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The Agency Guide to Using Lead Magnets on Your Website (plus, examples!)

If you want to get more leads, you don't have to go out and hunt them all down yourself.

Instead, use a lead magnet on your agency website to bring new prospects to you. A lead magnet, also known as an opt-in, is a simple marketing tool that helps you capture visitor information and grow your email list.

I know you've seen them all over the web. But, are you using them on your own agency site? Here's what you need to know about creating lead magnets and making them work for you.

Why Does Your Agency Need to Use Lead Magnets?

You've heard of lead magnets before, of course, and maybe you've even advised your own clients to use them. But let's take a moment to review why lead magnets are important.

audience bloom lead magnet (Sample lead magnet on AudienceBloom)

In a nutshell, a lead magnet is an incentive that you offer in exchange for a visitor's personal information, most often their email address. This incentive can take many different forms -- some businesses offer downloadables like white papers, while others offer free consultations or access to exclusive video content.

Whatever type of incentive you offer, it's a win-win situation: your visitor gets something useful or valuable for free, and you get permission to stay in touch with your new lead through email.

A good lead magnet is an investment. If it's useful and relevant, it can live on your website and grow your email list for a long time.

But many agencies put off creating their own opt-ins because creating valuable content takes time, energy, and money. That's understandable -- but not using lead magnets is a mistake. Here's why you should prioritize creating lead magnets for your agency.

Lead Magnets Keep Your Email List Healthy.

A healthy email list is defined by a couple of key traits:

  • It gets new sign-ups regularly.

  • It's made up of the right kind of subscribers.

The first point is important because email lists have a high attrition rate. You can expect between 20 and 30 percent of your existing list to unsubscribe, abandon their email address, or simply stop opening your emails every year. If you don't want your list to shrink over time, you'll need to proactively encourage more people to sign up.

email dashboard (AgencyAnalytics Email Reporting Dashboard)

The second point matters because email marketing can be incredibly powerful -- but only if you're marketing to the right people.

Email opt-ins give you a filter for your list. If you design your opt-ins to appeal to your agency's target market, you'll end up with more qualified subscribers, instead of subscribers who might not be interested in the services you offer.

Opt-ins give you an opportunity to show off your industry knowledge.

When it comes to winning over new prospects, first impressions are everything. If your agency comes across as professional and knowledgeable, you'll have a major edge over your competitors who don't present themselves as well. A well-crafted, informative lead magnet is a great way to put your best foot forward.

Being generous with free content will build your agency's reputation.

Who doesn't like getting something for free? You'll make a strong first impression on prospects if you give away high-quality content without expecting anything in return. And if you've already helped a lead in some concrete way, that will count in your favor when that lead makes their final decision about which agency to hire.

Lead magnets help you keep in touch with people who aren't ready to hire yet.

Many of the people who find your website are still in the early stages of researching agencies. They aren't ready to hire yet -- but if you can get them to remember you, they'll be more likely to come back to your agency in the future. Create an opt-in for leads at the top of the sales funnel, and you'll find yourself with more serious prospects down the line.

What Kind of Lead Magnet Should You Offer?

You can turn almost any kind of content into a lead magnet. Some of the most common types of lead magnets include:

  • How-to guides
  • Case studies
  • Cheat sheets
  • Checklists
  • White papers
  • Reports
  • Ebooks
  • Lists of tools or resources
  • Email courses
  • Free consultations or audits

Which type of content will make the best lead magnet for your agency? There's no one-size-fits-all answer to that question, since almost any kind of lead magnet can be effective in the right situation. The best way to decide is to think about your goals. Ask yourself:

Who is your ideal lead? Your opt-in should be tailored towards the type of clients you enjoy working with most. If you don't have a clear audience in mind, stop and create a few client personas before you create your opt-in.

Where is your ideal lead in the buying process? Someone who's just started shopping around for agencies will have different needs than someone who's seriously weighing your agency against one or two others. Consider whether you can create different incentives for leads at different stages of the sales funnel.

What does your ideal lead need? What are their pain points? What makes them happy? What information are they still searching for?

What kind of content are you best at creating? If you're creating your lead magnet in-house, it makes sense to pick a medium where your skills shine. Just make sure your content will appeal to your ideal lead. For instance, if you want to work with time-strapped small business owners, a short and snappy guide or checklist is probably a better opt-in than a lengthy ebook.

Can you repackage or expand any of your existing content into a lead magnet? You don't necessarily have to start from scratch with your opt-in. See if you can adapt some of your older work into a fresh piece of content.

Once you've got some ideas about what kind of lead magnet will work best for you, consider how you want to offer it to your visitors.

There are lots of different opt-in formats you can choose from. Some of the most common include:

  • Lightbox popups, which appear after a visitor has been on your page for a certain amount of time.
  • Exit-intent popups, which appear when a visitor is about to leave your page.
  • Header, footer, and sidebar opt-in forms.
  • Slide-in forms, which get visitors' attention without obscuring the whole screen like a pop-up.
  • Squeeze pages.
  • Toolbars that appear at the top of every page on your website.

Will Your Lead Magnets Work?

Putting a lead magnet on your site doesn't automatically mean that new leads will come pouring in. Some opt-ins work better than others, and the effective ones share a few key traits.

