Lead magnet funnel: the definitive guide

Mark Xavier Quadros

Updated: Dec 13, 2023 · 14 min read

Toolkit for download in this article

Lead magnet funnel: the definitive guide

A lead magnet funnel is essentially just like any opt-in sales funnel, except that there’s a compelling lead magnet at the top of the funnel.

That is, instead of asking a prospect to provide their email address and personal details in good faith alone, you’re giving them something valuable in exchange for these details.

In other words, a lead magnet funnel is a method to generate leads wherein you offer incentives to your prospects or website visitors to part with their contact information. By leveraging lead magnet funnels, you can get more high-quality, motivated leads and waste less time chasing leads who may never convert.

So, in this post, let’s take a detailed look at the what, why, and how of lead magnet sequences.

What is a lead magnet?

When you think about it, why would anyone want to give you their email address? No one wants more emails in their inbox, promotional or otherwise.

Thus, you’ve got to make an offer they can’t refuse. People will only give you their email address when they see real value in doing so. For that, you need to create an incentive to nudge them into giving up their details.

As such, your site visitors or prospects are likely in the early stages of their buyer’s journey–just browsing for information before making a decision. They may not be ready to become your client just yet, but you can offer them something useful to earn their interest and information.

And that’s what lead magnets are all about. They’re an irresistible bribe offering free value to your prospects in exchange for their contact information. Lead magnets attract prospects into your funnel so you can nurture a relationship with them and turn them into paying clients.


Lead magnets are usually in the form of exclusive digital content displayed on your website—ebooks, checklists, templates, case studies, webinars, whitepapers, industry reports, how-to guides, and so on—that help your prospects solve a problem.

The idea is that while you offer this content (could also be a product trial or discount) free of cost, you keep it gated behind a short form with a call-to-action.

Source: Funnelytics

As you’re offering something useful, people would be much more likely to fill out the form and hand over their details.

Importance of lead magnets

With a well-designed lead magnet, you are giving your prospects a taste of the value to come in your paid products or services.

In doing so, you prove that you know your stuff—you establish your company as an authority figure. You also start building a connection and rapport with your prospects, and they’ll associate you with the high-quality content you provide within your lead magnet.

After all, people convert into clients only when they know, like, and trust your business.

Moreover, statistics suggest that 65% of businesses find lead generation as their biggest marketing challenge. Also, 96% of visitors who come to your website aren’t ready to buy.

So, getting visitors to your site is only the beginning, and you’re leaving a lot of money on the table if you don’t have a lead magnet funnel in place to convert visitors into leads. Lead magnets further your prospects down the sales funnel by directing them to take action.

Plus, a good lead magnet provides that immediate gratification the modern audience craves. It answers the exact questions, offers exclusive information, or gives up-to-date data—all neatly compiled into an easy-to-digest downloadable resource or email sequence.

Thus, it has high perceived value and encourages engagement from your prospects.

Simply put, using a lead magnet funnel is a win-win—you get a quality prospect’s (who’s invested enough to engage) contact information while they get free resources to improve their personal or professional life.

Types of lead magnets

A lead magnet can take many forms, and choosing the right type of magnet boils down to a couple of factors:

  • How much time and monetary resources you have to create the magnet
  • What’s important and meaningful for your target audience
  • For instance, if you’re a SaaS company targeting busy B2B clients, creating a 20,000-word ebook may not be your best bet. Rather, they may simply want a useful whitepaper, an industry report (such as this one), or a case study that gives them all the essential information they need without the time investment that it would take to read all the way through an ebook.

    That being said, there are no rights or wrongs when it comes to choosing what form your lead magnet will take. You need to decide what format best suits the needs of your target audience.

    Here are seven popular types of lead magnets you should consider:


    Ebooks are a great way to showcase your knowledge, expertise and authority through long-form copy. Center your ebook around practical industry-related tips. This makes it more useful and actionable for the reader.

    You can offer it as a downloadable PDF that’s sent to them over email after opting in. Ebooks can work well for both B2C and B2B.


