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I’ve been bringing you lessons about lead magnets because they’re critical for growing your email list.

I’m not done yet. I’m going to bring it in this one by offering a litany of ideas for lead magnets with titles and templates you can easily adapt to capture more leads from your website.

A quick review, if you missed the prior posts (and offers)…

I’m putting all this effort into helping you create and promote lead magnets because I feel so strong about the need to grow your email list and put the power of email marketing to work. Let’s face it: social media’s a bit slippery to rely on for lead generation and ranking on search is damn difficult for most—especially if you’re an early stage content creator.

Should either search, social, advertising, or any channel succeed in driving traffic to your site, you still lose the battle when visitors come and go without joining your list, getting in touch, trying or buying your product.

The bottom line is you need to give your visitors a reason to give you the keys to their inbox.

And that reason is…? Ultra-strength content… the keeper kind.

You need to offer content that beams from the screen the magic power it takes to get people to type their email address.

This is an exercise to help you crank out killer lead magnets

Our lead magnet creation class shall now commence. I’m glad you’re here. You’ll want to take notes, brainstorm with me, and definitely download the free Lead Magnets Template Kit.

The goal is to inspire powerful lead magnet ideas—featuring compelling titles and attractive covers—that go from being mine to being yours, in a short span of time.

The session will feature:

  • Lead magnet titles that have converted at a high rate for my company and clients.
  • Additional great lead magnet ideas from around the web.
  • Variations on the ideas to help kick start your next lead magnet.
  • And little in-article workshops or brainstorms to ignite the creative process.

Why all the emphasis on the title and cover? The title and cover is what gives your lead magnet its magnetic force. Makes sense, right? Your big chance to showcase the value of your offer comes through in (1) what it’s called and (2) how it’s presented.

Your “book” will indeed be judged by its cover.

Don’t take that to mean the remainder of your lead magnet can be trash. Nut-uhn. Yes, you may be able to get away with growing your email list with a lead magnet that makes a big promise, but delivers little substance, but that’s a flimsy strategy bound to backfire in the long run.

You not only want your lead magnet to pull, you want it to push your prospects’ buttons in all the right ways. So let’s talk about giving your potential customers what they want.

The How To:
Customers want guidance

So much of what takes place online is essentially a Q&A exercise. Everyone’s looking for answers, instructions, and guidance of some sort to a problem they wrestle with. The “how to” is the essential way to fulfill these requests.

Lead machine webinar

How to Gas Up and Oil Your Lead Machine is the title of a Kissmetrics webinar I recently presented. It has a little fun with the “machine” metaphor, but alternatively could have been titled How to Get Leads with Lead Magnets.

Optimize software training

How to Optimize Your Customer Software Training: 51 Practices to Achieve New Levels of Performance is an eBook I conceived and wrote for Cloudshare. Note how the second half of the headline injects the idea the eBook is organized as a list and includes a benefit.

Marie Forleo audio

How to Get Anything You Want is a seriously compelling title Marie Forleo used for her free audio training. You have to love how she packaged and presented it on an iPhone to make it instantly clear the offer is a recording.

Now it’s your turn:

  • Write down “How to ______________.” Fill in the blank with something you can teach with confidence.
  • Do it again. You can teach more than one thing, right?
  • Try the two-part headline approach. Make your “How to” passage short and sweet. Add a colon and a benefit statement. (e.g. How to Decorate Your Home Office: Spend Less and Get More).
  • Try making part two of your headline a list. (e.g. How to Decorate Your Home Office: 12 Ideas that Cost Less than $50). Notice how the specificity adds to the magnetism.

The Command:
Compel customers with action

The command approach to writing a great lead magnet title is simple and effective. 

LinkedIn ebook

Build Your Personal Brand and Your Insurance Business on LinkedIn is the title of an eBook I wrote for Agency Nation. 

Tool your team

Tool Your Content Team with the Right Talent is the title of a co-branded eBook I wrote for Demand Media and ScribbleLive.

Now it’s your turn:

  • Return to one of the “How to” titles you wrote and delete “How to.” What remains should be a directive or command that starts with a verb. The examples we’ve used so far include: Gas-Up, Optimize, Decorate, Build, Tool.
  • Think through other options relevant to a lesson you can give. You may be ale to help a potential customer… Save, Grow, Expand, Accelerate, Win, Dominate, Start, End, Control, Train, Learn. All verbs, all good.

