lead magnet

The Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Ultimate Lead Magnet

Imagine this.

You’re the master of SEO and your website is consistently at the #1 position on Google’s SERPs.

You have tons of daily site visitors.

Thousands. Even millions.

Sound like huge success to you?

It’s not.

Because here’s the thing: Site traffic is COMPLETELY USELESS unless you’re converting your visitors.

Yup. Maybe you have 1,000,000 site visitors.

But those numbers mean nothing compared to your competitor who has 10 site visitors who all convert.

It’s in the conversions that you see real success.

So, how do you convert visitors into buyers?

It all begins with getting leads.

In this ultimate guide, I’ll teach you a proven formula for pulling in thousands of leads from your site.

I’ll show you how to create a LEAD MAGNET.

Don’t have a lead magnet right now? Or do you have a bunch of them that aren’t pulling in the numbers you expected?

Read this guide and find out:

  • Why you ABSOLUTELY need a lead magnet.
  • How DigitalMarketer pulled in 35,859 leads with a single lead magnet (I dissect this exact piece and show you why it worked so well).
  • A step-by-step guide on how to create a lead magnet of your own, based on this powerful example.
  • How Brian Dean boosted conversions by 785% in one day by using an easy-to-create lead magnet (the content upgrade).
  • How to create your own content upgrade.
  • Examples, tips, and images to inspire your creativity.
  • And more!

Ready to dive in?

Ranking for 100,000 high search volume keywords ISN'T a huge success UNLESS you're converting that traffic. What do you need to convert visitors? The humble lead magnet. 🧲 More on the Write Blog via @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

lead magnet

What Is a Lead Magnet?

A lead magnet is simply a gift you offer your audience in exchange for their contact information.

what is a lead magnet

It’s super effective because people LOVE getting free stuff.

Take the following experiment of the Amazon gift card.

People were asked if they’d rather get a gift card for free worth $10, or a gift card worth $20 for only $7.

Which one would you pick?

If you were in it for hard value, you’d pick the $20 gift card for $7. Right?

Let’s see how people responded.

consumer preferences study

Source: neilpatel.com

The graph shows that people always go for higher value UNLESS something is offered for free. Then they all go for the free stuff. 😊

This is exactly how a lead magnet works. It cashes in on people’s magnetizing attraction towards freebies.

Here’s exactly how it works:

  • Build something your audience will adore. Let your knowledge about them guide you. Ebooks, webinars, checklists, cheat sheets, and content upgrades are all fabulous ideas.
  • Create an opt-in form on your site. You can do it easily with either Mailchimp or ConvertKit.
  • To get your freebie, your audience has to sign up with their contact information on the form.
  • Once your audience signs up, they can immediately download your lead magnet.

Lead magnets offer your audience huge value for nothing. Or almost nothing. All they need to do is share their contact information with you.

There’s one problem left, though. What if no one cares about your freebie?

Because yes, not all lead magnets are created equal.

There are lead magnets everyone is dying to grab and download…

…and those that are just, well, meh.

Brian Dean no one wants your free report

Source: backlinko.com

The secret to success is knowing what makes a lead magnet desirable, urgent, and worthwhile.

Let’s get into the “how” of building EXACTLY that.

Looking to get an epic lead magnet written and designed? We do that! Check out our top-notch ebooks (AKA lead magnets) here.

5 Lead Magnet Types That Convert and Pull in Leads Like Crazy

First, a few ground rules.

Here’s an incredible example of a lead magnet that converted like crazy:

The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library by DigitalMarketer.

The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library lead magnet

Source: digitalmarketer.com

This powerhouse managed to pull in 35,859 leads in only two months.


By now you’re wondering: What made it so special? What made 35,859 people desire it? Can I make one just like it?

YES, you can.

This is why I will dissect DigitalMarketer’s lead magnet for you. I’ll:

  • Show you the elements that made it super successful
  • Give you a step-by-step guide to creating one just like it
  • Inspire you with other examples of amazing lead magnets

Let’s get started!

@DigitalMktr pulled in 35,859 leads in 60 days with one powerful lead magnet. @JuliaEMcCoy breaks down why it worked so well, AND shows you how to create your own high-powered lead magnet 🧲 Click To Tweet

1. The Ultra-Specific Lead Magnet Opt-In Form: Where It All Begins

It all starts with the opt-in form.


You will never convert a single soul if your opt-in form looks boring or generic.

For example, look at this one.

opt-in form for lead magnet

Source: lucidpress.com

Honestly. Would you sign up for this?


You don’t know EXACTLY what you’ll get, so why risk signing up for something that’ll only clutter up your email box?

Okay. Let’s once again look at the opt-in teaser for The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library.

The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library lead magnet

What do you see?

