5 Keys to a Successful Lead Magnet

Contrary to what you may think, not all lead magnets are created equal. This can be particularly challenging for entrepreneurs that work in passion-based industries.

The reason being, most passion-based entrepreneurs are SOOOO knowledgeable and passionate about getting their clients the results they’re looking for, that they often BLOW THEM AWAY with knowledge.

Sort of like killing a fly with a BAZOOKA … it’s too much!

Let me tell you a little story. This is funny and a little sad, but what the heck, we all start somewhere.

One of my first ever “official” lead magnets was put together back in 2010. At the time we had just celebrated 12 years in business and honestly, I was a little cocky.

So I put this lead magnet together. I didn’t do a buyer persona or think at all about what the customer wanted. I just knew what they needed, so I had this epiphany …

What people really need is somebody like me to come in and tell them the truth, lay it on the line and just stuff them full of killer content.

So my idea was – 30 Tips in 30 Days. Each day, for 30 days, I was going to send an email with a quick tip, lesson or strategy. Just basically dropping knowledge. I started out strong … for the first week, then I missed a few days and got back on track. By the time I hit day 22, I was so sick of it that I didn’t even finish the 30 tips.

The funny part though, was that not 1 person called me on it. So of all the people that had signed up, they lost interest between day 1 and day 22 and didn’t even notice that I didn’t finish writing the tips.


That was a horrible lead magnet for a lot of different reasons. After many lessons learned and a lot of experience, we’ve come up with 5 KEYS or rules for lead magnets.

Any lead magnet that we’ve ever seen flop (and we’ve seen our fair share), has been because it broke one of these rules. And without a doubt, if you’ve dipped your toes in the lead magnet world and they’ve been less than successful, you can undoubtedly point it back to one of these five.

They aren’t complicated, but DO NOT underestimate the power of these rules.

Here are the Lead Magnet Success Principles in no particular order:

  1. Specific – Our goal with this lead magnet is that we want to give the prospect a specific RESULT. Once they get that result, that’s when trust is built and when the relationship building starts. We’re not trying to solve ALL their problems. We just want to solve this one nagging problem because that will show them that we know what we’re talking about – we’ve solved this problem and we can definitely solve others as well. The more specific the better.
  2. Easy to Consume – Remember my 30 tips in 30 days … that was too much. Books make horrible lead magnets because they take too long to get through. Small e-books, checklists, short videos – these are all easy to consume. The other thing we want to take in account here is how your perfect client prefers to consume their content. If you’re people don’t listen to podcasts … don’t do a podcast – they won’t consume it.
  3. Address a Known Desire – By known desire, we mean a desire your perfect prospect has. Not what you think they have, but what they’ve told you they have.
  4. Deliver Value – Value can either be real or perceived. Real value would be like – Save $50 on your first week of xyz. Perceived value can be a webinar, some killer content or teaching somebody a skill. This one can be tricky because sometimes there can be a difference of perception in terms of value. Let me give you an example: When we launched our membership site last year, part of the offering was me being on an office hours call every week. From my perspective, this had immense value. An 18-year marketing veteran just sitting on the phone waiting to answer your questions. I know what my bill rate is and that was a lot of $$$$ that we were missing out on. My audience rarely took me up on it. More often than not, I was on the phone just working on client projects. The reason being, the audience either didn’t understand the value or they didn’t see the value – it wasn’t important to them. So when you are looking at value, look at it from your customer’s perspective, not yours.
  5. Aligned with your product or service – It doesn’t have to be directly related but we need to be able to connect the two through our follow-up sequence. Let me give you an example: I have a client that runs a doggie daycare and boarding facility. So the lead magnet that we worked on was a guide to local dog-friendly hikes and beaches.

The target market was active professionals with dogs that were looking for fun outdoor activities they could do with their pets.

What made this work, was that fact that we could tie their weekend excursions to exercise and how exercising their pets made them happier and healthier on the weekends. But during the work week, the dogs wouldn’t get the exercise that they needed when they were cooped up in the house all day, so we introduced some weekday exercise packages so their dogs could be happy and healthy all week long. BINGO!

