What is a Lead Magnet and Why Do I Need Them in My Marketing?

magnetic lead magnet

Perhaps you’ve heard this term, “Lead Magnet” and wondered what it is. Maybe you’ve heard them called freebies, giveaways, value offers or a slew of other terms. The bottom-line is they are a crucial part of your marketing mix and without them, it is hard to measure your success and many times, it’s hard to get to your goals without them.


A Lead Magnet (I’m going to use this term but you can call them whatever you’d like) is simply a piece of content or an item of value that people would exchange their contact information for. Perhaps you would exchange your email address for a free ebook. You might sign up on a website with your email address to get 20% off an order. You enter your email address to gain access to a free webinar or online course. All of these are lead magnets. What’s NOT a lead magnet is a piece of content that just talks about YOU or your brand. Lead magnets are not promotional content. They are not a piece of sales copy. They are helpful and/or valuable content to the prospective customer.

Even if you think the item is super valuable because it tells your prospects about the services you offer…that is NOT a lead magnet. That is a promotional piece of content.


This is often the response of people when I say we need to take their template, their eBook, their white paper or tip sheet and give it away for free. Do you remember the days when you paid to create brochures and flyers and then you bundled them up and went to the post office and paid them to mail these? Well what did that cost you? You are going to pay for your marketing one way or the other. Why not use a method that is working for today’s consumers?

give to get

And if you are going to tell me the printed brochures do work for you, then you can get a pass on this post and get your gold star. Keep doing what’s working. But for those who need to find a way to reach today’s savvy consumer who is searching Google for answers, this is for you. Keep reading.


In marketing, we have goals such as brand awareness, building trust, increasing brand engagement, and establishing credibility, but these are harder to measure. We also have more tangible goals like building an email list, increasing website traffic, driving traffic to sales pages and helping to convert to sales. These actions are usually done with the use of lead magnets. These actions are easier to measure because there is an action people take when they download or sign up for something.

(Be sure to read last week’s post that helps you see how this all fits together to reach your strategic goals: “3 Step Formula to Ensure Your Social Media Activity Will Help You Reach Your Goal” )

Lead magnets are important because they form a bridge from EXPOSURE or AWARENESS, to TRUST and LIKABILITY. They give people a stepping stone to stand on and decide if they want more of you before you expect them to open their wallets. And the higher your price tag is the more steps you may need. You may need a free tip sheet that then gets their email and then in a series of emails you send helpful content that has a link at the bottom to download your research paper or eBook. Then you might have to invite them to a free webinar to then talk about the coaching program or consulting practice you have.

They also help start to qualify a lead and gain a small commitment from them, moving them toward a sale. If I create a piece of content that is for leaders managing teams of people in candy factories, I might just know something about the person who downloads this item.

stepping stones in marketing


Here is an example of some lead magnets. I’m sure there are many more we could think of, but this will get you started:

  • Tip Sheet—Top 10 tips for ____.
  • Resource Guide—Step-by-step guide to ______.
  • Must have apps/tools for your life/business.
  • e-Booklet (keep it short)
  • Research findings
  • Templates
  • Sample questions to help someone __________.
  • Printable guides/cheatsheets
  • Webinars
  • Series of video tips
  • Single short video course
  • Discount code to use on purchase
  • Free item (perhaps customer pays shipping only)
  • Case studies
  • Your best resources (equipment, suppliers, etc)
  • Short e-Course
  • Monthly HOT TIPS (aka not-so-boring-newsletter)


There are a few things to keep in mind as you create a lead magnet. One, you should keep them short and “digestible.” If you give me your 78 page eBook, I will probably save it for later reading…to be read right after those 900 wordy emails and 42 e-zines I have saved in that same folder. Keep the content valuable and short. You want people to download the item and use it right away to see how awesome you are. They will come back faster for more if you keep things short and sweet.

Secondly, you want to be sure the lead magnet is indeed, valuable. Just because you think it’s the most awesome piece of content you have ever seen, it doesn’t mean that people will find it valuable enough to turn over their precious email address for it. It’s like when I see, “Sign up for my newsletter.” You know someone thought that was going to draw people like goats to tin cans, but let’s get honest with one-another, who REALLY wants another email coming in? No one. But if you had something like, “Get our monthly tips and resources,” that might be more of a draw. I’ll never forget when a client told me that he subscribed to many newsletters from professional speakers and was shocked at how useless and self-promotional almost all of them were. Make sure your offer or lead magnet is really providing value.

