What are Lead Magnets, and how do you use them to grow your business? (with 11 real-life B2B examples)

what are lead magnets, photo of hands holding magnet with word "leads" on the table

What are lead magnets? What makes them so powerful for businesses? This blog post will answer these questions and share examples of great lead magnets.

Lead magnets are one of the most effective tools in a marketer’s toolkit, and learning how to use them correctly is essential for successful lead generation.

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase. This helps me pay to keep this site going and to bring all these free resources to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


What are Lead Magnets?

A lead magnet is a valuable resource you offer potential customers for free in exchange for their contact details. Lead magnets come in many forms, but they all have one goal: to entice people to sign up for your email list so that you can collect leads and each prospect’s contact information.

There are many different types of lead magnets, but some of the best lead magnet ideas include worksheets, webinars, checklists, and free trials. No matter what type of lead magnet you choose, it’s important to ensure that it is high quality and provides value to your target audience.

Why Small Business Owners Need a Lead Magnet to Generate Leads

Lead magnets are important because they allow you to capture contact information from potential customers. This contact information can then be used for future marketing efforts, such as email marketing and retargeting campaigns.

In addition to capturing contact information, lead magnets can also be used to build relationships with potential customers. By providing value upfront, you can start to establish trust with your target audience. This is important because people are likelier to buy from companies they trust.

What Makes a Good and Effective Lead Magnet?

The perfect lead magnet is only useful if it is effective. An effective lead magnet:

  • provides high actual value to your target audience

  • is relevant to your product or service

It’s also important to ensure that your lead magnet is easy to consume. If it’s a long and complicated ebook, there’s a good chance that potential customers will never actually read it. And if they don’t read it, they won’t get value from it.

Lead magnets work best when they have a high perceived value.

Finally, you must ensure that your lead magnet is easy to find and sign up for. The last thing you want is for potential customers to get frustrated trying to sign up for your freebie.

5 Steps to Creating Lead Magnets That Convert

So how do you create a high-converting lead magnet? Follow these five steps:

1. Define Your Target Audience

The first step is to define your target audience. What type of person or business are you trying to attract? What are their needs and pain points? Once you understand your target audience, you’ll be able to create a lead magnet that appeals to them.

2. Identify the Problem You’re Solving

The next step is to identify the problem that you’re solving with your product or service. What need does it fill? What pain point does it address?

The best lead magnets make the pain point obvious, so keep this in mind as you create your lead magnet.

3. Choose the Right Type of Lead Magnet

There are many types of lead magnets, so choosing the right one is important for your business. What type of lead magnet would be most appealing to your target audience? What type of lead magnet would be most effective in solving their problem?

Additionally, determine during which stage of your customer journey each lead magnet is appropriate. There are threes stages of a sales funnel:

  • Top of the funnel (ToFu – Awareness): in which potential customers are made aware of a problem they have

  • Middle of the funnel (MoFu – Consideration): in which potential customers consider solutions to their problem

  • Bottom of the funnel (BoFu – Decision): in which potential customers decide which solution to purchase

content marketing sales funnel
(Source: Moosend)

Not all lead magnets will be appropriate for each customer journey stage. For example, a free trial would be most appropriate during the decision stage, while an ebook would be more effective during the awareness or consideration stages.

4. Create the Lead Magnet

Now it’s time to actually create the lead magnet. This involves writing the copy, designing the graphics, and putting everything together. Many tools and resources can help you get the job done if you’re not a designer or writer.

5. Promote Your Lead Magnet

The final step is to promote your lead magnet. There’s no use in having a great lead magnet if no one knows about it. You’ll need to promote it on your website, social media, and other marketing channels.

We’ll cover some common lead magnet promotion ideas at the bottom of this article.

Eleven B2B Lead Magnet Examples

We’ll break down each of these examples based on the sales funnel stage they’re most appropriate for.

