how to create an irresistible lead magnet

How to Create an Irresistible Lead Magnet

Carl Taylor | August 16, 2016

So you’ve written a couple of stellar posts and have seen some traffic come in.

But what’s the point of all that traffic if it’s not being converted into customers?

That’s where your email list comes in. According to Gigaom Research, “marketers consistently ranked email as the single most effective tactic for awareness, acquisition, conversion, and retention.”

But building your list can seem pretty complex. Luckily, there’s a little thing called a lead magnet that can make it much easier.

Below we dive into what lead magnets are and how you can use them to grow your email list.

Okay, What Are They?

Back in the early days of the internet you could throw up an email subscription box that said ‘subscribe here’ and people would gladly join your list. Today it’s a different story.

The internet is a crowded place, and most people’s inboxes are already overflowing. Because of that, they’re much less likely to share their precious email address. So just like the Godfather said, you need to make them an offer they can’t refuse.

Think of a lead magnet as a bribe that your visitor can’t resist. In exchange for their email address, you’ll provide them with an incredible piece of value.

A free incentive to join your list.

The Two Types of Bribes

There are two main types of bribes, or incentives, that you’ll come across and will want to create yourself.

1. The Traditional Lead Magnet

Lead magnets are more traditional. They’re a standalone piece of value, such as a free report, an ebook, or a video course. They’ll often be placed in the sidebar, a pop-up, or the first thing a user sees when visiting your site.

2. The Newer Content Upgrade

Content upgrades have taken the internet by storm in recent years. In fact, Brian Dean from Backlinko used them to increase his conversions by 185%.

Essentially, a content upgrade is something downloadable that extends the value of a specific blog post. For instance, if you wrote a post called ‘The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Home Garden’, a content upgrade that goes with the post could be a ‘Home Garden Checklist’.

At the bottom of the post, or even throughout the copy, the user will be promoted to enter their email to get the free guide.  

Regardless of form, they all have one thing in common: their goal is to get people to join your email list.

Why Should You Use It?

Some people object to lead magnets and content upgrades, because they create a little additional work. But if you’re serious about building your list, there’s no way around it.

Sure, you could throw up a simple subscriber box and hope that people subscribe.

Or you could create an offer so good that people are practically begging to join your list. I know which option I would choose.

Lead magnets and content upgrades work best when they’re on the same team.

Let’s look at this scenario:

You have an audience of beginner bloggers looking to start their very first blog. So you create a free video course that teaches them everything they need to know to build the foundation of a profitable blog.

Now, not everyone will take you up on that offer. That’s where your content upgrades come in.

For each blog post you publish, you’ll create an additional resource that extends the value of the post. Even something as simple as a PDF version of the post is enough.

How Is the Upgrade Delivered?

There are a variety of service providers you can use to deliver your lead magnets and content upgrades. The process will be the same, no matter which services you use.

  1. The user enters their email address.
  2. They confirm their email address.
  3. Their guide/course/upgrade is delivered right to their inbox.

On the backend you’ll need to use an email autoresponder that’ll automatically deliver the lead magnet to the user’s inbox.

LeadPages is an incredibly popular tool to integrate lead magnets and content upgrades into your site. Plus, they have a nifty feature that allows the user to subscribe in a two-click process, without ever leaving your site.

What Kind of Upgrade Should You Create?

The types of lead magnets and content upgrades you can create are only limited by your imagination. But we’ll make it easy on you and give you a few examples to get started.

Lead magnet examples:

  • Email courses
  • Webinars
  • A series of videos
  • An eBook
  • A report
  • A secret podcast episode
  • A test
  • A free consultation

Content upgrade examples:

  • A checklist
  • A PDF of the post
  • Extra tips
  • A cheat sheet
  • A resource list
  • Worksheets
  • A case study

Hopefully, the list above gets your idea muscle spinning. Keep one thing in mind: whatever you create, try and make it so good your customer would happily pay for it.

What Do They Look Like?

Now that we’ve jammed your head full of information, it’s time to make it real and look at a few real-world examples.

1. I Will Teach You to Be Rich (Lead Magnet)

iwtytbr lead magnet

This lead magnet from Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich offers visitors a chance to get the highlights from his bestselling book. It looks good, has social proof, and is enticing to fans of his work.

2. Backlinko (Content Upgrade)

backlinko content upgrade

This content upgrade from Brian Dean of Backlinko not only looks great, but also provides a ton of value to readers of the post. You can see it in action here.

3. ConversionXL (Lead Magnet)

conversion xl lead magnet

This lead magnet from Peep Laja at ConversionXL is simple and to the point. If you’re looking to increase conversions, then this is the place to start. This lead magnet shows that you don’t have to be flashy with your design to succeed.


4. Amy Porterfield (Content Upgrade)

amy porterfield content upgrade

This stylish and simple content upgrade from Amy Porterfield works well to divert readers’ eyes to the upgrade. Check it out in action here.

An email list is a must-have for any kind of online business owner. By embracing the power of lead magnets, you’ll see your list grow faster than you ever thought possible.

About the author 

Carl Taylor

Carl Taylor is the Founder & CEO of Automation Agency. For the past 10 years Carl has been building businesses and marketing them online through the use of Sales Funnels, Email Marketing Automation, Landing Pages, and Wordpress Websites. Carl is also a #1 author and highly sought after speaker and consultant whose work has impacted thousands of businesses across various industries worldwide.

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