How to create a high-converting lead magnet in the world of lousy freebies? [18 Opt-in Offer Ideas + Free Template ]

 

Are you struggling with whipping up a lead magnet that can help you generate more leads? It’s frustrating, right?

It is an important part of your website without a doubt. And you want it to instantly convince your visitors to convert.

But should it be a collection of tools in a toolkit? Or should it be a checklist? Or should you give them a quiz?

First, let’s understand:

What is a lead magnet exactly?

Lead magnets or opt-in offers are powerful tools to collect email ids and build a relationship with your prospects. But what no one tells is that the goal of the lead magnet is not to get emails in exchange for a freebie alone. They are fairly important in establishing your niche expertise and authority.

Since opt-in offers are magnets for leads, they have to irresistible, yes that’s rule no.#1. If they are lousy with a lame piece of copy, people will not feel compelled to fork over their details.

The chief benefits of a lead magnet are:

– The No-Brainer Benefit – It helps you build a list of subscribers
– The Less-Known Benefit – It establishes you as the go-to person in a niche
– The Underestimated Benefit- It is the entry point of visitors into your funnel; it primes them to take up your paid services

In this post, I am going to share with you:

  • 18 steal-worthy ideas to create a high-value irresistible lead magnet that solves specific user problems
  • Show you how each of them slams home the point that you’re worth investing in

And by the end of it, it is my promise that you’ll be brimming with ideas for creating a high-converting lead magnet.

But here’s what I want in return from you:

Share with me the types of lead magnets you’ve tried and the ones that have worked best for you by leaving me a comment below.

What makes a lead magnet totally irresistible?

  • Empathy for the prospects

Have you come across those ads that tell you there’s something wrong with you and you need to buy their product to rectify it?

Spoiler alert: Those advertisers are not empathizing with you.

That’s feeding to people’s insecurities and pushing products on them. So next time someone tells you to blow up your prospects’ qualms to position your product in their minds, ignore them.

Let’s understand what real empathy is:

As a little kid, did you ever come back home dead beat from the playground and your mom understood it without you telling her and served you food on your table? That’s real empathy.

Neuroscience studies show that humans are hardwired to empathize with others and have a desire to be empathized with. We want people to feel our pain and resonate with the exact situation that we are in. That’s where the magic happens.

So when you build a lead magnet with true empathy for your audience, you have a clear winner in your hands.

If the only reason you feel your lead magnet will capture leads because you’ll display a large pop-up with a veiled escape button then you are approaching it the wrong way.

Do not just see your lead magnet as a stepping stone to more email ids but to build a relationship and connect with the most relevant audience.

  • Specificity of the promise

It is a huge misconception that you need to create something that’s long or complex to get your audience to like it. Powerful Lead Magnets solve a very specific problem and not beat around the bush. They are not just educational in nature but also actionable. Any content that’s purely trying to teach some theory cannot be specific or actionable enough.

So if your lead magnet cannot be consumed in a few minutes and the written word be applied for results, it is not being tackled right. The easiest way to make your lead magnet irresistible is to get specific.

For example:

‘How to lose weight‘ is overarching and generic but ’10 biggest mistakes you need to avoid when trying to lose weight’ is specific. I can take home and apply the teachings; at best I can stop myself from making those mistakes.

This proposition resonates with its audience directly and makes them aware of the exact impact of the offer on their life.

  • Relevance of the lead magnet

Imagine reading about cooking healthy dishes and being pushed a lead magnet titled ’10 steps to creating a scrumptious social media plan’. Would you download it?

I know that’s an extreme case. But what I am trying to hint at is that when you have someone’s attention on a topic, you’ll get better results pushing an upgrade for the same topic.

Offering something extremely relevant to the reader of a particular post is more likely to nudge them to fork over their email addresses. It is like finding out what’s most important to them at that point and serving them exactly that.

The lead magnet that’s specific to a post is also called a content upgrade.

You could have a lead magnet on your landing page or in the sidebar. It could also appear as a pop-up in addition to the place on the website you decide. But relevant lead magnets placed at the end of every post (i.e. content upgrades) are proven to convert crazy high.

Lead magnet placed elsewhere on the website may convert at a hunky dory 2-3% but when placed right beneath the article or in the middle, the conversions shoot through the roof at 20-30%.

So well… what appeals to you more?

When you’re planning your next lead magnet think over why your visitors should really care about it and how relevant it is to the piece of content they are consuming on your site. This should give you immense clarity while planning.

