Lead Magnet: What it is, 4 Features, 4 Ideas, how and when to use it (and not)

In the field of Lead GenerationLead Magnet" literally means the magnet that has the function of "attracting" the lead, the contact of the potential customer.

Although in the common misconception the Lead Magnet is identified with the ebook, or in general an informative material, the "exchange merchandise" of the user contact can be of various types.

In this article we will look at:

  • when the Lead Magnet is useful (and not) in a strategy of Lead Generation and more generally in the context of funnel of sale of the user;
  • the 4 ideal characteristics of a lead magnet;
  • 4 ideas of Lead Magnets for 4 different professional sectors;
  • before and after: the Lead Magnet in the context of a lead generation strategy.

When you can use (and not use) the Lead Magnet

Although the Lead Magnet is considered an irreplaceable element in a lead generation strategy, this is actually only partially true.

The bargaining chip to be provided in exchange for the user's contact information:

  • is useful in the context of acquiring Cold Leadfar from becoming customers of your product or service. In this phase the Lead Magnet has the function of intrigue and stimulate your Buyer Person a make a connection and enter into a consequential process, often consisting of a sequence of emails (Lead Nurturing in theemail marketing automation), leading him, in his own time, to become a customer;
  • is unnecessary and often counterproductive in the context of Hot Leads, especially in emergency markets or at transactional queries. To put it simply, if your potential client is in a hurry to contact you or wants a quote, you don't want to give him the ebook at all costs., the 3 videos and put it into an automated lead nurturing process right? 😉

Want to convert with a lead magnet? Be consistent (4 ways)

In this infographic below, taken from the video course Advanced Lead GenerationI summarize the 4 characteristics that a Lead Magnet should have: let's see them one by one.

#1 Consistent with the visitor's interest

I've always considered it a good rule (confirmed by studies and statistical data) in function of the increase of conversions the Consistency between the search intent and the message on the landing page.

To put it simply, if a visitor to your page is interested in reading content related to Lead Generation, they're more likely to be interested in a Lead Magnet in Lead Generation than on Instagram, aren't they?

Not surprisingly, a technique considered to be as performant as Lead Magnet is to provide a Content Upgradewhich consists precisely of a enriched" version of the same contentIf your visitor came to your page interested in what you had to say, why wouldn't they be interested in a more in-depth (as well as free) version of the same topic?

The versus of this technique, as you can imagine, consists of the difficulty, from a time point of view, in creating, for each content, a related resource to be downloadedalthough you can still optimize your time by creating a resource related to each content category (if you have more than one) instead of each individual content.

#2 Consistent with what you demand: the "Rule of Scales".

To explain this concept I coined the "Rule of the Scales": the Lead Magnet should be the same weight, or greater than what you require.

I'll explain the concept with an example: if I ask you life death and miraclesYour name, surname, telephone number, email and other personal data in exchange for a resource of little value, for example a catalogue that you could find anywhere, what do you say? Take it or leave it?

Here's a passage from my book Lead Generation which explains the very rule of the scales:

Some time ago my attention was drawn to a Facebook ad from a furniture store, offering to download a furniture catalog.

Although the targeting was correct, since I needed to purchase furniture for my home at that time, when I landed on the ad landing page I found that to download the catalog I would have to fill out a contact form with a large amount of fields, such as first name, last name, address, phone number and more.

Beyond the large number of fields to be filled in, which as we have seen can be an obstacle to filling in the contact form, the biggest problem with this attempt to acquire the contact of the potential customer (i.e. me) was probably the disproportion between supply and demand.

When thinking about which lead magnet to use, put it (metaphorically) on a scale with your request: if what you're asking your user for is heavier than what you're offering, your lead magnet may not be as effective.

I've called it the rule of the scales: in the case of the example of our furniture factory, the visitor to the page might ask himself: why should I give you a lot of information to get in exchange a catalogue that, in all likelihood, I could find in many other sites for free and without asking for my contact details?