You see how that worked? We used the lead magnet to identify and call out our perfect customer. We had them pay attention to the dogs wellbeing when they were well exercised, and then simply reminded them that they don’t get that exercise during the week presently, but they could with one of our exercise packages.

So those are the 5 Keys to a Successful Lead Magnet. They are the rules that we’re going to test all of our ideas against to help reduce the chances of us putting out a stinker.

Now It’s Your Turn

Use the comments section below and tell me a lead magnet that was successful for your business?

The Simple Steps to Indentifying Your Perfect Lead Magnet

There is ONE BIG THING that you must always make clear when identifying your perfect lead magnet…it is your PROMISE!

What’s the One Big Thing that your lead magnet is going to do, teach or solve for your end user?

There are quite a few areas where you can draw on experience for this.

  1. Client Interviews – One of the things you should always be asking is what’s the #1 problem that you have with abc? What do you hate about xyz?
  2. Surveys – Same thing here – the data isn’t quite as reliable, but it’s still a really good source of finding peoples frustrations.
  3. Competitors – Do you have competitors that are killing it at some aspect of their business? Are there challenges with it?
  4. Prospect Phone Call – You talk to prospective clients everyday – What sort of questions do they ask? What objections do they put up when you ask them tschedule?
  5. Your FAQ This could be an FAQ page on your website or just your own internal understanding of the client’s needs (this must be based on actual data.)

Whenever I put a lead magnet out into the webosphere, I always take users to a second page where I get a little more information. The one question I always ask is – What’s your #1, single biggest marketing challenge right now?

After asking this over 1,000 times, I’ve realized that in my niche there are really three main challenges. I developed a lead magnet for each of these challenges to help my prospective client overcome them.

  1. People Don’t Know Where to Start. There’s so much information out there and everybody says you have to do this if you want to be successful. They end of just picking something at random and then wonder why their stuff doesn’t work. Lead Magnet: 2015 Marketing Guide – What’s Working Now.
  2. People Have a Hard Time Finding Good Team Members. It’s hard to market a business if you don’t have anybody to trust that will do the work. Lead Magnet: Expert Interview Series on Hiring.
  3. No Time. People are trying to do it all in their business and have no extra time or money, so they need to do everything on the cheap. Lead Magnet: Productivity Lead Magnet in the Works.

Here are 6 steps to help you identify your perfect lead magnet;

STEP 1. Identify Problems You Can Solve

Grab a pen and paper and start jotting down the problems that people are having that you can help with. These are the ONE BIG THING PROMISES that you can solve for your clients.

STEP 2. Categorize Your Ideas

Determine what category the lead magnets might fall into.

  • Is it a How-To guide?
  • Is it a Cheat-sheet or Checklist?
  • Is it a Training Video?

STEP 3. Test it against the 5 Keys to a Great Lead Magnet

After you select the category of the lead magnet – the third thing you want to do is run it through our 5 Keys to a great lead magnet.

Think about your idea and ask the 5 key questions:

  • Is it specific enough?
  • Is it easy for the prospect to consume?
  • Does it address a KNOWN desire?
  • Does it deliver value?
  • Is it aligned with one of your products/services?

If you said YES to all 5 – you’re on the way to having an awesome lead magnet. If you don’t have all 5 go back to the previous questions and see if you can tweak it to make it satisfy all the criteria.

If your Lead magnet isn’t specific enough, you can take your topic and break it down even further.

Maybe it’s not about how to grow an awesome garden but how to grow awesome tulips. Its more specific.
Maybe it’s not how to be a better marketer, but how to attract new clients.
Maybe it’s not how to stop dog bites, but rather how to keep your toddler safe in a dog-friendly home.

STEP 4. Thinning the Herd

From all of the lead magnet ideas that you have, take all the ones that have all 5 keys checked and put them in one pile. Take the rest, and put them in a folder for later use. Sometimes there could be some great nuggets in there – you just need to work on the idea a little more.

STEP 5. Pick Your Winner

Of all the Lead magnet ideas that you have left – the ones with all 5 Keys checked…go ahead and lay them out and choose which one you feel you can deliver the best on.