If the lead magnet is not irresistible, it is lousy. Lousy lead magnet = No leads

High-Converting Lead Magnet/Opt-in Offer Copy Structure
  • Make a tangible promise: This is the most important part of an irresistible opt-in offer. Your commitment must resonate with your visitors and should be specific in nature.
  • Start with the hook i.e. a benefit-driven headline. It must answer their most pressing question- “Why should I care?” or “What’s in it for me?” The headline must catch instant attention.
  • Specify the path to the offer: Tell them what they need to do to access the promised material i.e. drop in their email addresses. And if you are asking for additional information like website URL, designation, phone number then you must justify. Preferably have a minimum number of fields. In most cases email and name are enough.
  • Feature a Hero shot: This is an image or a video that bolsters the reasons for people to opt-in. It either gives visitors a feel of what’s inside or is illustrative of what the copy is communicating. In a nutshell, it strengthens the argument of your copy.
  • Call to action: Do not make the call to action a generic submit button. In none of the examples that I have covered below, is the call to action a snooze-worthy ‘submit’ button. You want people to see the call to action and go ‘Yes! I want to…’
  • Use Social Proof: It helps to have an element of social proof in your opt-in offer copy. It solidifies people’s reasons to click the button. Yes, a two-liner testimonial also works or features logos of website you’ve been featured on.
  • Create Urgency: It may be hard to create urgency for an opt-in offer if there is no real need for urgency. But mentioning the time-sensitivity of the offer nudges people to say yes to it. That said, be honest with your potential subscribers. Do not create fake scarcity or urgency.

Here’s why your lead magnet can fall flat on its face

For a moment imagine I am your self-confidence coach or guru (for the lack of a better word) and you come over to my website as a random guy. Now I need a nice lead magnet to attract you and fall in love with how I can change your life.

I could say, “Become more confident”
Or I could be more specific and say: “5 ways to be more confident in social situations”
Or I could apply the urgency trigger and make a tangible promise: “5 ways to be more confident in social situations starting today”
The last one is more promising. Most people leave it on the first one and do not really narrow down their focus. That’s a problem. Secondly not taking the time to understand what your audience really wants causes your lead magnets to fail.

For example , maybe your audience consists of 30+ year-old men who want to be more confident in approaching women, then the ‘social situations’ hook may not appeal to them as much as ‘confident dating’ would.
So those are the two main things you must keep in mind.

Lead Magnet Template

Here’s a high-converting lead magnet template for you. Download it, tweak it, fill out details of your lead magnet and you’re all set to convert visitors into raving subscribers in 30 seconds.

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I have chosen 18 best ideas that you can use to create irresistible lead magnets. Only the most brilliant ideas have made into my list. In fact, the most important yardstick of selection was how they establish the business owner’s niche expertise.

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18 Best Ideas for Creating your Next Killer Lead Magnet

  1. Have no lead magnet at all

Sometimes you don’t need a lead magnet at all. You can just invite your visitors by giving a sneak peek into your life and what makes it share-worthy.

For example Jonathan Fields says ‘You don’t need a bribe to join my tribe‘.

Lead Magnet Ideas 1

Lead Magnet Ideas # 1

Noticed how he follows up the messaging with an equally persuasive sneak peek into his adventurous life?

As a reader you do experience the fear of missing out while reading the message and his candidness with his tribe is impressive. This type of a heart-to-heart conversation ending in an opt-in box is a great foundation for a strong community.

 2. A list of tools to help them with something specific

Jeff Bullas offers a pack of tools to his visitors to help them drive traffic to their website. Now you see with this attractive lead magnet he’s also positioning himself as the go-to-guy for generating traffic. On his blog, he writes about a ton of stuff, ranging from social media scheduling to blogging tips and tricks but the overarching theme is driving more web traffic.

Lead Magnet Ideas #2 Toolkit

When you download it, it is a simple one-page document serving the specific goal of providing 5 key tools for increasing website traffic.

It is easily consumable within less than 5 minutes, does not beat around the bush and delivers what it promises.

tools as lead magnet 3. An e-book that answers their specific questions

In this lead magnet below, the author is positioning herself as the go-to expert in freelance writing niche:

Lead Magnet Ideas #3 eBook

The ebook promises to answer 100+ questions of their readers.

You must notice that these questions are more like FAQs delivered in the form of a lead magnet. This means through this opt-in offer they are predisposing their visitors to do business with them.

Isn’t that witty?

4. Cheat Sheet or Swipe File

The cheat sheet given as a lead generation magnet called Headline Hacks is a brilliant example by one of my favorite bloggers-Jon Morrow from SmartBlogger.com. He keeps the narrative taut by comparing his headline cheat sheet with cliff notes for writing popular posts. Leaving nothing to guesswork or imagination, he uses a nice hero shot to give his visitors a feel of what’s behind the email-gate:

Lead Magnet Ideas #4 Cheat Sheet

Further, notice his use of reverse psychology on the pop-up’s copy with the secondary call to action – ‘No thanks, I already have enough traffic.’

