20 Great Lead Magnets to Build Your Email List

Lead Magnet Ideas to Attract Email Subscribers

Email marketing

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There is a saying in the online marketing field, “The list is gold.” Through an email list, you can keep in touch with your prospective buyers, follow up with leads, show off your expertise, build trust and rapport with your market, and send subscribers through your funnel to boost sales. It’s one of the most effective methods for building a profitable home business.

The challenge in email marketing is enticing people to give you their name and email. That’s where the lead magnet comes in.

What Is a Lead Magnet?

A lead magnet is a valuable item you offer visitors to your website in exchange for their name and email address. People are overwhelmed by email and leery about giving out their email address. The lead magnet offers them something irresistible to encourage them to subscribe to your email list.

Most successful online entrepreneurs use a single lead magnet to build their list. However, recently, many bloggers have begun offering content upgrades to some of their posts as a way to build their email lists. A content upgrade is basically a lead magnet that is niched or specific to the blog post. For example, a gluten-free food blog might have a main lead magnet of a gluten-free recipe book, but on its article on how to convert recipes to gluten-free, it offers a content upgrade of a cheat sheet on converting recipes by signing up for the email list.

What Makes a Great Lead Magnet?

Simply throwing together a free report isn’t enough. For a lead magnet to work it needs to:

Have High Actual and Perceived Value

Your lead magnet not only needs to be of great quality but also, your market needs to believe that it can make a difference in their lives.

Offer a Solution or Solve a Problem for Your Market

People respond best to offers that will fix something for them. 

Promise and Deliver at Least One Result

Subscribers should be able to use your lead magnet to achieve something.

Be Focused on a Narrow Issue

You don’t have to give away all your secrets. Instead, focus on one specific aspect that you can help solve.

Shows off Your Expertise

The goal of the lead magnet is to get subscribers that you can then sell to. But even if they get on your list, they won’t buy if they don’t have a sense that you know what you’re doing.

Be Evergreen

While focusing on trends can be attractive to potential subscribers, it can also mean your lead magnet will get old and outdated faster. Offering something evergreen means its quality will last over time. While you may need to update it on occasion, the content should be valuable in the long run.

Easy to Access

Lead magnets should be delivered immediately after the subscriber enters their name and email, and hits submit.

List of 20 Great Lead Magnets to Build Your Email List

Lead magnets are designed to lure in subscribers, so it goes without saying that they're free. Here are 20 ideas you can consider to build your email list.

Digital Report

This is one of the most common lead magnets offered. They’re good at showing off your expertise and delivering important information. Just remember to focus on a single issue. For example, instead of “How to Build Your Social Media Following,” you could offer, “How to Build Your Twitter Following in 5 Minutes a Day.”

Ebook (Full Book or a Chapter)

Ebooks are essentially longer reports, and in many cases break the narrow niche rule. However, authors can use the free ebook or free chapter lead magnet with great success. Coaches and consultants do well with this too.


The webinar lead magnet has grown in popularity. Webinars not only show off your expertise but because there is a video/audio component you’re able to make a stronger connection with your audience who can see and hear you.


People like to receive stuff that gets them working on their solution right away. A workbook or worksheet achieves that.

Cheat Sheet

Cheat sheets are ideal because by their nature they help subscribers focus on what’s important and saves them time in getting their problem solved.


Similar to the cheat sheet, blueprints help focus subscribers on the nitty-gritty tasks to achieve their desired results faster.

Case Study

Many people like to learn through the examples of others. A case study takes subscribers through the process of someone achieving the same results the subscriber wants.


Toolkits or resources are popular lead magnets because subscribers want to know what you and others use to achieve results.


Swipefiles and templates, like cheat sheets and blueprints, are popular because it takes out the guesswork. Subscribers only need to copy the file or fill in the template.

Printable (I.E. a Planner)

Many subscribers like tools that help them achieve their goals. Printables can be effective tools. If you’re an organizer, you can offer a series of printables for listing items in the closet. A mom blogger can provide a printables of menu planning.

Video Training

Videos can be especially effective if offering a tutorial. Like a webinar, it allows your market to see and hear you, which can increase its connection to you.


Short courses not only show off your expertise but provide specific information and instruction subscribers are looking for. You can use an online course system or simply deliver your course through email.

Online Tool/App/Software

Many businesses use free “lite” versions of their digital tools to lure in subscribers. When subscribers use and benefit from the tool, app, or software, they’ll often pay for it.

Free Trial

Similar to offering a “lite” version of a tool, a free trial is another way to get subscribers to test your offer. Free trials work with membership sites as well.


This isn’t quite as effective as other lead magnets since many people aren’t prepared to buy when they first come to your site. But it can attract people to your business over your competitor if they know they can get a discount.


If you’re a coach or consultant, providing a free assessment or review is a great way to show off your expertise. For example, if you’re a web designer, you can offer people a free review of their website.

Free Consultation

Similar to the assessment or review, a free consultation allows subscribers to work with you for 15 or 30 minutes so they can experience what you have to offer.


Quiz and surveys can be fun or informative (or both). Subscribers fill out the quiz or survey, but before they can get the results they have to provide their name and email.


Who doesn’t like winning free stuff? The prize needs to be more substantial than other items on this list to lure in subscribers. Many people aren’t going to enter a contest for a free ebook, but they might for a new iPad or six weeks of coaching.


People often need motivation and inspiration to achieve their goals. Challenges are a great way for you to offer that. For example, if you’re a weight loss coach, you can have a 30-day fitness challenge. Or a social media manager can have a 30-day Instagram challenge.

Choosing the Best Lead Magnet for Your Home Business

While there are many great lead magnet ideas, the key to success in building your list is finding the one that best fits your home business and appeals to your market. If you’re a coach, a webinar, checklists, reports, or a free consultation are just a few of the options that would work. If you’re a virtual assistant, checklists, or a report on how virtual support can save businesses money are good options. Here are some things to consider when choosing your lead magnet:

What Does Your Market Want or Need?

Remember, your lead magnet needs to solve a problem, so you need to determine what your target market needs help with.

What’s the Best Way to Deliver Your Market’s Solution? 

This is where the ideal lead magnet will reveal itself. For example, if you’re a gluten-free food blogger, your market is looking for gluten-free tips and recipes. So an ideal lead magnet might be a recipe book of gluten-free sweets or a tip book on how to convert favorite recipes into gluten-free.

What Are You Comfortable Doing?

A webinar or video might be an ideal lead magnet, but if you don’t have the knowledge or resources for that, you might want to start with something else first.

Promoting Your Lead Magnet

Once you’ve got your lead magnet prepared and the delivery method set up, you need to connect to an email list service. Then you need to promote your lead magnet. Be sure to promote the benefits your lead magnet offers to entice subscribers. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Use a squeeze page. This page offers only your lead magnet. Once they sign up, they can be taken to the rest of your website. To avoid annoying people too much, offer an option to skip the lead page.
  2. Include your lead magnet sign up on all your website’s pages. This includes sidebars as well as at the end of your content.
  3. Promote your lead magnet on social media.
  4. Consider having a pop-up. People hate pop-ups, and yet, they’re effective. You can set a pop up to occur only once for your visitors so they don’t have to continue to be interrupted by them.
  5. Use HelloBar. HelloBar lets you put an email sign-up at the top or bottom of your website, or as a small box in one of the corners of your website.
  6. Mention your lead magnet in the signature line of your email.
  7. Ask your list subscribers to forward your email to others who can read your content and then sign up themselves.

Of all the marketing you can do for your home business, an email list will offer you the most bang for your buck, so it’s something you absolutely want to include in your marketing plan. It all starts with a great lead magnet.