8 Lead Magnet Ideas to Grow Your Email List

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8 Lead Magnet Ideas to Grow Your Email List

Source: ConvertKit
What is the most important currency when it comes to marketing your business? Value. How valuable is the content you provide? How valuable are the products or services you offer? Interestingly enough, the answer to those questions won’t come from you. Your target audience gets to decide how valuable your content is. What we assume is valuable to our audience sometimes isn’t, and the opposite can be true as well. In order for us to measure what our target audience deems as valuable, we need to know who they are and understand what drives them. Once we’ve identified this, along with their key pain points, we can inch closer to providing more value with our content. Conversion happens at the intersection of that value and trust. So how do we go about building more value into our email marketing strategy? A good place to start is by thinking about how you can provide value before someone becomes an email subscriber. One of the best ways to do this is by offering a free incentive, also known as lead magnet. When someone comes to your website, they are considered a potential lead. The valuable content you provide, then, is the “magnet” that convinces your potential lead to become an email subscriber. From there, you can nurture the email subscriber by providing more value through your email sequences, but that can’t happen if we don’t attract them first.

Why use lead magnets to grow your email list?

As you consider the inner workings of your marketing funnel, you’ll notice that transitioning blog readers and website visitors into email subscribers is at the very top. While crafting the final sales pitch of your product or service at the end of the funnel is crucial, many marketers forget that the pitch really starts when someone decides to become an email subscriber. And since building an engaged email list is one of the best things you can do to invest in your long-term business success, lead magnets will help you start off on the right foot.

Lead magnets help build trust with your readers

Lead magnets build an incredible amount of trust with your audience because it shows that you have followed through on your promise of delivering something valuable in exchange for their email address. Due to the noise of the internet, many of your audience members treat their email address as one of their most prized possessions. At their core, people want to be careful and intentional about what voices they let into their lives. Or, in this case, into their email inboxes. When you reward your email subscribers with more value than they expected, they begin to trust that you will continue delivering value over time.

Lead magnets increase your email marketing metrics

Utilizing lead magnets will also increase your open rates and email engagement. What is the point of writing emails if only a few people open them? While it may seem that the most important email marketing metric is the number of subscribers on your email list, it is actually the level of their engagement. You’ll need to heighten the engagement of your email list to calculate the ROI of your email marketing efforts.

8 lead magnet ideas for your next free incentive

Now you’re convinced that you need to make room for lead magnet creation in your email marketing strategy, but how do you decide what lead magnet types are right for your brand? With so many lead magnet ideas available, you can test multiple lead magnets to see what content your audience finds most valuable. And it’s easy to know which ones rise to the top. You’ll know by how willing they are to give you their email address. So keep an eye on your conversions and see what lead magnet ideas are audience favorites. But before you can test your collection of lead magnets, you need to decide what format is best for your first lead magnet idea. As you begin brainstorming, think about the topic you want to teach on. Once you have a topic in mind, read through the lead magnet ideas below to determine which would be a natural fit.

Content upgrade

Simply placing an email opt in form at the bottom of your footer doesn’t attract email subscribers like it used to. Instead, you must be more proactive in the way you provide value to increase your number of quality email subscribers. As a blogger and content creator, utilizing content upgrades is one of the best strategies for building your email list and converting otherwise passive blog readers. Content upgrades refer to free incentives that give additional value to blog readers when they sign up for your email list. Types of lead magnet- content upgradeContent upgrades can improve your blog conversions by as much as 20-30%. They can be used in existing content as well as new content you create with your content upgrade ideas in mind. Do you have an old blog post that is performing well? Add a content upgrade to capture leads while you have them on your website. Take a look at your Google Analytics dashboard to determine which blog posts have been the most successful at driving consistent traffic and start building content upgrades from there. Another great aspect of content upgrades is that you can use them multiple times. We recommend looking at the core blog categories you already have and creating a content upgrade for each one that can be utilized in your content more than once.Types of lead magnet- content upgradesGreat fit for: Bloggers, media websites, and vloggers who create consistent free content for their audience and want to use the influence they’ve built on their blog or YouTube channel to attract more email subscribers.

Video series

If your lead magnet topic would be best explained through a video, you can create a how-to video series that breaks down your topic into specific lessons. We recommend delivering this how-to video series through a series of emails that are automatically sent to your email subscriber’s inbox once they sign up. Sending them all of the videos at one time might feel a little overwhelming to your email subscriber. Spacing out the video lesson delivery also helps you build trust over time while giving your email subscriber enough time to put the video lessons into action. When you create a video series, try to break your topic into four to six key steps or lessons. This will help you create a solid outline to build your video content from. For example, if you were going to teach someone how to build a blog from scratch in four weeks, you might break down your larger topic into four video sections:
  • Decide on a niche and brand name
  • Define your target audience
  • Choose a blog and website building/hosting platform
  • Create a DIY-designed blog in one weekend
Maybe you want to use your video series to entertain, encourage, motivate, or inspire your audience instead of teaching them. The same advice applies as you create your video series. Instead of recording how-to videos, you can share personal stories and any other information that feels like a good fit for your audience. If this is your first time creating high-quality video content, you might like a few resources that will be helpful as you DIY your video series.

