If you offer something to your audience, make sure it’s obvious and easy to understand. For example, Slack uses simple yet beautiful design for its CTA on the homepage, and provides clear value:
3. Use Actionable Text
To encourage users to click on your CTA, make sure it inspires action, as with “Get Started”. It is direct and sets expectations for your audience. Use action-oriented words like “get”, “try”, and “receive”.
In the following example, PandaDoc provides a great offer-related action:
4. Try “Painful” Buttons
This is another example common to multiple CTAs, where the opt-in/opt-out buttons are different in size, design, and color. As you can see below, Wishpond made the “Get Started” button much more attractive and appealing, while the “No, thanks” CTA doesn’t look very clickable. What’s more, the “No” button is softer in its approach with the use of polite language:
5. Add Social Proof
Many websites use social proof as a powerful tool for enticing new customers. People react positively to CTAs when they see that other users have already engaged.
Social proof can even encourage conversions. You can display customer reviews and testimonials in many different formats, as long as they highlight the value of your offer and prove that other satisfied clients already exist.
6. Be Open and Honest About Your Messages
You should let your subscribers know when they’ll be receiving your messages, and assure them they won’t be excessive. Being clear about what they can expect from you always looks pleasant and spam-free.
Once you’ve attracted new prospects, it’s time to convert them into paying customers.
Creating the Best Lead Magnets for Your Audience
Your lead magnet is a part of your brand, your mini-product. It will affect your brand reputation as it attracts people into your brand experience.
Remember, though, that all examples of good lead magnets have their common traits:
Lead magnets deliver value before asking for money;
The value is available only in exchange for a visitor’s email address;
Your visitor can consume it immediately after the transaction;
You aren’t deceiving anyone – you are providing your leads with useful stuff; and
Your ‘gift’ helps leads discover additional benefits of choosing your brand.
What can you offer? Anything. The ‘bribe’ should simply give your site visitors something they need or may be interested in, from professional tips and data to basic entertainment. Offer a free exchange – and that’s it.
If your magnet is engaging, you’ll be enjoying the results before you know it.