The List:
Everyone wants order

Lists are a close relative of the “how to” and make for rocking lead magnets. We all crave order. We crave simplicity. We’re idea hunters too. Deliver this stuff in the form of a list.

Digital marketing consultant

32 Ways a Digital Marketing Consultant Can Help Grow Your Business is a list-based piece I produced recently to answer a question I get often, “How can you help me?”

Lead magnet promotion checklist

Lead Magnet Promotion Checklist: 30 Ways to Build Your Email List Faster is a freebie I mentioned atop this story—a classic listicle.


I used the same approach (and design) here: Cranking Your Ranking: 21 Point SEO Blog Post Checklist. I like the idea of constructing a series

Now it’s your turn:

  • Conceive a list. Don’t worry about the number. List ways you can help your customer accomplish something specific.
  • Look at traffic metrics from your site and if a list post is earning eyeballs, create a lead magnet based on it.
  • Steal a list idea from competitor’s sites, books, courses, infographics, magazines, etc. Lists are everywhere.
  • Experiment with descriptions of your list. “Checklist” and “cheat sheet” are proven winners.
  • Experiment with the description of the things on your list: tips, pointers, tactics, action items, ideas, techniques, types, laws, commandments, exercises, recipes, formats. I’m a fan of “ways.”
  • Write a version beginning with the number.
  • Write a version that includes the benefit.

The Mistakes:
Customers want to get it right

We continue plodding down Variation Blvd. now with the underbelly of the how-to list, the “how not to.” They come in many flavors: mistakes, misconceptions, warnings, dangers, etc.

Whatever they are, they are to be avoided and therein lay the pulling power. Because whatever you do, you want to get it right by avoiding the mistakes of those that have gone before you.

I began typing “5 mistakes” and Google suggest showed me…

  • 5 mistakes parents make with newborns
  • 5 mistakes every investor makes
  • 5 mistakes when leasing a car

I added the word “traveling,” that is: 5 mistakes… traveling.

  • 5 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Packing a Carry-On
  • The 5 Worst Trip Planning Mistakes
  • 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Traveling with Pets

I changed the number to 11. More ideas. I changed “mistakes” to “pitfalls.” Ideas came flying. This angle’s easy—and effective.

7 mistakes

7 Mistakes Retirees Can’t Afford to Make in 2016 with Their Retirement Income Planning… The title’s a tad wordy, but I give it an “A” anyway. Nice simple cover design too. (Again, download the templates provided for free cover designs—and more.)

Learn Spanish

I love this title: Learn Spanish—Avoid 100 Plus Gringo Mistakes.

Now it’s your turn:

  • Copy the title structures above.
  • [Number] “Mistakes” [Target Audience] Can’t Afford to Make. Adjust as needed.
  • How [Target Audience] Gets It [Or Specific Task] Wrong.
  • [Command]—Avoid [Number] [Painful adjective] “Mistakes”
  • Be sure to try this approach. It’s easy, fun and bound to convert. Who can resist….

11 Brand Building Blunders You’re Sure to Make If You Don’t Read This.


The Time-Saver:
Customers want shortcuts

Tell your readers you’re going to save them time. Promise your advice—or whatever free content you’ll offer—will enable them to achieve a desired outcome faster and more easily.

Songwriting cheat sheet

What a powerful headline we have here: Speed Songwriting—How to Write Your Next Song in 7 Fast and Easy Steps.

Content marketing plan

Fast-Track Your Content Marketing Plan, a “guided” template makes its value clear.

Now it’s your turn:

  • Think “fast and easy” and craft a title to capture the idea.
  • Consider using words such as shortcuts, fast tracks, secrets to…
  • Templates and cheat sheets are a great fit here.
  • Try writing a title including a specific measure of time: hours, days, weeks (e.g. How to Teach Your Dog an Adorable Trick in 30 Minutes)

Objection Overruled:
Call specific customers out

Check out this wily approach. Anticipate a reason a prospect might give for disqualifying themselves and speak to it. Cut ‘em off at the pass.