DIY video resources:

Great fit for: Content creators and entrepreneurs who are comfortable on camera and want to share their knowledge in a visual, step-by-step fashion.

Audio series

If you don’t want to be on camera or don’t feel that a visual is necessary, you can create an audio series as a lead magnet for your audience. With an audio series, you can teach or inspire your audience to take action with short audio lessons. The great benefit of creating an audio course is that your listeners can listen to it while they do other things. They could be working, washing the dishes, or driving in their car. Writing and video content demands someone’s full attention, but audio content can be consumed at any moment. When you deliver your audio series, we recommend using the same strategy as the video series.  Breaking up your audio series into emailed lessons, helps your audience engage with your content and start interact with your emails.

Audio series

If this is your first time creating audio content and you want to make sure the sound quality is impeccable, we recommend investing in a low-budget microphone with a pop filter to silence any harsh sounds. More podcast gear recommendations can be found here. You can use free tools like QuickTime to record your audio and GarageBand or Audacityto edit your audio files. Some website platforms like Squarespace have audio hosting capabilities built into their platform, but you can also host the audio files on YouTube or Soundcloud if you are looking for a free solution.Types of lead magnet- audio seriesGreat fit for: Content creators who want to share their knowledge in an on-the-go, easy-to-consume format for their audience.

Downloadable

One of the most popular lead magnet examples among content creators is the infamous instant downloadable. This is partly because it is one of the easiest lead magnet ideas to start with.

Downloadable ideas:

  • Checklists
  • Calendars
  • Templates
  • Mini eBooks
  • Tips Sheet
  • PDF Guide
  • Case Study
  • Written Tutorial
  • Journal Prompts
  • Art Prints or Quotes
  • Workbooks
  • Activities or Exercises
Types of lead magnet- downloadables

Reusable downloadable templates

The sky’s the limit when it comes to creating a downloadable PDF. But once you decide, you can build a branded template that you can use again and again. Why build the same checklists or workbooks from scratch every time you create a new downloadable? We are here to work smarter, not harder, right? Creating a reusable template will help you swap out imagery and content each time you create a new downloadable with the rest of the layout still intact. You can create these templates using a free tool like Canva. Canva comes with hundreds of design options that can be customized to fit your visual branding and content. You can also use free stock photography websites like Unsplash and Death to the Stock for your imagery. If you are looking for a premade template before you hire a professional designer, you can find semi-custom options on Etsy and Creative Market. This also helps if you want to create downloadable templates on programs like Adobe InDesignApple PagesMicrosoft PowerPoint, or any other software of your choosing. When you deliver your downloadable to your new email subscriber, keep these best practices in mind as you craft your first incentive email. And don’t forget, a clear subject line and call-to-action will do the trick!Types of lead magnet- downloadableGreat fit for: Content creators who are able to communicate their topic through writing and want a simple, reusable way to create lead magnets and other content upgrades over time.

Discounts and special offers

This email marketing tactic can work incredibly well, especially for entrepreneurs and bloggers who run an ecommerce shop and sell physical and digital products.

Things to consider:

Profit margins
If you decide to run a special discount, make sure it is reflected in your profit margins and that it makes sense based on your lifetime customer value. While a 30% shop discount might bring in many email subscribers, it’s no good if it doesn’t allow you to generate the profits necessary to keep running your business.
Length of discount availability
Another thing to keep in mind when offering discounts is how long the discount is available to email subscribers. Can they use the discount code at any time, or is there a timing limit on the offer? Is there also a limit to how many times they can use the discount code? All of these variables should be communicated to the email subscriber so there is no disappointment on either side.
Continued relationship building
Keep in mind that while discounts are a great way to attract new subscribers, you also have the task of nurturing them once they are a part of your email list. Discounts aren’t enough to make people stay, so remember that you can build value in other ways with more lead magnet ideas. If you are offering discounts, website building platforms like Squarespace and Shopify are uniquely built to help you do just that. Just simply create a code within their platform and include it in the first email you send new email subscribers.Types of lead magnet- discountsGreat fit for: Shop owners of digital and physical products who want to attract more email subscribers with little output needed from them.

Email course

An email course lends itself well to building your email list because it gets your new email subscriber used to opening emails from you. As they keep an eye out for your next email course lesson, they will continue engaging with your emails if they feel the emails are valuable. If you are already creating email content for your lead magnet idea, why not include an email course to go along with it? Instead of sending all of the information upfront like in a downloadable PDF, an email course helps you break down the lessons into digestible chunks of information. When you create an email course, your email marketing software will automatically send a series of emails (on a desired schedule you select) that will guide the email subscriber through your content. You can do this inside ConvertKit by connecting an email sequenceto the email opt-in form or landing page of your choice. Then it will run on autopilot for you! The magic of creating an email course is that you may not have to create any new content to start implementing it into your email marketing strategy. You can repurpose content you’ve already created for your blog and create an email course by piecing together relevant information that fits within the outline of your email course.Types of lead magnet- email courseGreat fit for: Bloggers and content creators who have an archive of content and want to repurpose it into an email course that can educate their audience on a topic of their choice.