Lastly, always but your next move or call-to-action at the bottom of your lead magnet. If I download your resource guide and love it, I find it so helpful, I will probably be in the mindset to consume some more! Have a link at the bottom or at the end that takes me to that next step.


Lead magnets are not created out of some special magnetic app that you must use. You can use Microsoft Word or PowerPoint to create your item and then save it as a pdf (most lead magnets are saved as pdf for easy delivery and to preserve your formatting). You can have someone work their magic on the document to make it a visual wonder in Adobe Illustrator, or even have a professionally produced video piece to use…but you don’t have to.

Keep it simple but make it look professional and VALUABLE! A bunch of text thrown on an image that looks like a poster in the breakroom of the post office is not going to cut it. If you do not have an eye for design, either pay someone to lay out a template for you or use one of these tools:

Beacon is a template tool for creating guides, tip sheets and more. The monthly cost is steep ($30) but it might be worth it for a few months to build your inventory.

Canva is another tool that you could use to layout a great template and then plug your content into it.

Zoom Webinars is a great platform to host your webinars.


Now that you’ve created a few lead magnets and have started beefing up your inventory, plan on creating one or two a month, if possible. You want enough of a variety that you don’t have to offer the same item everywhere. Here are some of the spots you can use your lead magnet to draw people in:

  • Website
  • End of blog posts
  • Social media posts
  • The end of a live or pre-recorded video
  • In your newsletters
  • In your email signature
  • In your LinkedIn connection messages

Now it’s time…time for you to create your first lead magnet or another lead magnet if you have one that might need revamping. As you work on that, we’ll get next week’s post lined up to show you the next step in your marketing plan.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below with questions you have or other ways you have used or seen lead magnets used.

Be sure to download your FREE Strategic Planning Guide to help you map it all out and start turning all that activity into results!

strategic planning guide

FISHING FOR SALES: Your Marketing May Not Be Enough

Marketing is a lot like fishing.

Antonio gets up at 2am every morning to head out to sea, off the coast of Vernazza, a beautiful fishing village in Italy. He takes his boat out about 20 minutes further than the other fishermen. He knows just the right spot to fish each morning. Antonio sifts through his collection of nets, looking for the perfect one for the conditions that day. He throws his nets out and sits in the stillness of the dark early morning casting several lines off the side of the boat as well, each with different lures and bait. His work pays off.  By 5am his nets are full and each pole has pulled in its share of beautiful fish. He heads back in to get his fish to market. Fishing is his life. He unloads all the fish but two, which he brings home in a brown paper sack for his wife Louise to cook for dinner.

marketing is not sales

At the market, every restaurant in the area has someone there to grab the fresh catch and bring them back for their daily menus. Some chefs come out themselves, not leaving this task to anyone else while others have their shoppers out gathering the supplies. 

Now, why do some restaurants thrive and have waiting lists for hours each night, while others struggle to keep their doors open? Of course, it’s the way the food is prepared. It’s how people are treated when they dine at each spot. There are many factors that come into play, even if they all start with the same fish. 

Marketing is like fishing. You can catch the attention of thousands and even drive them right to the door of your website, but if people don’t like what they experience once they get there, they move on down to the next spot.  

You might be frustrated from trying every marketing tactic in the book. You see your traffic increasing. You have more people liking and following your content (like chum) but the sales still aren’t happening. It might be time to evaluate what you are actually offering.

