• Best 20 Lead Magnets for Small Businesses

The Best Lead Magnets for Small Businesses

Email marketing continues to reign as one of the most effective ways to build an audience and convert it into a client base. In order for that process to work, however, you need to grow your email list. That is where lead magnets come in.

The Best Lead Magnets for Small Businesses

What is a Lead Magnet?

Since we all have inboxes full of urgent requests and important tasks—not to mention the loads of spam and promotion—we aren’t all that keen to just hand our information out to just anyone. Lead magnets offer visitors an incentive to hand over their email address or other contact information.

An effective lead magnet is relevant to your business. You don’t want to just offer a chance to win a free vacation if that has nothing to do with your industry.

Instead, your lead magnets should solve a problem of your potential clients. They should provide value, offering users a quick win to immediately makes their lives (and/or their businesses) better. A lead magnet should also help demonstrate your authority as an expert in your field, which is why so many of them are educational.

Practical Lead Magnets for Small Businesses that Actually Work

The great news is that lead magnets don’t have to be a major investment. If you can translate just a small piece of your expertise into a format that helps your potential customers, you’ve got a lead magnet in the works. For a few ideas on where to start, here are twenty different types of lead magnets that get results.

Fortunately, you don’t need to try all twenty. Instead, choose the one that seems the easiest to accomplish while still providing the most value to your particular audience. Once you get a sense of what works, you’ll have a better idea of what to try next.

1. Checklist

A checklist is simple but powerful. It provides the reader with a clear path and gameplan. It’s easy for them to understand, and it doesn’t take that much for you to create it. Just think through a typical job and include all the steps that your clients will need to complete but might overlook.

A plumber, for example, might create a checklist to help clients prepare their homes for the winter. It helps them protect their property and keeps you top of mind when they do need professional help.

2. Template

A great template helps you move beyond the blank screen and get an idea moving. If you help clients reach their own customers, you might provide an email template to boost sales or grow leads. The template works because it gets your reader headed toward their goals.

3. Toolkit

One great way to show your authority in a space is by sharing what tools you use to achieve all those great results. People love to know how the pros get the job done. Aspiring writers crave stories about what pens or typewriters their favorite authors used.

A toolkit gives your customers a behind-the-scenes look at how you do your job. Rather than protecting your secrets, you’re sharing them so you can equip them to succeed as well. This helps to build trust and also show your human side. There’s a lot of work behind what you do, and you make use of the resources available in order to put your best foot forward.

4. Resource List

Along the same lines as a toolkit, the resource list compiles all the handy websites, apps, and information that a client will need for a particular project. It helps them get started without needing to conduct a lot of their own research.

Since you likely have much of this at hand already, you should be able to put it together quickly, and you’ll save the client a lot time, which they will appreciate.

5. Planner / Calendar

Most of us love to-do lists because they help us know what we need to focus on next. A planner or calendar takes this to the next level by mapping out an extended plan for your client. Nutritionists might offer a meal plan, for example, or a personal trainer might provide a workout schedule. These resources allow clients to make some small victories quickly, which will build trust in your relationship.

6. Tutorial

If your clients are curious, a tutorial provides a way to learn a specific skill or important piece of knowledge in a short time. It can come in a variety of formats, from a pdf to a video tutorial. Regardless of the form, you should focus on teaching a specific skill or idea. If you make your tutorial too broad, you run the risk of overwhelming the client.

7. Calculator

Clients often want to know about the cost or timeline for a project, and a calculator enables them to experiment with different ideas without needing to talk to you directly. Many real estate agents use mortgage calculators or “how much house can you afford” tools to help initiate buyers in the process.

8. eBook

In order to be a lead magnet, your eBooks should not be never-ending pieces of text-heavy content. eBooks are longer pieces of content, yes, but should also include images, icons, diagrams, and other visual elements to stay interesting and engaging to the reader. Your eBooks should take a more in-depth look at a particular topic, but should also be easily digestible, quickly scannable, and written in language familiar with your target audience.

