The top of your sales funnel offers a lead magnet to incentivize people to subscribe to your email newsletter, or to create an account on your membership website. A free ebook, an mp3 download, a whitepaper, or access to the resources section of your website, are all ‘opt-in incentives’ that encourage people to exchange their email address for the valuable information that you can give them. We call them ‘lead magnets’ because they attract the leads you want to put in your funnel – if your lead magnet design process was done correctly.

Let’s face it, you can stuff any kind of lead into your sales funnel, but the leads that you want are the ones that have the highest chance of becoming your customer.

Free lead magnets are opt-in bribes.

You are building your list, and the free ebook you offer above your email subscription form is your bribe to get people to subscribe.

Be sure you are bribing the right people.

Lead magnet design checklist

  • Your lead magnet addresses a problem your customer avatar is facing right now
  • The title is clear and descriptive (and maybe a little clickbait-y)
  • The medium is digestible quickly (a 5-page report is better than a 7-hour video series)
  • Delivery of the lead magnet is automated through your email service provider
  • A professional graphic designer was either involved in the production, or was asked for their opinion about the lead magnet design
  • The lead magnet ends with a call-to-action to move to the next stage of your sales funnel

Typical Lead Magnet Ideas

Being a lead magnet creator does not mean that you have to become a copywriter, graphic designer, and sales funnel strategist all at the same time. All you have to do is offer to solve a problem that would make a stranger thank you for providing them with an easy solution to the challenge they are facing.

Here are some ideas for creating a lead magnet for your website:

  • A guide, report, or handbook converted from one of your longer blog posts
  • A cheat sheet for easy reference
  • A worksheet they can print and fill out, with questions that will give them valuable perspective on the biggest challenges or pain points their audience faces
  • A resource list, with links and descriptions
  • A video training or webinar replay you have given in the past
  • A free trial or discount code to sample your service
  • A survey, assessment, or quiz, to give them an interactive experience that leads to a customized recommendation
  • Your pricing, rates, or service directory

What Makes The Best Lead Magnet?

After studying many digital marketers and sales funnel specialists over the years, I’ve found the most successful lead magnets have these attributes:

  • The design is consistent with the overall brand strategy
  • The material is thorough and in-depth
  • There are many insider’s resources that are collected all into one place
  • They are filled with affiliate links

Affiliate marketing has a questionable reputation in online marketing, because it is so easy to do it badly. The typical smarmy salesperson who everybody wants to avoid – they can get online and get real loud with all of their affiliate links, and drive potential customers away by brazenly pushing their affiliate links on everyone.

But when affiliate marketing is done well, it’s easy and seamless, and provides a solid revenue stream that can support your business.

Your lead magnet is the best cornerstone for your affiliate marketing strategy. This is where you can collect resources that you have spent time vetting, comparing, and studying; and if you use that opportunity to suggest a resource that your target customer would love to know about, an affiliate link isn’t unexpected, it’s the right and proper use of affiliate links.

For an example of lead magnets and list building done well, read Pat Flynn’s email list strategy and get his ebook, Ebooks the Smart Way.

You can also read ‘How To Wake Up Early (And Like It)‘ by Caelan Huntress. Note the CTA at the end – it’s the entire purpose of this ebook.