marketing is like fishing content marketing
  1. Do you have a product or service that people are still wanting? If you are trying to sell a software that works on a home computer allowing kids to check in when they get home and let their parents know they are safe, you might be overlooking the fact that 10-year-olds have iPhones and can simply Facetime Mom and Dad. You might love your home computer but not understand that many families see the home computer as outdated, instead of using apps on tablets and phones.
  2. Do you have a product or service with a price point that is too high for the audience you have attracted? You might have a quality product, but the audience you’re selling it to has no budget to spend on such items. Is there another audience you need to attract or do you need to retool the product to bring the price down? Your marketing may be attractive to your audience, but they’re just window shopping and drooling all over the merchandise.
  3. Is someone else offering your product or service in a way that is easier for people to access or consume? Taxi companies thought their competition was other taxi companies until Uber came and took a huge bite out of their business. Walmart or Target offer great deals and yet Amazon keeps finding ways to get that same merchandise to consumers faster and free. 
  4. Do you have a message that you think the world needs and yet you forgot to check with the world to see if they feel the same way? Sometimes we fall so in love with our own messaging that we are blinded to the fact that no one else has. 
  5. We have seen several companies lured (had to work that pun in here somewhere) into this thinking. They keep throwing more money to marketing, thinking if we can just get more people to know about them, they will be successful. Perhaps the business needs to retool, rethink and realign with what consumers are looking for. 

Keep your eyes on that horizon and see how consumers are behaving. What information are they really wanting? Don’t just trust your own thoughts and feelings. Do some research. Look at Google Trends. Watch college students. Do surveys of people other than your friends and family members. 

You can bring all the fish in the ocean to your door, but if you’re not able to mix in the right ingredients that appeal to them, cook it and serve it up with a winning attitude, people still won’t bite.

Happy fishing.

Gina Schreck social media and content marketing management agency

Connect with me on Twitter. I’d love to hear your FISH TALES!

Use the Obvious in Your Content Marketing for More Leads

The other day I was listening to a psychologist discuss how children learn, and she said a child’s willingness to ask obvious questions was the key.  She went on to say most adults might assume everyone else knows the answer and therefore we don’t dare ask the obvious questions. It got me thinking. How many times in your business do you stop talking about the obvious because you assume everyone already knows it? What if there are potential customers out there who want to know the obvious about your business? This is the basis for great content marketing!

Thankfully we feel no shame in asking Google the obvious questions. “What does URL stand for?” “What does the word BLOG really mean?” “How much does the human head weigh?” See, I can ask Google the obvious AND the random. No shame. Google will take me to the answers that I seek.

The obvious question for you is, are you answering your customers’ obvious questions in a straightforward manner on your website, blog and social posts so Google will take those inquisitive customers to you?

Human Head Weighs 8 Pounds

Have you ever had someone that you’ve known for a long time (like your mom), or someone you’ve been connected with on a social media platform for quite awhile, ask, “What is it that you do?” Of course we all have. There are people who dare to ask us what we consider to be …the obvious!

There are two reasons we may not be stating the obvious any more:

  1. We’ve said it already.

    Perhaps you wrote a blog post five years ago answering this exact question, or you tweeted about this last year. You don’t want to be redundant. Here is a newsflash: People are not sitting at their computers waiting for your next post to drop. Aside from your mother, most people do not see every post you write. (I apologize if this is hard to take.) In your mix of content, you will need to write the same points over and over, changing up how you might say them, to get a fraction of your contacts to read and then remember them.

  2. We have evolved beyond that point.

    Sometimes I find myself tempted to write, not for my target audience, but for the other “experts” out there who might read my content. After all, what if they read my obvious post and think I am simple? Oh sure, if I am publishing an article for others in marketing or social media, I might want to provide more technical expertise and discuss tools that only someone working full time in digital marketing would care to take the time to look at (and they would probably still say I was simple.) If, however, I want to answer the questions that a potential customer might have, I would need to get into their 8-pound heads and go back to the beginning.

My husband often reminds me that not everyone is a freak like me, with 230 apps on their mobile phones and accounts set up on every social media site known (and unknown) to mankind! It’s hard to fathom, but we all fall victim to the curse of knowledge at some point. We have stored up a wealth of knowledge over the duration of our career and assume that our customers, team members and family, all have the same level of knowledge, or desire to have this same level of knowledge. Another shocker here…they don’t.

Content Marketing shocked you don't want to know about my biz

It may be time to go back to the beginning. Take some time to ask obvious questions of your customers like, “Do you know what we do?” “What are you spending time doing that we might be able to help you with?” Tell them you would like to answer the most obvious questions they have as well. No shame. Once you have gathered some of this information, write a series of blog posts or create some short videos answering these obvious questions. This will be great content for your inbound marketing and content marketing.

ask questions on social media answer with content marketing

Do you need help with your content marketing or inbound strategy? Did you know we do that? What’s an obvious question YOU have? Come on….ask us. No shame.