This hack is effective because you will never say this statement unless you are Wikipedia. Am I right?

Behind the email is a nice lead magnet which gives me a range of headlines to choose from for writing my next blog post.

5. Give a Checklist or Resource List

This example is an intriguing one. It is from Brian Dean of Backlinko.com. In one his articles he has revealed how article-specific lead magnets (also called content upgrades) have been more powerful in converting visitors to subscribers than 16 opt-in boxes on his website.

So let us not even debate over this and take his word for it:

Lead Magnet Ideas #5 Content Upgrade

Do you notice how he creates a lightbox to give a glimpse of what’s behind the email-gate? The neat design coupled with the handiness of the checklist makes you want to grab it, print it and pin it on your work desk.

In addition, he has gated two additional strategies behind the email, giving his visitors stronger reason to subscribe.

The strategy works for him and I have no doubt why it won’t for you.

6. Free Audio Training

This is my absolute favorite example from Marie Forleo:

Lead Magnet Ideas #6 Audio File

Here’s why I like it:

– The title evokes a desire to learn more about the subject. And since Marie Forleo is a lifestyle blogger she does not keep her promise limited to audience from a specific niche. This is apt for her blog and all other offerings.

– The sub-headline follows up with the headline with a super-specific promise of ‘three simple’ strategies.

– The hero shot is that of her audio playing on a phone. A clear sneak-peek into what’s on the other side of the ‘download now’ button.

She uses the audio file to deliver a heart-centered talk which is uplifting and motivating.

It perfectly strengthens her positioning of a life coach and is in line with her main messaging on the landing page- ‘The world needs a gift that only you have‘.

 7. Promise Access to a Private Members-Only Area

Promising access to a private members-only area creates exclusivity and evokes the desire to be a part. Copyblogger does that quite successfully and offers a ton of value behind it.

What’s fantastic about CopyBlogger’s high-converting lead magnet is that they allow their visitors to self-segment before asking them to become a member:

Lead Magnet Ideas #7 Membership pass

They give you the option to choose your purpose of visit to the website i.e. your area of interest. You can choose between traffic, copywriting and email marketing and get access to the membership area of the pre-selected niche.

This specificity and your interaction with the website before being shown an opt-in makes you more likely commit yourself to the action.

8. Offer Them a Tool to Interact With To Learn More

You can create a simple lead magnet tool for your website to let your visitors interact with and offer them more sneak peeks when they leave their email ids.

I really like this tool from Hubspot.com called MakeMyPersona which is a simple Typeform survey that allows you to create a buyer persona for your business:Lead Magnet Ideas #8 Tools

This perfectly aligns with their business objective since creating persona is the first step in marketing. What I distinctly like about this tool is that it does not pop up the question about your email id until you have interacted with it almost till the end.

In all of 19 questions, it is the 18th one that asks for email id:

Create a Buyer Persona Lead Magnet

Based on your inputs, it promises to send you a customized report via email.

Another brilliant example in this context is that of website grader. It evokes a sense of curiosity by asking you how strong your website it:

Website Grader Tool

Naturally, you would like to know the answer to it. Won’t you?

9. Engage With an Email Series

The email follow-up series is a good way to keep your audiences engaged for an extensive time period. I have subscribed to the 15-part Snackable course by Henneke Duistermaat from EnchantingMarketing.com. As a part of the deal, every other day during the course, Henneke knocks at my inbox with a short lesson.

Notice how in her first email from the Snackable course she sends me a tip about using exclamation marks:

Lead Magnet Ideas #9 Email Series Short Course

Every email from Henneke is a snackable hack as promised and she keeps them really short for her readers. This is well-aligned with her positioning of an enchanting content writer and copywriter. And if you haven’t guessed it I love her.

10. Best of the Chapters From a paid Ebook

This is a fantastic approach taken by Ramit Sethi, bestselling author of I Will Teach You To Be Rich. Why would you not like to read the best of a book skimmed by the author himself? Take a look:

Lead Magnet Ideas #10 Best parts from a book

Notice how he creates urgency by calling it a test and mentioning the time sensitivity of the offer.

The call to action copy is actually a part of the headline copy which proves total coherence in the messaging.

This is the best lead magnet option for book authors or paid e-book authors. 

11. Free Webinar

You can invite your first-time subscribers to watch your pre-recorded webinar. Sarah Jones from IntrovertedAlpha.com takes this approach.

