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How To Create Effective Lead Magnets For Your Blog

List-building has evolved over the years. Gone are the days when you could simply say ‘Subscribe to my Weekly Newsletter’ and your audience would actually do it.

Now you have to work harder than ever to get people to part with their email addresses.

If you want your audience to give up their contact information you actually have to offer them something extremely cool in return. Some generic ebook just isn’t going to cut it anymore.

These days you need lead magnets that blow their minds. So in this post, we’re going to look at some of the most awesome ways of enticing your readers into giving you their email addresses.

The Size of Your Lead Magnet Doesn’t Really Matter

A lot of marketers think that they need to add more and more things – ebooks, courses, videos, challenges, and so on, but it’s all about relevancy, not size. This is especially true if you’re only just getting started building your email list.

You don’t have to try to come up with some huge giveaway offer. In fact, studies show that when it comes to effective lead magnets, bigger isn’t always better.

The world we live in now is saturated with information, which means that your audience doesn’t have the time to read a 50-page ebook about how to do something.

They would appreciate it more if you could show them a way of achieving their goals, satisfying their desires, or solving their problems faster, easier, and more affordably.

So when it comes to your list building activities, the first thing you have to understand is that size does not matter. Having said that, let’s take a look at the most fundamental element of building your email list in today’s digital marketing world.

The Lead Magnet

In marketing language, potential customers are typically referred to as ‘leads’ which makes a ‘lead magnet’ something that you use to attract leads to your business.

The reason why lead magnets work so well in attracting your ideal customers is that it’s relevant to what those people are searching for, and their curiosity pulls them in.

You already know that your prospective customers are interested in and/or searching for something, so your lead magnet should be designed to attract that kind of person who is interested in the transformation that your business delivers.

But for them to get what they want and experience that transformation, they must give you their email address.

Which brings us back to that all-important point: the size of your lead magnet isn’t what makes it effective, it’s how attractive you make it to the person who sees it.

And What Exactly Makes Someone Want Your Lead Magnet?

If you’re going to be able to create super effective lead magnets that drive tons of new leads to your business or blog, then you have to understand the components of a great lead magnet.

What is it that makes someone eager to give you their closely guarded contact information in this content saturated world?

Here are a few ideas on why people go for certain lead magnets:
  • They believe it will solve some immediate issue that they have
  • It sparks their curiosity
  • They think that it will provide a shortcut to something they want
  • They hope it will save them time, money and/or energy
  • They want to fill some demand or void instantly

So when someone sees your lead magnet on your squeeze page, on Facebook, in a blog post, etc, and they are thinking one of those things about it, then the likelihood of them opting in is extremely high.

But, here is something that most marketers don’t understand.

The lead magnet that you create should be designed to attract the right people and not just anyone. You will find way more success with a specific lead magnet as opposed to a generic one.

When it comes to email marketing, you absolutely cannot win when you try to be everything to everybody. It’s tempting to try to cater to your entire audience at once, but that is not the way to go.

In fact, the people who find the most success with email marketing are usually the ones who have a library of lead magnets specifically designed to cater to different segments of their audience.

Email segmentation is something that we’ve discussed recently on this blog, and it’s vital to segment your list so that you can provide each segment with relevant content (and lead magnets).

So, if you’re conducting email marketing campaigns, but you still only have one lead magnet, then you’re not going to get the best results from all your marketing efforts.

Plastering one main offer everywhere and hoping that it will work isn’t a great strategy.

But, that’s how most bloggers do it.

They have their one giveaway on their sidebar, on every post, and on every page. That type of offer converts very poorly because it treats everyone on your site the same, and yet not everyone is there for the same reason which obviously means that they won’t all be tempted by the same bait.

Even though they may be unified under your main topic’s larger umbrella, the people who come to your blog have different intents and interests, and you have to offer multiple lead magnets each of which is aimed at a particular interest or problem.

Whenever someone opts in for a specific lead magnet, it gives you important information about their interest. And that’s the beginning of your email list segmentation – another crucial element to every successful email marketing campaign.

How to Position Various Lead Magnets On Your Blog

Things are simple when you only have one lead magnet, but when you start accumulating them, it calls for a bit of skill to be able to effectively present them on your blog. The way to do that successfully is to present them in context.

Present the lead magnets that are most contextual and relevant to those people on that particular page. Make sure that the lead magnet represents the next logical step to them based on where they currently are in your marketing funnel.

When you display a closely related lead magnet to them right inside the content they are consuming, you’ll start to see your conversion rates shoot up. Sidebars on blogs normally convert at about 1%, but contextual lead magnets will convert at least ten times that amount.

The next thing you have to do is find ways of presenting your lead magnets in a ‘native’ location.

This takes the whole concept of contextual lead magnets to an entirely new level. With native placement, your lead magnet isn’t just relevant to whoever is seeing it, it’s also presented in a way that they would expect.