That’s right. Ultra-specificity. In particular…

Specific Numbers

Numbers convert like crazy. And there are tons of powerful numbers in this content. “8 BRAND-NEW examples,” “11-word ad that netted $208,485,” and “110,422 leads for just $1.76 a piece.”

Notice the numbers aren’t even rounded off. That gives them an extra punch of power and specificity.

Specific Benefits

Those who download The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library get:

  • Examples of successful Facebook ads by DigitalMarketer
  • An 11-word ad formula they can use (for ANY market)
  • A trick that will turn deserting leads into customers
  • A question formula that increases conversions while saving money
  • Inspiration from the top three Facebook ads that generated 110, 422 leads for $1.76

So the number one rule in creating a lead magnet opt-in form?

Be ultra-specific.

Let’s look at other examples of opt-in forms that follow this rule.

Here’s one from HubSpot.

HubSpot free blog post templates lead magnet



Nope, HubSpot’s opt-in form isn’t long or elaborate. But it’s super specific.

What you’ll get when you opt in:

  • Six blog post templates
  • Time savings

At the page’s footer, there’s another incentive to download the templates. Notice how powerful the numbers make it!

HubSpot lead magnet opt-in form

Source: offers.hubspot.com

Now, look at this one from CoSchedule.

coschedule opt-in form

This one is clean and completely fluff-free. It goes straight to the point with these specific promises:

  • You’ll improve your marketing
  • You’ll get 20+ templates and resources

Exercise: Sit down to create your own lead magnet opt-in form.

  • Ask yourself: what EXACTLY am I offering my audience?
  • Why would they care, or want it?
  • List the ultra-specific features and benefits of your lead magnet. They don’t have to be wordy or fancy, as long as they directly hit a need or desire.
How to create your own lead magnet opt-in form: 📝 Ask yourself: 1️⃣ What EXACTLY am I offering my audience? 2️⃣ Why would they care, or want it? 3️⃣ List the ultra-specific features and benefits of your lead magnet. Click To Tweet

2. The Lead Magnet That Isn’t for Everyone

If you want to be successful, you must create a lead magnet that turns people away.

Wait, what?

Why would you want to turn people away?

Don’t you want to get three million hot leads you can email immediately?

Yes, of course you do, but on one condition. These leads need to be people your brand can help.

Let’s look again at The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library.

The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library lead magnet

Source: digitalmarketer.com

Right off the bat, it turns away:

  • People who don’t have a social media campaign
  • People who don’t do paid ads
  • People who don’t do Facebook ads
  • People who are already enjoying spectacular success with their Facebook ads

It shoots straight at people who want more success with their Facebook ads.

Now, imagine you were in charge of creating this lead magnet and you titled it “10 ways to be more successful at marketing.”

Vague much? You’d not only be turning away TONS of people you WANT on your email list, you’d also be cluttering that list with an audience who’s not for you.

So, before you do anything, you need to know EXACTLY who you want on your list, and then go and create something for them.


  • Pick a specific segment of your market (it doesn’t have to be everyone).
  • Dig into a specific problem they’re facing (remember, it’s just one lead magnet. You don’t have to tackle ALL their problems).
  • Think how you’ll solve that problem with a specific solution.
  • Create that solution neatly packaged in a lead magnet.
  • Ta-da! Your lead magnet idea is ready.

how to create a lead magnet

3. The Lead Magnet That Promises Instant Gratification

Myth: You need to spend months of intense effort creating a huge, value-rich lead magnet if you want to gain success.

Actually, the opposite is true.

The shorter the lead magnet, the better.


For one thing, your audience wants instant gratification. They downloaded your lead magnet to solve a specific problem, and the sooner it’s solved the better.

Also, getting your audience’s contact information is just the first step on a long buyer’s journey. If they’re taking forever to consume your lead magnet and they’re not even sure if they’re happy with it, how can you convert them with your emails and other content?

The ideal flow looks like this:

  • Your audience downloads your lead magnet
  • They consume it in 10-20 minutes
  • They love it
  • They wait expectantly for your first email
  • They love the email, and wait for the next one and the next
  • They convert and buy your product or service

So, although it seems like a great idea to write a 300-page lead magnet, don’t do it. You’ll only waste time (yours and your audience’s) and get nowhere near your goal with all the effort.

Here’s an example of a lead magnet that’s tons of work (both to create and go through).

20 Week Ecourse lead magnet

Source: digitalmarketer.com

I mean, 20 weeks before your audience decides whether they love or hate you?

Now, look at our winner, The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library.

Here’s the table of contents. It’s brief, well-ordered, and succinct. You know exactly what you’ll get and where to find it.

lead magnet table of contents

This lead magnet runs on for 31 pages, but each page has no more than a few lines of text. Plus, it’s full of images and examples that are engaging and easy on the eye.

lead magnet design example

How long does it take to get through the entire lead magnet? 10-15 minutes.

