Lead Magnet Ideas

Last week, I provided a list of ways in which you can use your email list to increase your sales on autopilot and hopefully this convinced you of it’s value to your small business. But how do you get people to sign up to your list in the first place?

Answer: Lead Magnet Ideas, AKA Email Opt In, AKA Freebie, AKA Signup Incentive. There are many terms for it, but ultimately it comes down to the same thing – giving people something of value to them in exchange for their email address.

As an added bonus, it gives you something more to promote over social media than just your products or services – Making it easier to sell to them down the road.

Many small businesses make the mistake of simply having a signup for their “Newsletter”. Please don’t be one of them! The truth is with “newsletters” people will only sign up if they really, really, really, love you, and they will likely buy anyway! As a self-described “signup junkie”, even I don’t signup for those that just say newsletters – my inbox is full enough! All I see when I see the word newsletter is “information I will get from you on social media anyway, so why would I need to clog my inbox even more.”

So, you need to give a very good reason to signup. Fortunately, there are so many different lead magnets ideas you can use that you are bound to be able to find something that will suit your business, no matter if you offer a product, service or information.

How to Come up with a lead magnet Idea: Some Questions

Yes, it is true that it is easier to come up with ideas for some businesses over others. But it doesn’t mean there isn’t something for you! Here are some questions to prompt thought.

What Problem are you Solving?

So you might “just” sell something simple like a homewares product or clothing. So what?!? Ask yourself WHY your target audience would like your product. Is it because they want to create a warm home environment or is it that they want to feel better about themselves after giving birth? You can work with this and weave your products in with tips for decorating, or self-care challenges.

What is the first step for a prospect to take before they use your product or service?

If your product or service is all about providing some sort of “change” in your customer’s lives, what is the first step to making this change? Can you teach this first step for free? Or you could use your freebie to motivate them to feel inspired to change?

Can you provide a “big picture” overview?

Similar to the above, instead of teaching the first 10%, another option is to provide a broad overview of your process. Or the first 10% of each step. For example, you could provide the steps to change but only a glimpse into each step. Enough to be helpful but not enough that they would feel like they have the complete solution.

What Questions do you Always get?

When someone first encounters your brand, are there a few questions that you see crop up all the time? This could be a big hint as to what would be helpful to them.

Are there any Challenges or Barriers to purchase you can overcome?

Like the above, you might find there are certain challenges common to your target audience. What hesitations would they have before purchasing your product or service? Can you help them overcome them with your free opt-in? A great example is a photographer who’s freebie is all about feeling comfortable in front of a camera. This is great as it not only aids in getting people on your list but it might encourage them to take the plunge and hire the photographer and even better they are more prepared on the day of the shoot.

What is your Target Audience Interested in?

Yes, hopefully your product, but if you have gone through the exercise of defining your Target Market beyond basic demographics you will begin to see a picture of what inspires them, what makes them happy and what interests them. Can you integrate your product or service into some of these interests?

email marketing sequences in post


20 Opt-In Ideas

Now I have you brainstorming around topic ideas, here are some format options you can try and use.


One of the most popular choices is an Ebook. This is because they are simple to create and can provide a lot of information. You can create these using any Word Publisher, Powerpoint, Apple Pages or use something like Canva. Then convert to PDF.


If you provide information around a process, a Worksheet is a great way to make something actionable and practical for your audience.  Go a step further and make these PDF’s fillable. If you don’t have the full version of Adobe Acrobat to do this, you can use free online tools like PDF Escape.


Who doesn’t love ticking things off a to-do list? Similar to worksheets, checklists are a great way of summarising information and making it more realistic for people to achieve.


A Workbook merges the above items by providing information in an ebook form and then including pages of worksheets or checklists to extend their learning.


A guide can be similar to an ebook or workbook but takes the reader more into a process of how to get from one point to another. Think step-by-step directions.

White Papers

White Papers are much more technical and are very useful for fields where things take a lot of explaining. They really shine when the process of choosing a product or service can be complicated and you want to aid them in the decision by providing guidance. However, white papers are intentionally non-promoting so it is more a helpful guide than why they should choose your product or service. But that doesn’t mean you can’t lead to some of your points of differentiation in the guidance you provide.

Top Tips

Another popular choice are Top 5 or Top 10 Tips to achieve something. This is a great way of summarising alot of information and giving people a broad overview about what you are about but not giving away everything.

Resources Lists

If you regularly recommend particular tools or resources or even companies to people, this could be another great freebie you can add to your library.

Ideas and Inspiration Lists

Another great printable resource for people are ideas and inspiration lists. If your audience struggles to come up with ideas, you could possibly create a one page list of ideas that they can print out and put on their wall. Examples include ideas for social media posts or prompting questions about finding their interior design style.

Printables and Planners

Similar to the above you could design some beautiful printables that people might want to use again and again. This can include inspirational wall prints, monthly or weekly planners, to do lists or meal planners. Is there a system you use in your life that you can design something beautiful that will also help your audience?


Templates move beyond Printables as they are a digital product someone can use. These could be document or presentation layout templates or pre-filled spreadsheets people can use. A great use of this is in graphics design where you might choose to create an ebook powerpoint template people can use to help create their freebies!

