When I first started blogging, I had no idea how to get email subscribers, what a lead magnet was, or how to set one up. I had opted in to receive free eBooks, guides and other freebies from other bloggers, but was completely clueless on how they set it all up.
Fast forward to today, and as you can see from the opt-in forms on my site, I've come a long way. Now I want to pass along some of that knowledge to you all in case you've been struggling to grow your email list.
In this post, I'm going to break down what lead magnets are, why almost every blog you visit uses them and how to create lead magnets quickly.
What Are Lead Magnets?
Lead magnets are free gifts you offer to people who visit your site in order to entice them to give you their email address.
You've seen them on my site and probably every other blog you follow. The lead magnet I'm currently promoting is my free on-page SEO checklist. Go ahead and sign up for it if you haven't yet 😉
They're called lead magnets because they "pull" people into your email list like a magnet. Pretty clever right?
Some of the most popular types of lead magnets are:
- Free email or video courses
- Discount (if you sell something)
Pretty much any type of exclusive content will work.
Why Lead Magnets Are So Popular
The simple answer here is: because they work.
Unless you're a huge brand with an established audience, most people aren't just going to give you their email address just because you're asking for it.
Imagine if you went to a website and just saw an email subscribe form that looked like this:
Seriously, what are the chances of you putting your email there. That form actually works by the way, in case you want to sign up for my email list!
With a lead magnet, you're giving people a reason to give you their email address.
In the early days of blogging and online marketing, you could just offer a free newsletter and people would be willing to sign up. But that's no longer the case for most sites because:
- People are overloaded with content every day, so there's no need to subscribe to your newsletter.
- Most people get enough random emails already.
- If they want to keep in touch with your latest content they'll just follow you on social media.
Your lead magnet cuts through all those challenges because the only way people can get your freebie is by giving you their email address.
So it's a win-win. You get their email address so you can keep in touch with them, and they get a free gift.
Lead Magnet Examples
To help give you some ideas, here are a few examples of lead magnets:
Viperchill: Video Series Lead Magnet
Viperchill offers a 3-part video series as a lead magnet. The videos are screen recordings, which is great if you don't want to be in front of the camera.
Entrepreneur on Fire: Free Course Lead Magnet
John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneur on Fire offers two different courses as lead magnets. A good lesson here is that you can have more than one lead magnet. In fact, it's actually more effective to have some variety.
AdEspresso: Free eBook Lead Magnet
You can never go wrong with a good old fashioned eBook.
byRegina: The Kitchen Sink
Lastly, you can go with the approach of one of my favorite bloggers/infopreneurs Regina and give your audience the choice. I like this approach because you're not alienating anyone.
Regina is basically telling readers to let her know what they want and she'll point them in the right direction of the free resources she offers that'll help them. Of course the downside is it takes a ton of time to create at all that free content.
So the next question is "how do I create a lead magnet?"
How To Create a Lead Magnet In Under 30 Minutes
I'm not BSing you when I tell you it took me under 30 minutes to create the on-page SEO checklist I'm using for my current lead magnet.
I made it using two free tools:
- Google Docs
You see, a lot of new bloggers are under the impression that you have to spend hours or days creating the best lead magnet ever seen on earth. That's just not the case.
I'm not saying you should put together a piece of crap and package it up as a lead magnet. But you also don't have to drive yourself crazy trying to make a freebie that's still high quality.
And since you saw the title of this post and decided to click on it, I'm guessing you don't want to spend a ton of time on putting this together. So here's how to make a lead magnet without paying a ton of money or setting aside a whole day to do it.
Step 1: Come Up With An Idea
This should take you no time at all, especially if you know your audience. Think of a problem they have, then brainstorm about what you can make to solve that problem.
A quick way to get some ideas is by looking at your top performing posts in Google Analytics. Go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. Read this guide if you're new to Google Analytics.
Then sort by page views to see your most visited pages. That should give you some good ideas for what type of lead magnet to create.
If you're just starting out or just don't have much traffic, you can always look at your competitors to see what type of lead magnets they're using. Don't straight up copy their idea, but use it as inspiration to create something for your own site.
If you're really struggling, shoot me an email and I'll see if I can help you come up with some ideas.
Looking at the posts from the screenshot above, the SlideShare guide seems like a good target. The reason why is because the first two are search-heavy topics. Meaning people that want that information are actively searching Google for it. So unless they have an immediate need for it, they're probably not going to give me their email in order to get a guide on how to downgrade WordPress.
Step 2: Choose a Format
Do you want to make an eBook, video, cheat sheet, checklist or something else.
If you're trying to save time, I recommend going with one of these:
- Cheat Sheet
They're the quickest types of lead magnets to make because you can usually just repurpose existing content.
Choose whatever you feel most comfortable with and what will take you the least amount of time to put together.
For the SlideShare lead magnet, I'll show you how to put together a checklist or an eBook.
Step 3: Put it Together
You know what you want to make, now you just have to make it. You don't need to use any paid products to make your lead magnets.
When I first started, Canva didn't exist so I was under the impression that you needed Adobe InDesign to make something that looked decent. I eventually ended up trying Microsoft Publisher but that was a disaster.
So needless to say, Canva saved me. But now I've found an even simpler tool to make lead magnets, which I'll show you in a bit. But first, Canva.
I use Canva to make the covers for my lead magnets and sometimes for the whole thing. For instance, the first lead magnet I had for this site was made entirely with Canva. You can check it out here, no opt-in necessary.
And as I mentioned, my current lead magnet was made using a combination of Canva and Google Docs. I used Canva to make the main checklist portion, then wrote up descriptions for each item on the checklist in Google Docs.
To make the post into a checklist in Canva, all I have to do is organize the process into steps. This is easy since it's already written in steps.
- Brainstorm Ideas
- Come Up With a Title
- Create an Outline
- Create Your Slides & Add Visuals
- Publish & Promote
Then I just have to go into Canva and make it into a nice looking visual. I already did this inside the original post, it looks like this:
Then, all you have to do is send a link to the original article along with the checklist. The email could look something like this:
Thanks for downloading my checklist for creating awesome SlideShare presentations. In addition to the checklist, I HIGHLY recommend you check out this article for step-by-step instructions on how I created a presentation that got featured on the front page of SlideShare!
But now I've found an even cooler and quicker way to make lead magnets: Beacon.
Making Lead Magnets With Beacon
Beacon is the quickest way I know of putting together a lead magnet for free. After you sign up for an account, install the WP plugin.
After you activate it and connect it to your account, go to Beacon > Create in your WP dashboard.
Then you can choose one or multiple posts/pages from your site to import and make into an eBook.
After you pick your post(s) it'll take you to the Beacon dashboard where you can choose what type of lead magnet you want to make.
I went with an eBook. Then you'll get a ton of options for templates to use.
Beacon will pull in all your content and give you a template to go off of.
You can remove or add any pages you want from their recommendation. I'm going to get rid of everything except the main content.
Just make sure you go through the content and check for any embeds like Tweets or in my case, SlideShare presentations. Embed codes won't convert into your PDF.
After you look over everything and have it looking the way you want, you can Generate the PDF and download it. Once you download your PDF, use Small PDF to compress it and make the file size smaller.
And here's the final result of what I put together in about 10 minutes.
I went super basic, but you can get as fancy as you want.
To setup your email opt-in forms, check out my MailChimp guide.
Even if you don't want to use existing content, you can still use Beacon to create something from scratch so it's pretty sick. If you don't have a lead magnet on your site yet, take 30 minutes today to make one and get it up on your site. You'll thank me later.