Don Crowther
Don Crowther

Proven Strategies and Techniques To Build YOUR Business

Proven Strategies and Techniques To Build YOUR Business

8 Characteristics Of A Great Lead Magnet

Do you want to create an amazing lead magnet, opt-in incentive or content upgrade? One that’s going to get all kinds of traffic and attention, and most importantly, people to sign up for your email list?

There are eight key elements that go into an amazing lead magnet.

Watch an abbreviated version on video:

1. Great Lead Magnets Don’t Overpromise

Great lead magnets are realistic. 

You don’t promise people they’re going to lose 40 pounds in 10 days. You’re not going to promise them world peace. You’re not going to promise them absolute health, the most amazing marriage, perfectly behaved children, millions of dollars in their bank account, etc… in something you’re giving away for free.

People aren’t stupid. They realize that world peace, instant immunity from all disease, going from the brink of divorce to the perfect forever marriage, and 300 pounds to 180 in 3 weeks simply isn’t realistic. When you make claims that promise those things not only do you lose credibility, but you put yourself at legal risk.

Also, people recognize that people rarely give away truly valuable information. They understand they’ll have to pay to get certain kinds of information. They recognize that if you’re promising the secret system to making a million dollars in the next year, you’re probably not going to give the entire thing away in exchange for their email address. 

If you make those kinds of offers, they won’t believe it so they won’t sign up for it. People don’t fall for that kind of thing.

Plus, even if you can make a huge big transformation promise, you need to consider how this fits into your sales strategy. If you give them the entire strategy for free, what do you still have to sell to them? 

So if you shouldn’t promise them the solution to their ultimate, big problem, what should you promise them?

2. Great Lead Magnets Focus On A Specific Question Or Need

The best opt-in incentives focus on a specific question or need related to the big transformation that you’re going to offer them.

In most cases your program, your course, your coaching, or your consulting deals with helping them solve a big problem in their life like stopping smoking, preventing divorce, losing weight, building their business or getting promoted.

Great lead magnets focus on a small portion of that big promise: a specific problem they’re dealing with – a problem that’s part (but not all) of their big-picture problem. 

Let’s say that your program helps people who are on the brink of divorce fix their marriages.

Rather than promising them a free report that shows them 3 easy steps staying together in eternal bliss (an promise any struggling couple will see as unrealistic), instead focus on solving one specific problem that will bring them closer to saving their marriage, like:

  • Money Talk Script: How to Have a Conversation About Money Without Having a Fight
  • 7 Free Ideas For a Great Date With Your Spouse
  • Couple Spa-day Plan 
  • 5 Ways to Defuse a Fight
  • 15 Texts to Send Your Spouse to Get Both of You Into the Mood
  • Scheduling Intimacy: the Secret to Building Your Relationship
  • How To Speak Your Spouse’s Love Language
  • What to Say the Morning After a Fight
  • 365 Ways To Say I Love You
  • How to Talk To Your Spouse About Getting Couples Therapy


Can you see how each of these is focusing on a very specific thing that is on the mind of someone in that situation?

And how these will be seen as something realistic they can do to start moving towards their eventual goal?

And how each of these is something that, once people have consumed that information, they are likely to be happy with you and want more, leading them to your offer to sell them things? 

And how even after consuming that information, you’ve still got lots of other information you can give them without “giving away the store” so you can still sell them in the future?

3. Great Opt-In Incentives Give People What They Really Want

There are many different ways and tools you can use to figure out what people really want before you go to all the work to create and market a lead magnet on that subject. You can read more about them by clicking below:

Free Tool: Using Autocorrect to Find Content Ideas 

Using YouTube to Find Content Ideas

Putting Yourself In The Shoes Of Your Customer

The key is to find out what people are searching for. Then create lead magnets, opt-in incentives and content upgrades on those subjects, because searches on that subject area a good indication that they’ve got a question. They’ve got a need, that they’re trying to solve. You should be the one that solves it for them!

Please don’t do what so many of us do by creating something that is important to you. The only thing that’s important when you’re creating an opt-in incentive is what’s important to them and to answer a specific question or need that they’ve got.

4. Great Lead Magnets Have A Front Cover

Yep, it may seem minor, but having a front cover is important in getting people to opt-in to receive your lead magnet. You need something you can turn into a graphic, take or create a picture of, and actually show it on the form that you’re asking people to opt-in on. 

Not putting a picture of the thing they will receive almost always hurts your conversion rate.

Actually, let’s get a bit more specific here. There are two kinds of pictures you put on the landing page where you’re trying to get people to opt in. Number one is a picture of what they’re opting in to get – that’s what I just referenced above. 

Number two is a picture of that shows what their life will look like after the transformation you’re offering in that lead magnet has already taken place. That transformation image, though, is usually not as good as the image of the report they’re getting, because the transformation can be achieved in a lot of different ways, not just by opting in to receive your report.

If you show a picture of what they’re getting by opting in, they’re much more likely to want it.

