35 best practices for lead magnets that convert

35 best practices for lead magnets that convert
How can you create lead magnets and opt-ins, digital tools that invite and entice your prospects to connect, share, try, subscribe and ultimately, buy from you? Boost your digital marketing efforts with these 35 best practices for lead magnets that convert.

Learn how to create a strong lead magnet that offers value to your audience, helps you generate leads & grow email list, and showcases your brand and expertise.

To stay in business, you need prospects! 

Smart entrepreneurs know that leads take time to nurture and warm up and getting them onto your email list is a fabulous way to do that. Maybe you put your heart and soul into creating an awesome digital tool and yet you are wondering why aren’t the sign-ups pouring in.

How can you create lead magnets and opt-ins, digital tools that invite and entice your prospects to connect, share, try, subscribe and ultimately, buy from you?

The best kind of lead generation tools are of 2 kinds (or a combo of both) – they solve a problem or they add value and help customers in specific ways.

If you are looking to create and promote effective digital products, here are 35 best practices for lead magnets that convert.

And grab all these pointers below as a handy checklist for convenience. 

The three key ingredients to design effective lead magnets are the 3Ms.

I.The Make-up or the content that goes in creating it

II. How well you Market it

III. How you Measure your success!

Not sure if you need one? Learn how offering a digital product or lead magnet helps your business.

I. Making or creating lead magnets that are winners!

Start with great Content, polish its Appearance and ensure that it is Error free.

Creating winning content

1.Divide and rule

Break up your content into 2 categories – lead magnets and opt-ins. While they are often used interchangeably, the latter is usually an upsell or cross-sell for an existing products. Lead magnets, on the other hand, can be offered to any visitor.

E.g. you can offer a free idea list of 100 content ideas (lead magnet), with an opt-in for a paid blogging course. Or a cross-sell a different product with a list of websites for stock photos.

Separating content types helps you create a better sales funnel and more conversions, because it offers your consumer more products and clear choices. Importantly, you can build a base of trust and engagement before selling products of higher value.

2.Demonstrate authority

If you create content, esp. long form like an eBook or Report, you should either have credentials or experience in that area and your website should reflect that. Otherwise, the offer might not seem credible.

3.Make it easy to understand

Most times, the consumers of lead magnets are those who need the info, but don’t necessarily know much about the topic. Use visual depictions, images and even flowcharts to illustrate points.

White space is breathing space

Instead of just words, here’s a visual depiction of ‘white space is breathing space.’

4.Balance jargon and simplicity

While it’s tempting to demonstrate expertise using industry terms, it can be very off-putting to hear a sentence like leverage social media synergies for compounded and accelerated outcomes. Instead, something like overlap your presence on different social media for greater reach is more on point.

5.Include actionable takeaways

Treat your lead magnet like a niche to-do list. A majority of the people subscribe because they have an immediate need or problem to solve.

6.Incorporate usable tools

Again, suggesting good, usable tools, whether yours or external, can be helpful because they are within the context of the problem the reader is trying to solve.

E.g. If you offer an SEO cheat sheet, include links to Google Analytics or Bing My Places.

7.Be versatile in formats

If you can, create your lead content in more than one format – say, an Infographic for quick action, and a Guide with details. Maybe Videos and Webinar for visual learners. This distributes your content in more directions. Which format you choose, depends on the kind of content your audience responds to the most. As an example, PDFs are 34% more probable to convert than video.

Caitlin Bacher made a video to convince people to sign up for her freebie.

8.Ensure clear & comprehensible

Include a TOC and Summary if your tool is longer than 4-5 pages. This makes it more easily navigable. Including a table of contents is always useful. Or even a summary, if there is a lot of text and data, but don’t give away the good stuff upfront.

9.Add clickable outlines

In PDF documents, you can create page jumps, which means that I can head straight to Page 7 from the outline.

10.Provide examples and links

Similarly, adding clickable links makes it easy for your reader to reference a source. Or even click on your other lead magnet to subscribe.

How to create Page Jumps and Links in PDF documents.

11.Think relevance

Are you building the funnel by being meaningful to your business and to your target audience? While a useful lead magnet is one that grows your prospect list, you really want to produce one that’s most connected to your business, so that the leads can actually convert.

12.Build brand or product visibility

Similarly, your product can also showcase your brand and sell other products, but not become an advertisement for it. Overly promotional content takes away trust.

13.Focus on evergreen content (or at least longer shelf life)

Make the ROI (return on investment) worth the effort – strong lead magnets need time to create, so pick topics that are likely to be of value over time too.

14.Regularly Update and be current

Add current data and newer features to existing content. Most Apps and Social media channels are constantly adding new features, so incorporating them in your content is important. Plus, nothing is worse than a Cheat Sheet which has examples from 2016, or images from an older layout of Facebook Pages.


Appearance counts!

15.Make it attractive and cohesive

As rich as your content might be, how it looks also influences your customers’ perceptions.

Also Read: How to Design a Small Business Website your Customers will love!

