4 Top Lead Magnets For Small Businesses

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Jun. 1 2022, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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Email marketing continues to reign as a solid way to build an audience. However, for that process to work, you need to grow your email list. And that is where lead magnets come in.

Lead magnets are essential for your small business to build and attract a following, generate a steady stream of leads, and convert them into customers.

In essence, a lead magnet is an incentive, in the form of exclusive content, product, or discount, meant to nudge your website visitors and prospects into giving up their contact information — primarily their email address — which you can then use to nurture a relationship with them and ultimately turn them into loyal customers.

In this post, let’s take a good look at some of the top small business lead magnet ideas and how to use them. But first, let’s start by understanding them…

Small biz lead magnet strategies.

You’ll find countless lead magnet ideas on the internet, ranging from eBooks and checklists to whitepapers and discounts.

In this post, we dive deep into ten hand-picked lead magnet strategies that have repeatedly proved their worth for small businesses. Let’s go!

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1. Offer blog readers content upgrades.

It’s 2020, and it’s safe to assume you have a business blog on your small biz website. If you’re keeping it active by publishing fresh and quality content consistently, then it’s already working as a decent lead generation tool for your business.

But you can take it up a notch by using content upgrades. A content upgrade is essentially an opt-in bribe created specifically for a particular blog post.

Brian Dean, the blogger behind Backlinko, reported that content upgrades helped him boost his email conversion rate from 0.54% to 4.82% — a 785% increase!

With a content upgrade, the idea is to capture a person already absorbing your blog post by incentivizing them with some form of bonus material in exchange for their email address.

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For instance, if you have a super-comprehensive blog post about how to succeed with small business SEO, a content upgrade could be a quick downloadable PDF checklist of all the SEO tips you outline placed in the middle and end of the blog post.

A reader, who is devouring your content because it’s useful and engaging, would likely download it so that they can ensure they follow all your tips when working on their website’s SEO.

Another way is to offer bonus content as an upgrade. For example, if your blog post is an extensive listicle — say, “50 battle-tested ways to grow your SaaS startup” — you could create a content upgrade that allows readers to access bonus tips if they enter their email address, similar to as shown below.

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2. Build strategic exit-intent pop-ups.

Like most, you may think pop-ups are annoying and intrusive, but they work well for lead generation. Pop-ups helped BitNinja increase subscriptions by 114%, and they saw 65% more leads (the number of free trial registrations) almost instantly.

Countless businesses have leveraged exit-intent pop-ups to generate more leads, and it’s a strategy that’s worth a shot.

The best part is that this strategy combines well with various content types, such as webinars, eBooks, online courses, cheat sheets, case studies (discussed later), and what have you.

And if you’re selling products (physical or digital), you can offer exclusive discounts to nudge departing prospects into giving you their email address, as shown below.

You can promise they’ll get nothing but the best, most relevant deals delivered straight to their inbox — no spam! To build such strategic exit-intent pop-ups for your business website, you can use a tool like ConvertFlow or KyLeads.

Just make sure your pop-ups don’t appear repeatedly, are easy to close, and have one clear call-to-action.

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3. Run giveaways or competitions.

One of the most straightforward and effective lead magnet strategies is to run a giveaway contest. After all, who doesn’t fancy a chance to win free stuff?

However, if you want your giveaway contest to be as effective as possible, make sure you do two things:

  • Qualify your leads by offering a super relevant prize — something that only your ideal customer would want, not something (like the latest iPhone) that everyone wants.
  • Incentivize participants to share your contest on their social networks by offering additional entries for each social share.

Work with your team to develop ideas for giveaways and contests that are feasible for your business and ship the giveaway using a simple form or an exciting email newsletter.

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4. Invest in building a web app.

Like the second strategy, building a simple web app relevant to your business is one of the strongest lead generation strategies you can employ.

Sure, building a web app needs more investment in terms of time, effort, and money than writing an eBook, for instance — but it can pay off in terms of generating a constant and copious influx of quality leads.

HubSpot’s Website Grader and Shopify’s Refund Policy Generator tools discussed earlier were great examples of web apps.

Another great example on a smaller scale is List Goal by Bryan Harris, a basic web app that helps you get more email subscribers and is entirely free to use. However, when you sign up to get your free lifetime account, Bryan gets your permission to email you.

You may think that tools only make sense for software companies and others already in the business of building web apps, but that’s not necessarily true. As mentioned earlier, you can create an app with no-code platforms or invest in a development team for your project.


Lead magnets are one of the most battle-tested and value-driven ways to capture your prospects’ email addresses.

While one may work better than the other based on what your business is about, when it comes to generating more leads and converting them into sales, you simply can’t go wrong with a lead magnet strategy — no matter which one you pick!

And once you have a growing list of email addresses, you can send out valuable content and exclusive offers to build a relationship and convert those leads into happy, paying customers.

So if you haven’t already, collaborate with your team to pick a lead magnet strategy that’s right for your business and get cracking right away!

This article was written by Mark Quadros and originally appeared on Score.

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