6 Eye-Opening Secrets About Lead Magnets Every Marketer Should Know

We all want a bigger email list.

No matter if we have 500,000 subscribers or just 50, I can confidently say we all want more.

As business owners and marketers, a huge focus is continuing to grow our email list.

The most effective way to grow ​an email list, and grow it fast, is creating an irresistible . And that is much easier said than done. In fact, it was revealed in this year's State of Inbound report from ​HubSpot that 63% of marketers say their top challenge is generating traffic and leads.

​Our list of lead magnet secrets will share some of the most beneficial lead generator secrets most marketers forget. We'll also provide tips on what truly works while looking for ​quality leads.

​1. ​Targeting ​the ​Right Audience ​is Critical

The perfect scenario for you is to build an email list of raving fans who have accepted your offer and are now telling their spheres of influence about you. That involves knowing where your prospects are and delivering content that meets their current needs​.

If you offer an irrelevant item to an uninterested crowd, how excited do you think they will be to tell people about your products and services?

Yes, they may be very happy to tell people about the discount coupon received from you to their local eatery.  But think about it, who receives the prominence of attention with that approach?

You, or the delicious meal they enjoyed?  Sure, you get some attention, but you're second place while having done an awesome job of marketing the local eatery.

Bottom line is what you offer as an incentive does matter and should be thought all-the-way through. including which outreach methods ​leads opt into.

​2. There Is No "Perfect" Form Length

The opt-in form is the only place on your landing page where you ask visitors to give you something, all other elements focus on what you give them.

Form length depends on what you're offering, but some businesses might feel that a long form is necessary. 

long contact from

Hubspot prefers to collect as much information as possible

short lead magnet form

At Drop Ship Lifestyle, shorter forms tend to do best for ​their audience

​Whichever route you go, remember that a longer form will just add more friction that prevents your potential lead from opting-in. Try to keep the form to opt-in short with ​only the essential ​fields you need. 

​A 2015 ​BrightTALK ​report found that for B2B marketers, the ideal number of fields on download forms is between three to five. 16% of the survey respondents reported using six or more fields on their opt in forms.

Friction is any element on a landing page that prevents your visitors from converting on that page. For top-of-the-funnel visitors, a long form will intimidate many and scare them off.

​What is a long form? That depends on the necessary information your business needs to collect when generating leads.

lead generation forms

According to the 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Report from MarketingSherpa, across different industries, email is ​by far the most important form field.

If you really need extra info from your new leads, consider running some ​A/B tests comparing a long opt-in form against a bare-bones minimal name and email address form.

At the end of the day, remember to continually test your opt-in forms to see what works best with your audience.

​3. ​​Think Beyond Downloadable PDFs and Reports

​There is nothing wrong with creating a highly valuable PDF or infographic downloadable as a lead magnet to generate ​leads and build your email list​, but there are so many other options to experiment with. ​Have fun and brainstorm a few ways that you could create something useful for potential customers.

Some impressive examples we've seen lately include:

  • ​CoSchedule's ​Headline Analyzer ​is a useful ​tool that's targeted towards generating leads from ​content marketers. Enter your headline and you'll be asked to share a few details ('just once' they say) while they calculate the details. Only then will CoSchedule provide you with suggestions for ​improving your headline. ​​​
  • Personality based quizzes are a tool for self-discovery that make us feel like we belong. They are psychologically irresistible, fun to create, and can help you generate leads and collect plenty of customer data to use for segmentation.
  • ​If you're in a creative industry, trying sharing freebies that your potential customer would normally pay to have​. ​Both marketers and bloggers can find incredible success ​generating leads ​giving away freebies such​ as stock images, WordPress Themes, and Lightroom Presets.
headline analyzer

CoSchedule's ​Headline Analyzer ​is a useful ​tool that's targeted towards generating leads from a ​content marketers.

​4. Promise, Then Deliver On ​One Specific, Quick Win

​Creating a lead magnet of high value is a must if you want it to convert. One way to create a lead magnet with high value is promising one specific and quick win. And then you must deliver on that quick win with your lead magnet.

One of our best lead magnets is a ​comprehensive guide to email subject lines, which is crucial to any effective email campaign. We ​created an irresistible guide in PDF form that ​will walk them through the importance of crafting excellence email subject lines, and even provide hundreds of templates to get them started.​

optin page examples

​The more specific you can get with the topic of your lead magnet, the better.

Give your potential leads the answer to achieving something fast. You’ll be amazed at how important this specific thing is.

​5. Unqualified Leads Are Costly

A myth that some marketers fall prey to is the thought that capturing a large volume of leads equals success.

While it is true that you might get a lot of people signing up for your give-away or freebie lead magnet but you must ask yourself, "Will they convert?"

One lead magnet technique suggests that the offer put forth does not matter because sales is a numbers game.  "As you build your mega list, sooner or later the sales will come."

Ok, let’s play this out; you now have a list of 1,000 people.

Did you know that if you are using a paid eMail marketing service like Aweber or Constant Contact you will pay more for the amount of unqualified leads that are on your list?

The expense doesn’t stop there.

Whatever you do to reach this list of uninterested buyers will cost you money. Are you going to contact the people on your list directly in-order to close deals?

Imagine the expense involved in contacting 100 people that have no interest in your product.  What if that was 1,000 instead?

That’s why what you offer and who you offer ​matters.

​6.​ When Resources Are Tight, Focus on What Works

​Even if you don't have the budget, time, and/or resources to run multiple, highly-converting lead ​magnet campaigns,  you can still focus on building a lead magnet that will run on a lead generation campaign on near auto-pilot. 

​Focus on ​discovering what ​works (and doesn't work) in your lead generation campaigns through A/B testing and measuring metrics such as ​cost per lead (CPL), double versus single opt in, and even page speed. Whatever lead magnet converts the most leads in your campaigns ​should be the one you spend time optimizing.

You don't need a huge budget for tools to create ​a lead magnet either. For every paid tool out there, there is a free option that can help.


Make the right offer to the right audience in the right way and you will see great success with capturing quality qualified leads that will increase your ROI returns.  

Fail to do this and the results realized will likely be far less significant and far more expensive.

At the end of the day, understanding the most commonly overlooked aspects of lead generation will help you shift your focus, re-strategize, and start targeting the right people for your business.

Keep the above lead magnet secrets in mind when you create your next lead generation campaign!

Let's keep the conversation going! What's your favorite lead magnet secret or tip? Let us know in the comments.


Caitlin is an Austin-based digital marketer and writer with a passion for content. She is the newest member of the Performance Marketer team and brings years of marketing experience, as well as the best recommendations for where to go for lunch.