Here's what you can do to make sure your lead magnets actually bring you more business.

Resist the temptation to cast a wide net. Not every visitor to your site is a potential client.

If you try to make your opt-in appeal to everybody, you'll just make it less relevant to the people who are your ideal clients. Focus on bringing in high-quality leads, instead of trying to get as many as possible.

Be specific.

If your lead magnet is a guide called "10 Tips for Better Blogging," you probably won't get very many bites. There's already plenty of generic blogging advice on the internet that isn't attached to an opt-in form. You'll have better luck if you offer something more specific and unique, like "10 Blogging Mistakes Restaurant Owners Make."

Promise a payoff. For your lead magnet to be effective, it has to do a couple of things.

First, it has to get your visitors' attention by touching on one of their pain points. Second, it has to promise a quick and satisfying solution to the problem. Visitors will be more likely to hand over their information if they feel like they're just minutes away from getting something they really want.

Deliver on your promise.

If you over-promise and under-deliver, your new leads will feel let down or even tricked, and that's a bad way to start a business relationship. Don't misrepresent or over-hype the content of your opt-ins.

Great Examples of Lead Magnets from Around the Web

Need some inspiration for your lead magnets?

Here are some examples to help spur your creativity -

1. Ebook from AudienceBloom

An ebook makes a classic lead magnet. Leads perceive it as a high-value freebie, but putting an ebook together (or outsourcing the work) is quite doable for most businesses.

audience bloom lead magnet

Why this example works: It's tailored towards people with a common pain point (link building for SEO), and it promises to be immediately useful. "Ultimate guides" that break complex problems down into manageable steps tend to do well as lead magnets. Who doesn't like the promise of downloading all the information they need at once -- and for free, no less?

2. Custom Proposal from KlientBoost

lead magnet example 2

If you've got the time and resources to follow through, offering a custom freebie like a consultation or audit is a great way to impress new leads.

Why this example works: There's a twofold benefit here. First, if leads are impressed by the quality of their free proposal, they'll be likely to come back later. Second, making an offer like this helps an agency build a list of qualified leads, since casual visitors aren't likely to request a proposal.

3. Website Grader from HubSpot

lead magnet example 2

HubSpot's Website Grader is a popular SEO tool that doubles as an email list builder.

Why this example works: It's simple and irresistible. Who doesn't want to get an instant assessment of how strong their website is? Handing over an email address seems like a no-brainer in the face of such a quick, practical reward.

4. How-To Guide from OptinMonster

lead magnet example 4

Naturally, OptinMonster's own opt-in form is a strong example of how to capture leads before they leave your site.

Why this example works: OptinMonster knows their audience. This lead magnet is both relevant and useful, and the statistic cited -- "70% of visitors who abandon your website will never return" -- lends a sense of urgency. The eye-catching graphic is a nice touch as well.

5. Ebook and Newsletter from the Content Marketing Institute

lead magnet example 5

The Content Marketing Institute offers visitors a free ebook along with their email newsletter.

Why this example works: Peer pressure is a powerful force! If you've already got an impressively large email list, you can leverage that fact to inspire a fear of missing out in your visitors. Combining the newsletter with a free ebook sweetens the deal even more.

6. Magazine from Skift

lead magnet example 6

Skift drives email sign-ups by offering visitors a free magazine.

Why this example works: People tend to read magazines for enjoyment. Using a magazine as your lead magnet can be a nice alternative to giving away a more utilitarian ebook or white paper. This example's polished, professional design increases the perceived quality of the lead magnet -- it looks like a magazine you'd find on a rack somewhere.

7. Course and Secret Bonus from Quick Sprout

lead magnet example 7

A free course plus a secret gift -- what's not to like?

Why this example works: It can be tricky to use a course as a lead magnet. Most courses take days or weeks to deliver their value, but a good lead magnet should provide a payoff immediately. This example solves the instant-gratification problem by offering a secret bonus (worth $300!) in addition to the course.

8. Ebook from Teachable

lead magnet example 8

Ebooks that help people solve common problems tend to make good lead magnets. )

Why this example works: This example gets several things right. It addresses the common pain point of wanting to make money online, but not knowing how. Its headline is appealing (who doesn't want to make $1000?), but still believable. The ebook's title promises results that the average person can achieve. All in all, it's an appealing and risk-free offer.

9. Workbook from Melyssa Griffin

lead magnet example 9

Interactive resources, like personalized resources, tend to go over well with audiences.

Why this example works: Offering visitors a free workbook or another activity is a great way to help them out, which makes them more likely to remember you positively. You can gather more accurate subscriber data if you ask a couple of preliminary questions in a quiz-style format, as this example does.

Wrapping Up

If you aren't using lead magnets on your agency website, you're missing out on a huge opportunity. Many of your online visitors will never come back once they leave -- unless you give them a good reason to stay in touch.

Using a lead magnet on your website will help you connect with qualified leads, build your reputation, and eventually get more of the kind of work your agency excels at. Why not start working on a lead magnet for your agency website today?

Written by Joe Kindness

Joe is the CEO of AgencyAnalytics, but often spends his day programming, designing or executing marketing tasks. And like most Canadians, he can be found playing or watching hockey!

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