Wikipedia’s definition of native advertising is as follows:

Definition of Native Advertising

A means of (mostly) online advertising that matches the function and form of the platform on which it appears.

And that’s exactly what you need to do with your lead magnets if you want to get the most conversions possible.

So, what’s the platform you’re using?

Your Blog. Or more specifically, the content on your blog. After all, that’s what your visitors are there for, and that’s what they are looking at, right?

This is why only putting your lead magnet in the sidebar isn’t such a great idea.

Your readers aren’t there to see your sidebar, so your lead magnet will largely go unnoticed there. In fact, in much the same way that readers have conditioned themselves to ignore banner ads, they are ignoring sidebars as well.

Use tools like Thrive Leads to insert your lead magnets where they will be most visible to the right audience on your blog. This tool allows you to insert a custom lead magnet form on each of your blog posts, and you can put another form on your sidebar if you want.

It also lets you put lead magnets at the top of your blog posts, as well as the middle and the bottom of the posts.

This means that you can place your lead magnets anywhere on your web page so that your subscribers can opt in while reading your post without being taken away from the page.

Within each blog post on your website, you have the opportunity to place extremely relevant lead magnets.

It’s not necessary for each and every single post that you create to have its own lead magnet, but you can place previously created lead magnets on all the content that you create as long as those lead magnets are relevant to that content.

How To Boost Your Email List Building From Your Blog

Are you like most bloggers who publish posts simply for the sake of publishing something interesting, or do you do it to fill a slot on your content marketing calendar?

As you’ve seen, blog posts are great ways of attracting our ideal prospects and collecting leads.

So, the next time you sit to craft blog content, ask yourself the following questions:
  • Who is the ideal customer I’m trying to attract to my business or blog?
  • What type of solution do I provide that might give them immediate value?
  • Which blog post can I craft for that particular person?
  • What kind of lead magnet will give them a ‘takeaway’ value?

Once you can answer these questions you will find it much easier to create blog posts that take the form of lead magnets themselves.

Yes, blog posts mainly lead with value without asking for contact information in exchange, but when your readers are ready to take that next step, your lead magnet will be right there within the post, ready for action.

Your entire post should be designed to attract your ideal customer – the person who has a specific need or demand that you can fill.

You then give that person amazing (free) value in your post and then provide them with a compelling and powerful call to action for them to opt-in to get a highly relevant and valuable lead magnet.

When you do it this way, you’re no longer blogging just to fill your archives, but each post that you create has a specific purpose – to get more leads for your business.

Your blogging is now ‘lead-focused’ as opposed to ‘blog-focused’, and this is when you’re going to start seeing explosive results in your lead generation efforts.

Wrapping Things Up

There are really just three components you need to consider when creating the most effective lead magnets for your list building campaigns, and these are:
  • Curiosity
  • Relevancy
  • Instant Gratification

Together these equal a whole lot of new leads for your business, so let’s take a closer look at each of them:

Your reader’s internal desire to get a solution will propel them and their curiosity will attract them to your solution.

Your lead magnet should contain some element of curiosity as to what they are going to find inside. Make them believe that the only way they can sate their hunger is by opting in, and getting that lead magnet for themselves.


Make sure that your lead magnet speaks directly to what they have on their mind.

Direct it to their issues, their problems, desires, or goals. Address whatever it is that brought them to that post on your blog in the first place.

Instant Gratification

You should inherently promise instant results within your lead magnet. If you’re going to offer a course or a challenge as a lead magnet, you can see how this doesn’t offer the promise of instant results.

It involves prolonged delivery and sounds like a lot of work, and so it may not be as effective as checklists, templates, or short video tutorials.

You want your audience to feel that you’re offering them some kind of shortcut to the solution they are seeking with your lead magnet.

In Conclusion

These are just some of the ways in which you can boost your email list building campaigns to drive more leads, and ultimately sales, to your business or blog.

Use this article as your guide and put what you’ve learned into practice on your blog so you can start to see your email list numbers skyrocket.

Feel free to post your comment below. An email address is required but it will not be shared with anyone, put on any list, or used for any kind of marketing, just to alert you if there are any replies. Thanks and happy hunting!


Updated: Originally published September 12th 2018

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Reyhana

    I just finished with creating my step-by-step course and I started advertising it within all my blog posts. But through reading your post, I now understand that though this is okay to do, that it won’t yield a lot of conversions. It makes sense.

    I will be bookmarking your post so that I can come back to it later. even the questions you compiled (to ask myself before starting a blog post) is very helpful. It really helps to narrow down the goal and the type of people who would be looking at the post.

  2. TJSchlenker

    Great article, Steven. Thanks for this info. I have yet to do the whole “squeeze page” and funnel approach. Nor have I started asking for emails yet. I’ve just hit over 500 visitors to my site per month though, so I will be implementing it soon.