STEP 6. Come Up with a Compelling Title

There’s a reason why we saved the title until the very end. The title of your lead magnet is very important. If the title doesn’t grab the user’s attention – it doesn’t matter how great the content is, they’ll never see it. 8/10 readers will read the title, only 2/10 read the body copy. So if we can’t grab their attention, they’re not going to consume the content (and remember…that is one of our 5 Keys to a great lead magnet.) We need the users to consume the content so they can reap the benefits of our knowledge.

Now that you have identified what your perfect lead magnet is going to be…all you have to do is CREATE IT!

Now It’s Your Turn

Use the comments section below and tell me what is your best idea for a lead magnet for your business?

15 Lead Magnets Guaranteed to WOW Prospective Customers

When we first think about the idea of a lead magnet and how we can incentivize our prospects to do what we want them to do – most people immediately think COUPON. And quite honestly, coupons can be great lead magnets if they’re done properly, but we don’t want to just think coupons or discounts – there is a whole new world of “valuable offers” out there… we’re going to talk about 15 different types of lead magnets.

Now this list is by no means comprehensive – we could easily add more categories and subcategories but this is a really solid list to give you some ideas about the types of things that we can offer our prospects.

1 Guides / Reports / E-books

  • These are really popular because they’re easy to make and it’s a great way for you to position yourself as an authority on a given topic.
  • All we really need here is for the end user to come up with one “AHA” moment or to get the small result they’re looking for and this lead magnet has done its job.
  • Usually in the format of a PDF document that can be emailed or downloaded.

2 Case Studies

  • This is a specific type of document where you record specific results that you’ve gotten.
  • If you’re a dog trainer, you can have a case study about a particularly challenging client.
  • It builds authority and also ties in social proof because you can weave in testimonials from the client.
  • Depending on what you do, these can either be written or VIDEO which works really well if it’s possible.

3 Cheat Sheet/Handout/Checklist

  • I really like these because people download them like CRAZY! In this instant gratification world we live in, people always want a fast result.
  • These give users step-by-step instructions.
  • These are usually downloadable documents and in most cases can be 1-2 pages.
  • Great for processes that can be systematized

4 Video Training/Webinars

  • Here users will not only be able to consume your content but they also see you as a person. It’s closer to how we do things in real life and because of that, it allows us to build a relationship FASTER.
  • Caveat is … you have to be personable. I know that you’ve all seen it – videos where the person looks scared-stiff, staring into the camera and not blinking – it just looks weird because those people aren’t comfortable on camera. If that’s you … don’t do video. Do a webinar. It is still your voice but instead of seeing your head, on a webinar people will see slides that you’ve created.

5 FREE/Discounted Access

  • I know that some people hate discounts. They are physically repulsed by the idea of discounting but we still do it because it works. Sometimes when people are on the fence about your product or service and they’re cost conscious, give them a discount.
  • If you don’t like the term discount, call it a gift certificate.
  • The key with discounts is that you have to be very clear that they are for new customers only and you have to have a strategy to get them back up to paying your full rate.

6 Special Access – AKA “The Velvet Rope”

  • A special waiting list for early access to your products/services.
  • A higher level of access to you.
  • Access to a special VIP excursion.

7 Quiz

  • These are huge right now. You basically ask the user a series of questions and at the end you give them a result.
    • What kind of pet parent are you?
    • What’s your marketing “spirit animal”?
    • Which Disney princess are you?
  • The keys here are to make sure you ask qualifying questions during the quiz so you can get more details about your market.
  • You can also make them opt-in for the answer.

8 >Surveys

  • Surveys are always a great way to find out what your market is thinking or having trouble with.
    • What’s the single largest frustration you have with _______?
    • What would you like to see from me next?
    • If you could teach your dog to master 1 thing – what would it be?
  • You can get people to enter their name and email because they want to see the results of the survey. People tend to like anything that allows them to go head to head with somebody else.

9 Contests / Sweepstakes

  • These are great because contents will typically get users sharing your information on social media.
  • You can even use software or web apps like content domination and actually incentivize participants to share your content socially by awarding them more points or entries.
    • Enter to win __________ (small version of your service)
    • Facebook photo contests
    • You have to be careful with these though and check with your local laws regarding sweepstakes or contests.

