lead-magnetsIn most of these blog posts, I talk about things you can do to improve the open and click-through rates of your marketing emails. However, most of these things will only help you if you have a significant number of people on your mailing list. It can be incredibly frustrating if you are crafting what you consider to be impressive marketing emails, but not seeing results. If this is the case, it could be that you need to grow your mailing list. So, how can you do this?

Most companies include an email sign up form on their website. While this may result in a few new subscribers, most people need an extra push to encourage them to subscribe. This is where lead magnets can help. A lead magnet is a ‘gift’ that you offer your subscribers in return for their email address. It doesn’t need to cost you a lot (or even anything), but it should offer something of value to your subscribers.

What Makes a Good Lead Magnet?

In order to put together a good lead magnet, you need to understand the needs of your audience. Think of a problem that someone who may want to use your company might be facing, then create something that will help solve that problem, be it an e-book, guide or short course. What you create should relate directly to your potential customers, while still giving them a flavour of what your company offers.

Some Lead Magnet Examples

A lead magnet can be anything that provides value to your customers, but there are certain things that seem to work particularly well. Here are a few examples:


Free ebooks are some of the most common lead magnets. This is because they are relatively simple for you to put together, yet customers can find them incredibly useful. Most lead magnet ebooks take the form of ‘how to’ guides, because that generally helps to solve a specific customer problem. If you already run a blog on your website, compiling an ebook could be as simple as collating some of your strongest blog posts.

Your free ebook should be presented in a way that is attractive to your potential subscribers. Take this example from Money Magpie, a website offering money saving tips:

Money Magpie

What this ebook offers is clearly something that would be very attractive to someone browsing that website. But, they are not just relying on the ebook to encourage sign ups. They have also listed some of the benefits their emails have to offer, along with testimonials from real subscribers. This shows how lead magnets can be used in conjunction with other persuasive techniques.

Free Trials

For software or service companies, free trials can be one of the most effective lead magnets there is. It is designed to drive potential customers directly towards a purchase decision; one they’ve started using your product, they’ll realise that they can’t live without it. How long you make your free trial is up to you, but it should be long enough for the customer to get the full experience of your product, but not so long that they won’t need to buy it once the trial ends. You could even offer a ‘freemium’ product, where the customer receives the service for free, but pays for extra features.

Anime streaming site Crunchroll offer free membership to their service, but they also offer a 14-day free trial of the feature-rich premium service to people who sign up:

Crunchroll Signup


This is one of the most popular lead magnets for retail companies, and it’s very easy to implement. You simply offer your potential customers a small discount in return for signing up to your mailing list. You can then send the discount code to your customer by email. The key is making sure that the discount is big enough to motivate a sign up, but not so big that it will be cost prohibitive for your company.

Footwear retailer Aldo offer their new subscribers a 15% discount, along with a host of other benefits for signing up:

Aldo Email Signup

Lead magnets can be extremely effective to encourage people to sign up to your mailing list. You just need to make sure that your emails continue to offer value to your customers so that they remain active subscribers for years to come.