January 13

How to Grow Your Email List With Lead Magnets


by Kurt Scholle

What are lead magnets?

Creating Lead Magnets

Lead magnet creation may be one of the best things you can do for your business. It helps prospects get to know you and be reminded of you, your products and services. What do you need to know when creating lead magnets? Read on. We explain everything!

And if you want to download 64 ideas for creating lead magnets, see below!

lead magnet ideas

What is a Lead Magnet?

A lead magnet, sometimes referred to as an “ethical bribe” is something of value that is offered in exchange for an email address. Creating lead magnets is a list building tactic. It is also called Email Marketing.

The key is that the lead magnet must be of immediate and significant value to at least one of your Target Audiences.

No longer is it easy to get someone on your list by offering “a subscription to my newsletter.” However, newsletters, when done right can be very effective lead magnets.

Read on to learn more about creating lead magnets to build your list.

A lead magnet is a marketing tactic used to get people to subscribe to an email list. Find out more and get 64 lead magnet ideas for free! Share on X


The goals of email marketing or list building can vary from marketer to marketer. In fact there can be multiple goals or objectives along the way. 

what is a lead magnet#1: Get them on your email list for future engagement.

#2: Build Awareness, Interest and Desire for your product or service so that they will take Action. (AIDA).

#3: Reinforce the Benefits of being a subscriber to your list.

#4: Retain customers and turn them into brand advocates.

#5: Differentiate you from your competitors.

You will want your subscribers to open your emails (Open Rate) and clink on your links (CTR or Click Through Rate)

Lead Magnet Essentials

Solve a problem. Quick fix. For ONE person. Lead magnets should be…

Actionable: Easy action steps that can be used immediately to solve the problem

Sharable: Content so good they’ll share it with others (Including your branding, contact information, etc.

Relatable: Lead magnets should relate to a product or service. The point is to make a sale. Where does it fit in a funnel?

Case Studies: it’s OK to include a successful case study in the lead magnet itself or on a blog post or opt-in page.

Testimonials: Add value and proof..

Professional Look & Feel: Should match branding. Project Value. Design matters!

Types of Lead Magnets

Lead magnets are sometimes referred to as ‘ethical bribes.’ Think about what members of your Target Personas would really value to help them do something, become somebody, simplify or organize, save time or money, reduce stress or just make their lives easier or more profitable.

Lead magnets may be downloadable or something you send in the mail. They are usually something you send a download link for in an email.

Want More Lead Magnet Ideas?

essential guide to creating lead magnets

Lead Magnet Ideas

creating lead magnets lead magnet ideasThere are dozens of ideas for creating lead magnets. The most common are.

  • PDFs. These are easy to produce. People will join a list to get a downloadable copy of a blog post, a checklist, case study or expanded content; sometimes referred to as a “Content Upgrade.”’ For instance, If you blog about 7 ways to do something, your can offer a more comprehensive 21 ways of doing something. eBooks and mini-eBooks can be delivered as PDFs. Transcripts are popular. So are lists of resources or tools.
  • Challenge series. Offer a fixed-term training or challenge, delivered by email. The challenge may or may not link to videos or other non-text content.
  • Video: Offer a Value Video, series or videos. Webinar replay or Livestream replay. It can be a free training or a product review or demonstration. Video is a very popular type of content.
  • Audio: Your Target Personas may prefer listening to some training, interviews, you reading your blog posts or eBooks.
  • Digital files. Spreadsheets , slide decks or images.
There are dozens of types of lead magnets you can create to build your email list. Here's a list of tools you can use to create lead magnets. Share on X

How to Create Lead Magnets

Creating lead magnets starts with an idea – something your target audiences will covet. It may be an existing need or it may be something new! What will attract their attention? Remember, it must be actionable, sharable and the value must be immediately understood.

guide to seo

Tools to Create Lead Magnets

Creating lead magnets is easy if you have the proper tools. Most of these are free.

tools to create lead magentsAudio/Video Lead Magnets

Animoto. Create videos by dragging-and-dropping pictures. No editing needed. 