When promoting your eBook, communicating what benefits the reader can expect from it will increase its appeal.

9. Report / Whitepaper

Reports and whitepapers are similar to eBooks but can get a bit more technical and “jargonny”. While eBooks help simplify concepts to customers, reports and whitepapers can expand on topics, trends, and insights. These types of lead magnets are most effective in the B2B space and both build your thought leadership and set you apart from competitors.

10. Infographic

On the other end of the spectrum, infographics present valuable information in an easy-to-digest format. Clients engage with them, remember them, and are more likely to share them, which increases your pool of potential leads.

11. Audio Training

If you know your clients are always on the go, an audio training might feel more approachable than a video or eBook. You don’t have to be a professional broadcaster to produce a decent lesson that your audience can absorb on their commute or morning walk. This is particularly helpful in spaces where you are looking to motivate clients or inspire them to act.

12. Webinar

For more extensive topics, you might consider educating clients in a webinar. While you can get as fancy as you want with a webinar, all you need to start is an informative slide deck that helps you communicate your ideas with the audience.

Live webinars tend to be the most effective because you can address specific questions and engage directly with the attendees. Pre-recorded sessions also work, however, and they can help you sort out which are the warm and hot leads.

13. Quiz

Most of us have felt the siren call of an online quiz at some point. While most of them are simply entertaining time wasters, they can also be a fun way to deliver information. You can do something as simple as a quiz that helps your reader put a name to their current situation: “What Golden Girl Is Your Small Business?” Or you can use a quiz to help your audience determine next steps: “What Security Breach Are You Most Vulnerable To?”

14. Boot Camp

If you want your audience to take action and see results, a boot camp offers an opportunity for short, intense sessions. You should design your boot camp around a specific, focused goal, one where participants will see small victories and be motivated to move on to the next step.

These work well in the self-improvement space, but they can succeed in other industries as well. All you need is a clear goal and a short (not necessarily easy) path to get there.

15. Sample (chapter, video, workout, coaching session)

We all enjoy the free sample model, assuming it is something we want in the first place. So keep that in mind when you provide your leads with a sample of your product or service. Samples work well for information products or services where you have repeat clients.

16. Library

If you’ve built up a series of valuable lead magnets over time, you can offer access to all of them as an enticing mega lead magnet. This could be delivered as a series of digital publications or kept in a restricted part of your website. The more exclusive you make it, the more perceived value it will have.

Speaking of resource libraries, have you checked out our Marketing Resources page?

17. Challenge

Similar to the boot camp idea, the challenge presents your audience with a specific, attainable goal. You will want the challenge to be something that pushes them a bit farther down the path to success. If they meet the challenge, they will be motivated to continue, and you will have built trust and credibility along the way.

18. Group Membership

If there is a benefit to having support from a like-minded community (and there usually is), access to a group site can be an excellent lead magnet. It can be as simple as a Facebook group, or you can develop a membership site of your own. In either case, you’ll want the space to be one where members encourage each other. This can also be a great way to keep in touch with your audience to find out what they need from you.

19. Coupons / Discounts

There is nothing new or fancy about coupons and discounts. But why look for fancy when you have effective? Coupons and discounts have been around forever because they work. Just be sure that you put a time limit on your offer because you don’t want visitors to assume that there is always a deal to be had. Instead, you simply want to reward them for agreeing to join your list.

20. Strategy Session / Consultation

Much like a free sample, a consultation allows you to demonstrate your value to a potential client in a short format that requires little commitment. For these to really be effective, you want to make sure you don’t see it as a selling opportunity.

You want the session to be valuable whether they sign up for future sessions or not. If you focus on truly helping, the client will likely find a way to continue working with you.

As you can see, there are many options available for a small business with a little creativity and motivation. When you are creating your own lead magnets, start small and focus on sharing your expertise with your audience. The more value they receive from the lead magnet, and from your emails, the more likely they are to turn to you when the time comes.


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