- Lead magnets are downloadable assets that potential customers request in exchange for their contact information.
- This article looks at 10 ideas for lead magnets, including (1) white papers, (2) templates, (3) spreadsheets, (4) web apps, (5) Trello boards, (6) buyer’s guides, (7) videos, (8) webinars, (9) email courses, and (10) waiting lists.
You want to download a bundle of easy weeknight meal recipes so you don’t have to find that website you really liked all over again. You want to read short news digests to save you time. If you’ve been in one of these situations before, you’ve probably also completed a lead form.
Lead forms are just about everywhere, and marketers use incentives like the ones above to entice site visitors into passing along their contact info. These incentives are called lead magnets, and they are typically downloadable PDFs or some other popular file format. Lead magnets should always:
- offer a solution
- digest easily
- demonstrate your knowledge or expertise on a highly-targeted, specific topic.
We put together a list of some tried-and-true lead magnets to get your creative juices flowing, but you should also consider hiring a lead generation company like TechnologyAdvice to give your lead gen efforts a boost. Click the banner below to learn more, or continue reading to cut your brainstorming session in half.
1. White papers, ebooks, and reports
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White papers might be the most popular kind of lead magnets. White papers should present original research and explain complicated concepts to a target audience. If you’ve never written a white paper before, click the image below to download our free guide on white papers.
White papers make great lead magnets when they’re highly-focused, full of valuable information or insight not found anywhere else, and relatively short, usually a few pages long. Marketers love white papers for being low-effort, high-value lead magnets, but white papers’ cousins, ebooks and reports, are also worthwhile endeavors.
Ebooks are similar to white papers in that they offer a solution to a specific problem through personal expertise and original research, but ebooks dive deeper and are usually twice as long as white papers. Reports, on the other hand, probably require the most research, as they interpret findings from original surveys or studies.
Templates are often underutilized as lead magnets, but they might be even easier to put together than white papers. Are there any document templates your company already uses that others could probably benefit from? Put them up for download on your website as a lead magnet!
If you’re going to share a document for a word processor, we’d recommend making your template available as both a Microsoft Word file (.docx) and as a Google Doc that people can make a copy of. (In your Google Doc, set the sharing setting to “Anyone with the link can view.”) If your template features a lot of spread design elements, you might also consider making it available as an Adobe InDesign file (.indd).
Spreadsheets are another way you can use document templates to attract more leads. Whether you use spreadsheets for project management, accounting, budgets, or travel, people will love you for doing a tedious, time-consuming job for them, especially if you spice up your spreadsheet templates with useful macros and clean designs.
For example, people program macros to automate routine tasks in Excel, but recording these tasks so you can automate them feels like a major inconvenience. By removing this step and helping people be more productive, you create something valuable that makes completing a lead form worthwhile.
Smartsheet does this really well. They offer over 30 different Microsoft Excel templates you can download for free on their website, including templates for their own platform so visitors can see a real, side-by-side comparison of the two products. This not only helps people, but it also highlights some of Excel’s shortcomings, making Smartsheet even more desirable by comparison.
4. Web apps
Web apps are more high-effort lead magnets, but the payoff can be huge for years to come. You can gate your web app behind a passcode that visitors only receive after they’ve completed a lead form. Web apps not only deliver value to potential leads, they also do a lot to establish your authority and credibility on a subject.
Take for example Sharethrough’s headline analyzer. In this case, Sharethrough decided not to gate their web app behind a passcode or lead form, but the tool still does a lot to establish their credibility as a native advertising company and to spark curiosity in other, gated lead magnets on their website.
Again, think of processes your company already does regularly and look for ways to create tools to expedite those processes. In the case of building a web app, you’re doing yourself and your potential leads a favor.
5. Trello boards
If you do any form of content marketing, there’s a good chance you rely on Trello to keep your team sane. Our marketing team at TechnologyAdvice uses Trello to manage our content calendar, and so do plenty of other businesses. Why not make a copy of your company’s favorite Trello board with blank lists and share it on your blog for others to make their own copies?
Making a Trello board is very low-effort, and just like using web apps for lead magnets, this lead magnet idea can pay off for a long time.
6. Buyer’s guides
If you’re in the business of selling large or complicated products, buyer’s guides are a boon for getting more leads while also proving your knowledge of the market. We don’t sell software on our website, but we do educate buyers of business software about different products and put them in touch with the right people when they’re ready to purchase.
We offer buyer’s guides for download as a way for business software buyers to learn more about software products at their convenience. You can make guides available for download as a PDF, just like a gated white paper or ebook.
Videos are extremely useful lead magnets, especially for providing product demos and how-tos. If you use YouTube for video hosting, you can easily gate videos behind lead forms by setting their visibility to “Private.” When someone completes a lead form, designate an automated email reply that delivers the link to the private video.
Only people with the link can view private videos, and only people who own the video link can decide who gets the link. In other words, only the people who have permission can access the video link; no one else can share it. For more questions about visibility settings on YouTube, check out Google’s help article.
Webinars are business seminars conducted over a video conferencing software such as Google Meet or Skype. This kind of lead magnet is highly valuable, and it has the added benefit of exclusivity. Since webinars are live events that you only broadcast once, they create a sense of urgency for people to sign up.
Once you’ve received their contact information, you can invite people to the video call or email them a link to join. Most modern webinar hosting tools will save your live broadcast as a video you can watch later, so you can offer the recording as an added incentive to people who sign up.
Webinars are opportunities for you to demonstrate your personal knowledge and expertise of a subject, but why stop with just your knowledge? You can sweeten the deal by inviting a well-known thought leader to join your webinar and share some of their insight, too. Having guests on your webinar also creates opportunities for co-marketing sign-ups, as guests can promote your webinar to their audience beforehand.
9. Email courses
Email courses are a series of educational articles sent via email over the course of several days. Include a checkbox on the lead form that gives visitors the option to receive email newsletter updates as well, and you can nurture these warm leads with other educational content once the course ends.
Email courses are a great way to make complicated subjects manageable to understand, and it does a lot for proving your expertise. Best part of all? If you already have educational content that you wrote as a series or that you could string together as a series, all you have to do is put those articles in an email format and set up an autoresponder.
10. Waiting lists
Building anticipation and making people feel special at the same time is a winning combination for an excellent lead magnet, and waiting lists do exactly that. You can use waiting lists for any kind of announcement, update, or addition. Some companies even use waiting lists as a low-risk way to gauge demand or interest for a new product or service before launch.
Whether you’re about to host a conference, open a new business location, introduce a new product, or add a new service, waiting lists are a great way to get more leads in exchange for something your customers want — sometimes before they know they want it.
Use lead magnets to get more inbound leads, but supplement your efforts with a lead generation campaign from TechnologyAdvice.
Inbound marketing tactics such as lead magnets are great ways to generate leads, but it can be challenging to rely solely on inbound techniques to fill your pipeline. Contact us today to learn more about our lead generation services, or visit our services page to browse all of our offerings.
As the leads start coming in, check out these other helpful resources from our blog:
- Watch Your Language and 6 Other Selling Tips for Introverts
- 5 Follow Up Mistakes You’re Making and How to Fix Them
- 10 Lead Nurturing Software Tools for Any Smarketing Team