9 essentials characteristics of an attractive lead magnet

Want more subscribers on your email list? You’ve probably had someone tell you that you should offer a lead magnet on your blog or website.

A lead magnet is a free resource that you offer to your audience in exchange for their contact information. For example, on my website and blog, I offer copy templates, checklists, cheat sheets, and resource lists that visitors can sign up for by filling out a form that asks for their name and email address.

Why are lead magnets essential if you want to grow your email list? Because asking people to sign up for your newsletter or “updates” doesn’t cut it anymore. These days, people receive more emails than they ever have before. So if you want access to their inbox, you have to show your audience that you have something valuable to offer. In this case, that’s a lead magnet.

Of course, not just any lead magnet is going to do the trick. Entrepreneurs and bloggers around the world are offering lead magnets on their websites and blogs to encourage people to sign up for their email lists. So if you want people to sign up for YOUR lead magnet and YOUR email list, you’ve can’t create just a mediocre lead magnet. You need to offer one that truly knocks it out of the park.

How do you do this? Keep reading below to discover the 9 essential characteristics of an attractive lead magnet.



Need help coming up with a lead magnet that captures your audience’s attention, convinces them to opt in, and turns them into paying customers?
Download my FREE cheat sheet of 42 lead magnet ideas.



1. Solves a key problem your audience has

Effective lead magnets are valuable. How do you make yours valuable? By ensuring it solves a real problem your audience has. (And not just any problem but one of the most important problems your audience is grappling with.)

For example, my audience is entrepreneurs and bloggers who want better results and higher sales from their websites, blogs, emails, and social media posts. That’s why I create resources that show people how to craft copy and content that will get them better results. I don’t create lead magnets on how to help them stay organized in their business or how to network at industry events because these aren’t the most important problems my audience is facing.

Remember that most people will come across your lead magnet when they’re casually browsing on the web or on social media. So the topic it covers should resonate so strongly with your audience that they’d be willing to stop what they’re doing and sign up for it right on the spot.

Related: 9 easy list building tips to grow your email list + free list of 27 content upgrade ideas

Example: Pat Flynn’s audience struggles to grow their email list. So he offers a list-building email course as a lead magnet.



email list incentives



2. High in perceived and actual value

It’s important to create a lead magnet that addresses a key problem your audience has. But just zeroing in on the right topic isn’t enough. You also need to make sure that the information or solution you offer is valuable. After all, I could create a lead magnet on how to write better subject lines for sales emails. But if all I did was vaguely describe a few best practices for writing subject lines, it wouldn’t be very helpful to my audience.

Note that you want your lead magnet to seem valuable when your audience is deciding whether to sign up for it. (Because if it doesn’t seem appealing, they won’t bother handing over their email address for it). But you also want it to actually be valuable to those who sign up for it and use it.

How do you emphasize the perceived value of your lead magnet on your website or blog to get people to sign up for it? Highlight the benefits of your lead magnet in its title and the copy you use on your opt-in form or landing page.

Need help making sure your lead magnet actually is valuable on the inside? I get to that in the remaining tips!

Related: 16 ways to get MORE people to see your email opt-ins + 19 emails to send to your list

Example: Caitlin Bacher offers a Facebook Group road map as her key lead magnet. It’s high in value because it gives subscribers concrete tips on what they need to do to build a successful Facebook Group.



email opt-ins



3. Offers a quick win

The purpose of a lead magnet is to help people solve one of their biggest problems. That’s why the best lead magnets are ones that help people tackle a key problem and get results quickly.

For example, my most downloaded lead magnet is a list of 80 call to action templates. It offers quick wins because people can use the fill-in-the-blank templates to writes calls to action for their website, blog, emails, or social media posts right now.

Keep in mind that your lead magnet doesn’t need to solve the entire problem your audience has. After all, if your audience wants better results from Instagram, offering a free resource on how to create an effective Instagram business profile would help them achieve an important milestone in the process. But on its own, it wouldn’t give them the best results they could ever get on the platform. And that’s okay. Your lead magnet doesn’t need to eliminate your audience’s problem entirely. It just needs to help them tackle a key piece of it and make them feel like they’re making progress toward their larger goal.

Related: The 7 most effective email subject lines + 63 free templates

Example: As one of my lead magnets, I offer a list of fill-in-the-blank templates to help people start writing more effective email subject lines today.




4. Specific

One of the best ways to ensure your lead magnet offers a quick win is to make sure it’s specific. Instead of creating a guide on everything someone could ever know about baking, for example, focus on how to make great chocolate cupcakes or how to make allergen-friendly baked goods.

When your lead magnet is more specific, it makes it easier for your audience to understand how it will help them solve a key specific problem they have. And if it really focuses on that specific problem and how to solve it, it’ll be more likely to help your audience get quick results easily.

Example: This audio training series focuses specifically on helping people develop the mindset they need to pursue their biggest dreams.


