You may have heard that the size of your email list is a strong indicator of the health and potential of your business but it can be confusing to know where to begin to build a list of targeted leads and prospective clients. In this post, I’m sharing a few key strategies to get you going in the right direction so you can create a great lead magnet (free offer) to attract the right people (those who may be interested in your help).

What is a Lead Magnet?

A lead magnet is simply a free resource people can access in exchange for giving your their email address.

Your lead magnet can be a simple PDF eGuide, cheat sheet, checklist, recipe guide or anything else related to your specialty. Think ‘short and sweet’ small win content that can be quickly consumed by the reader. An irresistible lead magnet will be something that your particular audience wants to learn more about to solve a problem or make their life easier in some way. Pick the right topic and title, and your audience will be happy to give you their email address in exchange for your freebie.

Designing Your Lead Magnet

Once you have picked the topic for your lead magnet you can begin to develop the content. In order to achieve the best results, your lead magnet should meet the following 5 main criteria:

1. Timely – Make sure that your lead magnet is appropriate for the season. The topic “5 Healthy Christmas Cookie Swaps” probably won’t get many opt-ins in July. If you are going to address a seasonal topic, make sure you have the lead magnet ready between 6-8 weeks ahead of time, when people start researching that topic.

Another option, which is actually preferable, is to create an evergreen lead magnet. These topics are timeless, so they will be relevant year round. An example of this is “The 7 Most Effective Prenatal Exercises.” You will always have an audience for this type of lead magnet.

2. Solves a Problem  Think about what your audience struggles with the most. What are their biggest challenges? Not sure? Think about the the questions people ask you the most. Provide a solution to their problems, and they will be happy to opt-in to receive your lead magnet. Your free offer won’t solve the entire problem, but it will give people a place to start. If you aren’t sure what they struggle with, you can create a poll in your Facebook group or share a survey using

3. Brief, but high quality – Keep your content short and to the point. Most people are busy, and won’t take the time to read a long eBook. Ideally, your content should be able to be consumed quickly (in under 5 minutes). Include content that you know your audience will appreciate. Like I mentioned in #2 above, you are only presenting a partial solution, but it needs to make the reader feel grateful they opted in for it.

Have you ever opted in for something, and after you received it, you felt ripped off (even though it was free)?  Chances are, when you heard from that person again, you unsubscribed from their email list.  Whatever you put out into the world needs to be high quality and high value because it’s a reflection of you, your business and the level of service you provide.

4. Compelling title – You could have the greatest lead magnet in the world, but unless it has a title that appeals to your particular audience, no one is going to opt-in for it.  If you followed step 2 above and you know your lead magnet solves a problem of some sort, think about a title that conveys the benefits as specifically as you can. For example, maybe you know your audience really struggles with cooking meals at home because they’re so busy. They eat out too often, which adds calories and expense. If you have a recipe guide, one possible title could be “The Busy Woman’s Recipe Guide: 25 Quick and Healthy Dinner Ideas Under 30 Minutes.”

If you need ideas for compelling titles, just browse magazine covers at the checkout stand. Magazines like Prevention, Shape and Self might give you some inspiration (or one your favorite health/fitness/wellness magazines).

Consider your target market, and what they are struggling with right now, and come up with a title that let’s people instantly know how it can benefit them.

5. Visually Appealing – Once you have your content written, you need to make it look professional. Ensure that the design matches your branding and colors. It should be easy to read, with images added if and where appropriate. You can get stock photos on free photo websites like or and you can even design your PDF using

If you don’t have the time or desire to do the design work, you can easily and inexpensively outsource this project. Popular resources for graphic design are and Be sure to check previous work samples of anyone you are considering hiring to ensure the quality of their work meets your standards. You will also want to be sure to clearly communicate your deadlines with the contractor and give them examples of what you want (including color scheme, fonts, etc.)

Delivering Your Lead Magnet

Once you have your awesome and irresistible free offer ready to go, you’ll need to have a way to send it out to your audience.  You’ll need an email marketing system to automate this for you so you can generate leads 24/7.

When you set this up, you’ll want an email that delivers your freebie that includes a thank you and welcome message, then follow up with a series of 5-7 automated emails that are sent out 2-3 days apart. These follow-up emails will help people get to know a little bit about you as you offer extra tips to help them implement the topic you cover in your freebie. Your last 2 emails in the series can direct people to a special offer, or a way they can work with you.

Some good options for a good email marketing system include: Aweber, MailerLite and GetResponse.

Promoting Your Lead Magnet

Even though it’s free, you will still need to sell the benefits of your free offer. Why is it something your audience has to have? How will it help and benefit them? Communicate the benefits clearly, and help people envision how your lead magnet will improve their lives in some way.

Here are some ideas of how to promote your freebie:

  • Post about your free offer on all of your social media platforms regularly (a few times each week)
  • Include an opt-in with your blog posts (the blog post topic just needs to relate to the freebie somehow), then promote your blog post
  • Use Facebook ads (for your freebie and/or blog posts that have a freebie
  • Talk about your freebie during your live streams and direct people where to go to get it (and include the link in the post)
  • Pin a freebie to the top of your Facebook group
  • Include your opt-in on the home page of your website (above the fold) and side bar
  • Include a link to your your free offer if you do any guest blog posts (just check with the host first).
  • Use a pop-up opt-in (where an opt-in box appears after a certain time, or with exit-intent).

Once you have created your freebie, you will want to create a landing page, where people sign up to get it. Most email marketing services include landing page templates, but LeadPages is another option. You can also create a new page on your website if you have a good template to follow.

You will also need an email service provider to deliver your lead magnet. Popular email service providers include  Aweber and GetResponse, and MalierLite. You can set up automated email campaigns that automatically send out a series of emails to all new subscribers. Automation is the name of the game!

For detailed information on your follow-up sequence, including scripting, CLICK HERE

Build Your Email List with Lead Magnets

Lead magnets are a key strategy in building your email list, and you can put it on autopilot so you can generate leads 2/47. They are a win-win for you and your potential clients. Your audience gets a solution to a problem, and you gain another potential customer to develop a relationship with. By utilizing a few simple, consistent tactics, you will be well on your way to building both your email list and your business.

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