Of course, this doesn’t mean your lead magnet should be thin. You should pack it with the biggest value you can give.

But make sure your audience can consume it in one sitting. And when they’re done, they can hit the ground running and implement what they learned right away.


  • Practice cutting all useless content from your lead magnet.
  • Make it as short as you can without sacrificing value.
Download the Profitable Content Marketer Skills Cheat Sheet

4. The FREE Lead Magnet That Looks Expensive

Just because your lead magnet is free doesn’t mean it should look free.

Let’s look at The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library in terms of design.

Just like any well-planned and attractive book, it doesn’t start off right away with the first information-packed page. This one starts with a nicely-designed cover. It uses DigitalMarketer’s custom colors and design for branding.

lead magnet cover design and branding

The content itself is divided into chapters, and each chapter is designed with professional-looking graphics. There’s even a whole page dedicated to each chapter title.

lead magnet chapter design example

Within the content, there are beautiful images that resonate with the text.

lead magnet text and images example

Notice the page footer with the chapter title and page number included.

lead magnet page and footer design

This lead magnet is professional to a T!

What does a carefully, beautifully designed lead magnet make your audience feel?

Special, of course. You’ve put together an amazing resource to help them solve a nagging problem or reach a desired goal. That in itself is enough.

But then you’ve gone ahead and designed it so it’s attractive and easy on their eyes.

And you’ve done all this for FREE.

If this doesn’t make them get warm, fuzzy feelings for you, I don’t know what will.

Here’s another example: 52 Headline Hacks by Jon Morrow.

It has a well-designed cover, even down to the copyright date. People feel like they’re getting HUGE value for something as tiny as their email addresses.

Headline Hacks lead magnet


Think of how you’ll design your lead magnet to make your audience feel special. Make it neat, professional, and super attractive.

make your lead magnet attractive

5. The Lead Magnet with the Perfect Idea

Now, let’s take The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library apart and look into each section for ideas on how to build our own.

1. Lead with an Example

The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library is a case study. It shows how much success DigitalMarketer got using the ads in the library.

lead magnet intro

You can use this great idea when creating your own lead magnet.

  • Identify the problem people are facing. For instance, maybe they want to bring more traffic to their site.
  • Base your lead magnet on how YOU brought more traffic to your own site. Outline practices that worked and others that didn’t. Show people how to do what you did.
  • You can also interview influencers in your industry and create a lead magnet based on their success. Show your audience exactly what these influencers did to get to where they are now.

2. The Style

The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library goes smoothly from the introduction into six sections. Each section explores a certain type of ad DigitalMarketer used, with an image of that exact ad.

lead magnet content example

The sections explain the ideas, strategies, and insight that went into creating each ad. Then, the success the ad garnered.

lead magnet show results

lead magnet show results

Tip: As much as possible, show exactly what worked with specific numbers.

3. The Promise

The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library delivers exactly what it promises in the opt-in form. Nothing more, nothing less.

Remember, it’s not enough to get people’s email addresses. You need to wow them with your lead magnet so you won’t lose their attention when it’s time to engage with them through email.

Deliver exactly what you promise. It’s that simple.

4. Easy-to-Digest Format and Tone

There are HEAVY-hitting stats in this lead magnet, but they don’t make it a heavy lead magnet.

In fact, The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library is easily digestible, friendly, and conversational.

Take a look.

lead magnet writing style example

You almost feel like you’re sitting beside a friend, chatting about something he/she is excited about.

It certainly isn’t yawn-inducing like this.

research paper vs lead magnet writing

Tip: Know what your audience talks like and address them in that style. Make them feel like they’re conversing with a friend.

5 Steps to Create the Ultimate Lead Magnet that WORKS (Every Time)

Ready to build your own high-converting lead magnet?

1. Research Your Audience

You’ve heard this tons of times and it’s super obvious, but it simply can’t be stressed enough.

Do research on your audience.

But for a lead magnet, it’s slightly different.

You need to solve ONE SPECIFIC problem your audience is worried about with ONE SPECIFIC solution (your lead magnet).

Once you’ve found a way to do it, you’re already halfway there.

2. Get Ultra-Specific with Your Goals

Resist vagueness at all cost. Come up with a single specific outcome and build your lead magnet around it.

Example: This lead magnet will teach my audience how to lose 10 pounds in a week while enjoying tasty dishes every day.

Make sure you deliver your promise. If your audience doesn’t lose this weight by following your road map, you won’t impress them.

3. Create Your Lead Magnet

Spark up the creativity! Make your lead magnet stand out. Make it something your audience craves and desires.

