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How to Create Your First Lead Magnet

How to Create Your First Lead Magnet

by kobura02
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1 – Start Here

Message from the Author

mmb10I’ve been in the digital marketing space since 2004 and I’m thrilled to be your guide throughout this Execution Plan.
I’ve run digital marketing strategy and tactics for multi-billion dollar companies like Salesforce.com and a small SAAS company called CrazyEgg.com.

I’ve built and managed digital strategies for dozens of B2B and B2C businesses – large and small.

We’ve developed a system for making money here at Digital Marketer that is based on the work of legendary direct response marketer, Jay Abraham.

There are three ways to grow a business:

  • Increase the number of customers
  • Increase the average transaction value per customer
  • Increase the number of transactions per customer

We call this system Customer Value Optimization or CVO.  

This Execution Plan will walk you step-by-step through creating the Lead Magnet.  This is the first step in the CVO process and the step that has the highest leverage point for your business.

By the end of this Execution Plan you will have built a Lead Magnet and put the processes in place to increase the number of customers you are attracting to your offers.

Let’s get started!

Russ Henneberry
Director of Content Strategy
Digital Marketer

Understand CVO

This is the most critical step in this Execution Plan.

Understanding the greater strategy or context in which Lead Magnets fit is the difference between the frustrated, broke marketer and the successful, money-making marketer.

The greater strategy is called Customer Value Optimization or CVO.

Your first step is to understand how Lead Magnets fit into the CVO strategy.

I urge you to begin by reading the article entitled, Customer Value Optimization: How to Build an Unstoppable Business  Read it multiple times.  Commit it to memory.

Print the CVO Process graphic that is available as a resource in this step of the Execution Plan.  Pin the CVO Process document to the wall next to your workstation.

Every time you lose your way with your Lead Magnets (or any other marketing tactic) look at the CVO Flowchart document.  It will remind you of the greater strategy and put you back on track.

Please, if you do nothing else with this Execution Plan, read this article now.

In the next step, we will learn how Lead Magnets fit into the greater CVO strategy.

Understand How Lead Magnets Fit into CVO

In the previous step, I urged you to visit this article to understand and commit to memory the greater CVO process.

You’ve printed the CVO Process document and pinned it to the wall next to your workstation.

If you haven’t done all of those things, take the time to do it now.

Now, let’s understand how Lead Magnets fit into CVO.

The Lead Magnet is the entrance into your marketing funnel and, therefore, provides the highest leverage point.


The goal of the Lead Magnet is simple: convert traffic into leads.

Lead Magnets don’t make money directly but, if employ them properly — they are very lucrative.

In the next step you’ll learn more about Lead Magnets and see some examples.

Understand the Lead Magnet

The Lead Magnet is an irresistible bribe that gives a specific chunk of value to a prospect in exchange for their contact information – usually an email address.

The technology is simple.  Any decent email software can build a form where contact information can be entered and saved for your follow-up marketing.

The goal of the Lead Magnet is to generate leads for your CVO Funnel.

If you build your Lead Magnet properly it will convert well even to cold traffic from sources like Facebook Ads.

Lead Magnets will be most effective in your CVO Funnel if they are,

  • Relevant to your offers
  • Ultra specific
  • Priceless
  • Easily “consumed”

This entire Execution Plan will flesh out the above ideas and walk you through the creation of your own Lead Magnet.

We’ve applied the Lead Magnet concept to dozens of businesses in nearly every niche you can imagine.  It simply works.

Many of those reading this Execution Plan are information marketers.  But know that the Lead Magnet concept, as we will prove, can be applied to any business.

Let’s look at a very well executed Lead Magnet from online marketing guru Eben Pagen for his famous Double Your Dating program.


If you put your email into the Squeeze Page above… you would get the “pay off” for the Lead Magnet below.

And for those of you who think you have to write a book for your lead magnet…you’re wrong.  Actually, a book is one of the worst Lead Magnets you can employ.  We’ll talk more about this later.

Look below, this is six paragraphs that deliver a relevant, ultra-specific and easily consumable Lead Magnet offer.


No guy ever, in the history of the Web, thought, “Wow, he only gave me six paragraphs.” They said, “WOW, I now know the secret.  And I got it immediately!”

This is the perfect Lead Magnet, because it hits right where the market is (Relevant), and is easy and short to read (Ultra-Specific and Consumable).

Not to mention, it’s super easy to write.  🙂

Every business, and therefore Lead Magnet, is different but the above is a great example to illustrate what Lead Magnets are all about.