5. Great Opt-In Incentives Are Short And Actionable

3-5 pages of content is perfect!

You’re not writing 200-page books here. 

Ideally it’s something short, that they can consume in less than 10 minutes, that gives them clearly-stated steps they can follow to achieve a specific goal. They came to you because they wanted an answer to a specific question. Answer it and tell them how to solve this particular problem in their life.

Doing so creates huge amounts of trust and expertise for you.

6. Great Lead Magnets Are Usually Written In About 2 Hours

As I mentioned above, great lead magnets are short and sweet, so they’re not something you should agonize over. If you’re taking 95 hours to write this thing, you’ve taken way too long. You’re over-delivering, and even after all that, you’re not giving people what they want. 

Remember, also, 80% of all the opt-in incentives that people sign up for, they never actually read. You’ll want yours to be good, so the 20% who do read it will see your expertise and want more, but spending days working on it isn’t a wise investment of your time.

Spend two hours, get it done. 

I recommend you actually set a timer for 90 minutes. At the end of that time, stop writing, reset your timer for 30 minutes, and spend that half hour editing and formatting it into something that you’re ready to send out. 

Then when those two hours are over simply say “okay, I’m done. I’m respecting my self-imposed deadline.” (Because those should be the most important deadlines in your life.)

Setting and adhering to a 2-hour limit keeps you out of the perfectionism zone. Just two hours is the limit – at two hours, you’re done! Ship it!

7. Great Opt-In Incentives Are Delivered Through Email

This is a tough one for many people to understand. Since they can put a download link on the thank-you page people receive after they sign up, they think they should.

Unfortunately, that’s a huge mistake. You need to train them to go to their email, that you send them great emails, and they should read and do what you tell them to do in those emails.

If you skip that step in this very first interaction with you, you have a high risk that you’ll never get them into those habits.

That said, I’m also a huge proponent of giving them a great video right after they sign up – a video that gives them amazing information, that enables them to see you face-to-face, that generates trust and expert-positioning, and that goes beyond what you just promised to give them. How does that fit with what I just told you?

Simple. What you promised to give them in exchange for opting in gets delivered via email. The video goes beyond that.

So you simply say, “check you email in about 10 minutes where you’ll the ______ I promised you. But in the meantime, I wanted to share _______ with you.” Then go on and give them more than what you originally promised them.

By doing so they get to know you, see you and understand more about you and your personality and what it is that you give, yet they’re still being trained to go to their email.

8. Great Lead Magnets Are One Of Many

The best opt-in incentives are not the only opt-in incentives you create. It’s very rare to find a large email list that was built on a single lead magnet unless large amounts of ad dollars were spent to promote it.

If you don’t have several tens of thousands of dollars just laying around with nothing to do, I recommend you create a number of different lead magnets.

How many is enough? I like to say you’ve done your job when you’ve got about 30 of them out there. 

Now, I realize that sounds overwhelming. Don’t think of your job as creating 30 lead magnets. 

Instead, just spend two hours and create one.

Then next week spend 2 hours and create another one.

And then next week create another one. 

And in about eight months, you’ll have 30 of them out there.

Here’s what will happen. Of those 30 lead magnets, 2 of them will be big hits, and will generate 80% of your list. 10 of them will generate most of the rest, and the rest won’t do much for you.

But here’s the thing. Those 2 won’t be your first two. That’s life! Sorry about that.

Different people have different needs. Different people have different interests, different people have different things that they’re in, that they are willing to opt in to receive. No one opt-in incentive is probably going to do it for everybody. 

So create more than one. There’s no limit. There’s no lead magnet police out there that say, you have to go to opt-in jail because you created more than one lead magnet. 

Create as many opt-in incentives as you need to get the people you need to be on your list so that you can sell them what you need to be able to make a living.

By the way, don’t stop creating lead magnets just because you’ve got 30 in your stable. It’s a very good practice to constantly be putting more free lead magnets out there. Your business will be better as a result!

All right, there you go. Seven different key characteristics of an amazing lead magnet.

So here’s my question. What was breakthrough for you out of this? What do you get now that you didn’t get before? What mistakes have you made in the past? Let me know in the chat.

An Invitation

I’d like to end by giving you a very specific invitation.

I invite you to, within the next seven days, spend two hours and create a new opt-in incentive.

Go do some research, figure out what people really want in your niche. Spend two hours and write three to five pages of something good. And then spend another couple of hours figuring out how to get it up on your website and in an opt-in page, creating everything else like that.

Next seven days.

Would you be willing to do that?

Is four hours of your time in the next seven days worth possibly changing your entire business and life.

Because that’s what a good opt-in incentive can do. Think about it.

Follow these seven tips. Create an amazing one, and I love to see what you come up with.

This is Don Crowther saying, just go do this stuff.

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  1. Thank you, Don. This is just what I need. I almost always do an overkill with my lead magnets and, not surprisingly, they don’t produce the results I desire. This post is filled with gems of wisdom and will be my main source of reference for every lead magnet I create in future.

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