Do you need effective lead generation ideas for your small business? It can be a struggle for some business owners to find the time to carve time out of their overscheduled days to think of new ways to capture leads online.

But without lead generation, you will fail to achieve your company’s full potential. Because trust us…your competitors are doing everything they can to create leads and grab their fair share of the market, plus yours!

Your business must generate leads to continue to attract new customers, close sales, and keep your sales funnel stocked with prospects at all times.

You’re might be asking by now: How do you do this?

You create a lead magnet to help capture user data and create offers that will help you convert. Let’s take a look.

What’s a lead magnet?

For those who might be new with digital marketing, let’s start off by answering the question, “What’s a lead magnet?”

A lead magnet is the offer of a valuable incentive, item or service that a business extends to a user on your website. You set up a win-win scenario by offering the user this incentive in exchange for their data. In most industries, this is their email address. However, it could also be a street address, cell phone number, or all of the above.

That will vary depending on your industry.

For example, an automotive dealership will be more likely to collect cell phone numbers so that they can call the user and personally invite them to set up a test drive. For a high dollar item like a car, the extra time taken to make a phone call is time well-spent.

However, an e-commerce retailer will only care about converting the user into a sale right at that moment and might offer a coupon with an aggressive discount in exchange for their email and to seal the deal right then and there.

Once the user completes that opt-in form, that is referred to as a “Lead Capture”.

Characteristics of effective lead magnet ideas

In order to collect high-quality leads, your lead magnet must do two things: it must capture user interest and compel them to enter their data into the form.

Sounds easy, right?

Unfortunately, there’s a little more to it than that. With the well-documented short attention span of internet users, it must quickly appeal to the user and make them want to complete the lead magnet right then and there.

Also, you must know why you are generating leads. Do you want to close sales? Get people inside your brick-and-mortar location? Build your email list? Craft your lead magnet to create leads that will be the most meaningful to your business. You want to snag those visitors who are you top prospects, so create an offer you know will be hard to resist!

Here are the 6 characteristics of a well-played lead magnet:
  1. Creates a win-win scenario: They get your offer, and you get their data. Everybody’s happy. Put yourself in the user’s shoes. You probably have clicked out of lead magnets yourself because you didn’t see a juicy enough offer. Make the user feel like they are winning!
  2. Resonates with the user: An offer will resonate only if it affords them a legit solution to a problem. If they don’t need your offer, they won’t sign up. So, if you’re a chiropractor offering a free back pain evaluation, the offer will only attract users with back pain, not those who were visiting your recent blog post about herbal supplements. But if your real money-maker is pain therapy, you will capture the most prospects who will help you earn the most profit.
  3. Instant availability: Whether you’re offering a free upgrade or a PDF, let the user have it as soon as they enter their data. Otherwise, they’ll feel like you duped them.
  4. Valuable to users: A lead magnet will only work if they believe it to be of value to them. It’s not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Make the value clear to all users, and you’ll capture those who are most engaged with your site. Hint: those are your prime prospects!
  5. Offer is easy to understand: Keep your lead magnet uncomplicated. Keep wording short and to the point. The easier to understand, the better. If it sounds too complex, you won’t gain many lead captures.
  6. CTA: Be sure to include a crystal clear Call to Action. The user should understand in a nanosecond what they need to do to take advantage of the incentive. If they become confused, they will not opt in. Succinct verbiage such as “Download,” “Subscribe,” “Save” are all terms that make the point quickly and relay that the user must take action.

Before you publish your offer, make sure that you’ve double-checked yourself on these points to that you create leads that will help you reach your target audience.

Each lead must include two parts:

Additionally, you will sometimes see lead magnets with one additional piece:

Below is a gently persuasive offer from Neil Patel which contains all three parts effectively.

create leads neil patel
Neil Patel’s customer acquisition webinar as a lead magnet.

First, Neil invites the user to a webinar. In a few words, we see the benefit of the offer—an easy way to add revenue. Then, Neil sweetens the deal in the fine print by offering another piece of valuable content as a free bonus. Finally, the user is called to action by agreeing that they want taught by Neil Patel.

The entire lead magnet only has around 30 words; that’s brief enough to be understood in just a split second.

10 Effective Lead Generation Ideas

Unlock a Promotional Code

When a visitor arrives on your site, allow them to unlock a promotional code by completing your lead magnet form.

The offer must be substantial enough to convince them to complete the form and then complete the checkout process.

Here are some examples of promotions offers you could extend:

Of course, you will create and offer that’s appropriate for your business.

lead magnet idea coupon code
Get their email addresses so you can send them a discount coupon.

Complimentary Trial

Whether you are offering free product samples when they place an order or offering a premium service, complimentary trials are highly effective. They allow users to experience what you have to offer before they open up their wallets.

Two examples:

This builds user trust, which is vital to a successful online business. They believe that you are showing confidence in your product, and you are! You know you have an amazing product, and this allows the users the opportunity to fall in love with it.

30 day trial lead magnet idea
Trials as a lead magnet let prospects experience the best parts of your product.

Industry Trends and Hot Tips

Some industries evolve so quickly that users can barely keep up with the trends. If you’re in a creative or technical industry, you can probably identify with that statement!

Use your expertise to share the latest trends and tips on how to embrace those trends.

Some industry-specific examples of this are:

For those who need to know these things, that’s vital information. They will love you for keeping them in the loop on the most current trends.

