how to create a high converting lead magnet

[335] How to create a high-converting lead magnet

If you want to attract leads and sales for your business, you need an email list. But in a time when most of us are overwhelmed with information, inviting people to sign up for your lead magnet is not enough.

In this episode, I break down the steps you need to take to create a successful lead magnet – from choosing a topic for your lead magnet to how to set up a sales funnel that converts into sales.

{Click on the player above to listen to the podcast episode and/or read on for a detailed overview. Scroll down to the bottom to read the show notes including all the links mentioned in this episode}.

What is a lead magnet?

A lead magnet is a resource or information product you create with the purpose of encouraging your ideal customers/clients to sign up to your email list.

There are so many different types of lead magnet you can create: quizzes, cheat sheets, checklists, challenges, free book chapters, whitepapers, video tutorials, templates – just to give you a few examples.

But when you’re just getting started, it really is best to keep it simple. In my online course, How To Create a High-Converting Lead Magnet, I recommend starting with a one or two page downloadable pdf.

What makes a great lead magnet?

A great lead magnet solves a specific type of problem for a specific type of customer/client, offers a quick win and (crucially) leads your subscribers towards a paid product/service.

One my highest converting lead magnets is my marketing checklist series, which set out the key activities you need to be doing to hit key income goals in your business – 1k, 2k, 5k and 10k a month. These solve a very specific problem for a very specific type of customer (a small business owner who is unsure what marketing activities they should be using to hit their income goals) and leads towards a very specific service – the Love Marketing Membership. The resources in the membership are built around those key checklists, so once people have downloaded them, joining the membership is the next logical step (the checklists list the activities you need to do to hit your income goals, the membership contains the resources you need to achieve them).

I’ve recently also launched an audience calculator which helps you calculate how many email list subscribers you need to reach your sales targets. Again, this solves a very specific problem for a very specific type of customer – small businesses who want to grow their email list but are unsure what kind of numbers they need to reach their goals. The ‘quick win’ is of course getting the audience number you need.

Lead magnets don’t necessarily have to be free. In fact, getting people to pay a small amount can mean you attract much more qualified leads – something I have been experimenting with recently.

Over the past five years I’ve created dozens of free ‘lead magnets’ – pdf guides, checklists, webinars, templates (just to give a few examples) and, most recently, an interactive audience calculator.

This has helped me grow my email list but here’s some interesting stats for you:

  • Only 30% of those who opted into my most popular lead magnet (my free marketing checklists) actually downloaded the materials in the 7 days after they became available.
  • Around 80% of those who bought my LinkedIn Content Strategy Playbook – priced at £9.99 – downloaded it in the first 24 hours.

Do lead magnets work for product-based businesses?

If you have a product-based business, you may think that offering discount codes is the only kind of ‘lead magnet’ you can create. This is simply not true.

In fact, voucher codes can be counterproductive, as they can encourage subscribers to join your list to get their discount code, then unsubscribe afterwards. Taking the time to create an information-led led magnet can actually be a much better way to build a relationship and encourage loyalty in your customers.

If you have a product-based business, the best kind of lead magnet usually involves teaching people how to use your product

For example, my 2019 Media Diary contains key dates and awareness days for every month of the year, which saves users hours of research – making it the next logical step for those who download my free media calendar. As soon as they download the calendar, they’re offered the opportunity to buy the diary. If they don’t buy the diary on the first offer, they’re reminded about it a number of times in the follow-up email sequence.

Here’s a few more examples of how it works in practice:

  • If you sell podcast microphones, you could create guide on how to create and publish your first podcast
  • If you sell wool, you could create a guide on how to get stains out of wool (one of my clients has done exactly that)
  • If you make candles, you could create a guide on how to make candles (sounds counterintuitive but some people will try to make their own, then realise it’s easier to buy yours)

The biggest mistake people make with lead magnets

The biggest mistake people make with lead magnets is making them too broad. But if you’re trying to appeal to everyone e.g. ‘5 tips for better self-care’ you’ll end up appealing to no one. Focusing on a specific self-care problem that affects a specific type of person is much more likely to appeal e.g. Ten ways to get a good night’s sleep with a newborn (yes it’s really possible).

I’ve listed some more examples for you below. The examples in the column on the left are too broad.

Creating your lead magnet

If you’re creating your first lead magnet, I recommend keeping it simple and sticking to a simple one or two page PDF.

Most coaches, consultants and entrepreneurs I know have something they teach their customers/clients every day which can be turned into a lead magnet in 30 minutes or less (there is a template for this in my How To Create A High-Converting Lead Magnet course).

It’s vital to have a really clear title that states exactly what problem your lead magnet will solve for your customer e.g. 39 easy ways to attract more email subscribers, how to write a press release for your small business, 29 unique gifts for coffee lovers. Your intro should explain how your lead magnet will solve that problem.

Why you need a landing page for your lead magnet

A landing page is a web page that has a single call-to-action e.g. ‘download my free gift guide for coffee lovers.’

Sending prospective email list subscribers to a page where they only do one thing (well, two really – opt into your lead magnet or not) means they can’t get distracted by other things e.g. sidebars, drop down menus, pop-ups etc. Which means they’re far more likely to join your list.

I use Leadpages to create landing pages for my lead magnets. You can choose from a range of templates (that can be customised with your own images, fonts and colours), and because the design has already been tested, you’ll be guaranteed a much higher conversion rate. Something as simple as changing the wording on your sign-up button e.g from ‘download my free guide’ to ‘get it now’ can have a big impact on your conversion. This is why it’s vital to keeping tweaking and testing your copy and images. Leadpages (which has a free trial) also allows you to split test different page designs/copy to see which convert better.

I’ve included a module on writing compelling copy for your landing page in my online course How To Create A High-Converting Lead Magnet.

How to create a nurture sequence

Once you’ve delivered your lead magnet, you need to start building a relationship with your new email subscriber. You do this by creating a nurture sequence – a series of emails that add further value and help you get to know your prospective customer. For a simple downloadable pdf, I recommend a series of five emails (there is a template for this in How To Create A High-Converting Lead Magnet).

While many new email subscribers won’t be ready to buy from you, some might. So don’t be afraid to make an offer in your nurture sequence.

Do make sure your practices are compliant with data protection law. You can find out more here in my podcast episode with Suzanne Dibble. They key things to know are: you mustn’t add people to your email list without their permission (given by choosing to tick a box – it must not be a pre-checked box) and it must be really clear what they’re signing up for.

How to promote your lead magnet

I wish I could tell you there was one thing you could do to get people to download your email lead magnet, but I can’t. The reality is, it’s a bit like throwing spaghetti at wall – you have to try lots of different thing to work out which will work best for you/your business.

However there are some strategies that work for most types of lead magnet/business.There is a list of ideas for promoting your lead magnet in 39 easy ways to grow your email subscribers. If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be this: get the link for your lead magnet everywhere your ideal customer/client is hanging out online. Everywhere.

Podcast show notes:

  • What is a lead magnet (3:50)
  • Examples of lead magnets that work for product based business (5:50)
  • Step 1 – understanding your customer’s pain point (9:40)
  • Why a paid lead magnet can have a higher rate of conversion (14:20)
  • Why your lead magnet needs to address a specific problem (18:40)
  • Step 2 – how to create a simple lead magnet (24:10)
  • How to get people to sign up to your lead magnet (34:10)
  • How to ensure your lead magnet converts into sales (37:22)
  • How to set up a sales funnel (42:18)


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