Let’s get started building your Lead Magnet!

2 – Create Your Lead Magnet

How to Use This Section

Read through this entire section before taking any of the steps.

Start by downloading the Lead Magnet Worksheet and Checklist attached to this Execution Plan as a RESOURCE.

Print this document.

We will be using it throughout this Execution Plan to build your Lead Magnet.

In this section (CREATE YOUR LEAD MAGNET) we will,

  • Make a Promise that the Lead Magnet will deliver upon
  • Title the Lead Magnet
  • Choose the Lead Magnet Type

You’ll only choose ONE Lead Magnet type.

At the end of this section, you’ll complete the first three sections of the Lead Magnet Worksheet & Checklist.

And lastly, you’ll create your Lead Magnet.  🙂

Let’s go!

Lead Magnet Worksheet

Choose a Market Segment

We’ve mentioned that your Lead Magnet needs to be ultra-specific and relevant to your prospective leads.

This is much easier to execute if you choose a single segment of your market.

The mistake that most marketers make (as cliche as it sounds) is that they try to be all things to all people.

The performance of your Lead Magnet (and the rest of your marketing) will improve the instant you segment your market and build something SPECIFICALLY for that segment.

As an example, let’s consider a Real Estate agent.

What are the different segments for which a real estate agent could design a Lead Magnet.

Here are four,

  1. A 65 year old couple interested in buying a second home near the ocean
  2. A 40 year old couple planning to sell their home due to a divorce
  3. A single young professional interested in a small starter home near her office
  4. A 30 year old couple needing a larger home due to the birth of a child

Can you see how each of the above segments have different problems, fears, desires, motivations, etc.?

Consider how different a Lead Magnet would be for each of these segments.

Take a few minutes and lean back in your chair.  Visualize the EXACT segment of the market for which you will build this Lead Magnet.

Once you have your segment in mind… move on to the next step.

Make a Promise

Grab your Lead Magnet Worksheet & Checklist and a pen.

Although the Lead Magnet promise is the 2nd step in the Lead Magnet Worksheet & Checklist, we must start here.

Your Lead Magnet’s ability to generate leads for you will be directly tied to the promise you make to prospective leads.

You’ve chosen a SPECIFIC segment of your market in the previous step.

Now, make them a promise.

As legendary direct response marketer Robert Collier would advise: attempt to enter a conversation already going on in the mind of your prospective lead.

What are their concerns?  Their fears?  Their desires?

What conversation are they already having and how can you enter that conversation with your promise?

What VALUE will you give them in exchange for their contact information?

Don’t kid yourself, this is a transaction.  You give them value and they give you their contact information.

More importantly — this is your FIRST transaction with this prospect.  Make it a goodgreat one!

That said, remember that the value you deliver with the Lead Magnet should be ultra-specific and easy to consume.

It shouldn’t be a 14-day course.  It shouldn’t be a 300 page book.

It should have tremendous stand alone value — but that doesn’t mean it needs to be elaborate, complex or at all lengthy.  In fact, when you understand the whole of the Customer Value Optimization process — you’ll know why an elaborate, complex or lenghty Lead Magnet will dampen your profits.

Let’s do an example…

Remember our 65 year old couple interested in buying a retirement home in Florida?  What conversation is already going on in their mind?

Perhaps, you guess, that they would be concerned that home prices in Florida are still declining due to the recession.

As a result the Lead Magnet promise might look like this,

“This Lead Magnet will list the 3 most beautiful beachfront retirement communities in Florida that have seen INCREASES IN HOME VALUE.  We will include descriptions of these communities, pros and cons and images of the community.”

Take some time on this step because it’s important.  If you craft the right promise (Offer) with your Lead Magnet you will be absolutely stunned by the number of leads you will generate.

That said, if you are a perfectionist (you know who you are) don’t let yourself get hung up on this step.

Get a few ideas on paper and then — make a guess.

The beauty of the CVO process is that you will get data almost immediately and you can always adjust.

To complete this step, write the promise you will deliver upon in your Lead Magnet Worksheet & Checklist.

Title the Lead Magnet

Now that you know what you’re promising and to whom — titling your Lead Magnet will be a snap.

Titles matter – a lot.

The headline you use for the Lead Magnet can make an enormous difference in the conversion rate.

If you’re used to writing headlines, email subject lines, blog post titles, etc. that get response – this is no different.

