An Example-Driven Guide to Creating Lead Magnets

What exactly attracts visitors to subscribe to an email list?

Well, it could be an influence of name or social proof, if not some brilliant form placements or dazzling opt-in invitations. Actually they all are.

But there is one thing, a significant one that can multiply someone’s list building conversion quickly. That is a lead magnet, alias of bribe to subscribe, opt-in bribe and opt-in offer.

In case you are wondering what the heck is that, let me give you a straightforward definition:

Lead magnet can be said a bribe, product or service that is literary free but valuable, and offers visitors to get it by signing up to a system.

guide to lead magnet

Why lead magnets?

You could ask why use that? Isn’t a general subscribe invitation worthwhile?

It’s all about “conversion rate”. To make a higher list building conversion rate, you have to give a strong reason to subscribe.

A general subscribe form makes no specific reason that emphasizes on subscribing (unless you are very popular) and the conversion is barely 1% or lesser.

Where a lead magnet offers the visitors to get a free value by subscribing to the email list, and the conversion rate could be as high as 2%-7% (what I see in my case) or higher if you do it extremely well.

Everybody starting from the dummies to experts, all want to achieve more conversion rate as possible. And there is no better alternative of lead magnets when it comes to conversion.

So here I will show you how to create and deliver lead magnet effectively with 11 winning examples from the industry leaders.

Example #1: Ebook/Guide

michael hyatt ebook

Comes from ⇒

How does it work ⇒ Michael Hyatt is known as a top intentional leadership blogger who has grown up his email list with over 537,000 subscribers (counting more daily). He is one of the best-selling authors and give away his ebook.

Example #2: Strategy/Cheat Sheet

matthew woodward strategy

Comes from ⇒

How does it work ⇒ Matthew Woodward is known for his various seo experiments and case studies. He discovered a strategy to steal competitors ranking and giving it away to his subscribers.

Example #3: VIP Content Vault/Resources

adam connell content vault

Comes from ⇒

How does it work ⇒ Adam Connell is well-known for his traffic generation and list building tips. He set up a private content vault for his subscribers what can be used to grow a blog 425% faster.

Example #4: Free Course

neil patel free course

Comes from ⇒

How does it work ⇒ Neil Patel is among the top 10 online marketing experts of the world. He is known for his amazing seo and content marketing guides. He offers his subscribers a free course to double website traffic in 30 days.

Example #5: Report/Analysis

social media examiner industry report

Comes from ⇒

How does it work ⇒ Social Media Examiner is one of the largest social media marketing blog with tons of great writers. It offers a free report “how industry leaders are using social media sites” and appeal audiences.

Example #6: Tools/Toolkit

appsumo resource

Comes from ⇒

How does it work ⇒ AppSumo creates marketing tools to make the works much easier. It offers its subscribers a list of 15 tools that can be used to accelerate their online marketing results.

Example #7: Test/Assessment

hubspot marketing grader

Comes from ⇒

How does it work ⇒ HubSpot is a popular inbound marketing software what offers a free engine to grade website marketing by analyzing the good and bad sides of a website. To avail a full report, someone has to subscribe to their mailing list.

Example #8: Tips/Newsletter

brian dean traffic tips

Comes from ⇒

How does it work ⇒ Brian Dean is known as a top link building expert. He is a guy of innovative traffic and link building ideas. He sends effective traffic building tips in his newsletter and appeals a lot of people to subscribe to his list.

Example #9: Free Trial/Test-drive

coschedule free trial

Comes from ⇒

How does it work ⇒ CoSchedule is an effective planning and scheduling tool for marketers. It gives a free trial of 14 days by signing up to their system.

Example #10: Coupon/Discount

wpmudev discount

Comes from ⇒

How does it work ⇒ WPMU DEV is a team of wordpress experts that will help you make your blog way much better using their amazing plugins, themes and support. It gives an offer to save 60% on their service by subscribing to their newsletter.