  • Before offering your lead magnet: Read magnets, zero-click content

  • Top of the Funnel: Short videos, Worksheets, Swipe Files

  • Middle of the Funnel: In-depth guides, Template, Checklists, Quizzes/Assessments

  • Bottom of the Funnel: Webinars, Case studies, Free Trials, and Demos

Before offering your lead magnet

In an online world with abundant information available and thinly veiled attempts at grabbing an email address without adding any real value, it can be difficult to establish trust.

You need to prove that you’re an expert in your field and that you’re offering something of value before asking for anything in return.

Establishing a connection and credibility with potential leads is key before you invite them to exchange information with your business.

So what can you do to demonstrate value before offering your lead magnet? Two ways to do this are by offering read magnets and zero-click content.

Zero-click content

So what is “zero-click content“? As explained by Amanda Natividad of Sparktoro:

“Zero-Click content is content that offers valuable, standalone insights (or simply engaging material), with no need to click. Clicking might be additive, but it’s not required.”

This is content that you post directly to the channels/platforms where you reach your target audience. (not to be mistaken with content on your website)

The following Tweet and the Twitter thread that it’s in is a perfect example of zero-click content:

Read magnets (or topic clusters)

A read magnet is an ungated, long-form article or comprehensive guide that you offer for free on your website. These are referred to by SEO experts as “content cluster,” “topic cluster,” or “pillar” pages.

The goal is to give readers a lot of valuable information on one page and then offer them a related content upgrade if they want more.

If you’ve done an excellent job with the read magnet, then one or more of the following will happen:

  • Readers will want more information on the topic, and they’ll opt in to gain access to your content upgrade (lead magnet)

  • Google will rank your article higher in search results, which will help you attract organic search traffic

  • Social media users will share your article, which will help you attract even more readers

Here’s one example of a useful read magnet: Your Complete Guide to Planning an Event Successfully.

Notice how they naturally embedded their content upgrade/lead magnet call to action on the page (and a product mention beneath it too).

read magnet content upgrade example

Here’s a read magnet that we created for our B2B audience:

Related: Creating content clusters to grow your traffic

Top-of-funnel lead magnet ideas

1. Short videos/demos

It should be no surprise that people love to watch videos to learn something.

Therefore, a short educational video can effectively teach concepts and demonstrate solutions. They can also be used to introduce a new product, feature, or service.

Good videos will grab your target audience’s attention and build rapport by delivering value immediately. Your audience should be able to watch the entire video without feeling like they’re being sold to.

You can then use a call to action to direct the viewer to an appropriate resource, such as a landing page with a lead capture form.

One good approach is repurposing longer videos by cutting out snippets and posting them on social media.

Here’s an example of a podcast interview that I repurposed as a Twitter post:

2. Worksheets

Let’s keep it real. If you’re trying to teach busy business owners or professionals, then a fifty or one-hundred-page ebook probably won’t cut it. They don’t have time to read all that! What they might appreciate, however, is a short worksheet or cheat sheet that they can quickly reference when they need it.

This type of lead magnet will be most effective if you can distill a lot of information into a few pages. Using graphics, color coding, and other formatting techniques, you can also make it visually appealing. It could also be as simple as an editable Google Sheet.

Example worksheet lead magnet: Creating Rockstar Content™ worksheet by Taki Moore

worksheet lead magnet example - Taki Moore
Worksheet lead magnet example by Taki Moore

3. Swipe Files

A “swipe file” is simply a collection of pieces you admire, such as blog posts, ads, landing pages, infographics, emails, videos, etc. These could comprise other peoples’ work or your own portfolio.

A swipe file can be particularly useful for your target audience when they’re trying to develop ideas for their own content, and it’s a massive time saver too. Once they see what’s worked well for others, they can quickly adapt and apply it to their own business.

Example swipe file lead magnet: Psychology of marketing swipe file by Abhishek Shah

Example swipe file lead magnet
Example swipe file lead magnet

4. Software tool/calculator

One of the most effective lead magnets is a software tool that makes life easier for your target audience. It could be an app, plugin, or calculator.