If you’re new to writing these, it’s worth your time to learn the basics before writing your Lead Magnet title.

Here are some resources that will help you,

Lastly, attached as a RESOURCE to this step is Digital Marketer’s Headline Swipe File.  If you don’t have a headline swipe file — you can swipe ours.

If you’re really stuck, use one of the formulas in our swipe file verbatim.

Let’s look at an example,

Remember that our promise to the 65 year old couple was…

“This Lead Magnet will list the 3 most beautiful beachfront retirement communities in Florida that have seen INCREASES IN HOME VALUE.  We will include descriptions of these communities, pros and cons and images of the community.”

Here is a potential title for our Lead Magnet…

“3 Recession Proof Retirement Communities on the Beautiful Florida Coast”

To complete this step write the title for your Lead Magnet on the Lead Magnet Worksheet & Checklist.

Choose a Type of Lead Magnet

Believe it or not… you’ve completed the most difficult part of creating a Lead Magnet.

You’ve picked a segment of your market, determined the promise and crafted the title.

The next step is to determine the format in which you will deliver the Lead Magnet.

Here are some things to keep in mind, particularly if you’re new to Lead Magnets:

  • Keep it simple – We want to put this Lead Magnet to work so choose a Lead Magnet type that you can easily create.
  • Stay within your strengths – If you’re not proficient at creating video, don’t deliver this Lead Magnet via video.
  • Rapid consumption is better –  The faster your Lead Magnet promise is paid off the quicker you can move these leads through your CVO Funnel.  The type of Lead Magnet you choose can sometimes effect the speed of delivery.

The next several steps are the different Lead Magnet Types we recommend you choose from.

Read through each of these in turn and, in the end, you will choose the type of Lead Magnet you will use.

Lead Magnet Type: Report/Guide

Reports and Guides are amongst the most common types of Lead Magnets offered by information marketers.

The advantage is that they are usually mostly text and can be delivered digitally (instantly).

Here’s an example Lead Magnet opt-in from Joe Polish at Piranha Marketing.


Lead Magnet Type: Cheat Sheet/Handout

For some, calling a Lead Magnet a Cheat Sheet or Handout will work well.

Cheat Sheets and Handouts have a different “feel” to them than Reports or Guides.

They are generally very short (one page or so) and cut straight to an ultra-specific point.

Mind Maps and “Blueprints” can also make for strong Lead Magnets.


In one case, we actually used a NAPKIN (or the image of it) as a Lead Magnet,


Lead Magnet Type: Toolkit/Resource List

Again, for the right business and market a Toolkit or Resource List could be the right type of Lead Magnet.

This company is offering a Time Management Toolkit in exchange for contact information,


And this is one of the tools that is delivered after the Lead Magnet is taken by the prospective lead,


Lead Magnet Type: Video Training

If it makes sense and you have the skillset, video can be a very effective way to deliver on your Lead Magnet.

This video is a simple screencast using software like Camtasia or Screenflow that we used to deliver on a Lead Magnet at Digital Marketer,


This first video delivered one Facebook Marketing tactic and made a pitch to receive a second Facebook marketing tactic if an email address is entered.

Lead Magnet Type: Software Download/Trial

Software companies often offer a Free Trial of their software as a Lead Magnet.

Here’s how Bidsketch, a SAAS proposal building application, asks for an opt-in to start a free trial,


Lead Magnet Type: Discount/Free Shipping

For those selling physical products on or off-line, discount clubs or Free Shipping offers can be an effective Lead Magnet Type.

Here’s how New Egg generates new leads using an offer of Promo Codes sent to the email inbox.


Lead Magnet Type: Quiz/Survey

A quiz or survey, the results of which are delivered via email, can be a very engaging way to generate new leads.

This is what the Lead Magnet offer looks like on the home page of a skin care company,
The quiz asks four questions and then drops you on this page where an email is required,


Lead Magnet Type: Assessment/Test

An assessment or test, particularly if it is delivered online to increase the speed of consumption and gratification, can make a powerful Lead Magnet.

Hubspot, a company that sells marketing software, has been generating leads with their “Marketing Grader” for years,

Lead Magnet Type: Blind/Sales Material

In some cases, the most desired piece of information for the market is pricing and descriptions of products or services.

Ikea harvests contact information in exchange for their catalog.  And they can deliver it digitally to speed consumption and gratification.


Choose Your Lead Magnet Type

Ok… time to decide.