Resource Library

If you find yourself creating a lot of content or short freebies (like I do with my blog posts), a Resource Library is a great opt-in to use to provide a single place where people can get all your content. Depending on your website platform you should be able to host this on your own website with a simple password protected page.


All of the above are generally once off, document based lead magnets. But some of the most effective ones are those which are more ongoing. The first of which is a challenge. A challenge is all about giving quick daily tasks for someone to do to reach a certain goal. You see these regularly on social media like instagram photo a day challenges. But you can apply this principle to almost anything. Ideas include a push-up challenge or a house declutter. These generally run for as long a 30 days and include daily prompters over social media or email.

Cleanse or Detox

Similar to a challenge, but often over a shorter time period like a week, cleanses or detoxes don’t need to just apply to health-related businesses. You can “cleanse” almost anything, like your email inbox or your mindset. Each day you can send a quick tip or step to help them along in the process.

Email Course

An email course is another brilliant way of getting in people’s inboxes on a regular basis. Unlike Challenges and Detoxes, email courses include much longer information (think 500-1000 words) that educate and inform people around a topic over a series of days. Although this information could go into an ebook, sometimes people find information easier to digest over a period of time.

Webinar, Workshop or Online Training

Taking things up a level, you might find your audience responds better to visual media. So you could look at teaching some sort of webinar, workshop or online training. This could be a screen recording of a powerpoint presentation or it could be you facing the camera talking about a topic. Webinars typically run under an hour but workshops and online trainings can go for much longer. I’ve listened into some great long-form workshops that go for almost 4 hours!

By adding video into the mix people automatically perceive this as being higher value than something written.

Video Library

If you don’t think you have enough content for hour long video sessions or if you think that is too much for your audience, you could look at creating a series of shorter videos and including them in a password protected library, similar to the resources library mentioned above. This is a great one for personal trainers where you could have quick 10 minute work out videos or for food bloggers where you can do some quick cooking demonstrations or even for service providerse who want to provide some quick tips.

Private Online Community

Another growing trend is the use of online communities, in particular Facebook Groups. If you have a good following of people (or even just a small, engaged group), you might want to consider this as your opt-in. Making people feel a part of something and feeling supported on an ongoing basis is a great way to build an engaged audience.

Exclusive Regular Content

Instead of a “once-off” lead magnet you could also entice people to join your list by offering exclusive regular content. This could be anything from weekly meal planners, a monthly workout plan, regular inspiration or a monthly business focus.

Discounts or Special Offers

I left this to last as I wanted you to feel inspired by all the other ways you could get people onto your list without going straight for the discount option. While it can be an easy way to get people to sign up, it also means you lose a little bit off that first sale so why not try the things that don’t cost you anything first?

Or Mix & Match

All of the above can be mixed and matched to your hearts content. For example, you might want to include some quick videos in your email course or online community. Or you might want to include some worksheets in your challenge and workshops. The possibilities are endless!

How to Make your Lead Magnet ideas your Biggest Asset

Your main lead magnet, or “signature freebie”, is one of the biggest ways your audience will come to experience your brand. So make it count!

There are a few ways you can do this:

Don’t be Scared to “Give Away” your Good Stuff

You need to convince people you are good at what you do, so don’t be scared to give away some of your good stuff for free – just not everything. This will make the audience feel highly valued and give them a glimpse into what they will get from you if they engage with you more.

Make it Amazing!

The impression you want to give is one of “Wow, this is free?!?, What will their paid stuff be like?”. Another way to look at it is, making your Freebie BETTER than other’s paid content.

You can do this through a few ways: giving away your good stuff is one and another is to just make it really visually appealing. Even if you don’t have a graphics background, you can easily create great visuals through tools like Canva and MailChimp’s Templates.

Give them a Quick Win

What outcome can you give your new subscriber? What will have them come away thinking that you have solved a problem for them or made them feel great? By giving them a quick win they will feel a sense of achievement and gratitude.

Don’t just Keep it to One Email

Obviously, if your lead magnet is an email course this is already built in. But even if you are just sending a once off pdf, make sure you take the opportunity to create a welcome series of emails, otherwise known as onboarding. This person may not have encountered your brand before so this is an opportunity for you to let them know what you are about and how you can help them. This can be done through a variety of ways including inviting them to follow you on social media or join one of your online communities, introducing yourself and your vision, addressing a common challenge your audience faces or offering some extra bonus freebies. I go into this in more detail in my previous post on increasing your sales on autopilot which also includes a great email sequences worksheet, so make sure you check that out.

Ask them to Share

In either the first email or one later in the series, ask them to share their love for the freebie through social media. Provide them with a “click to tweet” option or provide a link that they can use. Not everyone will do this but any extra reach you get could turn into more subscribers and then more reach, and on it goes.


Are you are now inspired to get creating on your Signature Lead Magnet? It is one of the most important things you can do for your business as it will be an audience of interested people who you can nurture and engage with to hopefully become customers and ambassadors of your brand.

To take this further, in Part 2 we will delve into the “how to” of getting people to sign up to your list by going through the various opt-in form options, what makes a great lead page and how you can promote your freebie to your wider audience. So stay tuned!


What Signature Freebie do you use to grow your List? I would love to hear what is working for you so let me know in the comments below!!

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