    I appreciate the 4 questions you listed. I think I’m going to paste them to my monitor as I move forward planning my email strategies. The focus they provide I think will be a big help.

    One of my challenges is figuring out what my magnet should be. I say to myself, “What can I tell or give them that they don’t already have or know??” That’s a hard one. Still haven’t answered it.

    Here’s hoping I do soon so I can get on with your recommendations!! lol

    1. Steven

      Here’s an article that might help:

      14 Types Of Reports To Help You Generate Leads And Sales

      Don’t jump to conclusions about what people know. What seems basic to you is new to many. Worse case, if someone gets your lead magnet and already knows what it offers, it still might help build credibility. It would confirm you know what you’re talking about… Just make sure what you offer has a lot of value and you’ll be fine.

      Thanks for the comment TJSchlenker!

  3. Remy

    cheers for the detailed information steven.
    I am in the very early phases of implementing an email market strategy on my blog so I want to ask a handful of questions If i may.
    Here goes –
    How can I go about getting to know my audience- i feel like I don’t know them well enough to give them exactly what they want?
    What If i had multiple audiences in mind – can I offer more than one lead magnet on a post? (each tailored differently)

    1. Steven

      Get to know who your ideal audience is before you market to them to maximize ROI and ad budget. Here is an article that will help:

      How To Create And Use Buyer Personas

      You can offer more than one lead magnet per post as long as they are relevant to your audience. This might serve to increase subscriptions if you feel your audience would be interested in one or the other, but maybe not both.

      You might consider splitting such posts into two different articles and making each more specific to its audience. I don’t have enough information to be much more specific than this though. Do what feels right for the situation and don’t be afraid to experiment. You might discover something unexpected and highly profitable by accident!

      Thanks for the comment Remy!

  4. CravenATAT

    Prior to reading this post, I had no idea what a lead magnet was or what the benefits to them were. I created a website a few months ago, but am still learning what can help drive traffic to my site. I like your recommendation of the tool ‘thrive leads’, as the customized lead magnets seem to match what I am looking for more so than the pre-made generic ones. 

    Also, I love how you recommend website developers to ask ‘Who is the ideal customer I’m trying to attract to my business or blog?’, as that train of thought is ideal when you create new content or a blog. You have inspired be to get more into website development! Thank you

    1. Steven

      I’m glad to hear you found good value in the article.

      Thanks for the comment Craven!

  5. Timm Mullowney

    Thanks for the great info! I myself haven’t even thought of creating a lead magnet yet as my website is still in the early stages of just writing my first bit of content. I will be saving your post though so I can come back to it as a reference, so thank you for that.

    When should someone consider using lead magnets on their blog? Sorry if that seems like such a shallow question, but obviously my first concern wouldn’t to be creating a lead magnet if I have limited content on my website right?

    Once again thank you for the amazing information and once I feel I have reached that point I will definitely reference back to this!

    1. Steven

      Lead magnets are great for acquiring new subscribers for your mailing list. So, that’s the main requirement, having a list and some content. You don’t have to have a ton of content to get started, a few articles is enough.

      Here are some articles about mailing lists that might help you out:

      Email List Segmentation For Beginners

      10 Insanely Actionable Strategies To Grow Your Email List

      How To Get Paid To Build Your Email List

      7 Strategies To Grow Your List Faster

      Here’s one that might help creating Lead Magnets:

      14 Types Of Reports To Help You Generate Leads And Sales

      Thanks for the comment Timm!

  6. Glenn Hodges

    Hello Steven, Your post came at just the right time for me.  As I’ve developed my blog and focused primarily on increasing traffic, I have overlooked the need to give visitors an opportunity to engage with my blog.  Now that I have read your article it seems kind of obvious that every visitor is a potential opportunity.  And allowing visitors to leave and potentially move on without offering them an reason to visit again, is a bad idea.

    I have just started to look at social media as a way to promote my blog.  I don’t have a ton of experience with using SM as a marketing took, but believe the potential is extremely high.

    1. Steven

      Social media can be an effective way to promote your articles but don’t let it distract you from creating content. It has that effect on some and can be a time waster as well. Find a good balance and keep in mind that you don’t have to join all of them, pick a few that suit your needs, it’s ok to start small.

      Thanks for the comment Glenn!

  7. Shannon

    Hey Steven I can truly say I  understand Leads and list building a whole lot better now. I still need some clarification on a few things but I think those will be met once I begin the trial and error phase of creating leads.

    I now have a few ideas of what I would like to create and begin doing so. Is thrive leads some sort of plugin or a subscription program for capturing?

    I’m gonna go back through my website and structure it based on leads and not just blogs which I thought was very vital information that you shared while posting. I look forward to an answer to that question, and I cant wait to hear more from you!



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