Everything You Need to Know About a Lead Magnet

I originally had this post write up on everything you need to know about a Lead Magnet, but the content was so much, that I decided to turn it into a small ecourse. It is available to you for a small fee of only $9. This ecourse is complete with step by step video tutorials.

So, with that said, I’m here to tell you everything you need to know about a Lead Magnet and how to create one on your WordPress website without spending any money on paying a subscription cost to a lead generation service provider. This tutorial is very comprehensive and you will find nothing like it. Most marketing experts will TELL you about Lead Magnets, but will not SHOW you how to do it step by step.

I answer all your questions. What is a Lead Magnet? Why is a Lead Magnet so important? How do you effectively design a Lead Magnet? How do you implement the Lead Magnet? Why is a Thank You page and Welcome Email to your subscriber crucial?

Ready to start creating your very own Lead Magnet?

Then I encourage you to sign up for my all access Ecourse ~ 9 Steps to Creating a Lead Magnet which has all the content below PLUS accompanying video step by step in a course curriculum teachable format. Each step is broken into different modules so you can learn at your own pace.

This Design Girl - How to Create a Lead Magnet

What you need before you start:

  • a free MailChimp Account with at least 1 list set up and 1 subscriber (could be yourself)
  • a free MailMunch Account
  • Design Software (Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Canva)
    If you want to do a 3D mockup of a book (as in my tutorial in Step 4), you will need Adobe Photoshop, otherwise you can create a different graphic
  • a website that has been built with WordPress

What is a Lead Magnet?

A Lead Magnet is an opt-in incentive that encourages your audience to subscribe to your website. Essentially, you are giving (bribing) something of value to your user in exchange for their email. Lead Magnets usually come in the form of a free PDF, eBook, video, digital download, a checklist, a cheatsheet, or if you are in the retail business, a coupon code for a next purchase. Here are some examples of Lead Magnets that pop up on a front page.

Lead Magnet Examples

Why a Lead Magnet is so important

6 months ago, I had NO idea what a Lead Magnet was, or what lead generation even meant. What I learned is that the most valuable thing for your online business are subscriber emails. Why? Because you gain an audience database and if you build your brand well, you will be able to gain their trust, and in return, get customers who will pay for your product or service. It doesn’t matter how many Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram followers you have. At the end of the day, if those 3 services change their algorithm, or if any of those services shut down (which will most likely not happen anytime in our era) but you get the drift, you are left with nothing. You do not own any of those 3 companies or those followers. But with email subscribers, you OWN your audience.

What makes an amazing and awesome Lead Magnet?

  1. It is an instant and fast download.
  2. It makes your audience take action.
  3. It is very specific and targets your ideal client.
  4. It is designed well
  5. It is of high value.
  6. It solves a problem to a real question.

Lead Magnet examples for your business

Fitness: 21 Days to get Leaner Abs
Food: 5 Amazing Recipes for your Summer Party (you can have this on rotation during each season, holiday)
Health: How to Naturally Heal your Gut with Apple Cider Vinegar
Beauty: 5 Ways to Naturally keep your Skin Looking Fresh
Parenting: 10 Birthday Party Ideas for your Toddler
Travel: Vacation Packing Checklist for the Whole Family

So, now that you have an idea for your Lead Magnet, let’s design and implement your Lead Magnet step by step.

Step 1. Design your Lead Magnet

When you have your idea in mind, begin designing your Lead Magnet. You can use Microsoft Word, Excel, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, or some other program that can convert easily to PDF. If you have multiple PDF’s that need to be merged together, a great resource to merge them is at PDF Merge. I suggest a Lead Magnet of no more than 10 pages. Make sure it’s easily digested.

For my Lead Magnet, I took 4 of my most popular posts, which I considered to be my most fundamental posts in the area that I excelled at, and really, what this entire website is about. Rather than trying to come up with a whole new ebook with a new topic, I used something that I have already created. I redesigned them to fit an 8.5 x 11 page in Adobe Illustrator and converted it to a 6 page PDF Download. Then, I played around with the most effective eye catching titles and named it “4 Tips to Creating a Stellar Design“.

Tips on Designing your Lead Magnet

  • Have a title page and table of contents.
  • Make each page consistent with any header content.
  • Make sure your fonts and font sizes are consistent as well.
  • Utilize a Design Grid when designing your layout. I speak more about the Design Grid on one of my posts here. (This is actually one of my tips on my Lead Magnet)
  • Use your brand color scheme.
  • Keep your Lead Magnet file size under 5mb.
  • If you are selling a product or service, include that on the end page with a link to that product or service to further market your brand.

Step 2. Determine where your Lead Magnet is going

There are several places you can place your Lead Magnet opt-in box.

