For most marketers, building an email list is a primary focus.  This isn’t surprising, given that email marketing achieves an impressive $38 in ROI for every $1 spent!

Of course, this statistic means nothing if you struggle to attract new subscribers.  With email inboxes being flooded with marketing messages, people have become pickier about who they give their email address to these days.

How do you encourage people to willingly give away their information?  The answer is to give them something of value in return!

With an enticing lead magnet, you can begin building a massive email list and start growing your relationship with new subscribers.  Before we dive into lead magnet ideas, let’s quickly go over what a lead magnet is.

What is a Lead Magnet?

A lead magnet is something valuable that is offered (usually for free) to prospective buyers in exchange for their information.  People generally don’t give away their information willingly, which is why your offer needs to be compelling enough that the exchange is worth it to them.

Lead magnets can be just about anything—eBooks, white papers, a coupon, etc.  It simply needs to provide the user with something useful.

For example, we offer valuable content writing tips for content marketers in our free eBook, which is targeted at those in the content marketing industry.  With this lead magnet, the user receives helpful tips to improve their content writing, while we get an opportunity to grow our relationship with a new subscriber.

Alright, you probably get the gist of lead magnets.  Now, let’s explore a few lead magnet ideas and examples that will encourage sign-ups!

10 Ideas for Lead Magnets

Lead magnets work best when they are targeted, easily accessible, and free.  Keep this in mind as you check out the following lead magnet ideas:

  • Guides/Reports: Guides and reports are the most common type of lead magnet, and for good reason.  They’re easy to whip together and convert extremely well when geared towards a targeted audience.

Consider pulling your best tips from your existing content and turning it into a guide, like BeardBrand does in the following example:

  • Toolkit: Do you have years of experience in your niche?  Consider compiling a list of tools and resources that you know will benefit your audience.  Everyone is clamoring to know which tools the experts rely on to fuel their success, which makes this lead magnet especially valuable.
  • Checklist: Checklists are another popular lead magnet for marketers.  Not only are they simple to create into a quick PDF, but they’re also incredibly helpful for users. 

Checklists are easy to consume and take away the user’s need to think too hard about which tasks they need to complete.  They’re also huge time savers!

See how Zola, a wedding website, entices brides-to-be with access to checklists and other helpful wedding planning templates in exchange for creating a Zola account:

  • Content Upgrade: They may require additional work on your part, but content upgrades are an extremely effective way to build your email list and maximize conversions.  A content upgrade is simply bonus content that expands upon the blog post that your audience was currently reading. 

 For example, let’s say that a user is reading a blog post titled, “10 Creative Ways to Drive Engagement on Instagram.”  You could offer them a content upgrade in the form of five additional ways to drive engagement on Instagram.

This type of lead magnet is effective because it’s targeted.  We already know the user is interested in learning how to increase Instagram engagement.  It stands to reason that they will be interested in content that provides additional information on the topic.

Marketers have reported huge success with content upgrades in the past.  Perhaps most notably, Brian Dean from Backlinko claims to have boosted his conversions by 785 percent with content upgrades.

  • Contest/Giveaway: If you want to significantly grow your email list, hosting a contest or giveaway will bring in plenty of email addresses.  No one wants to miss their opportunity to win free stuff!

But to use contests and giveaways as effective lead magnets, your prize must be something that is specific to your target market.  If you sell dog collars and leashes, a good prize would be something targeted to dog owners, such as a bag of treats or dog toys.

In other words, don’t give away Amazon gift cards or something that anyone would want to receive.  This will simply result in uninterested leads who only signed up for the prize.

  • Digital Tool: Many businesses create digital tools for the sole purpose of attracting new leads. 

Take Springbot, an eCommerce marketing provider, as an example.  They offer business owners a free eCommerce scorecard to see how their business’s key metrics stack up against their competitors.

spring bot.png

Keep in mind that you don’t always need to make your own digital tool from scratch!  Many software companies simply offer a smaller version of their software to users, which serves as both a free trial/demo and a lead generation tool.

  • Webinar: Webinars require more planning and skill than, say, guides or checklists.  However, they can drive quality leads that are interested in your business.  The key is to promote your webinar well in advance so that you can build a live audience.

Best of all, they can keep bringing in leads long after the live webinar has ended.  Simply offer promote your recorded webinars (assuming the content is evergreen) and ask for their email address in exchange for access!

  • Discount: Offering discounts in the form of a pop-up ad is a common lead generation tactic for many eCommerce marketers.  If they want your coupon, then they are likely to be interested in your product and plan on buying from you soon.

For a good example, check out KUTOA.  They display a pop-up ad the moment new users arrive on their page, offering a discount to capture warm leads.



While pop-ups do have their disadvantages, they aren’t as annoying to users as you may think.  When used correctly, the evidence overwhelmingly shows that pop-ups work.

  • Worksheets/Templates: These are similar to checklists, except you aren’t solving a problem; you’re helping someone work through their problems.  Worksheets and templates offer a useful roadmap for your audience and help them realize their goals.

Tools such as Canva can help you create valuable worksheets and templates.  Just remember to tailor them specifically to your brand to make them stand out.

  • Free Consultation/Quote: If your business offers a service rather than a product, a free consultation or quote is an excellent lead magnet.  Of course, keep in mind that your time is a valuable resource and your offer must be targeted if you want high-quality leads.

Free consultations provide a good excuse for capturing email addresses of prospects who are in the middle of the sales funnel.  They also offer you an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and convince the prospect why you are the company to do business with.


As a small business owner, you don’t want just any prospective buyer—you want quality leads that will turn into lifelong customers.  But to grow your relationship with your audience, you first need to capture their email address.

With a few irresistible lead magnets, you can provide immense value to your audience and begin nurturing them through the sales funnel.  Just remember to make your lead magnets targeted, easy to digest, and packed with value to capture high-quality leads!

Have you tried any of these lead magnets?  How have they worked out for your organization?  Find us on Facebook and let us know!