What is a lead magnet and why do you need one on your website?

What is a Lead Magnet and Why Do You Need One on Your Website?

13 min read

Before we begin, let’s find out exactly what a lead magnet is. I love Kenda MacDonald’s definition of what a lead magnet actually is: (Source: Hack the Buyer Brain)

“A lead magnet is a juicy piece of content your prospect desperately wants and is willing to exchange their precious contact information for.”

In Kenda’s definition, note the emphasis is on the information that the prospect wants rather than on the ‘sale’ that the business might be looking for.

The most important element about a lead magnet is to get into the mindset of the consumer who is willing to part with their contact details for information they need to help their problem go away.

This article is for you if you want to understand what a lead magnet is, how to put it together and why you should have one on your website. If you have a lead magnet already on your website, this article will help you to review your existing lead magnet and see whether you can make it even better than it already is.

In this article, I will dive deeper into:

  • What is the purpose of a lead magnet?
  • How a lead magnet works
  • What makes a good lead magnet
  • Types of lead magnets
  • Why your website needs a lead magnet


What’s the Purpose of a Lead Magnet?

The purpose of a lead magnet is two-fold:

  1. To supply a prospect with a deeper level of information that they desperately need to help them solve the no.1 problem they have.
  2. A way to generate leads for a business is to develop relationships with potential clients and to establish trust and credibility

In short, a lead magnet should be about freely giving helpful and purposeful information to consumers that will help them with their buying process. Whether that buying process continues with you is dependant on the prospect being the right fit for your business and vice versa.

Your lead magnet is the beginning of a journey you take a prospect through from not knowing or trusting you to potentially becoming a client. Do not spoil the relationship by just going in for the sale, but instead give tons of value with micro calls to action to help them through their awareness journey.

From a business point of view, the purpose of the lead magnet for your business is to grow your email list, generate leads and start to nurture a relationship with your prospects to build trust and evidence your credibility in your field of expertise. Above all be super helpful.


How a Lead Magnet Works  

So how does a lead magnet work and what are the moving parts? An overview of the moving parts and the steps within a lead magnet journey are pretty straightforward:

Step 1 – The CTA

The CTA (Call to Action) is a button on your website. The CTA button can be located in different places within the website, for example: on your homepage, a relevant service page, in your blog sidebar or within a topical blog post itself.

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Step 2 – The Landing Page

The CTA takes the prospect to the landing page. The landing page will have only one call to action, which is to download the lead magnet itself. It’s important to make sure that there are no other CTAs on this page. In fact, there should be no navigation header or footer to distract the attention of the prospect.

The content on the landing page should be clear and to the point of what the lead magnet will contain, what its purpose is and what it will help your prospect to achieve. Leave no mystery to what the lead magnet is about and what the prospect will get. Being open, honest and transparent will add to the trust factor and lead to a higher conversion rate.

Research suggests that if you give prospects a good idea of what they are going to get from your lead magnet, it can increase conversion rates by up to 85%.

Source: What’s the Deal with Lead Magnets, Marketing Insider Group

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Step 3 – The Thank You Page

This is an important step because it will tell the prospect what to expect next and how the lead magnet will be delivered. It also confirms to them that their information has been processed and the sign up is successful.

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Step 4: The Email Nurture Sequence

The lead magnet will be delivered via email and will form the first email in a series of nurturing emails that will follow. The purpose of the email sequence is to further inform and educate the prospect, running through each of the topics you outline in the lead magnet. The emails you send will deepen their learning and move them a step further on their journey to solve the problem they have.


How Long Should a Lead Magnet Email Sequence Be?

“81% of sales happen after 7 or more contacts. But 85% of the time we stop after 1 or 2 contacts.”

Infusionsoft Delight Training and Development Specialist Nick Francis

Source: 10 Startling Stats We Learned at Our First Annual Conference: Leadpages

I often get asked the question from clients about how many emails their email nurture campaign should consist of. The major concern that I hear on a regular basis is the worry they will turn off prospects by sending too many emails. Remember the lead magnet focus is on the prospects who continue through the process and helping them and not for anyone who you may ‘turn off’ with too many emails.

If prospects fall off from opening your emails or unsubscribe from your emails then they are either not the right prospects for you or the time is just not right for them to take the information on board. It’s not up to us to decide or assume the reasons why someone may not continue through the email sequence. Consumers know what information they want to consume and when.

Our lead magnets are for prospects who are interested and want to receive the information so it’s important not to lose sight of that or worry that we are sending too many emails. A caveat to this, of course, is the content of your emails must be relevant, on topic and super helpful.

What the emails shouldn’t be is a continual pitch for our services, that is a sure way to lose them early on. On the other hand, we need to ensure we include micro calls to action for each of the emails, giving relevant options for action along the email journey, which not only helps them but also draws them closer to becoming a client.


What Makes a Good Lead Magnet?

A good lead magnet delivers on the following to be effective. Your lead magnet must:

  1. Solve the problem: your lead magnet must solve the problem your prospect has; whether it solves the problem immediately or solves the emotional problem of knowing there is a way to fix the problem.
  1. Provide a quick win: your lead magnet must deliver a quick win; a quick action that the prospect can achieve easily and quickly.
  1. Be specific: avoid generalising and get really specific on the problem. Concentrate on the One Big Thing the lead magnet content will solve.
  1. Be quick and easy to consume: a 5-minute read time for better conversions. Your lead magnet content must ‘scratch the itch’ and your prospect will get the instant gratification they seek.
  1. Be valuable: your lead magnet must give high and perceived value to your prospect so don’t hold back on what value you give to them. 
  1. Instantly accessible: make it quick and easy for the prospect to get.
  1. Demonstrate your expertise: you can demonstrate your expertise easily without being salesy. Create the opportunity for your prospect you get a really good feel for who you are and build that all-important trust.

