Marketing & Sales

Need Leads? Your 7-Step Guide to Creating a Lead Magnet That Works While You Sleep

January 27, 2021

Sarah Williams


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When it comes to “sales” for business, there are many approaches. At the end of the day, for any business, our marketing efforts are there to cast a wide net to as many of our ideal clients or customers as possible and then funnel them down into our offers. For online businesses, the best way to start to connect and build relationships with our future customers and clients is with a high-valued piece of content like a lead magnet.


What is a lead magnet?

A lead magnet, also called an opt-in or a freebie in the online space, is a high-value deliverable like an e-book, worksheet, training or template that helps solve a specific problem in exchange for an email address to market to and communicate with later on.


Ultimately, it’s called a “lead magnet” because it’s so high value and specific that it attracts people who need that problem solved. Good thing your business has the solution to that problem! When you can build that trust and showcase your authority in that area, selling becomes much easier, especially if you’re selling via email — yes, even while you sleep.


Are you ready to create one that works for your business? Let’s do it! Here’s your 7-step guide to creating a lead magnet that sells for your business.


Step One: Define The End Goal of Your Lead Magnet


Before even thinking about what your lead magnet is going to be, how it’s going to be designed or what your emails have to say, you need to know what the end goal is. Where is this lead magnet funnelling to? What do you want to prepare people for?


Hot tip: Make your lead magnet a pre-requisite, or the “prep work” for the end goal: buying your offer.


And while you don’t have to sell using your lead magnet, or maybe you don’t have anything to sell yet (that’s okay!) and you’d rather use it as a way to offer value, you can still keep the end goal of building community and showcasing your expertise top of mind.


Step Two: Market Research


Market research is often THE MOST SKIPPED OVER STEP. And I’d bet you it’s because they skipped over this step that many business owners and marketing teams get frustrated when their lead magnets don’t:

  1. Attract anyone at all
  2. Attract the right people
  3. Sell what they want it to sell


Market research is great to learn what problems your audience is dealing with so that you can tailor your opt-in to address one of those specific concerns (that ultimately is working towards that end goal, don’t forget). In addition to topics, market research is also a powerful way to learn how your audience wants to consume content. Do they prefer e-books over audio files or video? Would they rather a 40-minute webinar than a quiz? Take the time to do this step right and you’ll lay the foundation for strong content moving forward.


When it comes to actually DOING market research, you have a handful of options. While I recommend some over the others, starting anywhere on this list is a good thing because it means you’re starting to collect information.

  • Polls on Instagram stories or on a Facebook page
  • Feedback forms from past clients
  • Entry questions for your Facebook group
  • Data mining in social networks and group feeds to see what people are talking about, asking and engaging with
  • Market research survey using a tool like Typeform or Google Forms
  • Market research calls with your ideal client


That last one? Strongly recommend. It’s the most time consuming, but putting a call out there to speak with people who generally embody your Ideal Client Avatar (aka. Buyer Persona) and asking them questions about what they’re currently struggling with, what kind of information they consume, and what they ultimately want out of their life/business/health/etc., is THE best way to gather specific, concrete information that is going to shape the content for your lead magnet.


Step Three: Map Out Your Lead Magnet


Okay, it’s time to put pen to paper and actually map out the content for your Lead Magnet. If you’re writing an e-book, start with the headings first and then build it out. If you’re building a template, do a rough sketch so you know what all the moving parts are and you can think objectively about the level of quality and value you’re putting into it. If you’re building a quiz, make sure you not only know the questions but have clear (goal-driven) responses that those questions are guiding to.

A great tool for planning content like this is Miro, or good ol’ fashioned Google Docs. 


Step Four: Build Your Lead Magnet


So you have a great idea (based on what your audience is telling you), you know it’s set up to be a pre-requisite for your main sales pitch and is really going to get your new leads in the right frame of mind to buy and you have a plan to attack with great content for your lead magnet.


Let’s put it all together into a nice, bite-sized, high-impact package. Some tips:

  • Keep the recipient in mind. Make sure the layout is easy to follow and the content makes sense for someone who is LEARNING (Remember, you’re teaching because you know it. They don’t).
  • Make sure it visually represents your business and is contributing to the overall experience you want your new leads to having over the lifetime of them engaging with (and buying from… over and over and over again) your company.
  • Sometimes, less is more. Be clear and don’t forget to stay focused on a VERY CLEAR problem/solution. It will be more effective in the long run, even if you’re capable of helping them with so much more.