Interactive quiz

Who can resist a good Buzzfeed-style quiz? Quizzes have become a more popular lead magnet type within the last few years because of how interactive they are. A website visitor has to engage with the quiz in order to find their result, which is usually presented to them after they give you their email address. Another secret to why these quizzes do such a great job at building your email list is that they personalize the experience for your audience member. Everyone wants to feel like they are known and understood. Interactive quizzes help connect them to a personality or identity that feels like a natural fit. When creating a quiz, try to keep it simple and concise if you want to attract more email subscribers. The more quickly someone can work through your quiz, the faster they will become an email subscriber. You want to give them enough options so that they feel known but not too many to where it feels like they’ll never reach the end. With each quiz result, you’ll want to create a corresponding profile to tell the new email subscriber more about why they got the result and what it means for them. This is a great place to add your personality and start working in your brand story. You can also follow up with another email giving more information than the quiz result gives.

Pro tip:

It’s even better if you can create a personalized email sequence for each result type so that you can continue to nurture your audience and educate them on your topic of choice. When you are ready to start building a quiz, you can use a tool like Interact or LeadQuizzes. Both tools are integrated with ConvertKit so you never have to worry about losing email subscribers along the way.Types of lead magnet- interactive quizGreat fit for: Entrepreneurs and thought leaders who want to solidify their expertise while giving their audience an interactive experience that builds trust.

Evergreen workshop or recorded webinar

If you want to build webinars into your marketing funnel, it’s a great idea to give your target audience a preview of what they can expect through exclusive access to a recorded webinar. It’s important for all of the information you share in your recorded webinar to be evergreen so it won’t become obsolete in a few months or years. You want a lead magnet idea you can use for long-term email marketing success, so tailor the content in your recorded webinar with this in mind. Unlike a video series, you will record only one video when you create an evergreen webinar or workshop. If you decide to record a live webinar to later repurpose for this lead magnet, make sure that you either don’t mention that it is live or edit that part out of your evergreen webinar before using it.

Webinar tools

To create your evergreen workshop, you can use tools like WebinarJam or GoTo Webinarto record and host your webinar. You can also add a call-to-action on the evergreen webinar page if you are launching a new product or want to gauge interest in a product idea. Naturally, it makes sense for your evergreen webinar to be focused on selling an evergreen product. You can build an evergreen sales funnel by utilizing our visual automations tool when you connect it with your evergreen webinar. Types of lead magnet- evergreen webinar Great fit for: Online educators who want to teach an in-depth topic and craft a sales pitch around it with a visual aid that can help them make the sale. Lead magent homework assignment

Homework: Create your own lead magnet

Now that you have a large list of lead magnet ideas to choose from, we challenge you to choose at least one to create this week. No matter if you are a side hustler or a full-time entrepreneur, you can find the time to create a lead magnet. Many of the lead magnet ideas we shared above could be completed in a few hours. Just think, you could be a few short hours away from turning more visitors into email subscribers. Sounds great, right? When you are ready to dive in, here are a few steps you’ll want to take this week.

Outline your lead magnet idea

Now take a moment to create a loose outline on a sheet or paper or new digital document. In your outline, include the major goals of your lead magnet and what your new email subscribers should walk away with after consuming the lead magnet. What else can you include that would add more value? Your outline can be simple for your first lead magnet. Don’t get too caught up in this ideation and planning stage. Once you have the content outline broken into a few sections, you can start creating the content.

Create the content for your lead magnet

Depending on the lead magnet idea you choose, this could mean creating written, audio, or video content. No matter what you create, look at your schedule to see when you can devote an open block of time. If you’re recording a video or audio file, you’ll want to also include how long it will take to edit. Once you have a time blocked off to create your content, make sure you eliminate distractions and stay focused on creating great content for new email subscribers. When it is ready, you can move into the promotion stage.

Promote your lead magnet

At the end of this week, your lead magnet idea should be created and promoted in at least one place on your website. You can choose to use it as a content upgrade on your blog or use it in another opt in form. You could also create a dedicated landing page to promote the lead magnet. But you’re not done yet! After you connect the lead magnet, it’s time to promote it on the marketing channels you already have. Do you have an audience on InstagramPinterestTwitterFacebookYouTubeLinkedInSnapchat, or any other social media platform? You can use the influence you’ve built in other places to bring more traffic to your new lead magnet. Try posting the links to your lead magnet at different times to see if it increases your email subscriber conversions. Happy testing!

How to connect your lead magnet idea to an opt in form or landing page in ConvertKit?

If you’re not currently using an email marketing platform or you’re looking to move from your current provider, you can try ConvertKit for a free 2 week trial. START BUILDING YOUR EMAIL LIST FOR FREE WITH INCENTIVES With your lead magnet created and attached to your from or landing page, your next step is to create an educational email sequence to help you build trust and authority with your audience.

Kayla Hollatz

Kayla Hollatz is a copywriter and content creator for creative entrepreneurs who want their words to connect and convert. Few things make her happier than ghostwriting for clients in her studio, aka her four-season porch with a lake view. She can frequently be found fighting Minnesota winters with a mug of hot chocolate in hand.