But what you must notice is her interesting piece of copy:

Lead Magnet Ideas #11 Webinar

She first takes a moment to welcome her visitors and then qualifies them by specifying whom her website is exactly for. Sarah also promises to tackle the biggest objection of her target audience (being fried-zoned) inside of the webinar. I am assuming this bolsters their reasons to watch the webinar.

Visual Website Optimizer also has a prominent lead magnet which is a webinar with a solid promise:

Lead Magnet Ideas #11 Webinar_VWO

Did you notice the specificity of the promise? They promise to cover only ‘the most vital copywriting techniques used by experts’ in the webinar.

I have watched the webinar and they have used it as a perfect opportunity to talk about the importance of A/B testing in copywriting and how that helps beat the experts. Brilliant!

This one’s a solid lead magnet option with a set path that leads to taking their paid service as the next step. 

12. Invitation to a Challenge

Challenges act as stimulants for the brain and have their own ways in nudging it. Have you ever taken a challenge to loose weight in a record time period? If you ever have, you’ll relate to the hustle they call for.

As an example, Nathalie Lussier from Ambitionally.com offers a 30 Day List Building Challenge. Observe how she accompanies her promise with a rock-solid guarantee of building a bigger list in 30 days than her subscribers have built in last 3 months on their own:

Lead Magnet Ideas #12 Challenge

After you take the challenge she sends one video in your inbox every day.

Agreed these are all pre-recorded short videos (2-4 minutes in duration) but each of them successfully keeps you on the cliffhanger, looking forward to the next one.

Lead Magnet Ideas #12 Challenge_List Building

You must notice that this email follow-up series is well aligned to the profit path. By offering key insights into list-building, she strengthens her relationship with her readers. This gives her a chance to talk about a couple of her own products that can help them go further with list building.

One of the main paybacks of this approach is that since emails are labeled with the day number they’re delivered on, they train the subscribers to expect and open those emails regularly.

13. A mega-list of something

One of the opt-in offers by us i.e.TheYouEngine.com is actually a list of 137 conversation movers and shakers:

Lead Magnet Ideas #13 Power List

The hero shot is actually illustrative of what the lead magnet can do to your audience. On the side note, isn’t the bow-wow cute?

Notice the bonus makes the offer further compelling. Bonus triggers us to take action and if it is a nice solid one, it helps visitors raise their hand in agreement.

14. A Free Consultation

For free consultation as a lead magnet, there is a brilliant example from IntrovertedAlpha.com. It will work for you if you too are in the consultancy domain. Take a look:

Lead Magnet Ideas #14 Free Consultation

To help her visitors discover if they are a good fit for her program, Sarah offers a complimentary consultation. Since she’s already shown a strong copy on the page to qualify her visitors, she can funnel in the right fits through this lead magnet.

A free discovery call is a powerful lead magnet option for consultants. This can especially help push the fence-sitters off the fence and break the ice with you. 

The quick and easy to implement lead magnet below too offers a 30 minute Q&A call. Notice how the copy builds upon the element of curiosity:

Lead Magnet# 14 Free Coaching Session

The copy is totally steal-worthy, eh?

These lead magnet examples illustrate how the right strategy can help you get inside the minds of your buyers and prime them to do business with you through a solid proposition.

15. A playbook

A playbook is a collection of different templates, swipe files, and ideas. In a playbook, you do not have to be rigid about explaining one process from start till the end. Pat Flynn from SmartPassiveIncome.com has an impressive ‘Playbook of Email Archetypes’:

Lead Magnet Ideas #15 A playbook

In this playbook, he gives his subscribers different types of emails they can send to keep their list warm.

As a reader, you can pick and chose what you like and tweak them to use for your own email list. Notice on the cover page of the playbook, there’s a tangible and specific promise i.e. you’ll never run out of great emails:

Lead Magnet Ideas #15 A playbook_Pat Flynn

The commitment made on the cover page does not flounder inside, sticking what was promised- each email archetype is referred to as a ‘play’ and backed by rich examples.

And like every play, there are rules to this game too!

16. A Manifesto as a Lead Magnet

MakeCreativityPay.com has a manifesto as a lead magnet. That’s a fancy way of really bolstering your positioning and telling your subscribers what you stand for and what you don’t.

A heartfelt Manifesto is a really good lead generation example for creative entrepreneurs and passionate freelancers.

Take a look below:

Lead Magnet Ideas #16 Manifesto for Community

But why would anyone be interested in downloading a business’s manifesto?

Well…they’re trying to gather like-minded people to a community through this. Their opt-in offer is actually uniting people against the most common problem of the industry and this manifesto is helping articulate that problem.

