How To Create Marketing Lead Magnets That Convert
Updated: Mar 12
When it comes to inbound marketing, lead magnets are an essential tool. But gone are the days of simply gating everything and anything in hopes that a prospect will share their contact information with you (which was never a good idea in the first place).
Your audience’s inboxes are constantly under siege from other marketers hoping to breakthrough, so they will not be so quick to share their contact info with you. To be successful in today's marketing landscape, you’ll need to equip your website with stronger lead magnets that really deliver on their value proposition.
In this post we'll break down different types of lead magnets and give you pointers on how to use them to drive more conversions.
What is a Lead Magnet?
Lead magnets are essential tools for B2B marketers to draw in potential customers. Lead magnets entice target audiences with an offer of value (typically in the form of content or experiences), ultimately capturing contact information and helping build your business's base of leads.
A lead magnet can be many things:
● A free trial
● Signing up for an informative email newsletter
● Industry reports
● Useful insights
● Anything else that convinces your targets to share their contact information
What Makes a Great Lead Magnet?
The obvious answer is a lead magnet that creates sales, but this skips an important step. A great lead magnet produces qualified leads. These are people who will accept the offer in your lead magnet, sign up for an email list, or otherwise take a step that attaches them to your brand.
With that in mind, we can view a “great” lead magnet as one that:
● Speaks to the most relevant segments of your audience
● Provides the relevant segments of your audience with value
● Aims to generate quality, qualified leads
If you can build something that offers real, desirable value to your target audiences, the leads will come (like Field of Dreams...kind of).
Lead Magnet Strategy
Lead magnet strategy is about creating the right message and choosing the right medium to communicate it through. The message should be based on research - a clear understanding of your target audience’s problems and how you can help solve them. The medium should be chosen based on the formats that can produce the best response.
In general, qualified B2B leads are looking for one of three things:
For example, for some products that are more difficult to use and understand, but are useful, educational content can be the best option.
Depending on the circumstances, this means:
● Video tutorials or how-to guides
● Explainers of all kinds
If your product or service offers something new and unique to most of your target audience, informative content may be called for.
These can include:
● Industry research and insights
● Reports and infographics
• Conducting research can be expensive and time consuming. It's okay to create reports and infographics around publicly available data. Just don't forget to credit your sources!
If your budget doesn’t leave room for outsourcing research, there are research tools that enable you to do it yourself. These include compiling pre-existing data/statistics from other sources to create an original research paper of your own. Just make sure you cite your sources and produce a result that is unique. Your own mix of relevant data/statistics, with original thoughts, summaries, and takeaways, can do the trick.
Lastly, resources offer a straightforward value that your potential customers can easily absorb. The key is that those resources should be engaging.
Useful resources can come in many forms:
● A free tool for website visitors to use
● Free trials for your services/software
● Limited versions of your products or services
● Value calculators that show how much money your business could save the customer
● Free documents or templates
Any of these can work like magic for you! The main challenge is creating your resources skillfully and presenting them to the right audience. Keep in mind however the question of your business’s capabilities. Creating a free tool on your website can be costly. In some cases, your site’s bandwidth requirements will rise, costing you some extra money too.
Don’t Forget Research!
The only way to determine what is working or not is through research, such as A/B testing. Before you incorporate an offer of education, information, or resources, do comparative research. That means looking at what others in your space are doing. The ideal goal is to offer something different and better than what’s already out there.
Next, consider how people are going to land on your lead magnet. Where should they come from?
If you are going to place it on your website, it’s crucial to make the lead magnet accessible. People who visit your landing page should be able to find it again easily. Personally, I like to embed promos for lead magnets within content (e.g. blog posts, podcasts, videos etc.). Doing this will help you improve the targeting of your lead magnet but matching it with content that is geared to the appropriate audience (think buyer personas). This automatically connects readers to relevant lead magnets that they are already choosing to read about!
You can and should get creative, but always think about relevance and simple connections.
Lastly, while it can be expensive and even wasteful if conducted improperly, paid ads for landing pages can be a powerful combination. An unindexed landing page will naturally need to heavily rely on paid ads to draw traffic.
• Make sure your web pages are optimized for SEO. This will help draw the right visitors to the right lead magnets based on search intent.
Should You Gate Your Lead Magnets?
The arguments for and against gating lead magnets are divisive. I believe that lead magnet gates should be as valuable as the content behind them, so the call is yours. But you should consider the potential consequences. Gating lead magnets could turn away qualified leads, since it can be viewed as "proposing on the first date."
My two cents? Test and know what works. You can put call to actions within the lead magnet itself, gate it altogether, or simply give it away and pray whoever claimed it someday turns into a lead (disclaimer: you may be praying for a while). In any case, use your best judgement and try different strategies for different lead magnets and buyer personas.
Some lead magnets that require a degree of "gating" include:
● Free consultations
● Upgraded features, reports, or studies
● Updated versions of software
The Freemium Approach
When it comes to generating leads for a SaaS business, the freemium model is one of the most effective methods around. After all, who doesn't love something they get for free?
Freemium models offer basic services and features of an application or product at no cost and with no strings attached—a win-win situation that captures potential customers' attention and convinces them to give your products a try.
Putting together a freemium plan requires thoughtful strategizing of what you provide as part of the freemium offering; ideally, you want things that are valuable enough yet attractive enough to draw in potential customers. If SaaS marketing teams can leverage freemiums successfully, not only will they generate more leads but also increase their chances of converting those leads into lasting users or subscribers.
The beauty of using freemium models or free trials to generate leads is that it's like a mini focus group. You invite prospects in, give them something of value for free, and then watch their response. If they don't bite, you have gained insight as to what isn't appealing to your target market. But if they do jump on it, you already have a customer base waiting to be dazzled by your Other Great Offers (OGOs).
• According to a report by OpenView, freemium models convert customers without sales 25% more often than a free trial model.
If freemium or free trial models aren't practical for your business. You can consider a free one-time sample of your product or service.
One example of this tactic comes from our client, Atumcell, a cybersecurity company that provides vulnerability scanning for private equity firms. Atumcell offers their audience a free scan with their vulnerability scanner to uncover a variety of cybersecurity threats that their websites might have.
This is a great lead magnet example because they are providing the target audience with real value while giving them a taste of how effective their product is.
Level Up Your Marketing with Lead Magnets
Lead magnets are an essential element of any good b2b digital marketing strategy, but they can also be very tricky to get right. After all, you're essentially trying to convince someone they want something they didn't know they needed!
Doing your research and running plenty of experiments are key to success - so buckle up and start testing - that's how you'll find those leads worth magnetizing in the first place.