Example #11: Content Upgrade

buzzblogger pdf checklist

Comes from ⇒

How does it work ⇒ Content upgrade is one of the best converting list building methods. Kim Roach of BuzzBlogger provides pdf versions of his ultimate guides by subscribing to her email list.

So which one is best for you?

If you are an expert – Many people will look on to you and surely be interested to know how you work. You may have got plenty of subscribers but interested to double them quickly. You can choose the following lead magnets:

  1. Write a guide/ebook
  2. Share strategy/cheat-sheet
  3. Make a free audio or video course
  4. Send effective tips/newsletter

If you are a newbie – You are looking to fill your email list with more and more subscribers, and you might not be that popular yet. So the best choice for you is that serve the wealth of value and attract viewers. Here are the best opt-in offers for you:

  1. Give details report/analysis
  2. Provide content upgrade
  3. Make a list of valuable tools/toolkit
  4. Create vip content resource

If you are a company or service – You have to prove your company is the best for business and attract new customers with deals or offers. So here are the best matches for you:

  1. Give free trial/test-drive
  2. Provide seasonal coupon/discount
  3. Provide partial test/assessment

Creating your lead magnets

Creating magnets are easy. All you have to do is that determine your best expertise area and make something valuable around it.

Develop your expertise into a masterpiece of content, I mean how you manage to do something better than anyone else and prepare it for giving to your subscribers.

There are a few formats you can write, record or visualize your content and make it ready to send as a download.

Creating a pdf/doc

Required tool ⇒ Microsoft Word (preferably the latest version)

The easiest way to creating a doc/pdf file is through Microsoft Word. Just open it up after getting it on your windows computer, write what you decided to write as your magnet content, click on File>Save As and save it as a doc/docx/pdf file.

save as doc or pdf in microsoft word

PDF is the most standard reading format and recommended too. You can write your ebook/guide/strategy in this way and save it as a pdf file for publication. Here are a few tips to improve your document’s readability:

  • Create a table of content to help users navigate.
  • Number and title every page of your ebook.
  • Provide a checklist so readers can print it and put it on their desks.

Creating an audio

Required tool ⇒ Microphone, Audacity

You can make a podcast and use it as a lead magnet. It that case you will need a microphone to record your voice and audio recording software (my recommendation is Audacity for windows).

Here are a few tips to make your audios professional:

  • Avoid using built-in microphones. Get a high-quality external mic.
  • Use any advanced software that can filter noises or unnecessary sounds.

Creating a video

Required tool ⇒ Jing, Microphone, Webcam or Camcorder

If you are interested to use your strategy as a lead magnet, you can make a video showing how to do exactly, and people would more appreciate it.

For that, you will require a few tools. There are basically two types of videos you can record:

  1. Screen-cast
  2. Direct speaking video

For screencasting your computer play, you will need a software that records screenplay (my recommendation is Jing) and a high-quality microphone to discuss the screencast.

If you are good at giving a speech or presenting yourself, you can record a direct video of giving a lesson by speech. For that, you will require a good webcam or a camcorder to video your play.

Creating charts

Required tool ⇒

You may need to insert custom charts in your guide or report. To easily do that you need

You may be well enough to create it manually by your own. But that is very time-consuming and hard too. But with, it is as easy as putting up your value and the chart is ready instantly.

Here is a quick screenshot of how it works:

create charts using infogram

Creating images

Required tool ⇒ Adobe Photoshop or Canva

I have no doubts you will need to create and include images in your guide or ebook, and make it easier to understand.

Most of the time I use Adobe Photoshop (I highly recommend) to design my images but if you are looking for a quick and easy solution, Canva is for you.

Canva comes with ready-made backgrounds, layouts, icons and text packs what will need you to just drag-and-drop elements to prepare an image of your required size.

Designing magnet invitation

The success of your lead magnet hugely depends on how to you designed and timed your opt-in forms. It’s hard to design and function subscribe forms if you are not literary a good web developer.

So here are a few handy wordpress plugins that can be used to create beautiful subscribe forms and trigger them on time. The good news is that you don’t need any coding skill for using them.

