What Are Lead Magnets And When Should You Use Them?

A lead magnet is a great way to start a conversation with your ideal buyer.

What Are Lead Magnets And When Should You Use Them?
Photo by Evgeni Tcherkasski / Unsplash

Lead Magnets Are Excellent Conversation Starters

A lead magnet is something you give to potential customers in exchange for their contact information. It’s a great way to start a conversation with your ideal buyer and introduce them to your products and services.

They’re used to help marketers build email lists or to help generate warm sales leads. Sophisticated marketers will assign prospects with a “lead score” based on the content they’ve downloaded or interacted with.

For example: at Lightspeed, a Canadian player in the retail and restaurant POS business, readers who download the POS Buyer’s Guide are more likely to buy than readers who download  Guide to GDPR Policy.

Here are some common types of lead magnets:

  • Free webinars
  • eBooks and Guides
  • Whitepapers and Reports
  • Templates
  • Copywriting Audit
  • Sales Scripts
  • Free consultation
  • Free email course
  • Free audio course

eBooks are the most popular type of lead magnet and are often delivered through various pop-ups on websites. Their ubiquitous nature means they’re perceived by readers as familiar and safe.

When Should You Use Lead Magnets?

Here are common use cases for lead magnets you might have seen in the wild.

1. Building an email list.

Most solopreneurs use lead magnets, ebooks or webinars, to attract potential buyers onto their email list where they can be nurtured. The email list is where they will pitch their courses and high ticket services, as well as announce their exclusive discounts.

2. Build a list of prospects and leads for a salesforce.

As mentioned, Lightspeed uses lead magnets to populate their CRM with prospects that can be contacted by the inside sales team. This is accomplished through a broad mix of assets: eBooks and Guides are helpful for buyers just starting to ask questions, while group webinars can be used to educate a buyer while also moving them closer to a buying decision.

3. To activate current (and prospective) customers.

Lead magnets are also used to drive desired behavior after a purchase is made. For example, SaaS companies can benefit from aligning content and lead magnets to challenging points in their customer's activation.

For example, YNAB, a popular budgeting software, offers free 20-30 minute workshops that teach potential and active users how to get started with their methodology. This turns something complicated like learning a new budget system into a selling feature; case in point, I cried during the class I took with them (~4 years ago) because it was the first time I felt like I really understood the power of budgeting. I've been a user of their software ever since.