Updated Nov 14, 2022

8 Elements of an Effective Lead Magnet

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8 Elements of an Effective Lead MagnetI have no doubt you've been told, “the money is in the list.” It's a true story.

The trouble is, most entrepreneurs don't know how to build a list… and when they do, they're not doing it in a way that leads to sales. Today you're going to discover the 8 elements your lead magnet must have to result in more leads and more sales.

But first…

Does Lead Magnet Delivery Matter?

Your lead magnet is the entry point of your marketing funnel… the “ethical bribe” or “freebie” you offer potential customers in exchange for their email address. It's how you build your list!

Lead magnets can be delivered in lots of ways. Here are a few:

The problem is, most entrepreneurs get hung up on how they're going to deliver their freebie rather than the elements it needs to make it a juicy, valuable offer that hooks the audience and gets them to opt in.

The truth is, your audience has a problem and they want to solve it… they don't really care how you do it.

So, no matter how you plan to deliver the content, if you apply these 8 simple principles to your future lead magnets, you won't just be building your email list… you'll be creating an army of highly-targeted prospects, ready to pull out their credit card and do business with you!

1. Be Super-Specific

When creating a lead magnet, you want to be ultra specific and let you audience know EXACTLY what they're going to get. There's nothing compelling or exciting about a vague offer… be clear about the benefit your audience is going to get by opting in for your free content.

It really comes down to the headline. Here are a few examples of Vague Lead Magnets that would get poor results…

“3-Day Weight Loss Program”

“Learn How to Grow Your Business Online”

“Join Our Mailing List”

Here are a couple of example of ultra-specific lead magnet headlines: 

“Free Video Reveals: How to Lose 7 Pounds In 9 Days, Without Starving or Killing Yourself at the Gym”

“Free Guide: The 5 Tools You Need to Grow Your Business Online”

“Free Cheatsheet Reveals the 3 Foods You Must Avoid to Lose Belly Fat”

There's absolutely no question in your mind what you're going to get when you read those headlines right? You know how it's being delivered, and what you're going to learn.

And that's how you want your lead magnet headline to be… crystal clear.

2. Promise “One Big Thing”

The best lead magnets offer a “magic bullet” solution. I know, you can't solve everyone's problem in a 2-page PDF or a 5-minute video, but you can definitely give them a partial solution that makes a difference.

For example… a few years ago a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) traffic expert was offering “a simple way to get a free PR7 backlink to your website.” If you don't know what that means, don't worry… at the time a PR7 backlink was worth hundreds of dollars per month to a website owner.

No, it didn't promise that I would get tons of traffic to my website (which was the outcome I really wanted), but it did promise one big thing that would help move me closer to that outcome.

3. Deliver On a Desired Result

To capture the attention of your potential prospects, your lead magnet must move them closer to a desired result… and that means you need to be super clear on who you're trying to reach.

In my last example, that website traffic expert knew that only someone interested in SEO and getting more traffic to their site would be interested in a PR7 backlink, but to that person, it would be highly valuable and move them toward their goal of getting more traffic.

No, it didn't appeal to everyone, but for the right people… it was sexy!

4. Provide Instant Gratification

Let's face it, we're living in a “microwave” culture, where everyone wants what they want right NOW!

Multi-day email and video courses, newsletters are examples of lead magnets where gratification is delayed significantly impacting the “wow factor” you can immediately deliver.

When I got the 3-minute video training showing me how to get my PR7 backlink, I was floored by how simple it was and impressed that the expert was willing to give away such a hot tip.

I became an instant fan!

5. Advance the Relationship

As I said in the beginning, a lead magnet is the entry point of your marketing funnel (you have a marketing funnel, right?), which means this could be the first time a new subscriber has interacted with you.

And the same is true online as it is offline… you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Does your offer show your new prospect that you're the expert and make them want to get more from you? And even more importantly, do you deliver on your promise?

A good lead magnet will help move your prospects further up the trust ladder, and show them that you're the right person to help them with this problem.

Going back to my SEO expert example… he promised a PR7 backlink, and his freebie delivered the goods. I was so impressed with his free content that I went on to buy his $300 course.

TIP: Don't be afraid to give away your best stuff!

6. Have a High Perceived Value

Just because you're giving something away for free, doesn't mean it should look like something you could dig out of a dumpster.

Splurge on a designer for your ebook (even if it's $5 on Fiverr), and use professional tools like LeadPages or Ontraport's Ontrapages to create a great experience for new prospects.

Remember, perception is everything. If you want to command premium prices (you do right?), you have to look like you offer a premium solution.

7. Deliver ACTUAL Value

There's nothing worse than a great looking ebook, or professionally edited video that delivers fluff.

Make sure your lead magnet actually delivers on its promise and gives the valuable content you promised.

After consuming your content, you want prospects saying “wow, if she gave me that for FREE, just imagine how awesome her paid program is!”

As a side note, that's the premise behind all major product launches… offer a ridiculous amount of valuable content for free, so that your audience can't resist buying your paid offer when it comes out. That's how you do effective lead generation

8. Fast Consumption

Another mistake entrepreneurs make is believing that to be valuable, a lead magnet needs to be beefy. That's absolutely not the case, and in fact, it can hurt your sales process.

For example, Sally's lead magnet is an amazing 100-page ebook that gives you “5 Strategies to Improve Your Love Life.” Most of her prospects get to page 5 before the kitchen timer goes off and the kids need to get to their sports games.

Some of them will pick up where they left off, but most won't.

Jenny, on the other hand, created a one-page checklist of the “5 Easy Things You Can Do to Improve Your Relationship Today.”

Her prospects LOVED that she gave them actionable information that they could consume in under 5 minutes. And they're ready to buy when she offers them her 100-page ebook that expands on ways to improve their relationship.

Sally, unfortunately, now has to spend another month writing an even bigger ebook to sell and creates a delay in her ability to earn money.

Nobody wants to be a Sally.


  • Be Specific
  • Promise one BIG thing
  • Deliver on a desired result
  • Provide instant gratification
  • Advance the relationship
  • Deliver value

If you stick to these principles, how you deliver isn't actually all that important. Choose the medium that best suits your audience, and allows you to get to market as quickly as possible. You'll be collecting leads in no time!

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