Best part?

Those who’d download it would resonate with the exact pain point. This opt-in offer speaks to the emotional side rather than the rational side of the mind.

17. A self-awareness quiz

One of the most applaud-worthy lead magnets examples that I have seen is by Laura Doyle, best-selling author of Surrendered Wife and a relationship coach:

Lead Magnet Ideas #17 A short quiz for users

The copy builds on the visitors’ curiosity by carefully planting the word ‘secret’- “Get the secrets that make a man respond…”

It also offers to reveal the deterrents to an amazing relationship if you take the quiz.

Glued to the edge of the seat due to curiosity, I took the quiz and received an intimacy score of 90%. Yay!

Lead Magnet Ideas #17 Quiz Results

Though at the time of writing this I had not received the email to explain the score but it keeps me on the hook. You get the point, right?

Update: I got the email. Here it goes:

Great! Let’s dovetail:

Lead Magnet Ideas #17 Post Quiz Email

Did you notice how this email is perfectly tied to the profit path? It beautifully positions a complimentary discovery session as the seamless next step. The narrative is carried off well all the way to the pitch email right from the opt-in offer copy.

Based on the score, the message tells me to ‘kick the passion a notch up’ and I am assuming if the score was lower I would have received a slightly bashing email. No, I wouldn’t try that one!

By the way, another brilliant example of a lead magnet for consultants and coaches who hand-hold their clients from before to after version of their life.

Among the lead magnets discussed in this blog, quizzes can have jaw-dropping, eyeball-popping conversion rate. Do you know why? Well because they are interactive in nature and generate curiosity. People want to complete the missing pieces and seek closure over open information gaps. When you complete a quiz and see your ‘score’, it gives you a high and the overall experience feels rewarding.

18. Offer the best of what you have

Yes, it is actually as simple as it sounds. All you need is a persuasive copy and solid positioning of your business to back it up. Psychotactics.com‘s founder Sean D’Souza offers a simple and heart-centered argument to subscribe to his list. There’s no fluff in his reasoning. And notice how his reason number 2 offers social proof:

Lead Magnet Ideas #18 Subscribe for blog updates

Sean promises to offer the best of his website content only to his subscribers and also evokes fear of missing out by saying ‘you miss out on some very valuable content’. That’s indeed a persuasive argument.

I must say going by what he’s got on his website, he’s not bluffing his visitors and his commitment does not falter even after you are on the other side of the fence.

Neat…! Shall we say?

As another example, Darya Rose of the food and health blog SummerTomato.com offers a starter kit which is actually the best of her blog posts:

Lead Magnet Ideas #18 Subscribe for blog updates_Opt in Offer

Take a look at the email I received with links to the most impressive blog posts on her website:

Lead Magnet Ideas #18 Subscribe for blog updates_Email

Yes, all of these do link me to her website. Well, this is an example that bloggers or websites with a lot of blog content and quickly deploy.

Easiest to create? So get started my Chéri!

Conclusion

Your opt-in offer or lead magnet is an important first step in convincing people to do business with you. The magic words that you must feature on your opt-in offer page are those that ring true for your readers and make them feel that you understand their struggles and frustration.

Your lead magnet must also serve the purpose of positioning you as the authority (not the unsexy-monotonous-dusty-professor-types) in the niche you’re serving. Think of it as a path to communication first, conversion later.

Remember:

People are overloaded with information; they jump from one topic to the next and one blog to the other. They don’t pause to give you a chance to chime in and express yourself.

To get their attention, focus on your messaging.

Make sure there is a definite coherence in what your business and the blog are about and what the lead magnet is promising. Yes, you should give your audience what they want and solve their pain point but also ensure that it is well-aligned with your business objectives.

At the intersection of these two, emerges an irresistible lead magnet. Will you say more irresistible than chocolate truffle with whipped cream? Hmm…

So which of these high-converting lead magnet ideas will you use to grow your email list? Let me know in the comments below.

Lead Magnet Creation Guide: Create a powerful lead magnet using this Resource Kit + Checklist without hunting for ideas, technology or tools everywhere on the web

Resource Kit + Checklist

 

  • Screen Recording Tools

  • Webinar Tools

  • Quiz Creating Plugins

  • Email Course Campaigns

  • eBook Cover Design Software

 

About Tavleen

You should think of me when your visitors are bouncing off your website like a jumping jack...Or even the shocking pink color is failing to attract them to your call to action...Or after reading your 2-pager they still wonder- What's in it for them. But most importantly think of me when you're throwing a house party and your fridge is loaded with Ben & Jerry's!

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