Take out your Lead Magnet Worksheet & Checklist and check off one of the boxes under the TYPE OF LEAD MAGNET section.

If you’re feeling stuck, just choose the Lead Magnet type that you feel can be produced the easiest.

Create Your Lead Magnet

Ok, it’s time to make it happen.

If you’re writing a Free Report, write it.

If you’re making a video, shoot it.

If you’re delivering a quiz, create it.

You get the picture.

Remember that immediate delivery on and ultra-specific promise will perform best.  Keep this in mind as you create your Lead Magnet.

Once you’re finished… it’s time to run your Lead Magnet through the 8-point checklist.

3 – Complete the Lead Magnet Checklist

How to Use This Section

We’ve tested a lot of Lead Magnets in a lot of different niches.

As a result, we’ve developed a checklist of factors that tend to predict the level of success we will have with a Lead Magnet offer.

It’s not necessary that you are able to check off every one of the factors in the checklist.  But… if you find that your Lead Magnet meets very few of these criteria, there is reason to be concerned.

Open your Lead Magnet Worksheet & Checklist and work your way through the checklist portion.

The next few steps will provide a discussion about each of the factors on the checklist.

Is it Ultra Specific?

The more specific the promise you deliver upon in your Lead Magnet offer, the better it will perform.

This, of course, assumes that the promise you are making is compelling to the market you are approaching.

How would you improve the Lead Magnet below?


Is it One Big Thing?

Believe it or not, you’re Lead Magnet will perform better in the context of the Customer Value Optimization process if it delivers One Big Thing rather than a number of things.

We made a mistake with this Lead Magnet when we offered it at Survival Life,


This performed much better,


Does it Speak To a Known Desired End Result?

The members of your market are searching for outcomes.  Figure out what that outcome is and deliver it with your Lead Magnet.

Kathryn Aragon writes the C4 Report and, as you can see, she makes a promise to deliver on a result or outcome in which her market would be interested.


Does it Provide Immediate Gratification?

In the funnel below we use email, Facebook ads, blog posts and other traffic sources to drive traffic to a landing page that offers a Free Case Study (Lead Magnet) about marketing on Facebook.

Here’s that landing page…

The first strategy is revealed on the page above and an offer for a second free Facebook marketing strategy is made in exchange for an email address.  When the site visitor puts their email address into the box, they land on a “Thank You” page that reveals the second strategy.

That page looks like this,

The second Facebook marketing strategy is revealed on the page above and an offer is made to get many more Facebook marketing tactics like this one in a paid training.

Does it Shift the Relationship?

The best Lead Magnets do more than inform… they actually change the state and mindset of your prospect so they’re pre-framed to engage in business with your company.

While this Lead Magnet offer violates the One Big Thing rule, Copyblogger has always done a great job of using their free content to teach you how and why to trust and buy from them.


Does it have High Perceived Value?

Use good design to create a higher perceived value of your Lead Magnet.

Although this “Marketing Bundle” is actually nothing more than a PDF, KISSmetrics is able to increase the perceived value through good design.


Does it have High Actual Value?

The right information at the right time can be priceless.

You literally can’t put a value on it.  The Lead Magnet that delivers something priceless will enjoy very high conversion rates.

Remember our example from earlier in this Execution Plan of the “Kiss Test” that revealed to the frustrated single man how to know when a woman is ready to be kissed.

This information is so desired by the prospective lead that it is impossible to put a price on it.


Does it Allow for Rapid Consumption?

Ok… this is a big one.

Why do we keep insisting that it is important that the Lead Magnet be quick to consume?

The answer lies in the greater Customer Value Optimization process.

Wherever possible, when we are executing a marketing funnel we want to make the next offer in the funnel sequence immediately after making the prior offer.

Speaking generally, it looks like this…

  • If a prospect takes the Lead Magnet, we make the Tripwire Offer immediately
  • If a prospect takes the Tripwire Offer, we make the Core Offer immediately
  • If a prospect takes the Core Offer, we make the Profit Maximizer offer immediately

There is (usually) no better time to make an offer than directly after someone has taken a prior offer. For more information about this, read this article on the Digital Marketer blog.

This is why it’s important to, if possible, create a Lead Magnet that can be consumed quickly.

Consider the Lead Magnet below.  It will be 20 weeks before we are able to consume this Lead Magnet.

Not good if you plan to make a second offer.  Why would I buy something from you if I still haven’t received the value from the last offer you made.