I'll bring you another example in the opposite direction, taken from a case study you'll find at the end of the book.

Let's assume that you want to enter a fair whose price is 25€ and I give you the ticket for free: in return, I need to know your name and surname, your company email and your phone number, if only to give you all the information on how to enter the fair with the discount.

How about that, In which case, would you agree to give me this data, or not??

When using a lead magnet to aid in the acquisition of a prospect's contact, ask yourself the fateful question: does what I'm offering weigh more or less than what I'm asking for?

From "Lead Generation: get new contacts and turn them into loyal customers" Flaccovio Editore, www.libroleadgeneration.it

#3 Consistent with the visitor's search intent

As I recall at the beginning, over the years "Lead Magnet" has become synonymous with "ebook".

If the ebook, and more generally an informative material can be in some cases a good form of Lead Magnet, on the other hand it all depends on the intent of the visitor.

If I go to Zalando, it's to buy clothes or have a virtual look, more than to inform myself about the latest fashion trends, don't you agree?

Yes, I'm getting an idea, but finalized to the purchase: my intent is to buy, not informative, that's why Zalando doesn't offer me the 3 videos or the ebook, but a discount on the newsletter subscription:

Zalando Lead Magnet ecommerce
The contact form to subscribe to the Zalando.it newsletter, with a discount of 10% as a Lead Magnet

#4 Consistent with the stage of the sales funnel it is in

Although the Lead Magnet is mostly functional in an early, informative phase of the funnel of sale, it can also be used in more advanced stages.

For example, Case Studies and Trial Version are Lead Magnets useful for users in a middle or final stage of the funnel, when they are considering your product or service (also in relation to what others think) or want to try it before activating a subscription.

4 Lead Magnet ideas for 4 professional sectors

Which Lead Magnet to use depending on the type of product or service? Here are some guidelines.

Informative websites and blogs

Ebooks, white papers and video are among the most widely used Lead Magnets and not by chance: as we have already mentioned, the main function of the Lead Magnet in the case of information sites is to acquire cold leads.

Another tool to evaluate, not only for information sites but also for lead generation of professionals, are the Webinar, of which there is a case study on my book Lead Generation.


As we have seen in the case of Zalando, for sites ecommerce, more than informative material, a discount on the first purchase might be useful.


What about services? A mini version of your service could serve 3 purposes:

  • Encourage contact acquisition;
  • to test the quality of the service for themselves;
  • get the potential customer into a mood of the persuasive rule of Cialdini Reciprocityprompting him to reciprocate by purchasing the service.


In the case of software, if in a "high" phase of the funnel it could be good an informative content focused on the problem that the software solves, approaching the conversion you could propose a trial version.

Before and after the Lead Magnet: from acquisition to Lead Nurturing

How does the Lead Magnet fit into the context of a lead generation strategy?

Let's start with the acquisition: the Lead Magnet is traditionally used:

  • within a blog article (via an optin, such as a popup or similar such as OptinMonster o Thrive Leads) to which organic traffic is traditionally delivered (SEO);
  • or a landing page, or a landing page aimed at acquiring the contact in exchange for the Lead Magnet and traditional recipient of traffic from Facebook Advertising or other forms of traffic typical of latent demand.

Okay, I have acquired my user's contact with Lead Magnet.

And now what? Remember that you have simply acquired the contact (basic, often a simple email) of a person potentially interested in your product or service, but probably still far from considering the purchase.

The classic strategy therefore consists ofinsert the contact acquired through Lead Magnet in an automated procedure, called Lead Nurturing, consisting of a succession of communications, usually via email, aimed at conveying credibility, knowledge of the product or service and make your lead proceed towards conversion.

Lead Magnet and Lead Nurturing


We've seen when it's useful to use a Lead Magnet in the context of a lead generation strategy and when it's not, how the "bargaining chip" of the user contact fits into a web marketing strategy, 4 best practices and 4 lead magnet ideas for 4 different professional sectors. How do you use the Lead Magnet? Let's talk about it in the comments.

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