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Want more email signups? Try lead magnets

If you want to grow your email list, lead magnets might be the answer. Here's everything you need to know about the different types of lead magnets, plus expert tips on implenting them into your strategies.

If you were to open your inbox right now, chances are you’ve got at least a few emails from some of your favorite brands. Everyone has leveraged email marketing to build their brands and grow their revenues. 

And for good reason. The average email marketing return on investment (ROI) is $36 for every dollar spent. But people don’t just sign up for email newsletters without an incentive.

Lead magnets are how you incentivize signups.

What’s a lead magnet?

If you want to grow your email list, lead magnets might be the answer. Also known as freebies, lead magnets are free assets or discounts organizations offer prospective customers in exchange for their contact details, like their name and email address. 

If you’ve ever entered your email into a pop-up on your favorite site to get 15% off your next order, you’ve interacted with a lead magnet. But there are many other types of lead magnets, including:

  • Long-form content like ebooks or white papers

  • Access to a webinar

  • Digital downloads like templates or worksheets

  • Personality or style quizzes

Lead magnets are a powerful marketing tool—they give you access to a potential customer’s email address so you can nurture them into loyal customers over time. And remember, with an ROI of $36 for every dollar spent, email is a highly effective method for increasing revenue.

Using the contact details they willingly gave you, you can turn leads into customers with personalized marketing campaigns that build brand awareness, proactively address questions, show off your expertise, and more.

“Every interaction is an opportunity to connect with leads and push them further down the sales funnel. ”

Zendesk

Lead magnets and your marketing strategy

A marketing strategy is more than just email—it's a balance of many different channels. But lead magnets most closely align with email marketing, and they can be your growth engine when done correctly. Here's why that matters:

  • 41% of marketers report that email is their most effective marketing channel

  • Email marketing efforts help businesses acquire 40 times more customers than Meta and X (formerly Twitter) combined

  • 83% of marketers say email is their primary channel for customer acquisition

Lead magnets grow your email list so you can grow your business, but they also help with personalization, segmentation, and more. Let's take a look at three ways lead magnets contribute to effective email marketing:

  1. List growth. Compelling lead magnets can boost list growth by offering a discount, piece of content, or free class that's so valuable leads don't mind forking over their email addresses.

  2. Segmentation. Segmented emails drive 30% more opens and 50% more click-throughs. Why? Because lead magnets help you segment your audience based on where they are in their buying journey, interests, and more, so you can create a more personalized experience. And it pays off—marketers who segment their lists increase email marketing revenue by 760%.

  3. Traffic. Whether you host your free asset on a dedicated landing page or someone needs to visit your website to register, lead magnets help drive traffic to your site. This increased traffic is another opportunity to convert leads into customers.

Want to get the most out of your lead magnets? Share them across channels. Incorporate lead magnets in your blog posts, add a ribbon banner to the top of your website, or embed them on landing pages. You can even use them as popups on your website or share them with your social media audience to move them to your email list.

And once you get a potential customer's email address, start building the relationship immediately with a warm welcome email that sets expectations.

What makes a good lead magnet?

With an average conversion rate between 5.2% and 24.2% (depending on the type of lead magnet), leveraging freebies for customer acquisition is table stakes. But what makes some customer-generating machines winners and some fall flat? We're breaking down the components quality lead magnets all have in common.

Provide value

Data is power—when people give it to you willingly, you have a responsibility to not only use their data responsibly, but make giving up their data worth it. The best way to do that? Provide value.

Give your audience something they can't quickly get anywhere else. HubSpot suggests content like industry reports or a high-value ebook. Keep in mind that it should be something valuable for your target audience—not something generic.

Your lead magnet should focus on helping your prospects, whether it's saving them time, providing unique insights, or solving one of their problems.

Be relevant

You don't want to attract just anyone to your business. You want high-quality leads—those who'll get value from your product or service, have interest in your brand, and may be ready to buy.

Use zero-party data—information straight from the source—to learn more about your customers and what content will resonate best with them. Then, use that content in your lead magnets

To get valuable leads, you need to create a lead magnet that's relevant and specific to your ideal audience. While generic ebooks or webinars may bring in more people, they may not be as qualified. 

For example, an HR tech brand might choose a webinar about 10 actionable ways you can stand out as an employer over a more generic webinar about the importance of employer branding. 

Give just enough

Finding a balance between providing value (for free) and not giving away too much can be a challenge. You don't want people to feel like they gave you something very valuable (their data) in exchange for something worthless. But you also don't want to give away so much value that they don't want or need your product or service.

Let's say you're an email marketing provider. Your lead magnet could be a few email newsletter templates. But if they want to send the emails or access more templates, they'll need to purchase a subscription.

Build credibility

According to PwC’s 2022 Consumer Intelligence Series Survey on Trust, 71% of consumers say they're unlikely to buy from a company that loses their trust. And with only 30% of consumers trusting businesses, building trust with customers isn't only a best practice, but it's essential for customer acquisition.

Lead magnets are one way to build that trust. The resources you offer in exchange for your audience's email address should be credible and show off your expertise with data, interviews with credible sources, or research-backed insights.

Make it shareable

When you create high-value content, your audience will (hopefully) want to share it. Make it easy by adding social share buttons for Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, X, and Pinterest. 

If you make it as simple as possible for them to share your lead magnet, you can potentially amplify your reach and incoming leads.

Lead magnet ideas

Need some inspiration for your lead magnet? We’ve rounded up a few, plus a few different types to get you started:

  1. Templates

  2. Infographics

  3. Guides

  4. Case studies

  5. Free classes

  6. Free trials

  7. Quizzes

  8. Reports

  9. Videos and webinars

We've found a few good examples, including webinar, report, masterclass, and free template lead magnets. Take a look!

Webinar

Mural’s lead magnet for the live webinar is highly relevant to their audience and builds trust immediately by calling out their collaboration with an industry expert.

Report

Plaid's lead magnet highlights that the content in the report is informed by proprietary data from thousands of fintech customers, further establishing Plaid as an industry leader.

Masterclass

Curlmix’s free masterclass lead magnet builds instant trust with social proof and clearly articulates the value of the class and what their audience can expect from the class.

Template

HubSpot’s lead magnet offers their audience (of primarily marketers) customizable social media templates to speed up content creation.

In the ever-evolving world of marketing, one thing has remained constant: the value of email marketing. Enticing lead magnets that provide real value for your future customers can help boost email list growth, segment your audience, and help you acquire more customers to drive business growth.

Want to stay in the know about marketing best practices, like email marketing and customer acquisition? Subscribe to Informed—a monthly newsletter where we keep you up-to-date on industry trends, related opinions, tips and tricks, and other news.

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