Do You Really Need a Lead Magnet for Your Small Business?


If you’ve been around the internet marketing world for a while, you’ve probably heard of the term lead magnet. It’s one of those topics that comes up again and again, but with so many different meanings attached to it. A lead magnet can be a great way to get people’s attention while building your email list and moving them to a sale. And I have so many thoooooughts!

It’s often used as a catch-all phrase to describe any type of content that marketers give away in exchange for an email address or other personal details.

But what exactly is a lead magnet? And do you really need one for your small business?

What is a Lead Magnet?

Simply put: it’s an incentive to get people to join your email list. ✅

Lead magnets can take all kinds of forms, from free ebooks to exclusive discounts and coupons. But the key thing is that you’re offering them in exchange for their email address. What you decide to give away is completely up to you!

Think about what your ideal customer would find useful in the customer journey stage they are when they encounter that particular lead magnet, and also: how you can make that accessible to them without costing you a lot of time or money.

A good lead magnet can be incredibly powerful, as it gives you the chance to build an engaged list of subscribers who trust you and are ready to buy from you.

So once you’ve got people on your email list, the next step is to keep them engaged with your biz and move them into your paid offers or main core offerings. You can do this by sending them useful content that’s relevant to their interests, along with special offers and discounts that are only available to subscribers (all depends on your products/sercices).

Should You Use a Lead Magnet? 🤔

Honestly? There are many reasons why you should use a lead magnet.

If nothing else, it’s a great way to attract new customers (aka those in the cold/initial area of your customer journey), get more sales and make more money from your business (including from those who are further in your marketing funnels!).

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been struggling to get more subscribers – with a lead magnet, you can absolutely grow your list. A high-quality list of subscribers (aka, aligned people!) can be incredibly valuable. That’s because you can use email to market your products and services directly to your customers.

This can save you a lot of time and money in the long run, compared to other types of marketing. But it also means that you can send special offers, discounts, and coupon codes to your customers. This can help you get more sales and generate more profit without having to spend extra money (hey, sometimes a little incentive goes a long way!).

Lead Magnets In Your Customer Journey

So you guessed it: I do believe lead magnets work and are a good (easy) part of a lead-generating funnel to target 2 stages in the customer journey: cold “I might have a problem” and warm “I need an expert for my problem”.

Fair warning: Some will sign up and unsubscribe — aka they are in the problem awareness stage and cold to you as the solution. They can be feeling overwhelmed and don’t/can’t handle any noise (aka they unsubscribe).

Remember they are cold, they don’t look for an expert to take over the solution just yet! But this leaves an ember of sorts that keeps you as a thought leader when they go through the lead magnet.

On the other hand, many warmer leads are not even downloading the lead magnet for the actual lead magnet, but to see your content and try to see if your expertise is the right fit for them — from getting to see your perspective, how you suggest things get done, what solutions you propose.

So mostly to know more about you as the thought leader they already think you are. They usually don’t even have time for a lead magnet, they are past that stage, they are problem aware, and actively looking for a solution.

Those usually stay longer and are the right candidates for who the nurturing email sequences work on.

Email sequences can be super short (around 3 emails) or quite long. But honestly, the length is pertinent to the audience and how you communicate.

Some do need long sequences because they end up in sales.

TIP!: Look into your own goals: Is your intention to end the sequence with offers?

For example, for one of my sig up forms, the sequence is 3 emails because I need to move them fast into my weekly newsletters to move them into my Instagram DMs.

The clearer you are, the less energy you spend “figuring it out”

Your customer journey and offer tracker will help drive your business forward.

When you create your very own Customer Journey Offer Tracker following my lead inside Offer Synergy, you’ll easily map your unique customer journey and track your timely, relevant offers that help boost conversion rates and bring more revenue in the door. 

Want more insight on this whole using a lead magnet on the customer journey thing? Here’s a video for ya!

How to Create a Great Lead Magnet

Creating a lead magnet is actually pretty straightforward as it can really be anything you want.

Just make sure it’s relevant to your audience, and that you’re willing to keep your promise to deliver it.

If you’re struggling thinking of what you could craft, I got you, here are a few suggestions:

  • Write an e-book about your industry. This is a great opportunity to share your expertise, and it could also help you identify gaps in your knowledge.
  • Offer a coupon code along with a product. For example, if you sell candles, you could offer 10% off all orders over $100.
  • Give away useful resources. You can create audio recordings or video tutorials that are relevant to your customers.
  • Create an email course. This is an excellent opportunity to show off your knowledge, and it could also help you come up with new ideas for future products.

