It’s not enough to just put a form on your site, and hope people leave you their email address. People are increasingly protective of their inbox, and generally resistant to giving out their email address.

However, this changes when there is a suitable value exchange. You offer something to your prospective subscriber of enough value that they are willing to give you their email address in exchange for it.

What you give in exchange for an email address is known as a lead magnet. Lead magnets come in all shapes and sizes.

As a business you will often want to have several such lead magnets (and respective opt-in pages) in order to be able to attract different types of people into your business, but who all exist in your market.

What attracts and offers value to one subscriber, may provide little motivation to another to join your list. But both could be good prospects for your business.

So what types of lead magnet can you offer? Here are 7 top ideas to get you started.



Try compiling different blog posts together into an ebook. Tools like Papyrus offer to do this with a single click.

Or convert other types of content. For example, you may offer a training course that can be converted into ebook format.

Try to create ebooks from content you may have on say Google Drive or Dropbox.

It can also work the other way around. Once created, an ebook can form the basis of many future blog posts, videos, podcast episodes, and so on. Or expand it with a lot more value – such as video training – and offer it as a course.

Once someone has opted in, use the content from the ebook to form a series of follow-up messages you can use to keep in touch with prospects and build your relationship with them.



A report is similar in some ways to an ebook, but is generally shorter than an ebook, and often on a more specific topic.

Example of a report used as a lead magnet on

Example of a report used as a lead magnet on

It is almost always in PDF format too, whereas an ebook may come in various formats, such as for reading on a Kindle.

It’s worth testing for your own market, but you may find offering a report rather than an ebook achieves higher lead conversion rates, even this is largely a choice of the language you use when offering the lead magnet.

Reports can be seen as more accessible and more easily digestible than ebooks, and require less commitment from the potential subscriber when they are just embarking on a relationship with you.


Cheat Sheet

Cheat sheets are a single page with information on a very specific topic, usually provided in PDF format.

It allows targeting to a very specific part of your market by offering immediately digestible information.

Here are some examples of cheat sheets in different markets:

  • Aimed at web masters and web designers, a cheat sheet on when to use JPEG, GIF and PNG images.
  • For new parents, a cheat sheet on first month feeding routines.
  • In the fitness niche, a cheat sheet providing a training schedule for building up to marathon running.
  • A cheat sheet listing filter types for photography enthusiasts, providing information on what each one does and when to use it.


Resource Guide

A resource guide is similar to a cheat sheet, but provides a list of resources relevant to a particular niche. Again, it would usually be provided as a PDF.

It can be as short as a single page, but may be longer.

It offers value to your prospect, because it saves them a lot of research time.

Some examples of resource guides in different markets might be:

  • For bloggers, a list of web sites they can use to obtain quality free images.
  • For horticulturalists, a list of quality seed suppliers and contact information.
  • For prospective online business owners, a list of essential recommended services such as hosting and autoresponder service providers.
  • A list of resources for prospective importers relating to having products successfully manufactured in China



Videos offer a lot of value and appeal for potential prospects, as they represent easily digestible, immediately accessible and often enjoyable consumption of information that may not be available elsewhere.

It doesn’t just have to be a single video either. It could be a series of videos, with the first immediately available, and then others sent to the prospect over the next few days.

Here’s an example of such a video course available from Ramit Sethi at

Lead magnet - video

Here are some examples of how videos can be used as a lead magnet:

  • A webinar recording
  • A video of a presentation at a conference or seminar
  • A tutorial of how to do something: bake a successful sponge cake, use a piece of software, set up Facebook ads, fly fishing, train a dog to roll over, etc.

There’s no reason either why it can’t be a video that’s already freely available for viewing on YouTube. It doesn’t have to be hidden away somewhere for it to have value to a prospect, and it’s unlikely they would otherwise have found it.



Could you have software (for example, an app) created that would be beneficial for your market?

Providing it does something useful for people, software is seen as having an intrinsic value. This can make it easier to encourage your potential prospect to provide their email address in exchange.

For example, for fitness enthusiasts, some software could be created to help them record their activities and progress over time.

It also doesn’t have to be downloadable software.

It could be online cloud-based software (like the system). Many such software companies provide a free trial in exchange for an email address. For example, help desk software tool GrooveHQ offers a 60-day free trial:


Lead magnet - software



However, there’s no reason why you can’t make such software free forever and simply use it as a list-building tool that feeds the rest of your business.

Could you add in some viral capabilities? 

Once someone has opted in to receive the free software, offer to upgrade them to a more powerful version for free once they have referred a certain number of other people to download the software as well.

For example, you could provide social media and tell-a-friend-type tools to help people do this with ease.

With the right type of software and upgrade offer, this can lead to exponential list growth in a short period of time.



In many respects, a mindmap is a visual version of a cheat sheet, usually downloadable as a single PDF. It helps someone understand a process, strategy or solution in visual form.

For example, a mindmap could help someone:

  • Sell on eBay for the first time.
  • Understand the different social media networks and what to do on each.
  • Use accountancy software.
  • Build their own house.


So that’s seven popular lead magnet types or formats, but this is far from an exhaustive list.

Use your imagination and test out different approaches to find out what resonates with your own marketplace and works best for your own business.