For popping/sliding/sticky subscribe boxes

1. Thrive Leads – $59+ (Recommended)

Thrive leads is the all-in-one list building plugin that I have ever come across. I used many list building plugins where I saw this one only has this feature, that one has that feature only. But Thrive Leads is the plugin that has almost all features you may ever need in one place.

2. SumoMe – Free

SumoMe can be said the best of all free list building plugins that came for wordpress. It has some cool sharing and analytic features alongside. So it is altogether a good choice if you are looking something free for now.

For custom/landing pages

1. Thrive Landing Pages – $59+ (Recommended)

Thrive Landing Pages is not only a good plugin for building landing pages, but also includes two extra products Thrive Content Builder and Thrive Lightbox. It is a combo of three useful products that will help you create your lead pages much more effective.

2. Leadpages – $37+/month

When it comes to landing pages, LeadPages is usually on top of the list. However, some people reported that their price tag is a little higher than others. Except that, everything is gold.

For static subscribe boxes

1. Plugmatter Feature Box – $37+ (Recommended)

Header is one of the high converting areas for subscribe forms, and you may have seen it in many blogs, for example, Boost Blog Traffic, MatthewWoodward. Using Plugmatter, you can add a beautiful subscribe form to your blog header.

2. Optin Forms – Free

If you are looking for a free wordpress plugin to add static subscribe form to your posts/pages, Optin Forms is for you. You can take one of their templates, customize it and add it to your blog in a simple mouse click.

Delivering the magnets

Creating and designing your lead magnets are all your works, delivering them is the easiest part. You just need to upload your magnet content somewhere and give the url to whom subscribers, using your email marketing auto-responder.

If you are on a good web host and have a lot of bandwidths, you can host it on your own website. Otherwise, you can upload it on an online storage site like Dropbox.

You will need to setup an auto-responder to send the download link automatically when someone subscribes to your mailing list. To achieve that, you will need a good email marketing service with higher delivery rate.

Recommend email marketing services

1. MailChimp – $10+/month (Recommended)

MailChimp is what I been using for years and a reliable email marketing service provider. If you are a newbie and not yet ready to invest in an email marketing service, this is the choice for you. It will allow you to use it for free up to your first 2000 subscribers.

2. AWeber – $19+/month

If you are slightly high on budget and want to invest in a good email marketing service, AWeber is right for you. It is one of the oldest, trusted and reliable service provider you can try out.

Make your lead magnet even more powerful

Lead magnets are powerful, and you can turn them into the whole powerhouse by following a few practices. Here are two of them whom from I got improved results.

Choose multiple offers

Want to increase your list building conversion rate by more? You can do that well by using multiple magnets at a time without investing a lot of time.

For instance, a two-layer working magnet can be an ebook/guide + content upgrade. An ebook will take you time, but you can also add a content upgrade in your site without dedicating a lot of extra time.

You can create a checklist for any of your favorite post or entirely convert it into a pdf in no time. It will reward you with some extra email subscribers driven from that post.

Same to that, a third-layer lead magnet system would be “an ebook/guide + a content upgrade + a toolkit” or you can use more of them at the same time.

A/B testing

Your lead magnet’s performance will majorly depend on the type of your site audience. No can be definite this one will work but that one won’t.

So the best choice is that do your own test. To differentiate conversion rate between two practices, a new technology has been introduced, that is called A/B testing.

To learn how to do A/B test, Kevin Lee of Buffer has a start-up guide: How to Perform an A/B Test on Headlines, Tweets, Traffic, and More.


Many people believe that inviting someone to subscribe without giving him anything is not foolish as it converts very low. I believe in that too.

You should plan to give your visitors something valuable before you invite them to subscribe. That is exactly what I was doing and the result is far better than without.

So what do you think about it and how you manage to create and deliver your own lead magnet? I’m much interested to know your opinion.

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  1. Harleena Singh June 3, 2015
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  3. Hannah Edia November 13, 2015
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