10 Event Recordings

  • Audio or video recordings of a previous event.
  • This is a great way to create a lead magnet from something that you’ve already done.
  • If you do in-person workshops, events or online teleseminars – you can use that content for years.
  • Most people actually don’t even give the whole thing away. They sell the whole thing and only give away special sessions here and there.

11 Branded Materials

  • Anything that is meaningful to your prospect that you can put a logo on is awesome.
  • The key here is you want it to be something that person will use or keep around daily.
    • coffee cups
    • water bottles
    • leashes
    • magnetic picture frames for the refrigerator with your company name and phone number

12 Physical Gifts

  • One of the more popular lead magnet strategies now is what’s called a “Free + Shipping” offer.
  • Basically what you do is you say, “Hey – I’ll send this thing to you absolutely free. I just ask that you help me cover the shipping and handling cost.”
  • You then charge $4.95 – $9.95 for shipping and handling and use that to help cover the cost of the product.

13 Swipe Files

  • A Swipe file is a collection of tested/proven letters, ads, emails, etc.
  • You can basically swipe the files and use them in your own business – thus the name swipe files.
  • A lot of time, you’ll see these lead magnets being used by marketers or copywriters, but the applications here can be varied.
  • If you have anything that can be copied and re-used with very little modification required, a swipe file might be for you.

14 Samples

  • Everybody loves samples. Have you been to Costco lately? That place is ridiculous with the on-aisle samples – but with a company worth of nearly $100 Billion (yes with a B). They are a perfect testing ground for marketing strategies across middle America.
  • This can be a free session, free dog treats or a welcome kit for new customers – include samples of products that you use.
  • This works like gangbusters but you HAVE to have your back-end in place. Meaning you need to have your complete funnel in place because you don’t want to keep 30,000 people waiting – the customer support will kill you.

15 Workshops

  • These can be anything from a 20 minute “Lunch and Learn” type of presentation to a 3-4-hour workshop in a local hotel or Chamber of Commerce.
  • These can be paid, free or pay to save your spot and then you get your money back if you show up to the event.
  • Because it’s live and you can really interact with people, most workshops have an offer that day. People that are good at presenting and very personable can make a killing doing this.
  • The challenge here is that we’re fighting for everybody’s attention so to try and get people to take time off to go to some external location for a free event – can be tough.

So there you have it … 15 different types of lead magnets! I’m sure that a few of these probably stuck out as definite winners for your crowd. Test some out until you identify what the perfect lead magnet is going to be for your audience.

Now It’s Your Turn

Use the comments section below and tell me what has been your most successful lead magnet, and why?

Your Prospective Customer Has a Problem! An Irresistible Lead Magnet Can Solve It.

The Law of Reciprocity basically states that if you do something nice for somebody, they are going to have a strong psychological urge to do something nice in return. In other words, if you scratch my back, I’m more likely to scratch yours back and repay the favor.

When you put a lead magnet in front of your perfect client, it is going to help them solve a problem they are having. You have made the first step – you have scratched their back first.

A LEAD MAGNET is any piece of valuable content, real or perceived, that we can give to a new prospect in exchange for their name and an e-mail address.

When people are searching online, they typically look for one of the two different things.

  1. Entertainment
  2. Looking to Solve a Problem

A lead magnet solves the problem they are having. It’s basically like walking up to someone in real life and helping them out of a sticky situation. It is an opportunity to flex your professional muscles and show this new prospect that you know your stuff, and from their perspective, they are loving you right now!

This makes the follow up conversation and eventual offer better received. It goes against what most people do online and this is how we stand out from the competition.

Why do we use Lead Magenets?

  1. To collect a name and e-mail address to continue conversations with our prospects even after they have left our sites.
  2. To qualify and segment leads so you can have different lead magnets for your different products and services you offer.
  3. To set up a sale down the road.

Now that you have helped a prospective customer out of a jam, chances are they will be more receptive to your follow up conversations. After all…they kinda owe you a little back scratch in return!

Now It’s Your Turn

Use the comments section below and tell me an example of a successful lead magnet you have offered and how it solved a problem your customer was having?