By the way, this lead magnet also positions you as the authority who told them first. Not too shabby, huh?

trend report lead magnet idea
Comprehensive reports as a lead magnet gets you highly interested leads.

Merchandise Giveaway Contests

Giveaways work. People love to get stuff for free. People love to browse to a website and enter to win a contest for a freebie.

But, there is one catch. Whatever you are offering them must be relevant to your business.

For instance, if you’re a cell phone retail store, you wouldn’t offer the free perfume sample we mentioned earlier. Instead, you would perhaps offer a free pair of earbuds or a manufacturer logo tote bag. It seems more authentic a giveaway to users.

If a lead magnet doesn’t make sense, users will distrust your motives. Rightfully so! Don’t waste your time on lead generation that’s confusing to visitors.

contest lead magnet idea
Contests are awesome because people loooooove free stuff!

How to Guides

Remember how your lead generation efforts should solve a user problem? There’s almost no better way than a how to guide to do this.

A keyword analysis of almost any topic returns a long-tail keyword result that includes the phrase “How To.”

Here are some examples:

how to guide lead magnet idea
When you help solve your prospects problem, you’ll earn their trust. That’s why how-to guides are effective.

If a user is actively researching these topics, they are engaged, and you are offering them a resolution to their problem.


Checklists are useful to visitors because they are short, sweet, and get right to the point. They are an abbreviated alternative to reading a longer article. Think of them as Cliff Notes to a long blog post.

Checklists (and their cousins To-do Lists) make users feel organized and productive.

As an additional bonus, some checklists will be shared and recirculated on social channels like Pinterest over and over again. So, be sure to brand yours with your logo and maybe even your URL.

Some examples of checklists:

lead magnet idea checklist
Checklists tick because they’re easier to digest and they’re useful to the right audience.


Without a doubt, you’ve seen the newsletter lead generation technique. It’s a very effective way to collect leads online. People love to receive new tips and ideas, and they seem more than willing to sign up via a subscription form like the one below!

newsletter lead magnet idea
Collect email address in exchange of awesome email content.

Here’s the pitfall of relying on newsletters, though. You, as the marketer offering the newsletter, have promised the user that they will have opted in and will receive it. Now it’s up to you to create newsletters as promised. Whether that’s weekly, monthly, or quarterly is entirely your choice.

The good news is that not only did you capture a lead, but you’ve also set yourself up for generating revenue by including specials in the newsletter. Don’t squander this valuable marketing opportunity!


Sharing informational content, such as news on industry innovations, white papers, or product information via an instantly downloaded PDF is extremely popular. Here’s why.

Some users have very full in-boxes. They don’t want a newsletter or a special offer coming to their email. What they do want is valuable, relevant information.

Respect the wishes of these users by creating a PDF. This document allows them to receive the content, download it to their device, and read it at their own leisure. This is a no-nonsense approach that makes users feel like you respect their needs, so they will drop their guard to receive your offering.

A note of caution: respect their wishes. If they selected only to receive industry trends, don’t send them random marketing content. They will likely flag you as spam.

how to create a lead magnet pdf
PDFs are popular for industry innovations, white papers or product information.

For the sake of research, I clicked the CTA and entered my data. Below, you can see the success message that I received. By the way, it was an interesting read.

how to create a lead magnet pdf
Keep the CTA actionable!


Do you have in-depth knowledge to share? Is your product or service so valuable or complex that it will take more than a few blog posts to explain the value fully?

If so, an e-book might be a great way to create leads for your business. Writing an ebook isn’t undertaking for the faint of heart. You will commit to writing about 10,000 or more words. To give you a handy point of reference as to what that length looks like, this blog post is just over 2,300 words. After that, you must edit the e-book until it’s letter-perfect, create the graphics, and format it. Sure, you can hire some freelance help, but you’ll still be heavily involved in this publication.

That said, e-books are a valuable source of leads from users who are extremely interested in your content. And, you will become their trusted authority on the subject matter.

ebook lead magnet idea
eBooks never get old!

Fun Quizzes

Lead magnets don’t always need to be all business! Let your users have a little bit of fun. You see fun quizzes all over Facebook because people love to unwind and blow off steam by taking part in the fun.

You can place these on your own website or blog. However, these are particularly awesome for building followers on your social media channels.

When you’re setting up quizzes, include humor but be respectful and take care not to offend anyone. Also, keep the quiz relevant to your expertise.

Some useful examples could be:

Bear in mind that quizzes are not appropriate to every industry. An online boutique or party planner can get away with those lighthearted examples but not every business can pull these off.

quizzes lead magnet idea
Quizzes are fun and compelling, but make sure it fits your industry!

Go show the world your magnetic personality!

You should be making lead generation a priority. It will help you build a marketing list, engage users, and fill your funnel. These are only 10 lead magnet ideas, so let your imagination run free.

Collecting leads online will take some trial and error at first, but we promise it will get easier and become more effective over time. Now that you’ve learned some basics, create leads and watch your business grow.

Are you ready to begin your own lead generation but you need help on exactly how to set up your lead capture form? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Read this article to see just how simple it is with EmailMeForm.

lead capture forms setup

Author Deborah Tayloe

Deborah Tayloe

Deborah is a blogger and freelancer who often writes for EmailMeForm. When she’s not blogging, you’ll probably find Deborah working on DIY projects around her home in North Carolina.

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