Video marketing

No dough? No problem. Presenting… 21 Video Marketing Ideas for Small Business Budgets.

Guide to social

No experience? This one’s for you: The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Marketing.

Now it’s your turn:

  • Identify exactly whom your lead magnet is for.
  • Why will they object? Overcome the objection in your title.
  • Borrow an idea from the section above using the common objection, “That will take too much time.” (e.g. Marketing Automation Simplified for Short Attention Spans)
  • Try this popular approach: State the promise and follow with “Even if…”
    (e.g. How to Get Hot Dates Even if You’re the School’s Biggest Dork)

Presenting the Pros:
Everyone trusts experts

Create a lead magnet featuring advice from experts.

Marketing analytics

How the Pros Turn Marketing Analytics Into Effective Marketing Strategies is an eBook I put together for Alexa, which features insights from five top digital marketers (as the subtitle says).

Power of We series

Here’s a cool twist. This lead magnet from Kayla Hollatz is an audio series featuring expert bloggers and entrepreneurs.

Now it’s your turn:

  • Pick a topic and roundup tips from blogs and/or books.
  • Or conduct interviews for your lead magnet.
  • Use words like “pros, experts, leaders.”
  • If your featured experts are recognizable mention their names and/or show their pictures.

The Essentials:
Explain the fundamentals

Position yourself as an expert—and a valuable resource for beginners—by creating a lead magnet that unveils the fundamental principles for achieving success in the niche. This approach could be considered your “manifesto.”

4 pillars

The 4 Pillars of Effective Digital Marketing is just that, an overview of what I consider to be the “must have” elements of digital marketing.

4 aces

I conceived and wrote The 4 Aces of Video Marketing to give Brightcove and Oracle a lead magnet that introduces the essentials of video marketing.

Now it’s your turn:

  • Define the “keys to success” in your niche or a specific area within it.
  • Make the category blatantly clear (e.g. The 7 Essentials of Instagram Success).
  • Consider presenting it as a list as I’ve done in the examples above.
  • Give it a compelling subtitle.

The Qualifier
Enable customers to assess their needs

A good many of the people who get to your website are bound to question whether or not your product or service is a good fit. Or they might be leaning toward making a buying decision, but need some further guidance. A self-assessment may be the perfect offer.

Career coaching

That’s my brother, Scott. It should be clear what he offers and if you’re not sure it’s a fit, his assessment, Career Coaching: Is it Right for You?, will be helpful.

Right size bike

Evans Cycles wants you understand how to select the right bike. Assessments such as this are great lead magnets. Using the information you gather, you can follow-up with extreme specificity.

Now it’s your turn:

  • Do you suspect your prospect is on the fence? Try to conceive a piece that helps him or her decide and give it a simple title.
  • Your prospect might want advice for buying smart. Come up with a lead magnet that provides an assessment and “this vs. that” guidance.

The Tools:
Open your toolbox and share

As an expert in your field, you’re familiar with useful tools your prospects may not be. Try creating a lead magnet to share them. 

Inbound marketing tools

7 Mantras of Inbound Marketing is an engaging and informative mini-site from HubMonks. While you’re there, you’re offered a complimentary (and complementary) “Tools” list to take with you. 

Hyatt's tools

Inside My Toolbox, from Michael Hyatt, packages 99 resources into a compelling eBook.

Now it’s your turn:

  • If you have (or believe in) a set of tools that will help your prospects accomplish their goals, list them and get to work on a lead magnet.
  • Write a title that makes it clear the downloadable asset is a list of tools.
  • Incorporate the benefit of using the tools into your title.

The Workbook:
Help customers plan and improve

A workbook or some sort of planning tool can be a phenomenally powerful lead magent.

Course planning workbook

7 Steps to Launch Your Own Online Course is offered by Teachable and helps lure its site visitors to their webinars and subscription-based service.

The Planner

The Planner for Growing Your Business with Effective Online Marketing, a strategic planning workbook offered as a PDF and online questionnaire, is the most popular lead magnet I’ve ever created.

All set?

Ready to expand the size of your email list and base of prospective customers? It begins with offering them something of value. Use the ideas, titles and templates I’ve given you to create something magnetic. Class dismissed.