Lead magnets are a surefire way to build your mailing lists, strengthen customer connections, and — ultimately — drive sales.

How? Well, with massive amounts of content being produced online every second, nothing short of magnetism will grab the attention of potential customers. And, once you’ve gotten a prospective customer to look your way, holding their attention and converting it to a sale is perhaps an even bigger challenge. 

This is where a lead magnet comes in! A lead magnet is a free item or service given away in exchange for contact information. 

When it comes to digital marketing, knowing how to use lead magnets is essential to growing your business.  

If you haven’t yet mastered the art of developing lead magnets, don’t worry! This article will answer your questions, including:

  • What is a lead magnet?
  • Why should your business use a lead magnet?
  • What makes a great lead magnet?
  • What types of lead magnets are there?

Let’s get started.

What is a lead magnet?

The lead magnet is a very aptly named marketing term, as it describes a complementary product or service is that is offered in exchange for contact details. 

Common lead magnets include free consultations, newsletters, or trial subscriptions. Lead magnets are so named for their ability to attract sales leads.

The goal of a lead magnet is to gather email addresses, phone numbers, and names in order to build lasting customer connections. From there, the responsibility is on you  — the marketer  — to build brand loyalty through email marketing campaigns, special offers, product sneak previews, and more. 

Lead Magnet - 25% off for signing up
This offer of 25% off, from Tone It Up, is an example of a basic lead magnet.

Why should your business use a lead magnet?

Not only should your business use lead magnets — you need them! Why? 

Consumers are more reluctant than ever to share their personal information. As a savvy marketer, it is your job to give customers a compelling reason to share their name and email address with you. A simple call to action — “Click here to sign up for our newsletter!” — may not be attractive enough to persuade prospective leads. 

However, inviting customers to sign up for your newsletter in exchange for a discount on their next purchase is much more appealing. Not only will you have earned a sales lead, but the consumer is more likely to make a purchase with their new code in hand. 

This is the power of a lead magnet working hard for your business!

What makes a great lead magnet?

Now that you know how impactful a lead magnet can be for your business, you might be wondering how to develop one that really grabs your audience. A stellar lead magnet should:

Offer value to your customer 

By definition, a lead magnet must provide something of value to your customer. Make it worth their time and email address by offering something valuable in exchange. Value can come in the monetary form of a discount, promo code, or free gift, or in an actionable form like a checklist, case study, or guide. 

Provide instant gratification

An important element of any lead magnet is immediacy. 

Your customer should receive instant gratification by providing their contact info. Any delay makes the deal less sweet to your prospective customers! Instead, deliver on at least one instant promise to your customer. 

Be easy-to-consume

The value of your lead magnet should be obvious to your customers, specific to their needs, and easy-to-consume. 

If you’re offering your leads content designed to help elevate their life or their business, ensure that it is distilled into digestible snippets. Rather than a case study, consider offering easily actionable items like checklists, one-page summaries, or short samples of your longer guides. 

The goal is to provide content that is immediately valuable to your customer and gives them a taste of what you have to offer. 

Position your brand as the expert

When offering content as a lead magnet, it is important that the content puts your expertise on display! This demonstrates your value — and your ability to produce consistently helpful content — to the lead and can help you gain a long-term customer in the future. 

What types of lead magnets are there?

There is a host of lead magnet types, but choosing the right one is up to you. If you’re looking for lead magnet ideas to help you grow your email list, here are a few examples to assist you:


Within the beauty, health, and wellness industries, samples are an extremely popular form of lead magnets. 

Free samples are exceptional lead magnets because they:

  • Provide your target audience with instant gratification
  • Give your audience a taste of what you have to offer
  • Build a positive connection with prospective customers

One of the more complex iterations of a free sample is a referral program. In their popular free Starter Box campaign, FabFitFun offers one of their fun boxes of curated products to the friends of loyal members. To claim the free sample box, the consumer must sign up for an account with FFF. 

Even if the customer discontinues the service after their free sample box, the company has established a lead to whom they can send promotional emails and updates.  

Lead Magnet - free sample box
FabFitFun persuades prospective customers with a free sample box as a part of a referral program.


Free templates serve as excellent lead magnets by offering potential customers an immediate starting point for their project. 

Whether you provide a free website template, graphic, or writing prompt, a free template can be a powerful motivator when it comes to converting prospective customers into paying customers.

For example, Novoresume gives potential users access to free resume templates to help them start their job hunt on the right foot. The consumer must register for a free account to gain access, which creates a strong sales lead. 

This increases the odds that the prospective customer will opt into paid services as they become more familiar with the product. 

Lead Magnet - free resume template
Novoresume uses their free resume template as a powerful lead magnet.

Personalized results 

One of the most appealing lead magnets is personalized results. This type of magnet often involves two short steps:

  1. Filling out a brief survey
  2. Entering contact information to receive your personal results

This lead tactic is effective because consumers are typically eager to learn about their results and see what your business has to offer. 

For instance, the popular psychology-based health app Noom leads prospective members into a short survey on their landing page. To obtain their results, visitors must enter an email address, thereby generating a promising new lead. 

Lead Magnet - quiz results
Curiosity is a powerful force, which is why quizzes, with personalized results, like this one on Noom.com,, are an effective magnet!


In fitness and other industries, free guides are a captivating way to generate new leads. 

By offering a day, week, or even month-long guide, you are providing potential clients with a sneak preview of what you have to offer. In this way, your expertise and value are on full display. 

The popular fitness brand Blogilates has built a health and wellness empire by offering their audience free guides for their workout journey. Visitors can earn a free fitness planner — which offers updates about their fitness guides, nutrition plans, merchandise, and more — when they sign up for the Blogilates newsletter. 

Lead Magnet - free guide
Free guides like this one drive business for the popular fitness brand Blogilates

Educational resources 

Offering a short-and-sweet version of your service creates leads quickly! 

In this example, entrepreneur Allison Evelyn offers a free spot in her copywriting masterclass in exchange for an email address and a name. Another of her strategies offers a quick Ad Lib exercise to help writers get started. 

Lead Magnet - free webinar
This entrepreneur uses multiple forms of lead magnets on her website.
You can use more than one lead magnet
Capture more leads with multiple lead magnets like Allison Evelyn.


One of the most tried-and-true forms of the lead magnet is a simple discount. 

Special offers like promo codes incentivize sharing contact info and encourage potential customers to make a purchase. Here, Miami Beach Bum offers a classic 15% off of purchases when visitors sign up for their email newsletter

discounts are great lead magnets
What better incentive is there to provide your email than a good old-fashioned discount?


Free trials are another recognizable form of lead magnet. 

Skincare brand Curology offers a personalized 30-day trial when consumers sign up for an account with them. This increases the chance that a customer will love your service and continue as a paying client after their trial period has ended. 

free trial offers consistently get leads
A trial can be a powerful lead magnet for customers nervous to make a commitment.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is this: lead magnets are a powerful way to capture new sales leads for your business. 

Whether they are integrated into your website or social media marketing, lead magnets are the key to building a strong list of email contacts. 

And once you’ve captured their email addresses, you can continue building relationships with your leads via an impactful email marketing plan — ultimately increasing sales and customer loyalty. 

Now that you understand what lead magnets are and how you can use them to step up your business, are you ready to create your own? To learn more about how lead generation and branding come together, check out The Download, a free marketing guide for professionals.