Connect with Gina on Twitter or right here on our blog!



What’s the Difference Between a Marketing Agency and a Social Media Company?

What’s the Difference Between a Marketing Agency and a Social Media Company?

content marketing versus social media marketing, whats the difference between social marketing and digital marketing

It can be confusing today looking for help with your social and digital marketing, especially with all the different terms out there:  Social media company, social media marketing, social media agency, content marketing agency, inbound marketing company, social media management, internet marketing and it goes on and on.


If a company only handles social media, it may mean they only post short pieces of content on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.  They may ask you to provide the content and they will simply post it or schedule it for you.  Some will monitor questions or comments that come in on those posts and some do not. A social media company should also handle community management, which includes responding to comments or questions along with growing your online communities.


A content marketing or content creation company might just provide the copywriters or content for your blogs, social media posts, websites etc. Content marketing has to be a big focus whichever way you go since you will need not only blog posts and social media posts, but content pieces such as eBooks, tip sheets, resource guides, etc. to use as lead magnets if you are to grow your email list.


A marketing agency, (and some immediately think of the old advertising agency model, like Mad Men) might be focused on print or television media as well as coming up with campaign ideas and then outsource the daily social media activities. Many will handle campaign creation, maybe digital assets and then outsource the rest.


While the term, “inbound marketing” is often interchangeably with “content marketing” they can vary in the results they expect to produce.  Some inbound companies focus on the sales funnel and creating content pieces that drive people to the funnel, so they might create lead magnets, email follow-up or drip campaigns, blog content, and social media posts.

If you are like most organizations, you might need a bit of each.  You want someone to help you come up with creative ways to reach your ideal customers, write or produce the content that appeals to these customers and follow this all the way through from content to results.  After all, it’s about getting more people to become aware of you and your brand and then to encourage more to consider hiring you or buying your products or services.


It’s important to ask lots of questions when looking to hire someone to help you with your marketing.  Some think if they hire a marketing or social media company, customers will walk in the door to make a purchase the next day.  While this certainly can happen, it’s like saying you heard a commercial or saw an article in a magazine today and immediately went out to buy the item advertised.  While that happens, especially if you are really hungry and you see an ad or commercial for a big juicy burger or VooDoo donuts, the reality is, most of us are not running burger or donut shops.

Visual Marketing, social marketing, social media management company

Hungry Yet?

Marketing is about making a connection with people.  A connection via content that can be written, recorded on video or audio, or even through a simple photo that disappears in 10 seconds (SnapChat). After this initial connection is made, a relationship is hopefully started and through more exposure to your content, this relationship is nurtured and you continue to provide value and information until the person feels they trust you and that you are the answer they have been searching for.  This could take hours, days or years, depending, typically, on your sales cycle, the price point of your product or service and when each person actually has a need.

If you have a salesperson or sales team, they could be taking the leads that are coming in from the marketing campaigns and following up to close the sales. The more targeted your content is (meaning, you shouldn’t be posting your content on LinkedIn if you are trying to reach teens, and you probably don’t want to be running ads for high-end luxury cars during Judge Judy), the quicker the return will be on your investment and the more qualified your leads are for the sales team.

If I create a resource guide to help a homeowner stage their home to increase their sales price by $10,000. I know the people who download this piece are LIKELY to be selling their home soon. If I create a piece of content that shows the top interior designs in Hollywood, anyone would download this. It doesn’t qualify the lead enough, so the more targeted your content pieces are, the easier it is to identify where in your sales funnel this prospect is.

Many marketing agencies have had to adapt and begin using the new tools with social media, and many early social media management companies are having to step back and make sure they are incorporating a more holistic marketing approach that goes beyond a few posts on Facebook.  Take some time to figure out what you need to grow your business and then make sure you are hiring a person or company that can partner with you to make that happen. Ask lots of questions and get all of your expectations down in writing to eliminate or minimize disappointment later on.

social media company, inbound marketing, help with content marketing


Gina Schreck, social marketing  @GinaSchreck

Would you like to start PROSPECTING for Social Selling Success?  