The purpose of a lead magnet is to attract prospects and give them the information they need for the one thing that they need help with. #contentmarketing #leadmagnet Click To Tweet


Types of Lead Magnets

A lead magnet can be in a variety of different formats depending on what type of business you are and the products or services you offer. The guys at OptinMonster came up with an exhaustive list of 69 Highly Effective Lead Magnet Ideas to Grow Your Email List an excellent resource for generating ideas.

Here’s a quick overview of some popular ideas:

  • Checklist
  • PDF download
  • Toolkit or resource list
  • Workbook
  • Webinar


Probably one of the most easily consumable and actionable resources to offer. A checklist is super quick to consume and to action because all the information is condensed into a quick list.

A great example of a checklist lead magnet is one that my client Lisa Skeffington has had some great success with. She offers a lead magnet checklist ’10 Simple Strategies to Get You Through the Day’ aimed at women who want to overcome their anxiety to lead a better and happier life.

She offers a checklist with 10 simple practices to implement easily and quickly. Once the prospect receives the checklist, they will receive a series of 8 emails where Lisa offers more help, guidance and advice leading to opportunities at different levels where people can work with her.


Lisa Skeffington Anxiety Support


Visit Lisa’s lead magnet here

Even if someone passes through the email series and still takes no action it does not mean they will not become a client in the future. In my article, Why Your Website Content is Not About You, I talked about the buying process consumers go through when they are aware they have a problem but do not really know how or who they want to help fix it. 

PDF Download

A PDF download is a good way to present information which is quick and easy to consume that goes into more detail than a checklist. It is a good way to repurpose content from a blog if you have a specific topic you want to highlight to your audience or provide a more in-depth insight into a topic.

PDF Download Example

In this example, I worked with Jenny Procter at Bondfield Marketing to put together a downloadable PDF with information to help her potential prospects work on their personal branding. In her download ‘ 5 Steps to Successful Personal Branding’, Jenny takes her prospects through 5 key areas to focus on. The supporting email series dives deeper into each of the 5 topics giving practical advice and actionable steps with worksheet downloads. The 7-step email sequence signposts prospects with relevant calls to action during the nurture so it is clear what action they can take when or if they are ready to seek help and work with Jenny.

Bondfield Marketing


Visit Bondfield Marketing: Personal Branding Guide

Toolkit or resource list

A good toolkit or resource list can save your prospect heaps of research time to help them get started with a project. For example, if you run a podcast, you could have a resource list of ‘everything you need to start a podcast’ which covers everything from the kit required to the software to use for editing and publishing.


Any type of media files such as an audio or video is a great asset to offer as a lead magnet. Prospects can see or hear you and the right content can be a practical and quick fix to a problem.


Webinars are a really effective way to get engagement and reach more prospects in one event.


Why Does Your Website Need a Lead Magnet?

Your website needs a lead magnet to attract and engage with potential clients. It is a way to generate leads for your business. It gets your website working for you by doing some of the hard work in attracting leads.

Having a lead magnet means that you don’t have to answer the same questions over and over by using it as a resource to answer questions that your clients often ask you. Think of the questions you are frequently asked and try to find the ‘one thing’ that really helps your prospects.

Your lead magnet will help to:

  • Solve your prospects’ problems
  • Educate your prospects
  • Qualify potential clients
  • Add credibility to your business
  • Build relationships
  • Grow your email list


Grow Your Email List

The biggest benefit for your business by having an effective lead magnet is that prospects will be added to your email list. Email is still by far the most effective way to acquire clients. Email acquisition is 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined.

Source: Why Marketers Should Still be Sending you Emails: McKinsey


Email vs Social Media

Another consideration is to look at the engagement rates with email and social media. You can share useful information and help through your social media channels, but there is a significant difference with the amount of engagement between the two.

Here’s a visual from Optin Monster which shows you at a glance the difference between engagement through social media and emails.


Emails v social media Optin Monster


Source: Is Email Marketing Dead Here’s What the Statistics Show: OptinMonster

The email open rate is much more significant than social media engagement. When someone signs up to your lead magnet, they are choosing to receive that information from you. Prospects who sign up to your lead magnet have made the decision to receive the information from you and makes them much more likely to open and engage in your emails.

The email CTR is the ‘Click Through Rate’ meaning the percentage of people who will click from your email to a link in the email you send. Across all industries, that figure is about 3.71%. The higher your engagement, then potentially the higher conversion you could expect as your prospect moves through your email nurture.


In Summary

In this article, we have looked at what a lead magnet is and how the different moving parts come together to make a lead magnet work.

The main purpose of a lead magnet is twofold. One is to attract prospects as leads to your business and the other, and equally important, is to give your prospects the information they need to help their buying decision with the ONE thing they need help with. That does not mean to say you only have one lead magnet on your website, you can have many lead magnets, each addressing that one particular problem where you can help prospects get closer to solving their problem.

Your lead magnet needs to a quick consumable and gives heaps of value up front and without holding back. It also allows you to show credibility and expertise in your field.

The most effective way of reaching your ideal audience is to attract them to your lead magnet where they join your email list so you can help them. 

Remember though, an email sequence behind your lead magnet is not a continual sales pitch. It is important to get the balance right between the content you give and the calls to action you want prospects to take. Consumers know what they really want, so make it easy for them to take the next step when they are ready to.

If you need help with implementing or re-inventing your lead magnet then let’s have a conversation to see how I can help.

Imogen Allen

Imogen Allen

I'm a Website Strategist and the creator of The WIF®, on a quest to help stop projects waiting on content for all web agencies once and for all. Passionate about helping others find their website identity and championing websites which speaks to humans in a language they understand.

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