Audacity is a free and open-source digital audio recorder and editor.

FreeConferenceCall.com to record a conversation with someone.

Garage Band (Mac) to record and edit audio.

Camtasia or Screenflow to record and edit audio and video.

Jing to create short screencast videos.

Loom Video (Chrome extension) Record videos.

Screencastomatic screen recorder and video editor.

Smartphone (Video or Audio)

Snagit! Easy Screen Recording, Image & Video Capture.

tools to create a lead magnetInfoproducts/eBooks/Visual Tools

Apple Keynote, Powerpoint or Google Slides to create presentations that can be used in a a video, webinar or PDF.

Canva graphics creator.

Designrr lead magnet and eBook creator.

eBook creators.

Freemind mindmaps.

InDesign desktop publishing.

Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets or Apple Numbers

Microsoft Word, Google Docs or Apple Pages

Photoshop or Photoshop Elements to create, edit and optimize images.

Stock Photos & Videos

Pexels.com for free stock photos and videos.

Pixabay.com for free stock photos and videos.

Or hire someone on Fiverr!

consulting coaching

Basic Welcome Email Funnel

basic welcome email funnelCreating lead magnets includes setting up a place for people to ask for them by filling in their email address and delivering it to them quickly.

You could set up delivery of your lead magnet using virtually any kind of autoresponder, such as Constant Contact, Aweber or Get Response. I would recommend sending your subscriber more that one email. Once they are on your list, you should engage them regularly.

We’ll talk about setting up a followup email series below, but before that happens, you need to get them on your list. You can create an inline signup box on a web page or sidebar, or you can set up a freebie landing page to promote your offer and let them subscribe.

Freebie Landing Page: This is the page where people sign up for or opt in for your freebie – your lead magnet. Designed to primarily capture a name and an email address. This page should be simple with few distractions.

Landing pages usually don’t have any site navigation like normal pages; nor will they have a Calls To Action, except getting the new subscriber signed up. Keep copy simple, even sparse.

Essential Components

  1. A field for them to enter their first name.
  2. A field for them to enter their email address.
  3. The reason WHY they should sign up. 3-4 key benefits they will get by signing up.
  4. Trust icons, if available.

The less information you ask for, the higher the likelihood that they will subscribe.

Landing or optin pages are not sales pages, which can be much longer than a simple optin.

Most Email Service Providers give you the ability to create attractive forms that you can add to a webpage that allow you to control the look and feel of your optin. Some WordPress themes give you options for creating freebie landing pages too.

Thank You Page (Sometimes referred to as the ‘Success’ page): Once they submit their information, take them to a page that tells them their information has been collected and their ‘thing’ (the Lead Magnet) is on its way. 

Tell them what to expect. Give whitelisting instructions.

Creating a Follow Up Email Series

I don’t recommend that you just deliver the lead magnet to them. It’s beneficial to contact them regularly. Otherwise your list gets ‘cold’ and Open Rates plunge. Here are 5 specific emails I would recommend sending out as part of your lead magnet followup email series.

How to grow your email list by creating lead magnetsEmail 1, delivered immediately. Thank them for signing up. Tell them their ‘thing,’ the lead magnet, is coming or deliver it right away in this first email of your Autoresponder series.

Never include the lead magnet as an attachment in your email. Attachments sometimes get filtered out by a subscriber’s email host to prevent the spread of malware. Instead of an attachment, send them a link where it can be downloaded.

Sometimes there is nothing to download. Some of the most effective lead magnets are delivered as part of an autoresponder series, such as a free course or weekly/monthly newsletter.

When you deliver the ‘thing,’ always try to confirm that they have received it. This helps improve deliverability of your emails to the subscriber by signaling the subscriber’s Email Service Provider, or ESP, (Comcast, Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo Mail, ZOHO, AOL, etc) that someone has reached out to the person sending the email.

Email 2, delivered within 24 hours of subscribing. This email is an important reminder to make use of the ‘thing’ you sent them. Otherwise they might forget. You might add a benefit they’ve not seen yet to entice them to open your emails and experience your ‘thing.’