    These are authoritative reports packed with useful information in a way that attempts to convince the reader about a particular subject.

    It includes a lot of data, studies and scientific sources to back up the core point. Whitepapers are great for B2B.

    Resource sheets/handouts

    One of the easiest yet super effective lead magnets, cheat sheets/handouts are one or two-page PDF files that contain an ultra-specific list of actionable tips, tactics and expert advice.

    Source: Officevibe

    These are often used to summarize long-form blog posts and placed at the end as a downloadable resource for later reference.

    Case studies

    These are detailed reviews of how your past clients achieved desired results thanks to your services. A case study acts as social proof and evidence of what you can do for your prospects.

    Case studies typically give the client background, what problem they were trying to solve, and how you helped them solve it. Include plenty of data, exact success metrics, and make it as relatable as possible for your audience. This format works well for B2B.

    Free courses

    Show your prospects how you deftly approach their problems with a short online course. You don’t have to be a professor or invest big bucks to make a useful online course.

    For example, an email course that teaches how to day trade doesn’t require any fancy software besides a free email automation tool to send out a new content module every day. So, you could make a week-long email course and drip a new unit every day to your sign-ups.


    These are live presentations to teach your audience about an industry-relevant topic. You can always host a live webinar and then offer it later to prospects who couldn’t attend.

    If a prospect invests the time to sit through your webinar, rest assured you have a highly qualified lead who might be in a great position to be sold to. Webinars are particularly great for B2B.

    Exclusive discounts

    If you’re selling products (physical or digital), you can consider exclusive discounts to incentivize prospects to give you their email address.

    Source: Framebridge

    You can promise prospects they’ll get the best and most relevant deals delivered right to their inbox.

    Steps to create a killer lead magnet

    The lead magnet is at the top of your funnel and becomes the primary source of targeted leads.

    Lead magnets are typically offered on a landing page that you send prospects to from multiple traffic sources, such as social media ads or blog posts. The more traffic you send to your landing page and the more targeted that traffic is, the more leads you will generate.

    Here’s what makes for a killer lead magnet:

  • It establishes your knowledge and authority, boosting trust in your brand.
  • It strongly ties with the products or services you offer.
  • It’s of practical use and super relevant to the prospect.
  • It’s specific with a clear value proposition. You don’t want to give too much away or provide prospects with a full library of resources, but your lead magnet must help them solve a specific problem.
  • It’s not bland. For many, your lead magnet will be the first contact with your company, and you want to ensure it showcases your brand’s personality.
  • Even if the prospect never converts into a client, you should aim to provide maximum value for them. You never know who they might wind up talking to about your business, and the lead magnet helps instill a good impression.

    You can usually tell when a company didn’t put much thought or effort into their lead magnet. In such cases, the business targets too broad an audience, or their offer does not solve a specific problem.

    You don’t want that for your lead magnet. So, here are the six steps you need to follow to create a killer lead magnet that converts.

    Define your target persona and core offer

    To be effective, your lead magnet needs to have a clear purpose and target audience. It must be ultra-specific to the people you want to turn into leads.

    Because if your lead magnet isn’t relevant to the needs of your buyer persona — no matter how appealing it is — they aren’t going to opt-in.

    You may have multiple buyer personas, but each lead magnet should only target one of them at a time. Slowly, try to build a set of lead magnets, one for each of your personas.

    With the target persona defined, establish your core offer of your lead magnet’s unique value proposition. This is how you’ll give your visitors a strong reason or motivation to download your offer.

    An ideal value proposition is something that your buyer persona strongly needs, thus requiring less convincing on your part. So, figure out what they need and deliver exactly that—no fluff! The quicker your offer gets them results, the better.

    Source: Bannersnack

    You must also try to create an emotional connection with your prospects, as tapping into your audience’s emotions is a great way to get them to listen to you. A Gartner survey found that the single biggest driver of preference is brand connection—the extent to which people feel personally connected to the brand.

    Long story short, strive to meet your prospects’ precise needs and appeal to their emotions with your lead magnet.

