The Do’s and Don’ts of Effective Lead Magnets

The Dos and Donts of Effective Lead Magnets

I recently had the opportunity to sign up for and review a whole bunch of lead magnets. Some stand out as exceptionally well done, but most of them?

Unremarkable and not particularly memorable.

This ISN’T what you want your lead magnet to be.

Your lead magnet is likely going to be your audience’s FIRST introduction to what you do, and if you have any hope of converting them, you want to - NEED to - wow them.

You need an EFFECTIVE lead magnet that shows the reader you know what you're talking about and can actually help them achieve their goals.

Think about your own experiences for a minute. What was the last lead magnet you signed up for? Was it genuinely useful? Or was it just meh? Do you remember who you got it from?

If it was useful to you, you probably remember. And you likely go back to that person for more info, right?

But if it wasn't, you're going to remember that the information you got from that person was subpar and avoid anything else they try to sell you.

The truth is that there are so many "meh" lead magnets out there that it can be really hard to actually get people to sign up for yours.

The market is wise to the "tricks" of the trade, and they're damn tired of trading their email addresses for shitty information they could have gotten from a Google search.

You don't want your lead magnet to be like that. *I* don't want your lead magnet to be like that.


The Do's and Don't of Creating an EFFECTIVE Lead Magnet

DON'T: Focus on how "pretty" it is.

Yes, you want your document to be attractive. But unless you’re showcasing your design services, nobody really cares that it’s pretty.

They care that it’s USEFUL, and all those coloured backgrounds, massive images, and hard-to-read fonts make it really challenging for the document to be useful - especially if it’s designed to be used as a PRINTED resource.

DO: Understand how your lead magnet will actually be used by the recipient.

Does it need to be printed to be useful? (i.e. a checklist, a workbook, journal pages, etc.) If so, ditch the colour-blocking and swirly script fonts in favour of a minimalistic design with no more than 2 readable fonts. Use your brand colours to highlight titles, subtitles, and sections, or to create contrast where needed.

If you're designing something to be used digitally, go ahead and pretty it up a bit so long as you keep it readable.

DON'T: Try to cram everything on as few pages as possible.

I get that it can be hard to keep the word count down (believe me, I KNOW!). I also know that someone told you that your lead magnet should only be like 2-5 pages.

But you can’t have it both ways.

Squishing things down hampers readability.

Giant walls of text in a small or hard-to-read font don't get read, no matter how many pages you do or don't have.

See what I mean?

DO: Use a 14-18pt basic font for paragraph text, extra-large paragraph spacing, and plenty of white space.

It doesn’t matter how great the information is if it can’t be read easily. Use standard fonts for blocks of text, preferably a sans-serif True-Type font. (There’s a reason why we see Open Sans, Tahoma, Helvetica, etc. everywhere: because they’re easy to read.) The first time someone sees your document is likely going to be on their phone, so make sure you’re using a font size that can be read on any screen resolution. Use larger than normal line spacing, and plenty of white space between paragraphs to give the eyes and brain a break.

DON’T: Forget about your intro and contact info.

The number of lead magnets I see without this info is truly mind-blowing.

Let’s be real here: the entire purpose of your lead magnet is to sell YOU. Your skills, your knowledge, your products, your services. How the hell is it going to do that if your name isn’t on the damn thing? And just your name isn’t enough...

DO: Include a brief bio and how people can reach you.

The time between someone signing up and downloading could be minutes or it could be days. Either way, it’s plenty of time for them to forget who you are.

Tell readers who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Let them know how they can contact or follow you and where they can get more information on what you sell, but keep it short. The true focus should be the information you’re sharing, but you want people to tie that back to YOU if they find it helpful.

DON’T: Throw together “whatever” and think it will be good enough.

Nobody wants yet another useless document cluttering up their computer. The standard advice used to be “something you can create in under 30 minutes”, but this no longer holds true.

If what you’re giving away can be explained in a social post, it’s no longer good enough and won't be effective at showing your new lead that you can help them.

DO: Make the information or tools that you’re sharing something actionable and truly helpful.

Your audience wants true value and legitimately useful information in exchange for their email address, so your lead magnet needs to include something you could actually charge for. It needs to be something that will help them get a quick win and help them recognize you as someone who can help them turn that small win into something bigger.

How does your lead magnet stand up? Did you hit more Do's than Don'ts? If it didn't and you need a little help to take your lead magnet from Meh to Effective, I invite you to schedule a free, no-obligation, no-pressure consult with me HERE.