Your software should ideally solve a specific problem that your target audience is facing.

While this type of lead magnet takes more effort and resources to create, they are more successful because of it.

Here are a few great examples of free software as a lead magnet:

Mid-funnel lead magnet ideas

5. In-depth guides or ebooks (PDFs)

While we don’t advocate long PDF files for a top-of-funnel lead magnet, they can work well for a mid-funnel offer.

An in-depth guide or ebook can be a great way to position yourself as an expert on a certain topic. It also allows you to help a prospect address a specific pain point that they’re experiencing.

When creating an in-depth guide, ensure it’s well-designed and easy to read. Use headings, images, and white space to break up the text and make it more digestible.

Your guide should strike the perfect balance of being long enough to help the reader take action but short enough that they don’t get overwhelmed or completely ignore it.

Example PDF guide lead magnet: 103 Tasks To Outsource To Your Virtual Assistant PDF by 2xYou

Example lead magnet ebook pdf

Here’s some info that Le-an Lai Angeles Lacaba, Co-founder & CEO at 2xYou, shared with us about this lead magnet:

  • Time and budget invested in creating it: 6 hours of collective work, $50 budget for a graphic artist

  • Where it’s being used: Promoted in the calendar invite for sales calls, social media, website, and on the results page of their free scorecard (a separate lead magnet)

  • Conversion rate (% of visitors to the landing page that submitted their info): “30-50% once they’re on the landing page, mostly for warm leads we’ve already been talking to

Related: How to write an ebook in 7 steps

6. Checklists

Checklists are a great lead magnet for businesses because they provide value and are easy to consume.

For example, a business that sells project management software could create a checklist of things to do before starting a new project. This would be relevant to their target audience and would provide value by helping them avoid common mistakes.

Example checklist lead magnet: The Ultimate Event Planning Checklist by CMX

Example checklist lead magnet

7. Templates/worksheets/frameworks

Templates are another great option for businesses. They provide value by helping people get started with something quickly and easily.

For example:

  • A business that sells graphic design software could offer a template for creating an eBook cover.

  • A bookkeeping firm could offer a worksheet for forecasting cash flow.

  • A sales coach could offer a framework for effectively handling sales calls.

Example sales template lead magnet
Example sales template lead magnet (Source: Close)

8. Quizzes/Assessments/Scorecards

Quiz marketing has become popular in the past few years. There are a few good reasons for this:

  • Quizzes/assessments/scorecards are interactive, which is a more entertaining and stimulating way to learn compared to a free download. (You can still offer a free report in pdf format after the quiz has been completed anyway)

  • They’re faster to get through than a 60-minute webinar or an ebook.

  • They can provide customized and valuable insights based on the input of the person taking the quiz.

  • There are many ways for you to promote your quiz lead magnet.

As a lead magnet, quizzes and assessments can also be used to segment your leads so you can offer them the most relevant information possible. Furthermore, they allow you to only follow up with people who fit your ideal client criteria (or score within a specific range based on their quiz results).

Example Scorecard lead magnet: Sales Readiness-to-Hire Scorecard by Justified Talent

Example scorecard lead magnet
Example scorecard

Here’s some info that James Michael, Founder of Justified Talent, shared with us about this lead magnet:

  • Time and budget invested in creating it: Circa 6 hours of prep to go live, with a $AUD49/month ongoing investment and some minor admin.”

  • Where it’s being used: “MOFU. They’ve contacted me saying they want to recruit a salesperson (60%+ know me through LinkedIn). I am happy to chat, but they need to do the scorecard first.”

  • Conversion rate: “Only 33% score what’s needed… and I convert 80% of them to clients.

Bottom of the Funnel lead magnet ideas

9. Webinars

Don’t sleep on webinars as a lead magnet. They may not be as popular as they once were, but they’re still effective in generating leads.