This is the same reason we don’t advise that you use a book as a Lead Magnet.  It takes too long to consume and will dampen the results of your marketing funnel.

4 – Deliver Your Lead Magnet

Set up an Email Service

In this step we will set up your email service provider.

The goal of your Lead Magnet is to increase the number of leads that are entering your CVO Funnel.

New leads are generated when a visitor exchanges their email address for a Lead Magnet.

Your list of subscribers/leads is housed at your email service provider.

Advanced digital marketers might want to use a full service system like InfusionSoft.  You know who you are.

But, for many, that will be overkill.

Most bloggers can get away with a free or paid version of MailChimp.  MailChimp integrates well withWordPress and PayPal as well as the Landing Page software that we will be recommending.

To complete this step, set up your account with MailChimp.  You can start with a free account and upgrade later if you need it.

9 Places to Place an Opt-In

Remember that the very top of the CVO Funnel is the Lead Magnet.

The more leads/subscribers you generate through the Lead Magnet opt-in, the more people you will offer the Tripwire, Core Offer and Profit Maximizer.

To get more opt-ins, you need to add as many locations to opt-in as possible.

Watch this video from Ryan Deiss that details 9 places you can place an opt-in box for your Lead Magnet,

There are lots of places you can place an opt-in box for your Lead Magnet but here are four places that are easy to implement.

1. Sidebar Opt-ins – Subscription widgets in your sidebar are a very simple way to boost opt-ins, and almost every site you visit has one. MailChimp has a simple plug-in that will integrate your MailChimp opt-in box into your sidebar.

Be sure that you feature your Lead Magnet in your sidebar opt-in.

2.  In-post Opt-In 
At the end of each article, place an opt-in for a Lead Magnet.  We use Optin Skin to make this work but if you are technical you could get this done without using a tool by hacking your WordPress theme.
3. Hello Bar

A company called Hello Bar offers a top-down subscription form, which hangs out at the top of your page as a subtle reminder to opt-in.

When a visitor clicks the bar, the opt-in box drops down, offering them a chance to input their email. Hello Bars have become extremely popular because of how unobtrusive they are to readers.

4.  Pop-up Opt-in –  You can use a program like Pop-Up Domination to create great pop-up opt-ins that feature your Lead Magnet.

Create Landing Pages

In this step, we will create the Landing Pages for your CVO Funnel.

Regardless of the traffic source, a landing page visitor will have clicked through and be offered a chance to “subscribe” or “buy.” When they click through, they land on this page, hence the name landing page.

The Landing Page does not need to be fancy.  This Lead Magnet landing page performed very well for us in the Kindle Publishing niche,


At Digital Marketer we use two third party applications to create landing pages, both of which work well with WordPress.

  1. Lead Pages – Watch this Tutorial from LeadPages.net
  2. Optimize Press – Watch this Tutorial from OptimizePress

These two applications will transfer Lead Magnet leads from the opt-in boxes on your blog to InfusionSoft or MailChimp.  They will also integrate with GoToWebinar if you are using webinars in your CVO Funnel and 1ShoppingCart if you need to accept payments for physical or digital products.

Lead Pages and OptimizePress supply you with easy-to-use, tested landing page templates.

To complete this step, build the Landing Pages for all of the following that are applicable:

  • Lead Magnet
  • Tripwire
  • Core Offer
  • Profit Maximizer


The Last Word – Understand the Big Picture

You’ve come along way and accomplished many things.  Some tactical and others strategic.

But keep the big picture in mind.


Understand that your Lead Magnets fit into a greater strategy.  They will make money only if you understand that greater strategy.



Every time you get a new subscriber/lead through a Lead Magnet it gets cheaper and easier to make money.  Every time you convert a new buyer through a Tripwire, it becomes cheaper and easier to make money.  Every time you sell a Profit Maximizer you make more money.



You’ve heard people say “the money is in the list.”  It’s true.



If you Launch four new Lead Magnets this year and generate 3,000 new subscribers/leads, you can now market to those people again and again through the Return Path — for virtually no cost.



I hope you took a lot out of this Execution Plan.  And don’t forget…



I’m happy to answer all of your questions about this Execution Plan on the Digital Marketer Labs Office Hours call every Thursday at 3 PM ET.



~ Russ


Bonus: DM Office Hours Lead Magnet Critique

So you’re ready to create your first Lead Magnet… great!

Watch this episode of Office Hours and see how Molly and Russ critique fellow DM Lab members’ Lead Magnets.


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