You could include a case study.

Testimonials in any and all emails are always effective.

Email 3: delivered 24 hours later. I call this the “Got questions?” email. Spark interest in what other people are asking about your Lead Magnet. The subject line might read, “The 5 Most Common Questions About (Your Lead Magnet)” or “John asks if the (Lead Magnet) will (Do This)” 

The subject line could also be simply, “Got questions?” Or even better, personalize it by adding the subscriber’s first name to the subject line, as in, “Got questions, Larry?”

Some people say beginning with a first or full name to a subject line boosts Open Rates. We were discussing this recently in a Mastermind group, but didn’t come to a consensus. You see some top marketers doing it all the time while others never do. One woman in the group reported that her Open Rate actually WENT DOWN when she used personalization.

It’s worth testing.

Email 4: sent 24 hours later. I like to send an email in the first week of the series with an attractive subject line that peaks their curiosity about your Lead Magnet. Examples:

  1. Interesting Question About (Your Lead Magnet)
  2. 7 Big Takeaways From Using (Your Lead Magnet)
  3. How To Use (Your Lead Magnet) to (Do or Get Something)
  4. How People are Saving Time and Money Using (Your Lead Magnet)
  5. They Started Doing This with (Your Lead Magnet) and You Won’t Believe the Results!

Email 5: sent 24-48 hours later. Be creative. Talk about the Lead Magnet. Ask questions. Answer questions. Share new information. 

At some point in your first 5 autoresponder emails you might include a link to a blog post, which may contain a different CTA, such as opting into a different email list or automation or you might offer a product for sale. 

Creating a 5-part email followup series to engage your new subscribers. Learn more. Share on X

What’s Next?

Some email marketers end their Autoresponders after 4 or 5 emails in a week for a specific Lead Magnet. Some continue sending emails on a less frequent basis for weeks or years to come. Most will continue to send broadcast emails to everyone on their list, promoting something new or linking to a new blog post.

It’s important to continue delivering value to maintain relevance, interest and high Open Rates.

It’s important to continue emailing your list on a regular basis or the list becomes “cold” and your Open Rate percentage will drop. As will your engagement. Creating lead magnets should be an ongoing effort.

Don’t Make These Common Mistakes

My previous post, How to Launch Your Email Marketing Strategy outlined 2 mistakes email marketers often make.

  1. Boring or hidden signup forms. They can’t opt in if they can’t opt in. #knowwhatimsayin?
  2. Not having a follow up email sequence. Don’t let your list get cold!

Lead Magnet Ideas

lead magnet ideas creating lead magnets

How to Promote Your Free Offer

Reach and frequency are important when promoting a new offer to build your list. You might promote for a limited time if the benefit has a limited time value.

It’s OK to promote your lead magnets for a long time. You might do it more frequently at first, then cut back. Frequency is important because most people need to be exposed to ads and promotions before they act.

Reach is also important because not everybody will be tuned into any one thing, so use as many ideas as you can.

  • Feature it prominently on your site’s Home page.
  • Include a graphical CTA to one or more blog posts. You could add it to every blog post’s footer.
  • Post the link to a pre-framing article or optin page from all social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
  • Get featured on podcasts.
  • Host your own podcasts.
  • Talk about your offer on a Facebook Live.
  • Tweet several times a day for weeks to come.
  • Guest blogging: Link to your pre-framing article or optin page using the Resource Box in a guest blog post, especially if they allow you more than one link. Bonus points if you can link from the guest post main content.
  • YouTube videos. Use a video to link to the pre-frame or optin page. Don’t forget to add the URL to the YouTube description
  • Share in an article on Medium.
  • Advertise on Facebook, Instagram or the Google Content Network. Run ads on Bing, 
  • Buy solo ads.

You may want to wait to advertise until you have something that sells.

learn digital marketing

What freebie option is your favorite for creating lead magnets?

What lead magnet idea appeals to you most?

What lead magnets have you used successfully?

Please leave a comment!

Lead Magnets Examples

Share your lead magnet links in the comments below.





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