When it comes to tools, here are my recommendations:

  • PDFs or graphic templates: Canva. It’s easy to duplicate and outsource later as your business grows (thanks to all those new leads) and it’s easy to share as templates to make useable by others. 
  • Templates: Google Suite. Whether it’s a spreadsheet or swipe files or whatever in between, Google makes it a BREEZE to share without losing control over ownership. Make sure you set the permissions to “Anyone with this link can VIEW” so they’re forced to Make a Copy.
  • Quizzes: TryInteract is a popular option that integrates with most email service providers. If you had a WordPress site, Thrive Quizzes is a great option to maintain ownership of your quiz and not rely on another platform.

Step Five: Write Your Email Sales Sequence


By now, you’ve locked in the content and are confident in the value it offers. Great! Now it’s time to put your sales hat on, embody the transformation you’re promising and write it out. Below is my recommended sequence for a simple sales funnel.


Note: Sales funnels and email sequences from lead magnets come in ALL shapes and sizes, and it really depends on what you’re selling. If you are looking for custom support, strategy and assets to build your funnel, book the Fun With Funnels intensive with me and let’s spend the day together to map, build and automate it all.


A simple email sequence for your lead magnet to sell a product or offer:

  1. Access email: Give them access to the download, training, etc. and briefly welcome them to your community
  2. Education email: Give bonus value related to the lead magnet. Think about what that next step would be or what they may need support with once they’ve gone through and consumed all that great information from your lead magnet.
  3. Teaser email: Give a personal story and some insight into your specific experience with a problem they may be facing. This email is where we start to transition your language from support with the lead magnet to preparing them for your offer. End off the email with a nice little “ps” statement that you’ll be checking back in with them soon to share an exclusive opportunity.
  4. First sell: Challenge their readiness. You can literally ask: “On a scale of 1-10, how ready are you to [insert transformation here]?”. Dive deeper into what they need to be prepared and know the next steps, and then introduce your offer along with a brief mention of details. Feel free to nudge them to stay in the loop for the next email, where you’ll break down your offer even more.
  5. Second sell & social proof: Share some social proof, whether it’s a client’s past results or some positive feedback you’ve received before going into more detail about how your offer can transform their lives.
  6. Third sell & FAQ: This email is about addressing any objections they may have about your offer. Tackle that resistance head-on by answering commonly asked questions about your offer or about working with you in general. Remind them about your offer.
  7. Last call: Wrap it up with a recap!


Creating urgency, even if your offer is open (i.e. it doesn’t have a close registration date) is important and, I promise you, doesn’t have to feel sleazy. A reminder that if you need support with this, figuring out the right incentives and fully customizing your sequence to feel more “you” and your business, book your Fun With Funnels intensive day and grab the next available spot.


More of a DIY-er? Get on the waitlist for our course The Evergreen Entrepreneur and let me walk you through it all step by step.


Step Six: Set up Your Opt-In Automations & Systems


Here is where the tools come in and really do the heavy lifting for your lead magnet and sales sequence. Almost all email service providers allow you to build automated email sequences. You can set up triggers like “When subscriber opts-in to form __” or “When subscriber downloads __” THEN… Send the email sequence you’ve drafted in Step 5.


Mailerlite is a great tool for this and keeps automations easy. Convertkit is another popular choice. Either way, you need a landing page for people to “opt-in” to your lead magnet (ie. give you their email address) and you need your lead magnet hosted somewhere that you can send them to once they’ve provided their email. From there, your email marketing service provider takes over.


Step Seven: Promote Your Lead Magnet!


All that work is great, but now you have to spread the word. This can be done through social media posts, paid to advertise and letting your existing email list know about it!

Hot tip: Include in your email sequence a nudge for people to share the opt-in page if they found value in it! Turn your subscribers into your brand ambassadors and help spread the word. If you want help building in systems into your business that sell your products and services without social media, join the Waitlist today for The Anti-Social Seller.


Building your lead magnet and getting these systems in place is a great goal to have for your business because it’s an asset that continues to work for you once you’ve created it. It really is that “set it and forget it” type asset that is going to support your business long-term. Even better, once it’s done, all you have to do is duplicate it for the next one and for your next offer!


Want to see how it’s done? Grab our free guide 5 Tasks to Automate In the Next 30 Days to Hit $5K Months. See what I did there? 😉 Enjoy!


Guide: 5 Tasks to Automate in the Next 30 Days to Get to $5K Months

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