    Choose a topic that highlights your brand authority and solves a problem

    Once you’ve defined your target persona and value proposition, the next step is to collaborate with your team to brainstorm topics and pick one that ties closely to the value you offer with your products or services.

    Do some research on your biggest competitors and see what topics they’re addressing.

    Ideally, the topic you choose must highlight a pressing problem in an authoritative and relatable way such that the prospect who chances upon it immediately thinks, “Damn! I need to check this out!”

    Talking about titles, give your lead magnet a compelling name. Just like you want to craft an intriguing headline for a blog post to earn more click-throughs, the title of your lead magnet will make a massive difference in the number of opt-ins you get.

    So, make sure to grab the prospect’s attention with a compelling lead magnet headline.

    Choose the right type of lead magnet

    By now, you probably already have an idea of what type of lead magnet aligns best with your core offer. You also know about the various types of lead magnets you can choose from.

    Still, here are a few guidelines to help you pick the right format:

  • Keep it simple: A complex-looking lead magnet would repel prospects. Keep it simple, concise and brimming with value.
  • Focus on your strengths: If you are a good writer or have some in your team, consider creating an ebook. If you’re more comfortable talking to a camera, consider a video tutorial series or webinar.
  • Assure one quick win: The lead magnet type you choose should promise and deliver one (and only one) quick win for your prospect.
  • Prioritize quick and easy consumption: Prefer a format that enables fast delivery and consumption. This gives prospects a quick win (as promised) and transitions them down your funnel quicker.
  • According to HubSpot, ebooks are the most popular lead magnet, with 27.7% of marketers using them. However, 24.9% use webinars and almost as many (21.3%) use free tools to get email addresses.

    Choose one that you feel most comfortable creating based on your skills, available resources, knowledge, and value proposition.

    Make a compelling lead magnet description

    With all the planning done, it’s time to get down to the actual creation of the lead magnet. Whichever format you pick, the most important thing to keep in mind while writing or recording your content is to ditch the sales pitch and focus on educating your prospects—providing real value for free.

    Simply put, the more educational and actionable your content is, the higher quality it will be. Back up all the claims you make in the content with statistics and graphs from reliable sources. Don’t sell, but subtly highlight the benefits of your product or service’s benefits every once in a while.

    Of course, creating content can be a time-consuming affair, so don’t hesitate to expedite the process by repurposing existing content (blog posts, infographics, etc.) or outsourcing it to an agency.

    And don’t forget about the design. Make sure to have no large chunks of text and plenty of visuals. Use graphic design tools like Canva to design an eye-catching lead magnet cover that’ll entice more clicks.

    Design your lead magnet landing page

    With the lead magnet ready, it’s time to set it up for delivery. While you can use an exit-intent popup or a sidebar widget as shown below, many prospects would want to learn more about it before opting in.

    Source: AutoGrow

    For that, you need to design a simple landing page. A lead magnet landing page is a web page designed for the sole purpose of conveying your lead magnet’s benefits.

    It typically contains a short preview of your offer (illustrating the benefits and social proof) with a form asking for an email address and a call-to-action that leads to an instant download or email delivery.

    Check out this fantastic landing page from Hiten Shah to take inspiration from.

    Launch your lead magnet

    At last, it’s time to launch and promote your lead magnet. There are plenty of ways you can promote your lead magnet, such as:

  • Using paid ads on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.)
  • As a call-to-action at the end of blog posts
  • Using a chatbot
  • By guest posting on authoritative publications
  • Launching a pay-per-click ad campaign on Google
  • And if you already have a list of newsletter subscribers and past customers in your CRM, be sure to use it to promote your new lead magnet.


    Lead magnet funnels are crucial to optimize the overall value you’re offering to your target audience and an extremely powerful tool to gather contact information of your prospects.

    You can then use that information (primarily the email address) to build a relationship with those leads, which, if done well, would ultimately convert some of them into paying clients.

    By putting a clear, compelling, well-crafted, problem-focused, useful, and actionable lead magnet at the top of your sales funnel, you build authority and rapport with your audience. You also reduce the proportion of cold prospects and consequently move leads through your funnel faster.

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