16.Include your personality and brand elements

Let your logo, colors and content talk for your brand. Placing your logo in the footer or using the color scheme of your brand adds a subtle yet effective boost to your brand. Using proprietary elements like the logo or website name also helps your protect your content a little better.


Error proof rigorously!


A no-brainer, but details are overlooked all the time. The longer the content, the more diligent you need to be.

Get help and proofread like a pro with these tools!

18.Check links

Similarly, make sure that the links you have included work and remove tracking codes.

19.Test delivery

Send a few trial emails to ensure that the entire process works.

Prefer to grab all the pointers in this blog as a handy checklist instead? Grab this freebie!

II. Without Marketing, even the best content won’t go far!

Write persuasive Messaging,  ensure your offers are Visible and invite Customer Action.

Make your Message rock!

20.Write clever headlines with specific outcomes

You don’t have to deliver the moon. A small but clear benefit will do the trick.

Which one of the 2 headlines are you more likely to act upon?

Organize your email vs Organize your entire inbox in an hour or less!

Tell your user clearly what’s in it for them immediately or they’ll be left wondering. Specific titles will give your audience a direct outcome that they can expect – whether it is to improve something or take away a pain point. Choose your topic carefully – the more hyper focused the better!

A fun headline for a serious topic (note the pun!), a great format (quiz) and a clear outcome that addresses a common fear!


21.Include basic Information

A few details like format (e.g. Worksheet, Webinar or White Paper), user type and other attributes can help your products stand out and attract the right buy-ins. If it’s free, make that prominent.

22.Share preview images

For banners you can choose a solid background with only text. Or you can add images so customers can get a sneak peek. In this eBook, there is actually a preview of the inside page too.

Do an A/B testing to determine which type of opt-in form gets the most clicks from your users.

A quick glimpse of what you can expect.

23.Add a compelling (or fun) CTA

Sign me up or Send it to me works, but a well chosen call to action will make it an offer they absolutely can’t refuse. Pick one that goes best with your brand’s personality.

Check out this range of CTAs that you can use for your freebies.

24.Be honest – don’t overpromise

While slick Marketing works, if the product doesn’t follow through on its premise, you will lose the prospect. And a bad review or mention on social media (yes, it happens all the time) can be detrimental.

A clear premise with realistic outcomes is more credible! The offer incorporates her brand name, colors and that it’s Free!

Visibility is a key success trigger!

25.Share extensively and smartly

Where your offers are placed matters. Make your business tools and freebies available throughout your website and accessible through other media. Include one wherever you have a conversation around that topic to amp up the chance of conversion.

E.g if you talk about the issue of overusing social media, a guide on time-chunking or tools to manage phone usage will find strong favor by your readers.

Be sure to include it both as a banner or pop up and have a landing page too.

How to create a strong lead magnet - share in multiple places

One image – multiple places, repeat and recall! Marie Forleo’s Audio Training freebie is on her Homepage, Blog and About page.

26.Add on Home Page

Start hustling right away – nicely, of course! You can offer your best lead magnets or tools on your homepage. Or at least include an invite for newsletter subscription as soon as someone lands on your website. You will get more eyeballs on this page which impacts conversion, but your selling still needs to be persuasive.

In the images below, Eden Fried, added not 1 but 3 offers on her home page. However, 2 lead to the same resource – her eBook.

27.Insert in Blog Posts 

Blog posts are the best place to garner leads since the reader is engaged with your content. If it’s a long post, you can insert the same offer (but maybe a different visual) in the body and in the end. If not, share it 2 different products. Again, go for relevance.

Meera Kothand offers a free sample - best practices for lead magnets that convert

Blogger Meera Kothand offers a free chapter of book, followed by a ‘buy book’ CTA  in the same blog post.


Meera Kothand's book - best practices for lead magnets that convert

Part 2 of a two step conversion.


Offers in a blog posts are typically considered as content upgrades. Your post provides the reference and the opt-in gives them the next level of expertise. It is both logical and effective.

E.g. a blog article on learning new skills includes a guide to monetizing your skills like the one in this image.

Make money from your skills

This content upgrade works wonderfully with an article on learning new skills.

28.Include in Sidebars

Content on Sidebars can be a great attention grabber too. To optimize, place a square image, with text and enable subscribe right there. If you can’t do that, then link the image to your landing page.

Sidebar  image offering a unique lead magnet. Also appears as an opt in, with an article on finding business partners.

29.Create Landing Pages

A dedicated landing page is one of the top best practices for your lead magnet. It makes sharing the offers outside your website much easier. 

Here’s an easy way to break it down the anatomy of a landing page: Start with a bold attention grabbing headline. Your list of teaser bullets.  A call to action and the sign up box. Add a solid testimonial or as-seen-on logos to increase credibility.

Why create another page? Aren’t the banners and pop-ups good enough?

Having a landing page is particularly important if you promote your freebies on social media or on digital product platforms like Maroon Oak. The advantages are numerous – easy marketability, traffic to and time spent on your website.

Take a look at this landing page for an eBook on Design.


A good landing page helps persuade a consumer to opt in.


