5 steps to create first lead magnet

5 Steps to Creating Your First Lead Magnet

Creating a lead magnet for the first time can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. Here’s a step by step process for you to follow…

Lead magnets are an integral part of a content marketing plan.

The concept is simple. You create a piece of content in exchange for contact information.

Normally you ask for an email address, or a name and email address. If you have a large piece of content, you can ask for more details.

Keep in mind that the more items the user has to fill in, the lower the conversion rate will be. In an age where privacy is increasingly concerning for people, who wants to give all their contact information away to a stranger or business they have only just come across?

As a general rule, the more valuable your content is, the more information you can ask for on the landing page.

But that is not necessarily the goal. Collecting just an email address to start with may work better. You can use a drip email sequence to build a relationship with them and gather more details over time – and hopefully, ultimately make them a customer. Today’s tools make this easy.

With that in mind, each contact with a prospect needs to provide value. That brings us to the first step:

1. Know your audience

The first step involves knowing your target audience.

Perhaps more specifically – knowing what their pain point is in relation to how you can help.

Ask yourself: Who is going to be reading my lead magnet? What is their pain point? And how can I help them overcome this pain?

You need to know them better than they know themselves. That way you can understand how to write for them in a way that helps them get to their desired solution.

For this specific lead magnet you will create, you need to be writing for your MOST ideal customer. You may have several ideal customers or personas, but for your first lead magnet your goal is to target only your most ideal customer.

Handy resource #1: The Ideal Customer Profile Framework by Lincoln Murphy

Spend some time researching your target audience. Start with demographics and then look for other trends in behaviour and language.

By doing this exercise, you are putting yourself miles ahead of your competition and saving yourself precious time down the track.

Pro tip: Social media communities are a great place to start. Follow influencers, join Facebook groups and Mastermind groups. These are all places your target audience could hang out.

2. Decide what to create

Use a tool such as BuzzSumo or Moz to find out what your target audience is already searching for. That will spark some ideas as to what you can create.

It should be a solution in a format that is easy to consume and also easy for you to create.

There are numerous types of lead magnets that serve different purposes. Here are some common ones to give you an overview:


Guides are very common (and can be very useful) but a lot of marketers overload them with information. If you make it broad on a specific topic, they can work very well being used as a TOFU (top of the funnel) lead magnet.

Cheat sheet

Cheat sheets are a good choice as they are generally very short. 1 page is enough and it provides a lot of value on a very specific point. These might also be called blueprints or checklists and are great used as content upgrades on blog posts.

Resource List

A list lead magnet is great for certain markets where you can help provide resources for them to commence something they need help with, or even generate and increase interest in a certain topic you specialize in. Once you have them engaged, you can help them delegate to you or take up your offer.

Video course

Video courses are incredibly good for more complex products or services, particularly SaaS. A well-presented video series can stimulate excitement and interest even in traditionally boring topics. If you need to write a huge amount of words to provide sufficient value, consider a video course instead.

Email course

An email course is a great way to build a relationship with a prospect over several concise emails. If you normally require multiple touch points before you can close a sale, crafting an email course as your lead magnet could be your best option.

Free Trial

Free trials work a little differently. You give them access to your product for a certain period – usually between 7 and 30 days. Then you focus on getting customers with your trial to paid customer conversion. If that is part of your strategy, your time should go towards your onboarding sequence which could involve a video or email course itself.


A template is another great way to provide value by “kicking things off” for someone. Maybe it’s a blog post template or a Facebook adset template with copy that has proven results. Either way, it’s a great way to get people started with something that you can help them with down the track. The goal is for you to be their logical next step.


For illustrating complicated ideas, infographics are brilliant at providing something that is easy to consume. With the right audience, these will convert really well.

Ideally, you should aim to choose one that you can reasonably create within a 1 week period. 

3. Name it

Once you have decided what type of lead magnet you will create, you need to come up with a name.

It may seem trivial, but the name will be the headline that you use to attract prospects. It needs to be magnetic enough to get people to click-through and want to give you their email address.

