How to Grow Your Email List with Lead Magnets

Have you ever visited someone’s website and been asked to subscribe to their newsletter for regular updates? Perhaps you were reading an insightful post on someone’s blog and came across an offer of a free ebook you could gain access to in exchange for your email address.

These are lead magnets. Lead magnets are designed to attract readers to your email list. They’re free offers you advertise on email opt-in forms to encourage visitors to subscribe.

Why are Lead Magnets Important for Email Marketing?

Source: Neil Patel

In the olden days of the internet, it was enough to publish a few posts a week and insert a simple “Subscribe for Updates” email form in your blog’s sidebar.

Today, with internet users becoming more and more tech-savvy and suspicious of marketing tactics and with the world of online business becoming more and more saturated by the second, this tried-and-true method is no longer as effective as it once was.

This is why lead magnets are important. When they’re truly valuable and advertised properly, readers are much more likely to subscribe so they can gain access to what you’re offering.

This will lead to a higher number of conversions over time, and when you combine them with key email marketing strategies, such as list segmentation, you’ll be able to sell products more effectively.

6 Types of Effective Lead Magnets

You’ll find massive lists with dozens upon dozens of lead magnet ideas all over the web. We’re going to simplify this by grouping several of these ideas into six main types of lead magnets.

They are as follows:

  1. Ebook
  2. Resource Sheet
  3. Free Course
  4. Exclusive Content
  5. Freebie or Free Trial
  6. Discount


Source: Smart Passive Income

While certainly time-consuming, ebooks are one of the most effective lead magnets you can offer to your audience. This is because an ebook is generally regarded as having a higher level of value than a blog post.

If you want to go all out, you can use a free ebook to go much deeper into a topic than a blog post would allow. However, if your blog is already established with a large library of posts, you don’t necessarily need to start from scratch.

Instead, you can simply combine a few posts that relate to one another and use them to create an aesthetically-pleasing mega resource presented in the form of a downloadable ebook.

Case studies also work as ebooks and lead magnets in general.

Resource Sheet

Source: Tower

“Resource sheet” is a vague name for this type of lead magnet. That’s because there are endless types of resource sheets you can create.

Among the most popular are checklists and cheat sheets. If you publish DIY tutorials on your blog, you can use a checklist to create a downloadable shopping list your subscribers can view while they shop for the supplies they need.

You can use a cheat sheet to create a basic step-by-step outline of what they need to do. This should leave out everything else you added to your post.

Additional examples of resource sheets include recipe sheets, templates, such as a script an employee could use to ask their boss for a raise, a schedule or calendar for your subscriber to follow, a worksheet, and even an infographic.

Free Course

Similar to ebooks, courses have a perceived value higher than that of blog posts. They also make effective lead magnets as a result.

There are many ways you can offer a free course. The easiest way would be to offer an email course by presenting course content directly in the emails you send your subscriber via your email marketing service’s autoresponder.

You can also host content on your website either by password protecting each page or using a learning management system plugin, such as LearnPress. You could also distribute course content as downloadable PDF files or private YouTube videos.

Alternatively, you can use a dedicated course platform, such as Teachable.

Exclusive Content

Offering exclusive content is a fantastic way to tap into your audience’s “FOMO” (fear-of-missing-out) tendencies. Like ebooks and courses, this content should be of higher quality and more in-depth than the content you offer to your entire audience.

Exclusive content can be in written, video, or audio format. It’s typically offered as part of a premium membership program, but you can just as easily use it as a lead magnet to attract new email subscribers.

Content restriction solutions, such as ProfilePress, can help you in this arena.

Freebie or Free Trial

These are effective lead magnets you can use if you offer products or your content is about a topic you can make freebies for. For example, if you’re a graphic designer, you could offer icon sets.

Furthermore, if you offer a subscription-based product or service, you can offer a free trial available only to those who provide their email addresses or create accounts.

This is something keyword tool KWFinder does when you attempt to search for a keyword.


Source: The Children’s Place

Similar to the previous lead magnet, if you offer a product or service, you can create exclusive discounts and offer them as lead magnets on opt-in forms.

While not as effective as a free offer, it can still bring a lot of new subscribers to your email list and new customers to your business.

Solving Your Audience’s Problems with Lead Magnets

While lead magnets, especially the types listed above, provide effective ways for you to grow your email list, it isn’t enough for you to simply think of an idea and implement it across your entire site. You need to be more strategic than that.

Start by looking at your website. The best places to use email opt-in forms are the most visited pages on your site. Therefore, the best lead magnets to create are ones that’ll complement your site and blog’s most popular pages most effectively.

You should also find your audience’s biggest pain points. The best place to seek this information is directly from the horse’s mouth. Talk to members of your audience one-on-one and ask them what their number one struggle is in your niche. You can also ask this question in a broadcast email sent to your entire email list.

Look beyond your audience as well. Browse a few forums related to your niche, and see what questions people are asking as well as the types of problems they’re describing.

1, 2, and 3-star reviews are other great places to look. Read through them on the product pages of books and courses related to your niche on Amazon, Audible, and Udemy.

Using Lead Magnets to Create Solutions

The best products in the world solve problems, and lead magnets are no different. Once you know which problems you want to tackle, you can start thinking of lead magnet ideas that’ll help solve them.

Here are a few simple guidelines to follow:

Use lead magnets that relate to the type of content you create

If you only create blog posts, your best bet is to create lead magnets that use written content. If you only incorporate videos and podcasts in your content marketing strategy, you may not see the same amount of success with ebooks as blogs do.

The key to efficiency is to focus on your audience’s interests ahead of what’s working for everyone else

While ebooks are one of the most effective lead magnets you can use, creating one will only eat up company time and resources. If you think there’s a more efficient lead magnet to use, go for it.

For example, if you create a weekly podcast, experiment with removing a 5 to 15-minute sound bite from each episode and offering that as exclusive content for email subscribers.

Consider the type of lead magnet that would provide the most excellent solution to a problem.

Think of a few different lead magnet ideas for each pain point on your list, and use your intuition and understanding of your audience to determine which concept would work best for each one.

Consider your resources as well. If you don’t have the time or money to create an ebook or course, leave them off the table for now. Focusing on these lead magnets when you don’t have the resources to produce them will only lead to failed attempts at growing your email list.

Promoting Your Lead Magnets on Email Opt-In Forms

Like I said earlier, the best places to promote lead magnets are on opt-in forms used on your site’s top pages. If you use the lead generation features offered by a tool like MailOptin and integrate it with your email marketing service provider, you can unlock a few creative strategies for promoting your lead magnets.

For example, if you want to promote an ebook on a select few blog posts, you can use the tool’s inline and before/after forms to ensure the offer flows a lot more efficiently with your content than an intrusive pop-up form would.

Alternatively, if what you’re offering is a freebie, free trial, or discount, you’re going to want to use a pop-up or notification bar to ensure your visitors don’t miss it.

Be sure to check out our demo if you want to see what else MailOptin has to offer and how it can help you achieve your goals with lead magnets.

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