Let’s do a quick test, shall we?
Rummage through your hard drive, checking especially those folders and archives you wouldn’t look into that often. I’m sure you’ll find plenty of different lead magnets in there. eBooks, checklists, webinar recordings or templates. Then check your email too, particularly that account you use to sign up for various services. You’ll probably find webinar invitations, drip campaigns, emails including coupons and discounts, podcast notifications… you name it.
That’s the power of lead magnets. We all fall for them. Even I, someone who helps companies to generate leads for a living, download eBooks and other materials, providing they catch my attention, of course.
So, the answer to whether you should use lead magnets or not is obvious. The bigger question, however, is: Which lead magnet should you use for your business?
And that’s what I decided to help you answer. In this post, I’ll show you 9 best lead magnets for four distinct types of businesses: e-commerce stores, startups, software/SaaS, and local companies.
If you run one of those businesses, after reading this post, you’ll know what lead magnet to use to generate leads for your company.
So, you ready?
Why The Same Lead Magnet Won’t Work for Everyone?
Makes no sense, right? After all, since lead magnets are so powerful, they should work regardless of the business type, industry, audience…
But they don’t.
You see, different businesses have different lead generation objectives. Some, like e-commerce stores, focus on attracting people who could become buyers almost right away. SaaS companies, however, target potential users at the early stages of the buying cycle and nurture them until they’re ready to sign up.
(image source – arrows added by the author)
And naturally, you need to use different lead magnets to achieve those objectives.
So, without any further ado… what lead magnets should you use if you’re running…
#1. An eCommerce Store
As we’ve already discussed, the objective, in eCommerce lead generation, isn’t to nurture leads and get them ready to buy.
The relationship with your leads is purely commercial from the start.
You want your list to include people who could potentially buy products you promote via the newsletter. And because of that, you need to use lead magnets that have the potential to attract shoppers with the buying mindset.
And here are two lead magnets that can help you achieve it:
Discounts or Coupons
Offering discounts or rebate coupons has a huge effect on customers. It attracts their attention (after all, who doesn’t like a good discount, right?), and convinces them to take action.
No surprise then that discounts work so well for eCommerce.
BareMinerals, for example, offers 15% discount once you create an account on the site (and of course, give them enough personal information so that the company could start targeting you with the right email promotions).
Foodpanda uses discounts to entice customers to register and order from their site. Quite smart, given that from then on, the site will be able to target them with relevant email offers.
Apart from discounts, you could also lure customers to your list with free (as in, no strings attached) gifts.BuyBuyBaby, for example, offers a goody bag for anyone who registers an account with them.
Startups generate leads with a different goal in mind. They want to get more people into the sales funnel and nurture them to become clients.
They target cold leads, people who haven’t yet shown direct interest in their product (but have the problem the startup’s offering tries to eradicate). By offering those people enticing and educational lead magnets, they build connection, trust, and rapport needed to convert them into buyers.
And the best way to do it is with a combination of these lead magnets:
eBooks and other educational lead magnets work by offering visitors insane value for a small price, their email. They promise a solution to a specific problem, in turn, attracting highly qualified prospects.
AdRoll, for example, offers a report helping users improve custom attribution models.
Here at AdEspresso we often publish eBooks that help us capture and convert visitors interested in various aspects of digital advertising.
Greenhouse is another company using eBooks to generate targeted leads.
#3. Software / SaaS Companies
SaaS products share a similar objective to Startups. They aim to fill the sales funnel with relevant leads. However, in this case, a lead could be anyone who signs up for their list but also, becomes a trial user.
And for that reason, they often use different lead magnets to capture and convert visitors and users demoing their app.
The power of drip campaigns lies in their ability to capture and then, keep someone engaged with your app.
Drip campaigns help nurture leads, convince them of your authority, and give a sample of the value your product provides.
Wisepops offers a 6-day email automation course.
Another way your SaaS could generate leads is by building a small tool visitors’ could use for free. Hubspot has been pioneering this approach with their website grader.
Note that to use it; you need to provide the company with your email address. Clever, huh? Having said that, if I remember correctly, in the previous iterations, you could use the tool for free, however, to you had to sign up to receive the full report.
seoClarity offers a free content optimizer plugin called Spark.
Note that although the plugin is free to install, you have to create an account to use it.
#4. Local Businesses
Local businesses aim to attract warm leads, people who have the problem the company solves and seek a solution. Because of that, lead magnets they use must, in a way, also promote the company and present the value of using its services.
And the two best lead magnets to achieve this objective include:
Gifts / Gift Cards
Restaurants, coffee shops, and many other local service companies issue gifts or gift cards to entice them to try the service and sign up for the email list.
Plated, for example, offers four free meals (together with completely free shipping) in return for signing up for the service.
V&A Waterfront offers a chance to win a gift card in return for feedback on their service.
Free Audit / Report
Gifts or gift cards work well for B2C service companies. If you’re in B2B though, offer free audits or reports to attract new local customers.
An audit, or report, helps another company assess their current strategy (and in turn, understand why they would need your services).
Inbound Law Marketing offers what they call a 360 Digital Marketing Blueprint for free to any interested business. In the report, they provide a personalized analysis of the company’s entire digital marketing strategy.
The report’s free, comprehensive, and actionable, helping any new potential client to sample the company’s expertise.
What Do You Think?
Are you running one of the business types I discussed in this article and producing lead magnets to generate leads? What other lead magnet types you use? And what’s your experience with them? Tell us in the comments.