Easier said than done, right?

Fortunately there’s a formula that can be followed. A typical headline structure is:

Naming formula

The order can be adjusted slightly depending on your topic. This should allow you to come up with two or three potential names for you to use.

Handy resource #2: Content Ideator (Name Generation)

It’s important to note – if you do take inspiration from somewhere else, don’t copy a name. You don’t want to end up with the same name for your lead magnet as someone else. Besides being just poor form, this could also negatively impact on your site’s SEO performance.

4. Start creating

This is the fun part. Or the hard part, depending on how experienced you are.

Here’s a simple formula for structuring your lead magnet:

Cover page (for PDF’s)

Every book has a cover and so should your PDF. The cover page also acts as the mockup graphic used to promote the lead magnet, on your forms and landing pages. So the design needs be captivating but cleanly show what it’s about.


The intro need needs to be short and concise explaining what the user will get out of your lead magnet. Otherwise readers will skip it, get bored or worse move on to something else altogether. Aim for less than 150 words.

Main value points or paragraphs

This is the juice of your lead magnet – the value you’ve been so eager to provide. All your research and documentation comes together in an easy-to-digest page, email, video or graphic.

Complimentary bonus content

Why do you need to include bonus content? Because it will give your lead magnet that ‘wow’ factor so you stand out and get remembered as providing not just good – but outstanding value. This may be a ‘Pro Tip’ or link to a tool or template on each section.


Call-to-actions are underutilized in lead magnets. It can be as simple as placing your logo and listing contact details on the last page or end of the video. If you are smart about how you have targeted and written your lead magnet, your CTA should be calling them to take their next logical step. Try to include a button and link to a new landing page where you give them an offer. See this great example from Leadpages below:

cta example

Handy resource #3: The simplest tool to use for writing copy (or script for video) is Google Docs. It does require an internet connection so it can save progress automatically (although there is an offline mode) and it shows an outline of the document on the left side of the screen.

Handy resource #4: If writing is not your strong point or you are a novice, there is a neat tool called Hemingway Editor which will help with weak writing. Consider using it in your proofing and editing process.

Pro tip: Don’t fall into the trap of trying to be too valuable and overwhelming your prospects with information. Keep it succinct and specific to ensure your prospects open and read it.

5. Produce deliverable

Once you have drafted and proofed your copy, it’s time to hand it over to a designer to give it a professional touch.

Unlimitly produces professional and branded document designs for any size lead magnets. We’ll also do the cover mockups and any landing page graphics. It’s easy to get started here.

You could alternatively hire a freelancer on places like Upwork or find a local agency to help you out.

Once that has been approved by you, you will have successfully created your first lead magnet.

The best part is – the first time is the hardest. It only gets easier from here.

Next Steps

So what’s next?

You will need to use an email marketing provider to host your file(s). If you have a video series, you are best to start with YouTube. But you still need to deliver your sequence via email.

There is a lot of choice now but here are a few platforms to choose from, in order of where you are at:

  1. Mailchimp
  2. Drip
  3. CampaignMonitor
  4. ActiveCampaign
  5. Infusionsoft

Each has pro’s and con’s. If you are just starting out with content marketing and building an email list the first 2 are great solutions since you can get started for free.

You will also need to create a landing page and/or forms on your website to prompt people to enter their details and download your lead magnet.

Leadpages and Unbounce are two common choices for building and publishing landing pages without the hassle of hiring a developer.

The tools I mentioned above have their own forms features. However I also recommend a plugin such as SumoMe or Rapidology for greater control and better conversion rates.


It’s a lot of work to go through the first time, but using the 5 steps above you can begin to systematize the process of creating and testing different lead magnets.

They say you need to spend 80% of your time promoting content and only 20% creating it.

So really this post is about the first 20%. Promotion has to tie in with your marketing strategy. You can focus on cold outreach, do paid traffic campaigns or focus on SEO and organic traffic. That’s up to you!