Your webinar should be informative and provide value to your target audience. It should also be relevant to your business so that you can promote your products or services at the end.

Webinar lead magnet example #1: LinkedIn Masterclass Live With Adam Houlahan

8efae65a 948a 40ef b016 1516da9ad10c

Here’s some info that Adam Houlahan, Founder of Prominence Global, shared with us about this lead magnet:

  • Time and budget invested in creating it: “About $1,000 to build it though we have redesigned it a few times over the years. The time invested these days is in marketing more than the page itself. It has a minor edit regarding dates after each event.”

  • Where it’s being used: “BOFU. We convert sales off every event.”

  • Where it’s being promoted: “On LinkedIn, our database, Facebook group, and by our partners around the world. We have 35 marketing partners, and 6 of them promote each event.

  • Conversions: Adam has had 15,000 webinar registrations across ten events in 2022. (that’s pretty epic, right?)

Webinar lead magnet example #2: How to Build a Case Study Marketing Plan in 5 Minutes

webinar example

This 5-minute webinar was created using WebinarNinja and continues to generate leads for us regularly.

10. Case studies

Case studies are an excellent lead magnet for businesses because they show results. They’re also great for building social proof and credibility.

When creating a case study, ensure it’s well-written and includes relevant data and quotes. Show your customer’s results so prospects can see what’s possible.

At the bottom of the sales funnel, your prospective client is now deciding whether to buy. What better way to show that you can deliver on your promise than by sharing a story of a person or business similar to theirs who has already benefited from your product or service?

Below, one of our awesome done-for-you case study clients, Meryl Johnston of Bean Ninjas, shares how a customer case study that we produced for her resulted in new business.

View the Bean Ninjas customer success story here:

11. Free Consultations, Trials, or Demos

“Try before you buy” is a great way to close more sales. And it’s also an effective lead magnet.

A free trial or demo allows prospects to experience your product or service before making a commitment. This is an excellent way to increase conversion rates and close more sales.

Just be sure that your free trial or demo is relevant to your target audience and provides enough value to be worth their time.

Here’s a real life example of a product that offers a free trial/freemium offer: ZipMessage (an awesome tool for having asynchronous meetings with clients and team members)

what are lead magnets, screenshot of free trial example Zip Message

Another example of a product that offers a free trial is Jasper AI writing software (one of the leading AI tools currently available)

free trial example jasper AI software

Related: 9 B2B Lead Magnet Ideas to Help You Capture More Leads

How Do You Promote Your Lead Magnet?

So you’ve done your research and created a lead magnet that solves a specific problem for your target audience.

Now it’s time to promote it.

There are a few different ways you can do this:

  • Place a pop up on your website home page
  • Add a call-to-action on popular blog posts for website visitors to see
  • Create a free tools/free resources page and add it to your website menu
  • Email your list
  • Create a landing page
  • Mention in social media posts
  • Offer your lead magnet as a gift for people joining your Facebook group
  • Run paid ads
  • Mention it on guest blog posts and podcast appearances
  • Partner with other businesses or influencers in your industry and offer it to their audiences.

Here’s an example of how one person promoted their lead magnet on Twitter:

As you’ve seen from some of the lead magnet examples above, a good lead magnet can be promoted in multiple places and offered at various stages of your potential customer journey.

Final thoughts on lead magnets

Now that you know what lead magnets are and how they can help you generate and convert leads, it’s time to start creating your own.

Remember to keep your lead magnet relevant to your target audience and focus on providing value. The more helpful your lead magnet is, the higher your conversion rate will be. Use the right lead magnet for each stage of your lead generating machine.

Don’t forget to consider how you will get your lead magnet in front of prospective customers and what happens after you collect email addresses to move them to paying customers.

Do you have any questions about lead magnets, or have you come across any other cool lead magnet ideas and examples? Let us know in the comments below.

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