Lead Magnet

  • Main Landing Page
    – Block out your entire landing page completely and have the user opt-in even before seeing any content. This is highly aggressive though!
    – A pop up light box that blurs out the page contents and have an optional mail opt-in form. Or non optional!
    – Bottom right/left slide out
  • Pages and Posts
    These are usually small snippets of code (shortcodes) you can paste in the widget areas.
    Sidebar Widget
    Bottom Footer Widget
    Embed it before or after each blog post
  • Top header bar
    – check out hellobar.com or MailMunch.co
  • Exit pop up
    – a very highly effective location for converting your audience to subscribers. When you leave a website, this usually comes as a light box pop up and blurred out background content that prompts you as a reminder to ask “Are you really really sure you want to leave without signing up? Because if you do, you lose your chance to win a Ferrari.”

Depending on where you are placing your Lead Magnet opt-in box, you must take this into consideration, because it is highly unlikely you will be able to place a nice and effective graphic on the top header bar since you have limited height real estate. So design your Lead Magnet graphic according to where you are placing it. If you wish to implement a Lead Magnet in all these areas, then you may need to design different graphics that are suitable for each location.

As you can see on this website, I have it on the right sidebar and after each blog post and page (you can also exclude specific posts and pages in MailMunch).

Step 3: Map out your Lead Magnet

Once you have determined where you are placing your Lead Magnet(s), the next thing you want to do is map it out. As in using a pen and paper! There are a few different layouts you can choose from depending which lead generation service provider you go with, MailChimp, Lead Pages, MailMunch, etc. where you can have the graphic on the left, text on the right, or vice versa, etc. Usually, if your Lead Magnet is on a sidebar widget (like my example in this post), you are playing with a portrait orientation, so for my Lead Magnet, I chose to have an eye catching title, a little blurb underneath, a graphic image of what the user is going to get, the email form box, a big download button, and a disclaimer saying spam sucks. Make your Lead Magnet as SIMPLE as possible and follow your brand colors.

Lead Magnet Examples

Check out my original non lead magnet opt-in box on the left with just a subscribe button. Now check out my new Lead Magnet opt-in box on the right. Which one would you most likely enter your email in? Which ones seems to provide more value and which ones looks more enticing?

Lead Magnet Examples

So rather than having a plain old boring subscribe box, why not take it to the next level, and put in a little bit of effort up front and design a really cool lead magnet of high value with an accompanying opt-in box. The end result will be more enticing and attractive to your audience and will have a better conversion rate than a normal subscribe only opt-in box.

Step 4: Design your Lead Magnet graphic for the opt-in box

If you are offering a downloadable ebook, a cheatsheet, a quick pdf download guide or even if you are an author and have a book coming out and want to promote it, you want to access this video. I will show you exactly how I created the 3D digital book cover in Photoshop using covervault.com mockups. So for this section, you will need Photoshop. If you do not have Photoshop, you can certainly design another graphic such as a flat book cover. Just make sure that the width of your book cover is equal to the width of your sidebar so that it’s nice on the eyes.

You can also access a previous tutorial of mine which here which explains, with a different sample book. How design a 3D book digital book cover in Photoshop.

As well, you will need to reference my other post on How to Determine the Width of your Sidebar. This will let you know the width to design your Lead Magnet graphic.

This Design Girl - How to Create a Lead Magnet

Step 5: Implement your Lead Magnet

So now that you have your graphic designed and all the text mapped out, you can implement it. If you are just starting out and have no budget, I recommend using MailChimp for sending out email campaigns. It is free for the first 2000 subscribers and is very easy to use. I have been using MailChimp for years. The only thing I dislike about it is that their opt-in forms are really ugly. But, there is a solution! I found a nicer lead generation service with much nicer forms that integrates with MailChimp and other mail service providers. That website is MailMunch.

So essentially:

  • MailChimp – is a mail service that sends out your email marketing campaigns. They have opt-in forms but they aren’t nice on the eyes.
  • MailMunch – designs really nice and beautiful opt-in forms that integrate with your MailChimp subscriber lists. They do not send out email campaigns.

This Design Girl - How to Create a Lead Magnet

Step 6: Create your Thank You page

Once the user has entered in their email, the biggest mistake you can make is:

  1. Sending them to absolutely nowhere.
  2. Sending them to a Thank You page that says “You are now subscribed. Thank you aaaand Goodbye.”

And trust me, I’ve done both of these in the past. Like I’m talking last week.

Here is where we can take it to the next level and use this opportunity to thank your audience for joining and you can also let them know about other products or services you are selling.

