How lead magnets work

Like most things in business, there are 2 key factors to using lead magnets.

Firstly, what’s in it for me? There’s no point in doing something that doesn’t benefit your business in some way. And secondly, what’s in it for my customers? Your customers will also only do something that benefits them, so you need to give them a reason to respond to what you are doing.

Lead magnets are no different, in fact in some ways they increase focus on these 2 factors. So let’s take a look at the why’s behind using this marketing tool.

What’s in it for me?

The aim of using a lead magnet is to increase your audience and (ideally) as a result to increase your customer base. Usually, this is done by increasing your audience, usually your mailing list, by asking your potential customers to subscribe to that mailing list in return for some form of a reward. The simplest lead magnets offer a free pdf download to anybody who subscribes to your list. You get a potential customer’s email address, which you can then use in your marketing campaigns, and they get a freebie.

What’s in it for my customers?

For a lead magnet to be effective you are asking someone to give you their email address in exchange for something of value to them. In the case of a pdf download, you are using some information that you have and which you think your potential customer may find useful to entice them to sign up. For them to sign up and give you their info and space in their inbox they need to feel that your offering is worthwhile.


A hot topic at the minute and something that we all need to be aware of, you need to make sure that you are handling people’s data correctly and in accordance with the GDPR regulations.

The highlights are:

  • Tell anyone who is signing up what they are signing up for, what information you are asking for, how you will store it and what you will use it (and not use it) for.
  • Don’t use their information for anything other than what you have stated.
  • Delete their information if they ask you to.
  • Don’t contact them if they ask you not to.
  • Be sure that you are in a position to provide them with any information you have stored on them if they request it.

Natural Filtering

One of the best parts about using a lead magnet (if done well) is that you narrow down those subscribing to your ideal clients. Your lead magnet should be something that is of most use to someone who you would like to work with, as that is the person who you want to sign up to your list and ultimately sell your products/services to.

Use your own experience

In order to best assess how your lead magnet may be received, reflect on your own experience with signing up to mailing lists.

What made you sign up? What did you find valuable? How much value did you need to see for you before you would give up your email address?

How to get started?

Before you get into the technical aspects of setting up a lead magnet, first figure out the tactics:

  • What do you want to achieve?
  • Who do you want to target?
  • What information do you want to gather?
  • What do you think will be of value to your target audience?

Then put together your freebie, if this is a document then pdf is the best format to use. You can usually print to pdf from most applications. This format is most widely used online for a reason!

If you already use a mailing list application, eg Mailchimp, then you can use this to set up your lead magnet. If not then you will need to figure out which application best suits your needs:

  • What size is your audience?
  • What size do you expect your audience to grow to?
  • Do you want/need to segment your list?
  • Do you want/need multiple lists?
  • Are there any other features that you need when it comes to managing/marketing to your mailing list?
  • Do you want/need your mailing list application to integrate with other apps – accounts, crm, your website (eg gathering email addresses from your contact form)?
  • Do you want your lead magnet to work on your website, on social media, on a landing page, on a web form?

Once you have planned your lead magnet based on these points, you are ready to start building your lead magnet, your list and your customer base!

Psst! Pass it on

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