Real-life example: On my lead magnet for my stock membership, I have it at 5 emails to get to the offer and special rate at a somewhat normal speed as they are already looking for the solution but need a bit of an incentive.

For a product or service that is coming soon, you can absolutely have no lead magnet attached because the coming soon itself becomes the lead magnet.

Being on a waitlist is a lead magnet! If you need more incentive or want people to be ready to purchase then giving them a taste is what usually helps for newer brands, but if you are not a new brand and are already established, a simple opt in form is enough, no incentive is needed.

2 Types of Small Business Lead Magnets to Consider! 👀

Now that we’ve covered the basics and you’re on your way to being a lead magnet pro, let me show you three lead magnets that can work for any type of small business (including the creatives like us!).

The first is content upgrades.

This could mean creating an extra video tutorial for your product, or even writing an additional chapter for your ebook. It’s a great way to expand the value of your existing products, and it’s something that customers are likely to appreciate. Aka, this is giving them an extra on something they are already interested in acquiring!

The second is a subscription service.

This could be something like an email newsletter, a monthly online course, or even a regular live webinar if you’re into doing video (I know the camera loves ya).

It doesn’t have to be something huge, but it should be something that your customers will appreciate receiving.

Should You Give Your Lead Magnet Away for Free? 💰💸

Now that you know what lead magnets are and how they can help your business, it’s worth discussing the question of whether you should give away your lead magnet for free.

The short answer is “yes, you can and might want to start that way”. This is because you want to give your customers a reason to subscribe to your list.

And remember, it’s not just about getting their email address. This means that you need to make it as easy as possible for people to do this, especially if you’re running an online business, and free is almost always an easy “yes”.

The more you can engage these subscribers, the more they’ll trust you and be willing to buy from you in the future. Also, it helps you make more money in the long run because you can (and should) use your email list to sell your products and services directly to your customers.

It’s much cheaper to send out special offers and discounts to your email subscribers than it is to advertise to customers who aren’t already familiar with your business.

But I will say, you can absolutely use a low-ticket product or service to enter your marketing funnel and use that as your lead magnet!

So if you’re trying to decide between a free ebook and a low-ticket product, go with the product 🥂.

Why? Two simple reasons: you can grow your list quickly, and this will help you build your credibility and authority in your industry— someone who has spent money with you, even on a low-ticket item, is way more likely to spend more down the line.

Make sure to use a high-quality lead magnet!

This is critical because it’s the first thing that people will see from you.

And if it doesn’t look appealing or useful, then they may never give you a chance to show them what else you have to offer. So make sure it looks professional and (I can’t stress this enoooough) is relevant to your business or industry.

You can also use multiple lead magnets for different products or services that you’re selling. This allows you to target people in a super-specific way, and the more that you have your audience segmented, the better they will feel served and cared for!


Imagine I’m looking to purchase a candle, I’m on your shop and I navigate to the candle’s category….and you hit me with a 10% off a planter…. What?! Why??? Hit me with a “stay connected to see our newest collection of candles when they launch” (not even a discount), and I’m all in because I was prime material to sign up for a specific product!

See how the right (and timely) lead magnet is essential?

Bottom Line

Lead magnets are an excellent way to attract new customers, build your email list and get more sales. It’s a win-win situation.

Your customers get something useful, and you get a list of potential future buyers. 🔥

But wait, friend, before you rush off and create your own lead magnet, make sure you look at your audience, your ideal and qualified buyers and the different stages they fall into during your customer journey. Then craft a lead magnet based on THAT info!

A high-quality lead magnet is key to more sales, more profits, and a successful small business. 🥳

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I'm Ingrid, welcome!  I'm a branding designer + Showit Design Partner, doggy mamma, and tea drinker.

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Hi I’m Ingrid

I design strategy-led brands and Showit websites that confidently represent you.

I’m a designer with a magic touch for monetizing websites. I’m also a tea-lover, dog momma, Ravenclaw, INFP and 2w3 (for all you personality-test nerds like me). 

I’ve also been called a Showit website expert (been with them since 2013), and a sucker for understanding customer journeys, brand psychology, and consumer and sales psychology. My clients have some pretty cool results after working together, things like doubled shop conversions, booked-out services in weeks, and increased monthly revenue, among other cheer-worthy celebrations.

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