Create the Perfect Lead Magnet for Your Email List

All small business owners need an email list! Not sure how to grow yours? You need a lead magnet! Find out what a lead magnet is, why you need one, and how to create it. With the perfect freebie offer you'll have subscribers on your list in no time!

Welcome to week 3 of Email Marketing 101! If you’re just joining us, catch up on weeks 1 and 2 below:

Today we’re talking about lead magnets: what they are, why you need one, and how to create it.

Defining Lead Magnets

A lead magnet is the freebie that subscribers receive upon signing up for your email list. This is the main freebie that you will promote all over your site. If you offer a freebie within a blog post that’s called a content upgrade and is usually a smaller offer than your lead magnet. Since no one needs another email in their inbox, you have to give people a reason to sign up. 

Lead magnets often come in the form of a PDF, but that’s not the only option. Here are some of the many forms a lead magnet can take:

  • PDF guide
  • Email course
  • A discount code
  • Free shipping
  • Free consultation
  • Free product with purchase

Creating Lead Magnets

To create a strong lead magnet identify a common problem your ideal clients have and find a way you can help them solve it. It’s great to get some feedback from your audience. Take a poll on IG stories or put it out on Facebook and see what people need the most help with.

You want to offer something of value, but remember that you’re giving it away for free, so it doesn’t have to be a ten page guide. A 1-2 page checklist is perfectly fine. While this is intended to be helpful to subscribers, a good lead magnet will also show people the value of hiring you. I’ve had lots of people start going through my mini branding guide, just to contact me a few days later because it made them realize how much they need professional help.

Once you’ve decided on the content for your lead magnet, decide what form it will take from the list mentioned above. Here's a more in-depth explanation of each.


These are great for guides and che­cklists. To make one you can hire a designer (I know a girl…), or purchase a template (check out Etsy or Creative Market) and customize it yourself (usually in Photoshop). To deliver your PDF upload it to Dropbox, your website, or Mailchimp and send the link out in an automated email.

Email courses

An email course is perfect for a series or a challenge. It may also be easier to create than a PDF, depending on your skillset. To set it up you will create an automated sequence in Mailchimp (which we’ll cover next week).

Discounts, free shipping, and free products

These are great for product-based businesses. However, for service-based businesses it’s not ideal since services are usually a larger investment than products. It’s better to offer something that doesn't require making a large purchase.


This is great when you’re just starting out, but aren’t sustainable long-term. When I first started my list I offered half hour brand reviews. I sent out a link to sign up via Calendly and used Skype for video chats. It allowed me to connect with people one-on-one and provide personalized help. This gained me new clients quickly since the know, like, trust factor was built immediately. If you have the time, I recommend this while your business is small enough to handle it. Once your list gets larger you won’t have the capacity to devote time to each new subscriber.

Lead Magnet Ideas

To get the juices flowing, here are some lead magnet ideas for a few different industries:

  • Dietitian – 5 easy dinner recipes + a shopping list
  • Wedding photographer – a list of recommended local vendors
  • Jewelry designer – free shipping
  • Personal trainer – a week’s worth of workouts
  • Coffee company – free coffee mug with minimum purchase
  • Business coach – guide on how to attract higher paying clients
  • Web designer – free homepage review
  • Fashion brand – guide on how to hone your personal style
  • Copywriter – checklist for writing the perfect bio
  • Cosmetic company – free skincare consultation 

Have an idea for your lead magnet? Need some feedback? Post in the comments and I'll let you know what I think!