Download our guidebook for step-by-step directions

You Are A Writer, Now Start Writing: Getting That Blog Going

Get that Blog Going for Content Marketing Power

I was on a call with a client who said he wants us to “help him start blogging.”  I said, “You mean you want us to blog for you.”  He said “No. I just want you to help me become a writer and start doing it myself.  Give me topics and a deadline.”  Hmmm interesting.  I never thought of a business model where we get paid to get our clients to do the work!  I like it.  But after our conversation, I think I was able to convince him that he already was a writer, he just had to start making regular time for this activity that has never had a place in his day before.


We are all writers.  If you can speak about your business and you know how to use a computer, an old typewriter, or a number two pencil, you can write.  Sure there are some who will enjoy it more than others, and there are some who sound more eloquent in their style of writing, but we all can get the written word down.  For that matter, use a dictation tool to have your computer write for you. (One is built into most computers, tablets and even smart phones today. I am on my Macbook Air, in Notes and under EDIT, there is the option to simply dictate to get my spoken words down in writing.)

 Tips for blogging, inbound marketing

In today’s marketing environment, we must make a shift in our activities and start making time to write.  Our prospects are not answering their phones when we cold-call and they are not reading post cards and other mailers that we are sending out. They are turning to their friend, Google, to help them find answers to their questions.  Google will show them answers in the form of blog posts, social media posts, and of course lots of videos from his son, YouTube.  Is your content being found in this mix?    If you are like our client, and you know you need to start writing more, here are 4 tips to get you going:

How to start blogging tips for beginner bloggers


  1. Set aside 30-60 minutes every day for writing.

    YES, an hour! If you have to wake up earlier or you have to make yourself go to the library or coffee shop, make it so. Write this time on your calendar so you can’t book anything else in that slot.

  2. Remember you are answering a question, not writing a novel.

    It can be overwhelming if you think you have to write a whitepaper or a 1,500 word article.  Imagine someone coming up and asking you a common question about your business.  Now start writing as if you are writing a letter to that person to answer the question.   I love the thought of writing just being a way to help someone or to teach someone something.  I’m not trying to be RR Tolkien (????) or JK Rowling (although now I’m realizing that perhaps if I just change my name to GM Schreck, I could possibly write my first novel).  Today, write down a few of the most common questions you get about your business.  These are the first few posts you will write.

  3.  Don’t edit as you write.

    Years ago, I read a great book by Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones. In it, one of the exercises she gave was to put your pen to the paper and write without stopping for 45 minutes. No editing, no stopping to fact-check.  You were to write without stopping.  It has helped me, immensely, get more content out.  If you get down the “bones,” you can go back and edit later, adding in details or facts.  Inserting links and correcting grammar and spelling errors.  When you stop to fix or correct it, you lose your mojo.  You break the train of thought you have going.  It’s like having someone interrupt you while you are on a roll and then you forget what your point was.  Don’t let that editor interrupt the writer while he is at work.

  4. Create a “Story Starter” notebook for blogging ideas.

    One of the biggest problems people tell me they have when it comes to blogging, just behind not having enough time, is not having topics to write about.  They sit down and stare at the blank screen and then try to come up with something.  If you create a “story starter” notebook in Evernote (or any other notebook system), you will have plenty to choose from. The reason I love Evernote for my “story starters,” is it is everywhere you are.  You can open the app on your phone, jot an idea, and then later open that same note on your laptop, tablet or desktop.  You want to start jotting down questions that people ask you about your business, observations you have throughout the day, thoughts you have after watching a commercial or interaction in a store somewhere.  Start looking for topics everywhere.  All you have to do is jot down the idea or “story starter” and then tomorrow during your writing time you can elaborate, or perhaps you let it stew a little longer and it will bubble up in a post down the road.

  Start blogging tips for blog inbound marketing

So what are you waiting for.  Download, or open Evernote, and get your first few questions written down right now.  (I’ll wait….)

Now fire up that old typewriter, pick up your pen, or open that iPad, and start writing!

social media marketing small business, hotels, social business

Gina Schreck
President (and blogger) at SocialKNX


Want a little extra accountability?  Write the name of your blog and give us the URL to find it.  Let’s all agree to go and learn something new from each other.


If you’d like help augmenting your blogging, we certainly can help you with that.  The more great content you have coming from your website answering those questions, the better.  Contact us for more information.