Things to include in your Thank You page:

  • That same image of your Lead Magnet to build continuity.
  • Having a photo of yourself will build trust and link you to your product/service.
  • Any upsells / mentions of your other products or services.
  • Contact information.

Now, I could have included my Lead Magnet download here, but I didn’t. The reason why I didn’t was because I want the user to confirm their email subscription in their email. If they got that freebie, there may be a chance that they won’t confirm that subscription. So once they confirm their email, they will receive the welcome email with that downloadable link. If we didn’t do that double opt-in then they won’t receive that welcome email.

Now, you could have done all that without the double opt-in, but the reason for the double opt-in (as painful as it is), protects you against spambots, email scams and fake subscribers which could increase your monthly billing rates. It ensures that the subscribers have valid email addresses.

So, here’s my Thank You page once the user enters in their email in the Lead Magnet opt-in box.

Lead Magnet

Step 7: Hosting your Lead Magnet

So, how is the user going to actually GET your Lead Magnet? You aren’t going to sit there and send emails all day to your subscribers with PDF attachments are you? No! 🙂 So you need to host it somewhere. This could be on:

  • Dropbox
  • Google Docs
  • Your Website

    I recommend this method as it’s the easiest and your users won’t have to fiddle around with other software. You can upload it to your website and place the link into your welcome email which I will talk about in the next step.
    Ways to upload:
    1) Through your cPanel file manager
    2) Through FileZilla by creating a folder in your website directory
    3) Through your media library in your WordPress dashboard

This part might be a little tricky and I explain it through a follow along video in my all access Ecourse Teachable format ~ 9 Steps to Creating a Lead Magnet, as well, I include a tutorial on how to access your hosting server which is part of my other WP101 course for absolutely free.

Step 8: Automating the Welcome Email

How to set up your Welcome Email in MailChimp:

  1. Login to MailChimp
  2. Go to Lists / Select your list
  3. Go to Sign Up Forms / General Forms
  4. Under Forms and Response Emails, select “Final Welcome Email”, and checkmark “Send a final welcome email”.
  5. Then go ahead and design it. Save.

For further detail and explanation on how to automate the first Welcome Email, click here to read MailChimp’s version. I also go through this with you in my all access Ecourse Teachable format ~ 9 Steps to Creating a Lead Magnet.

Test it out!

Now that your beautiful Lead Magnet is all done and up on your website, make sure you test it out. Subscribe to your own website by using another email that you have. Make sure all the steps work out nicely and that everything flows and is cohesive. This step is VERY IMPORTANT!

Step 9: Marketing your Lead Magnet

When you are satisfied with your result, you can now post that on your social media, and also tell all your cousins, aunt, uncles, grandparents about how proud you are that you just designed your very own Lead Magnet

I’m kidding. Well that is ONE STEP, but if you do a quick Google search on How to Effectively Market your Lead Magnet, you will come up with nothing short of thousands of useful articles.

Make sure you already have a Facebook page for your business with a url like www.facebook.com/thisdesigngirl and not something like www.facebook.com/mynephew33483940 Post regularly on it and be sure to mention your lead magnet. Like “Hey guys, I now have a free downloadable ebook that is sure to help you solve any design dilemma! Check it out here… ”

Same this goes for Instagram. You can also post a picture of that graphic you worked so hard on!

Good luck in the marketing as always, there’s a plethora of articles on Google that can help you out in this area.


Heck yes, that was alot to take in. It even made my head spin while I was trying to implement this the past week, and I’m a pretty darned organized person. So as a quick recap, the subscription process goes like this:

How to Create a Lead Magnet

  1. User = enters in their email in your Lead Magnet opt-in box.
  2. MailMunch = auto directs user to your Thank You page.
  3. MailChimp = auto sends user a subscription confirmation to their email.
  4. User = confirms their subscription in their email.
  5. MailChimp = auto sends Welcome Email to user.

So don’t get scared of scaring away your subscriber. They really only have to do 2 things. Enter their email and confirm their email.

And finally, here are the steps to creating your very own amazing Lead Magnet.

Again, if you want to create your own Lead Magnet, get an all access pass to my Ecourse Teachable format ~ 9 Steps to Creating a Lead Magnet with video so all you need to do is watch and follow along to implement your own Lead Magnet.

This Design Girl - How to Create a Lead Magnet

Hope you enjoyed this post and as always, please feel to leave a comment and let me know if this worked for you! I would love to know if this has helped you out! Happy Designing!

About the Author:

I am an entrepreneur, a designer, a wife, a mom, a bad cook, and a great cleaning lady. I say no to clutter and yes to pushing the envelope. I am a complete and utter design geek and I thoroughly embrace my OCD qualities.