In addition, you can further increase conversions on your landing pages by adding Cross sells – similar, related or complementary products that your subscribers might find useful. Go a step further and include cross sells within the actual opt-in content. Preface it with a ‘If you liked this checklist, …’

On Maroon Oak – when someone subscribes to an eBook on Design above, they get an offer to opt for an eBook on Websites that Convert.

Ideally, create a page that includes every one of your digital offers!

Make your business freebies easily findable - best practices for lead magnets that convert

TBH Coaching has a Freebies page with multiple images, text and CTAs – helps consumers know what to find where.


30.Share via Email

Share new opt-ins via Email with existing subscribers. You may get more buy-ins if users believe that your previous ones offered them strong value.

31.Post on Social Media

Promote your lead generating content on social channels – your own as well as via Fb groups and Pinterest Communities. Add a brief and enticing headline, link to your landing page and wait and watch.


Actionability motivates speed!

32.Communicate Urgency

Both your copy and content in the offer, should be such to inspire the ‘get it now!’ feeling. This is a solid way to create high converting lead magnets.

add bonus offers - smart practices for lead magnets that convert

The bonus offer at the end is an inducement to sign up now. It’s also a great way to cross sell!

33.Induce immediate conversion

Similarly, the reader must get access to the tool right away. So use an email service that lets you do just that. Most have free plans that work until you reach a large enough base.

34.Offer pricing benefit

For freemium products, offering a promotional price works wonders and adds to the sense of urgency.

35.Make it shareable

Everyone knows someone else who can use a good business tool. Offer email and/ or social share options on the email as well the actual product too.

III. Measuring the Business benefit

If you’ve taken into account all the above pointers to create a strong lead magnet, great! Now, it’s time to measure.

36.Track your best (or all) tools and marketing initiatives!

Some of the quick metrics to track on your email service is open and click rates. Most will also tell you which link your subscriber clicked on (though is usually a premium service). So if you included an upsell offer in your email, you will know if it’s getting interest. Make sure your future sells are designed such that they are actually moving your customer on the purchase cycle.

Pooja Krishna is an Entrepreneur, Business Mentor and Mom. She has worked both in large corporates and managed startups over the last 20+ years. 

She’s  a co-founder at Maroon Oak, and is founded Win Thinks, where she writes, speaks and teaches about Digital Media, Brand Building and Future Ready Businesses. A day trader for over a decade, Pooja launched Trading Paces to educate amateur and pro stock traders. As a classroom mentor, Pooja loves teaching students across the U.S. about job skills and entrepreneurship. Read about her on Huffington Post and Forbes.

A trivia buff and yoga & hula hoop enthusiast, she’s discovering the pleasure of drawing Zentangle patterns for ‘creative mindfulness.’

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  1. Latraila Tolbert 3 years ago

    Wow this is a very detailed tips. I am always creating lead magnets for my business, some of these I am already applying in it. But I still have a long way to go to adapt all of these. Thanks for these wonderful list!

  2. Val 5 years ago

    Great tips!! Thanks for putting this together! 🙂

  3. kartika nair 6 years ago

    Really helpful. I have learned something new today. And your tips are really great.

  4. Jana 6 years ago

    This is a very helpful article! I need to save this, so i can reference back to it! Thank you!!

  5. Kaitlynn 6 years ago

    Wow there is so much information in here. I need to read through this thoroughly to improve my site. I can tell you really know your stuff!

  6. Becca Wilson 6 years ago

    This is all such great information for practices to do to lead to conversions. I love that it is all laid out here so easily.

  7. Aareeba 6 years ago

    This is such a wonderful post and I really find some of your tips very useful. Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge

  8. Rosey 6 years ago

    You know, I feel like I actually have some comprehension now about this topic. I’m still a little cloudy, but not near as much as I was when I arrived!

  9. Ladonna Batiste 6 years ago

    This is a great and informative post. You have some excellent tips and I have learned so much from this post.

  10. Dalene Ekirapa 6 years ago

    I’ll agree that you can make it so attractive and free from errors bu without the right marketing efforts, not even your best lead magnet will actually convert. And that can be so disheartening.

  11. Bonnie Benoit 6 years ago

    There is so much useful advice included in this article. I am constantly trying to improve my site to make it more attractive to others. I can certainly try implementing many of these.

  12. Monidipa Dutta 6 years ago

    Also sometimes chances are you have some great content on your fingertips that you can share in a newsletter format. Make sure if you are highlighting products and services that you also provide some educational and relevant content.

  13. Laura Dove 6 years ago

    What a great post and so much information! I know very little about this so it was great to learn more!

  14. Echo 6 years ago

    These are awesome tips! Some of these things, I am already working on and others, I will start implementing as soon as I can!

  15. Michelle M 6 years ago

    This guide is so helpful and thorough for building lead magnets. Thanks for your great advice.

  16. Ruth 6 years ago

    Thank you so much for sharing all these tips! They will come in handy for me in the future and for a lot of people I’m sure 🙂

  17. Emily Hester 6 years ago

    This post has so much good info! I will definitely be referencing it a lot!

  18. Mary 6 years ago

    EXCELLENT post! I will pin this and refer back often, I am sure!

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