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A lead magnet is an offer in exchange for a prospect’s email address or other contact information. Common examples are eBooks and white papers. Small Business Trends contacted several experts to get their takes on the best lead magnet practices for SMBs.

As a bonus: If you want to “Create A High-Converting Lead Magnet That Converts,” be sure to check out this video after reading:

Next, let’s find out how a lead magnet works.

How a Lead Magnet Works

Call to Action

lead magnet - graphic of persona holding call to action words with related icons

There’s a path to follow that needs to include a few items. Put these together in order to get prospects to follow your directions.  First off is a Call to Action. This is the tab or button that gets visitors to follow through.

Start with a strong verb like “shop” or “order”. Using an e-book as the incentive? Then words like download or subscribe are best.

Landing Page

lead magnet - landing page designated key on a laptop keyboard

A landing page is where you collect a prospect’s information. There’s usually a form to fill our where people can leave their email addresses and other contact info.

Alistair Dodds is the Marketing Director and Co-Founder of London based Digital Marketing Agency EIC Marketing.  He has some suggestions for a small business putting a lead magnet together.

“Brainstorm with your team as to the biggest problems your customers typically have,” he writes.  “Then identify one specific common issue and write out a step by step process path.”

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Resource Page

lead magnet - landing page

Clients are then led to the page where they can download the resource. Easy Peasy, right? Not So fast. Picking the right resource takes more time and effort.

What Works as a Lead Magnet?

You need to decide what kind of resource you’re going to offer. That will depend on a few things like your target market and the industry or niche you’re in.

Alistair Dodds has another suggestion.

“Use Facebook lead ad campaigns as your campaign type choice.  Connect Facebook with a Mailchimp account and set up a series of autoresponders. That helps build rapport with your prospects after they have signed up to your mailing list. “

Here are a few other ideas that work.

The eBook

lead magnet ebook graphic

Chane Steiner, CEO of Crediful, offers up some advice.

“Create something that has actionable value,” he writes.  “The key to a successful lead
magnet is to create something that provides real value. In the case of content, like a downloadable eBook, you are going to want to provide actionable advice.”

He suggests a ‘How To’ or ‘3 Easy Ways to Do(Something).’ Steiner stresses targeting these to your specific audience is important. Keep in mind the title of your book is critical. It needs to read like a one line pitch to get folks to read it.

Keeping things concise and proofreading your work are essential too.

The Report

lead magnet report

These work great in a B2B environment where one business is trying to sell goods and services to another.

“Lead magnets are a great way to build a subscriber list for many businesses,” writes Paul Farmer, VP of Marketing at WOODTEX. “To develop one, you’ll want to identify a subject of intense interest to your target demographic. Then, source a quality writer to put together a 3 to 5 page report.”

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Another tip. Stay away from any salesy content. It needs to be educational and engaging. Quality information that is of interest to another small business owner.

The Workbook

These work well because they walk your prospect through the process. Keeping things simple is the key to success. The design needs to be minimal. Here’s a good example.

The Checklist

These are even more effective when you put them together in a printable format. These need to be specific like “10 Boxes to Check to Sell More on Social Media” and satisfying. Here’s some information that you will find helpful on formatting your checklist.

There are lots of other choices. But what ever offer you use, the content needs to be easily digestible. You want to position yourself as an expert in the industry but not a boring one. Remember you’re focusing your efforts on someone who’s not experienced in the field like you.

Comparison Table: Types of Lead Magnets

The following table quickly provides a snapshot of each lead magnet type, its ideal usage scenario, and some key tips or features.

Lead Magnet Type Best For Key Tips/Features
eBook General audiences looking for comprehensive information Provide actionable advice; Engaging title; Target specific audience
Report B2B environments 3 to 5 pages in length; Educational and engaging; No salesy content
Workbook Interactive learning and hands-on approach Walks prospects through a process; Simple, minimal design
Checklist Quick, actionable steps Specific titles (e.g., “10 Steps to…”); Printable format

Lead Magnet Dos and Don’ts

Here are a few do’s and don’ts to help you along as you put your lead magnet together.

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  • Unique and Attractive Lead Magnet:
    • Your lead magnet should stand out and be different from others in the market.
    • Add value to it. Don’t worry about over-delivering.
  • Demonstrate Expertise:
    • Ensure that the content is a testament to your knowledge and skills.
    • Share insights, tips, or information that isn’t easily available elsewhere.
  • Be Concise:
    • Avoid unnecessary fluff. Get straight to the point.
    • Make sure the content is easy to understand and not overwhelming.
  • Offer a Solution:
    • Address a specific problem your audience has.
    • Provide actionable steps or tools to solve that problem.
  • Presentation Matters:
    • The manner in which you package and present the lead magnet is crucial.
    • Use compelling visuals, easy-to-read formats, and engaging headlines.
  • Allan Dib’s Perspective (Founder of Successwise):
    • Frame your lead magnet as a solution to a prevalent problem.
    • Allan Dib articulates it as: “In a nutshell, your lead magnet says: ‘It seems like X could be one of your biggest problems. I’m going to walk you through how to solve X. And if you’d like my assistance doing Y to solve X, I’d be happy to help.’”


  • Avoid a Weak Call To Action (CTA):
    • Your CTA should be strong and direct.
    • Use imperative language like “Call Now” or “Act Fast” instead of passive or vague prompts like “Consider This Option.”
  • Language Precision:
    • Be clear and precise in your instructions and offers.
    • Avoid ambiguity which can confuse or deter potential leads.
  • Invest in Professional Presentation:
    • Allocate adequate resources to ensure your landing page looks professional.
    • Refrain from using poorly designed graphics or amateur visuals.
  • Avoid Bad Design Choices:
    • A poorly designed landing page can repel potential customers.
    • Ensure that your page is aesthetically pleasing, easy to navigate, and reflective of your brand’s quality.

Image: Depositphotos.com


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