Use simple sentences, bullet points, and short paragraphs.

4. Cut, Cut, Cut!

You want your audience to digest your lead magnet in one sitting. If it’s too long or bulky, cut paragraphs and even whole pages from it. Be merciless. The shorter your lead magnet, the better.

5. Design with Graphics and Images

Never offer a lead magnet that’s a plain Word doc. Add attractive images and graphics to your content, or hire a designer to do the job.

Enroll in the Content Strategy & Marketing Course

What Kind of Lead Magnet Should You Create?

There are tons of lead magnet ideas you can use.

These include:

  • Ebooks
  • Templates
  • Quizzes
  • Checklists
  • Reports
  • Cheat sheets
  • Swipe files
  • And many more!

But for me, the best ones are ebooks, content upgrades, and cheat sheets.

@JuliaEMcCoy's favorite lead magnets: ⭐ Ebooks ⭐ Content upgrades ⭐ Cheat sheets. Get her complete lead magnet guide here ➡ Click To Tweet

Let’s look at each one briefly.

1. The Ebook

The Ultimate Facebook Ad Library is an ebook.

Why is it so effective?

Ebooks are perceived as high-value, and they aren’t usually free. When you offer one for no cost, people immediately feel they’re getting great value for nothing.

Here’s an example of a great ebook.

ebook lead magnet example

Source: socialtriggers.com

And this.

lead magnet example ebook

Source: mirasee.com

2. The Content Upgrade

A content upgrade is extra value you add to a blog post.

For example, if you write on gardening, you can offer a downloadable checklist of your top 10 favorite types of mulch.

Remember, your lead magnet should tie in with the topic of your content.

For example, look at Brian Dean’s content upgrade.

Brian Dean content upgrade lead magnet

Source: backlinko.com

According to this blog, Brian Dean created a content upgrade for his blog post, Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List.

Here’s what it looked like.

Brian Dean content upgrade CTA

With the content upgrade in place, he increased this page’s conversion rate by 785% in just one day!

Here’s another great example of a content upgrade. Look at this post.

How to write a blog post in 2020 lead magnet

Source: smartblogger.com

What can be a better content upgrade than an editing checklist to help writers polish their blog post when they’ve finished writing it?

smartblogger lead magnet checklist

How to create a content upgrade:

  • Choose a page on your site that receives a ton of traffic.
  • Think to yourself, “What can make the content on this site better?”
  • Create the lead magnet that will do the job.
  • Offer the lead magnet in exchange for contact info.
  • Watch your email subscribers list explode.

how to create a content upgrade

3. The Checklist or Summary

A form of content upgrade, the checklist or summary outlines what you’ve written in your blog in a handy, easy-to-digest format.

Here’s one from HubSpot.

how to create an email newsletter HubSpot lead magnet

And this one. Look at the blog title.

power words lead magnet

Source: smartblogger.com

In the intro, you’re met with this option.

power words lead magnet CTA

When you download it, you get the 801 power words listed neatly in a handy PDF.

Here’s the blog post.

power words blog post lead magnet

Source: smartblogger.com

And this is the PDF summary.

power words lead magnet summary

How to make a summary:

  • List the most important points of your blog
  • Cut down the extra wording
  • Design it into a handy PDF

Ready to Get Tons of New Leads with a Powerful Lead Magnet?

Site traffic is utterly useless unless you can convert a single visitor into a lead.

But people in the online world are busy. They’re constantly rushing from this web page to the next, seeking value.

How can you get them to pause, glance your way, and spend a few seconds of their precious time typing their contact information into your opt-in form?

That’s right.

Give them value for free.

Enter: the lead magnet.

With a powerful lead magnet, you’ll see your email list swell to tens of thousands in no time.

Want to get powerful writing that converts? We write AND design lead magnets! Click to see pricing.

Write and design epic lead magnets

12 replies
  1. Hamza Khan
    Hamza Khan says:

    Very Nice Post. i Likes it And I get much information from your post. This Is A Best Article And A Best Guide For Everyone. i hope You will Continue Sharing Such Type Of Good Content.

    • Cassie B.
      Cassie B. says:

      Thank YOU for joining us!!! We hope you come back for more outstanding content! ~Cassie, Content Specialist at Express Writers

  2. Kedar Joshi
    Kedar Joshi says:

    Hi Julia,
    This is an amazing article. It has provided great insights regarding the lead magnets. You have provided so many illustrations across websites and businesses to show the power of word ‘Free’. I loved reading your article, analysis and insights. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Cassie B.
      Cassie B. says:

      Thank YOU so much for your kind words! Julia does do a wonderful job of showing how to put real impact behind the term, doesn’t she? ~Cassie, Content Specialist at Express Writers


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