Many websites do a horrible job of capturing leads. Businesses think that slapping a "Contact Us" or "Sign Up for Our Newsletter" Web form on the homepage of a website is compelling enough to get visitors to give up their personal contact information. Think again.

Most websites capture less than 10% of their Web traffic. Think of how much revenue your business may be missing out on because you're not capturing the traffic you spend big bucks to get. If your business is throwing Web traffic in the trash, start re-evaluating your lead-capture strategy by looking at the effectiveness of your "lead magnets."


The number of ways you can present lead magnets is limitless. Before we go into magnets that persuade visitors to give up their contact information, let's go over seven best-practices.

1. Understand what your 'ideal' prospects want, and give it to them

Determine what information your prospects are seeking to make a purchase decision, and make that information easily attainable.

2. Offer something that clearly leads to your product or solution

Tie your lead magnet to the problem you solve. Draw an arrow from your prospect's problem to your solution.

3. Offer something that helps prospects make a purchase decision

Paint a picture that enables your prospects to envision themselves experiencing the benefit of your product or service.

4. Don't sound like everyone else

Take a stance, be disruptive (in a positive way) in your marketplace, and get more attention.

5. Good lead magnets should create 'aha!' moments

Elicit an emotional response in your prospects, and you're already on the path to creating a relationship with them.

6. Make your lead magnets easy to share

Use your site traffic to amplify your marketing efforts by making your offer enticing enough that prospects will want to share its benefit with others.

7. Don't try to be hip; create value and capitalize

Focus on creating value for your prospects and revenue for your business. Don't waste time on ideas that don't convert.

Lead Magnets

Now that we've covered best-practices, let's take a look at 15 lead magnets that can help your business capture and convert more leads.

  1. Free reports. Whitepapers, e-books, articles, and guides are some of the most common lead magnets. Be sure to provide compelling information to make a valid value exchange between your prospect and your business.
  2. Coupons and offers. These are especially important in retail, because consumers can easily price-shop for products. Remember, people respond to relevancy, so a targeted offer to a segmented list is most effective.
  3. Podcast. Establish yourself as an expert in your industry and push out content. Doing so will differentiate your business from the competition.
  4. Creative forms. Maximize the effectiveness of simple contact forms by using them to showcase your company's personality. Be conversational and inviting to your audience.
  5. Loyalty programs. Highlight the benefits of becoming a repeat customer. Offer something exclusive, such as priority registrations or speedy checkouts.
  6. Bonus. Reduce purchase anxiety by adding value to the transaction. For example, offer free two-day shipping or a buy-one, get-one-free deal.
  7. Free education. Never underestimate the power of content. Be your prospect's go-to source for quality education and information.
  8. Limited-time free trial. Give prospects the opportunity to experience the benefits of your product or service. Hopefully, they will realize they can't go another day without it.
  9. Membership. Make prospects feel special, invite them into your VIP group, and give them free information so they feel a part of your club. Loyal fans and followers have the power to convert others.
  10. Gate pricing and other information. If your goal is to target hot leads, hiding your pricing behind a form can be an effective tactic. The form will help filter out unqualified leads, and capturing their information will help you follow up with targeted prospects.
  11. Assessment or test. Encourage prospects to measure themselves against your expertise or industry standards. That will be your opportunity to give feedback and ideas while prospects determine their need for your product or service.
  12. Demo. Introduce your offering and demonstrate its capabilities.
  13. Online seminar/ webinar. Deliver content quickly via a free, interactive webinar (such as this one from my company, Infusionsoft).
  14. RSS feed. Stay in touch with leads via your blog; offer an RSS feed that they can subscribe to. 
  15. Email series. Set up an automatic email or direct-mail series that will gradually lead your prospects through the sales cycle. A drip sequence of educational emails keeps your business top of mind with consumers.

The key to effectively capturing and converting leads is to set the stage for additional follow-up. Make sure you're clear about what prospects will get when they provide their contact information.

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15 Lead Magnets (Plus 7 Best-Practices) to Help You Capture and Convert

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Tyler Garns is director of marketing for Infusionsoft, a Web-based sales and marketing automation software that helps small businesses convert leads, save time, and manage more with less.