Marie Forleo audio training



Need help coming up with a lead magnet that captures your audience’s attention, convinces them to opt in, and turns them into paying customers?
Download my FREE cheat sheet of 42 lead magnet ideas.

Send me the cheat sheet


5. Available immediately

Just like most people aren’t willing to deal with dial-up Internet anymore, people don’t want to have to wait to receive a lead magnet they’ve signed up for. After all, they’ve just handed over something personal—their email address. So they’ll be looking for you to deliver on your end of the deal quickly.

You can give subscribers instant access to your lead magnet by allowing them to access it on your blog or website right after they sign up. Alternatively, you can deliver it to them in an email that automatically gets sent to them once they sign up.

Related: How to correctly set up content upgrades on your blog + free tool list

Example: OptinMonster presents subscribers with a download link for this resource right after they sign up.



OptinMonster resource


6. Easy to digest

Another way to ensure your lead magnet offers a quick win is to make it easy to digest. This means that your subscribers can consume it and implement the info in it easily. Sure, it may seem like a great idea to create a 200-page ebook on how to market your business on Instagram. But how many people actually have time to read 200 pages of content? And even if your audience has time to read it, are they going to have time to implement all of the info in it? Probably not.

Make your lead magnet easy to digest by ensuring that it’s easy to read and no longer than it needs to be to offer value and real results. Here are some examples of lead magnets that are particularly easy to consume:

  • Checklists
  • Infographics
  • Cheat sheets
  • Videos
  • Resource Lists

Example: Jenna Kutcher offers this simple yet valuable Instagram app resource list on her blog.



Jenna Kutcher Instagram app resource


7. Showcases your expertise

The immediate goal of your lead magnet is to get people to sign up for your email list. But the longer-term goal is to build your credibility in the eyes of your subscribers so they’re interested in coming back to you again and again. That’s why you want to focus on creating stellar lead magnets that show your audience that you know your stuff and have the expertise to help them solve their biggest problems.

How do you do this? By creating lead magnets that are high in value and help your subscribers achieve results.

Example: Melyssa Griffin’s lead magnet showcases just how much she knows about turning a blog into a business.



Melyssa Griffin blog business workbook


8. Offers something unique

As I mentioned earlier, there are thousands of entrepreneurs and bloggers who are offering lead magnets on their website or blog. And you can bet that many of them are in your very niche. This means that if you want to create a lead magnet that’s going to convert well and help you build an engaged email list, it has to be unique.

Now, I’m not saying that you need to reinvent the wheel or cover a topic that no one else has ever covered in a lead magnet. There’s nothing wrong with creating a lead magnet on a topic that other brands have created lead magnets on. You just need to make sure that you put a unique spin on the content of your lead magnet or present the info in a new way.

For example, instead of creating a written list of allergen-friendly baking substitutes, maybe you create an infographic or a video. Or maybe you really focus on providing a step-by-step process on how to build an email list or how to style hair instead of just providing general tips.

Whatever approach you take, ensure your lead magnet contains content that people can’t easily find or implement by doing a quick Google search.

Related: 10 effective opt-in incentives that help you grow your email list + free tip sheet

Example: CoSchedule’s headline analyzer tool doesn’t just provide tips on how to write great headlines. Instead, it lets subscribers calculate a detailed score of the quality of their headlines and get concrete tips on how to improve them.


blogging tool


9. Makes them want more

Lastly, you want your lead magnet to get your subscribers excited about engaging with you in the future. If your lead magnet is valuable and helps your subscribers get results, they’ll be more interested in signing up for a free webinar to learn more about the topic, buying your products, and booking your services. They’ll think, “Wow, if the free stuff is this amazing, I can’t wait to find out how great the paid products and services are!”

In other words, your lead magnet should be the first step in your audience’s journey toward solving a large, overarching problem they have. By showing them that you’re the best person to lead them on this journey and help them tackle this problem step-by-step, they’ll be more likely to choose you over your competitors (and ultimately become a paying customer or client).

Example: This free resource from Amy Porterfield helps people take the first step toward building an online course. Many people who download it go on to sign up for her paid course on how to create and market a digital course.


Amy Porterfield's course creation starter kit


Create an attractive lead magnet today

If you want your lead magnet to help you grow an engaged email list, it can’t be just any old lead magnet. But it also doesn’t need to be an earth-shattering freebie that reinvents the wheel. (So don’t overthink it!)

Instead, use the tips I’ve shared above to create a lead magnet that’s solves one of your audience’s biggest problems, is easy to access and digest, delivers quick results, and showcases your expertise. When you focus on what your audience really needs (and wants) from you in a lead magnet, it’s easier to create lead magnets that get you the results you’re looking for (and deserve!).



Need help coming up with a lead magnet that captures your audience’s attention, convinces them to opt in, and turns them into paying customers?
Download my FREE cheat sheet of 42 lead magnet ideas.

Send me the cheat sheet





9 essential characteristics of an attractive lead magnet + 42 free lead magnet ideas

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *