Audience Growth

What Is a Lead Magnet and How To Create One (10 Ideas and Examples)

by Kelsey McLellan · Updated Apr 15, 2024

If you’re new to the digital marketing game, you’ve probably heard the term “lead magnet” thrown around once or twice. At this point, you might be wondering, “What’s the big deal about lead magnets?”

In short, lead magnets are powerful digital marketing tools that help creators and businesses net tons of new potential customers and, ultimately, boost their income.

So, how does it all work? Read on as we break down what a lead magnet is, and exactly what it can do for your creator business.

Click here to create your lead magnets with The Leap. It’s free!

What is a lead magnet?

A lead magnet is a free asset, usually a digital product, that you offer your followers in exchange for their email address. How it works is that in order to gain access to your free digital product, your followers must provide you with their email address, which you can then add to your newsletter list. Essentially, lead magnets help you grow your email list and, in turn, your business and your profits.

As its name suggests, lead magnets help you attract leads (i.e. prospective customers). These powerful lead generation devices not only help you lure in prospects, but they also help nurture interest in your business and products, giving followers a taste of all the great things you have to offer so that they’d want to come back (and pay) for more.

Basically, lead magnets help you fetch leads and convert them into real, paying customers.

what is a lead magnet how to create
A lead magnet like this guide is a free resource you offer to your audience in exchange for their email address.

What makes a good lead magnet?

Not all lead magnets are created equal. That’s to say some are much better at their job (read: generating quality leads) than others.

It might be tempting to throw together a very simple or less-than-original lead magnet without giving it much thought. However, to get the most out of your lead magnet, you’ll want to create a quality product that provides value to your followers.

Remember, the purpose of your lead magnet is to entice potential customers to pull out their wallets and pay for your products. So you’ll need it to be up to par with the rest of your offering.

With all this in mind, a great lead magnet should tick the following boxes:

1. Be relevant to your audience

First and foremost, you’ll want to ensure that the content of your lead magnet is relevant to your target audience and their interests. Choosing a general topic certainly allows you to cast a broader net and potentially collect a ton of emails. However, these contacts are less likely to be high-quality leads interested in the specific type of digital products you’re selling.

To keep your lead magnet relevant, tailor its content towards your niche and your audience’s specific interest. For example, it wouldn’t make sense for a fitness coach to offer their audience a free Pomodoro timer. However, if you’re a productivity guru, then that might be just the right lead magnet for your following.

2. Provide value to your audience

Secondly, your lead magnet should add value to your followers’ lives. Your lead magnet should be useful to your audience, either helping them solve a problem, saving them time, or providing them with unique insight.

The most useful lead magnets are audience-focused, so you’ll want to keep your customers’ needs in mind during the brainstorming process. Ask yourself what pain points your followers might have, and what might be the key to alleviating them.

Stumped? You can always ask your audience directly. In your next post, prompt your audience to leave requests and suggestions in the comments section, or simply use the “ask” and polling features on your social platform of choice.

lead magnet how to create
Use features like Instagram’s poll sticker to understand your audience’s needs and plan your lead magnet.

3. Build trust with your audience

A lead magnet is a great opportunity to establish yourself as an authority within your niche. To achieve this, your content should deliver insight that isn’t just unique, but completely credible, too.

Show your expertise by backing your material up with your own experience, as well as research and data from other reputable sources. It also helps to ensure your lead magnet is well-written (or well-spoken if it contains videos) and totally typo-free.

Remember, your lead magnet is the first product of yours that a potential customer will use. So, if it can convince your lead that you’re a trust expert, then you’re more than likely to have a new paying customer in the bag.

4. Leave your audience wanting more

One of the trickiest parts of creating an effective lead magnet is striking a balance between “too much” and “not enough.” When it comes to creating content for your lead magnet, you want to offer more information than you do in your free social content, but less than you would in your paid products.

Keep in mind: the goal of a lead magnet is to entice potential customers to eventually purchase more of your products, so you don’t want to give everything away from the jump.

A great way to strike this balance is by creating a bite-sized lead magnet that pertains to one specific topic within your niche. Mini-courses, guides, tutorials, and templates are great venues to give your audience a taste of your expertise while leaving them wanting more. Like, say, a paid online course, masterclass, or membership.

what is a lead magnet how to create
A bite-sized lead magnet like a mini-course offers a taste your expertise while leaving your audience wanting more.

5. Be shareable

When it comes to digital media, shareability is key. Creating a lead magnet that’s easily shareable ensures you can get it in front of as many potential customers as possible — and that these leads can share it with even more potential customers.

To make it easy for your followers to spread the word, we suggest linking your lead magnet to social media posts that your followers can easily access and share. This could be a pinned TikTok video, an Instagram Story highlight, a YouTube video, and more.

Why should you create lead magnets? 

Now, you’re probably wondering why you should be creating lead magnets for your creator business. These lead generation devices don’t technically generate any income by themselves, so are they really worth the effort?

Well, the answer is yes!

Lead magnets are powerful marketing tools that end up boosting your income in the long run, as well as building your credibility as an expert and your relationship with your audience. Read on for reasons why you should create lead magnets.

Grow your email list

A lead magnet’s primary function is to generate leads (i.e. potential customers) by capturing your followers’ email addresses. This, in turn, helps you build your email list.

Sure, the concept of email marketing might seem a little antiquated in the age of social media. In reality, however, email marketing actually remains one of the most powerful income-boosting tools at a creator’s disposal.

For starters, an email list gives you a direct line of communication with your following. This makes them essential tools to promote and sell your digital products and services. Newsletters allow you to deliver targeted content to your following, while keeping them up to date on your latest products, offers, and content. Because you (and you alone) own your newsletter list, your email marketing efforts aren’t at the mercy of a third-party app and its algorithms. This means that your offers and updates will reach your followers’ inboxes, rather than disappearing into the social apps’ endless scroll.

Bottom line: An email list is a powerful income-generating tool, and lead magnets are a great way to grow it.

Want to start owning your audience? Take this free mini-course for tips to build out your email list.

build email list mini-course Millie Adrian founder of The Modern Influencer

Mini-Course: Building Your Email List

Join creator Millie Adrian as she teaches you what it means to own your audience by building an email list.

Build a value ladder

Want to climb the ladder to creator success? Then you’ll want to get in on value ladder marketing. And a lead magnet is a great place to start.

A value ladder is a marketing concept designed to take customers on a journey from a lower-priced, entry-level offer to a higher-priced premium product. This strategy allows you to provide your customers with increasingly valuable content, while also gaining the opportunity to generate leads, sell more products and services, and boost your overall sales.

Value ladders comprise a series of products that offer customers progressively more value, with the bottom of the ladder representing lower-ticket items (like mini-courses, tutorials, or challenges, which you can create with The Leap) and the top of the ladder representing your highest-priced options (like fully-fledged online courses, which you can create using a platform like Thinkific).

Because they’re free, lead magnets are a great way to get your leads started on their value ladder journey — and for you to start cashing in on this income-growing strategy.

How to create a lead magnet in 4 steps

Now that you’re stoked on all the benefits of lead magnets, you’re probably wondering how to create one. Lucky for you, we’ve broken the process down into four easy steps.

Step 1: Determine your target audience

Before creating your lead magnet, you’ll first need to figure out just who you’re creating it for. This means defining your target audience.

Speaking in terms of a lead magnet, your target audience are the leads you’re trying to attract. Because your lead magnet acts as a gateway to the rest of your offering, this target audience should coincide (or have some overlap) with your social media following and the audience for the rest of your digital products.

If you’re already a creator with a robust audience, then you likely already have your target audience (or user persona) in mind. However, if you’re new to the creator game, you’ll want to take some time to figure out just who you want to target. Here are some tips to get started:

  • First, consider your niche and the unique expertise you have to offer: Ask yourself, “Who do I want to cater to?” Then get more specific, defining your target audience’s key demographics, their values and beliefs, and their content preferences.
  • Then, nail down your audience’s needs or pain points: Your lead magnet should serve one of these needs or solve one of these problems.

    For example, if you’re a pilates instructor, then a segment of your target audience might be first-timers looking to learn the ropes. In this case, a free introductory-level mini-course would be a good lead magnet to capture these leads’ emails — and get them hooked.

Step 2: Create your lead magnet

Now that you have your target audience and you’ve figured out what kind of lead magnet to offer them, it’s time to bring your idea to life.

So, how does one go about doing that? There are a number of tools out there that can help you build the lead magnet of your dreams. The one you choose depends on what kind of product you’re looking to create. Here are some examples:

  • The Leap: If you’re a creator wanting to share you knowledge and expertise through educational lead magnets, then you’ll definitely want to check out The Leap. Its AI-powered authoring tool is tailored towards lead magnets, allowing creators to build mini-courses, guides, and more in only a few minutes. And did we mention The Leap is free to use?
the leap lead magnet builder generator
The Leap’s AI-powered digital product builder helps you create lead magnets like mini-courses and guides in minutes.

  • G Suite: Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides can help creators from a number of niches, from food influencers to finance coaches, create a range of digital products, including ebooks, templates for resumes and contracts, guidebooks, and more.
  • Notion: Looking to create productivity-boosting templates like trackers, planners, and more? Notion might be your tool of choice.
  • Canva: Want to flex those graphic design skills to create templates for daily journals, presentation decks, and more? Then Canva is where it’s at.

Step 3: Publish and share your lead magnet

So you’ve built your lead magnet, now it’s time to get it out there. That means publishing your lead magnet and sharing it with your audience.

Today, there are a number of online platforms where you can put your lead magnet up for offer. For example, link-in-bio tools like The Leap let you share your lead magnet directly through your social channels.

the leap lead magnet online creator link in bio store
The Leap lets you offer your lead magnets and digital products through a simple link-in-bio storefront.

Looking for more ways to get eyes on your lead magnet? Harness the power of social media. Post content pertaining to your lead magnet on your social channels. These could be Instagram Stories with a swipe-up link to your lead magnet’s landing page, a TikTok video introducing your freebie, or a newsletter blast advertising your new free resource.


Step 4: Refine your lead magnet

So you’ve shared your lead magnet with your audience, and now you’re finally raking in those email addresses. That’s great! But your lead magnet journey isn’t over quite yet. After you’ve launched your lead magnet into the world, you’ll want to keep an eye on how it’s performing. Keep track of metrics like:

  • How many times your lead magnet has been downloaded
  • Who’s downloading your lead magnet
  • How your leads are discovering your lead magnet

If your lead magnet is underperforming or if it’s not reaching your target audience, you’ll want to go back to the drawing board. Analyze your metrics and try to pinpoint why your lead magnet might be underperforming, and brainstorm ways you can improve your lead magnet or your marketing strategy. From there, make the necessary tweaks and share your Lead Magnet 2.0.

4 lead magnet ideas you can create in minutes

Looking to create your lead magnet quickly and easily? Then look no further than The Leap.

The Leap’s AI-powered digital product builder is geared towards lead generation, allowing you to create email list-boosting lead magnets in just a few minutes. It helps creators effortlessly transform their expertise into a range of digital learning products that are both compelling and intuitive.

What’s even better is that The Leap doubles as a link-in-bio storefront, which means you can build, upload, and share your lead magnet all from one platform. Getting your first lead magnet out there has never been easier!

Read on as we unpack four of the lead magnet types you can create using The Leap:

the leap lead magnet builder generator ai mini-courses guides tutorials challenges
The Leap can help you create lead magnets in various engaging formats quickly and easily.

Mini-courses

Have knowledge to share? Consider packaging it into a mini-course with The Leap.

A mini-course is a product that teaches your audience new information or a new skill through micro-learning. This means that a mini-course is designed to deliver knowledge to your audience in small units. Think of a mini-course as a bite-sized version of an online course.

Mini-courses make great lead magnets for a number of reasons. For one, because they’re generally shorter than full-length online courses, mini-courses take less time and effort to create. And because they deliver only small bits of information, a mini-course allows you to give your audience a taste of your expertise, getting them hooked on your unique genius so you can charge them for more in-depth online courses later on.

Example

Dawn Richardson (@techsavvycreative) is a software engineer-turned-Instagram creator who loves teaching other creatives how to use tech to boost their business. Through her company Tech Savvy Creative, she helps business owners grow from “tech overwhelmed” to “tech empowered,” providing clients with tons of digital resources and one-on-one coaching that helps them find the tech solutions that work for them.

One of her audience’s most-asked questions is how to protect their business (and their tech) from natural disasters. Naturally, Dawn addressed this important question with a mini-course lead magnet created with The Leap. “Protecting Your Business from Disasters” teaches users how to safe-guard their business against major disasters like floods, tornadoes, and more, in just three simple steps.

dawn richardson free mini course lead magnet the leap tech savvy creative
A look inside Dawn Richardson’s free mini-course, “Protecting Your Business from Disasters.”

“The whole thing took about an hour: 30 minutes to build the course and 30 minutes to record the videos,” Dawn says about creating the lead magnet. “But what I am really fond of when it comes to The Leap is the simplicity. It forced me to simplify things even more than they already were. The format of the mini-course is kind of like an Instagram Story.”


Tutorials

Want to help your audience learn something from A to Z? Then a tutorial might be the lead magnet for you. Through a tutorial, you’ll teach your audience how to perform a specific task by offering them a step-by-step demonstration.

Need an example? Let’s say you’re a creator in the knitting niche. A great tutorial-style lead magnet might be a very simple knitting pattern with a step-by-step instructional video that guides users through the process.

Tutorials work exceptionally well as lead magnets because they are usually aimed at beginners. These kinds of products help first-timers gain confidence and develop a skillset by walking them through the specific task they’d like to learn. Not only does this style of teaching build trust with your audience, it also incentivizes beginners to pay for your more advanced products if they want to continue leveling up.


Guides

A guide is an educational product that gives users an overview of a specific topic with the goal of helping them form an opinion, make a decision, or take action.

Guides can be as simple or complex as you decide to make them. A simple guide makes for a great lead magnet because it allows you to teach your audience something new in a few quick steps, all while establishing your authority on the topic at hand. And the best part? You can create a simple and effective guide in just a few minutes with The Leap.

Example

Social media strategist-slash-creator Laura Bitoiu (@bsquared.social) is an Instagram Reels expert who provides her 120K IG followers with educational content about nailing Reels. On her grid, you’ll find videos about the latest trends in Reels, tips for creating viral Reels, and tons of ideas for your next Reel.

According to Laura, however, one of the trickiest Reels techniques to master is the art of the B roll. And that’s why Laura created a guide all about it using The Leap.

Offered as a free lead magnet, Laura’s “B Roll Library Guide” features her top tips on how to organize and optimize their B roll footage, alongside ideas for more than B roll clips that can be recorded in a single day. Just as it claims, Laura’s lead magnet is truly “the only guide you’ll ever need to create quick, engaging B Roll for your Reels.”

lead magnet laura bitoiu bsquared social b roll guide
A look inside Laura Bitoiu’s lead magnet, “B Roll Library Guide.”


Challenges

If mini-courses and tutorials aren’t for you, then consider offering a challenge as your lead magnet. These products help your audience achieve a specific goal within a given time frame.

Challenges are a powerful way to motivate your audience to learn something quickly. By breaking down a larger goal into smaller, more manageable actions, a challenge helps your audience learn something that might have seemed intimidating at first and, ultimately, achieve life-changing results.

An effective challenge demonstrates that you have what it takes to help your audience achieve their dreams, making it one of the best lead magnet ideas. Even better? You can create a challenge in just a few minutes using The Leap.

6 other lead magnet ideas and examples

In addition to mini-courses and tutorials, there are many other kinds of lead magnets you can create and share with your audience. Here, we’ve rounded up six of the most effective (and easy-to-build) lead magnets you can have on offer, and examples to get you inspired.

Templates

Want to make your followers’ lives a little easier? Offer them a template as a lead magnet.

A template is a pre-formatted document designed to be edited by users to create a custom final document that suits their specific needs. Basically, templates are digital tools that help your followers save a ton of time and energy.

And guess what? Creating a simple template as a lead magnet actually saves you tons of effort, as well. Templates are some of the most in-demand digital products, and they’re also some of the easiest to create. Think simple templates like to-do lists, editable graphics, and calendars.

Templates are engineered to solve a user’s specific pain point. Once you’ve proven you can solve your followers’ smaller problems with your lead magnet, they’ll be more inclined to purchase your more complex templates, like planners, trackers, contracts, sample resumes, and more.

Notion Template Ideas You Can Sell Online

Access our database of 120 template ideas covering various niches and of varying levels of complexity.

Example

Tori Dunlap of Her First 100K is the finance expert empowering women to make (and save) more money, whether it’s negotiating a raise or making smart investments. In addition to online courses and workshops, the creator offers a series of free resources to get potential customers hooked on her unique approach to personal finance.

One of these freebies is her “Bridal Party Scripts” package. These templates help all members of a wedding, from brides to bridesmaids, manage their money expectations around the event.

For example, one of the package’s templates is a script that helps brides communicate the costs and money expectations of their wedding to their bridesmaids. Weddings are typically costly, and no bridesmaid wants to step on a bride’s toes when it comes to talking budget. Tori’s editable scripts help brides and bridesmaids alike communicate their money needs and expectations firmly, cordially, and easily.

lead magnet tori dunlap bridal party scripts


Ebooks

Got knowledge to drop? Consider publishing an ebook as a lead magnet.

Ebooks (also known as “electronic books”) are popular among creators of all kinds because they allow you to share your knowledge on your own terms without going through the traditional publishing route.

The ebook format suits just about every niche under the sun, from food (cookbooks) to social media strategy (playbooks) and beyond. In other words, anyone can write an ebook on just about any topic imaginable.

Ebooks work best as lead magnets when they’re kept short and sweet. This works for you because it keeps your workload light, and it works for your audience because they don’t need to spend a ton of time to learn about a specific topic. Additionally, compared to other lead magnet ideas, ebooks have a high perceived value, which gives your leads more incentive to download them and hand over their email addresses.

Example

Lily Li (@designalily) is a product designer and creator working in Silicon Valley. Drawing from her own experience landing a job in California’s competitive tech industry, the creator gives her Instagram and TikTok followers valuable career advice, helping them navigate the tech industry and nail those tricky corporate interviews.

Lily’s ebook Prepped teaches readers how to tackle even the most challenging job interview questions within the world of tech. The creator offers this ebook as a free lead magnet on her website. To further incentivize leads, she offers an additional cheatsheet to those who stay subscribed to her mailing list for more than 24 hours.

Lily Li @designalily prepped ebook job interview tech lead magnet


Webinars

Love to go live? Then a webinar might be the best lead magnet idea for you.

A webinar is an online event where a speaker (that’s you!) delivers a presentation on a specific topic to an audience who can participate by asking questions.

Webinars make for some of the best lead magnets because they allow you to truly engage with your prospects, all while bolstering your reputation as an expert in your field. The key is to ensure your webinar is informative, compelling, and solves some of your audience’s pain points.

Example

Did you know that the #1 reason women don’t invest is fear of the unknown? Tori Dunlap (@herfirst100k) aims to help women start investing by providing them with all the information they need, so they can make informed choices with confidence.

In her free Stock Market Secrets webinar, Tori gives her audience the pep talk they need to overcome their investing fears, make smart decisions, and build wealth. However, this hour-long session is only the tip of the investing iceberg. Once Tori’s captured her prospects emails, she can begin turning them onto some of her bigger-ticket digital products.

her first 100k tori dunlap webinar lead magnet


Digital tools

Simple digital tools make great lead magnets as they’re easy enough to create yet deliver immediate value to your followers. That’s to say, these lead magnets allow your followers to solve their problems in just a few clicks.

There are tons of digital tools out there, some much more complex than others. Digital tools that make for effective lead magnets include calculators, timers, and more.

Example

Multi-hyphenate creator Puno created “digital trade school” ilovecreatives to help creatives like herself actually earn a living doing what they love. Alongside an array of courses on topics from graphic design to copywriting, the platform offers a number of free tools that help its left-brained audience manage their time and finances, like a cute, pomeranian-inspired Pomodoro Timer and a simple Student Loan Calculator.

ilovecreatives pomodoro timer lead magnet

ilovecreatives student loan calculator lead magnet


Free trials

If you run a subscription or membership service (think regular workout classes, podcasts, or paid newsletters), then you’ll want to consider offering a free trial as a lead magnet.

If you subscribe to any streaming service or online publication, then you’re likely already familiar with the concept of a free trial. A free trial gives your followers access to your paid content and services for a limited time only, so they can get a feel for your products before they purchase.

Free trials are an effective way to get potential customers hooked on your offering, giving them a sneak peek that will leave them wanting (and paying for) more.

Example

Fitness trainer Lindsey Harrod has created a successful career by sharing workout tutorials and motivational tips on Instagram. So much so that the creator has even launched her very own app where subscribers can access her livestream classes, fitness challenges, workout guides, and over 300 on-demand classes for $115 a month.

To incentivize potential customers to subscribe to her fitness app, Lindsey offers newcomers a free trial, which gives them access the same content as paid subscribers for seven days. After that, if leads wants to keep those endorphins flowing, they’ll have to pull out their wallets and become paid subscribers.

lindsey harrod fitness app free trial lead magnet


Quizzes

Who doesn’t love a quiz? And, no, we’re not talking pop quizzes. Think more in the vein of BuzzFeed. A quiz is a fun way to engage with your audience while providing them with useful insights into your expertise and services. And that’s why they’re great lead generation tools.

A lead magnet quiz generally provides users with some kind of personalized insight that’s tailored to their unique needs in regards to a specific topic.

When creating your lead magnet quiz, you’ll want to come up with your results (i.e. your user personas) first. Work backwards from there, creating compelling questions with unique multiple-choice answers that will steer your leads to their intended results — and your lead capture form.

Example

What if we told you that answering six questions could unlock your personalized financial game plan? That’s right: finance wizard Tori Dunlap’s (@herfirst100k) Money Journey quiz provides users with their “money personality” along with a roadmap that will help them level up their financial success and achieve their goals.

After answering questions about their spending, saving, and investing habits, leads are instructed to fill in their email to receive their results, which also include a list of hand-picked financial resources.

tori dunlap herfirst100k lead magnet quiz

Is creating a lead magnet worth it?

Yes! Lead magnets are powerful marketing tools and are absolutely worth the time and effort. Now that you know everything there is to know about lead magnets, including a ton of examples, you’re ready to get out there, create your own, and watch your email list flourish.

Whether you’re new to the lead generation game or not, you’ll want to consider using The Leap to create your next lead magnet. Our AI-powered authoring tool lets you create lead magnets in minutes and with minimal effort, so you can start building your email list today. Try The Leap free today!

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Start monetizing your audience with The Leap, your all-in-one creator store.

Lead magnet FAQ 

What are some examples of lead magnets?

Like digital products, lead magnets come in many forms. There are lots of different kinds of lead magnets you can create. The key is to make them relevant and useful to your audience, and ensure they leave your leads wanting more.

Some of the best examples of lead magnets include mini-courses, guides, tutorials, challenges, quizzes, ebooks, free trials, templates, webinars, and digital tools.

Do lead magnets still work in 2024?

Yes, lead magnets absolutely still work in 2024. Why? Well, it has everything to do with email marketing.

Today, email marketing is still one of the most powerful tools that content creators can use to grow their business and their income. This venue gives creators a direct line of communication to their audience, allowing them to keep their followers up to date on their latest products, content, and more. What’s even better is that a creator’s newsletter list is entirely their own. That’s to say, they aren’t beholden to a third-party app or platform.

Lead magnets are effective lead generation devices that help creators capture their followers’ email addresses and, ultimately, grow their email list.

How do you promote a lead magnet?

There are many ways you can promote your lead magnet. Your social channels are a good way to start.

Mention your lead magnet in your content and add links to your lead magnet’s landing page to your social media posts. You can also advertise your lead magnet through your link-in-bio landing page. Even better? The Leap acts as both a link-in-bio storefront and a lead magnet builder, allowing you to create and share your lead magnet all from one place.

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Create your lead magnets in minutes using The Leap!

Follow The Leap on TikTokInstagram, and YouTube for more audience growth tips. We also make a newsletter.


Further reading

kelsey mclellan
About the author

Kelsey McLellan

Kelsey McLellan is a writer and editor based in Toronto.
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