lead magnet mistakes

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it?

  1. Create a fabulous freebie.
  2. When someone gives you their email address, you give them your fabulous freebie.
  3. Everyone lives happily ever after.

Sadly, there are many ways this process can go south. (I know because I’ve made pretty much every mistake possible.)

Do any of these feel familiar?

Which of these common lead magnet* issues feel familiar for you?

___          I don’t really understand what a lead magnet is.

___          I feel spammy even offering a lead magnet.

___          I’ve been working on my lead magnet for weeks/months/years.

___          The whole process of delivering my lead magnet seems so overwhelming.

___          My lead magnet just hasn’t “clicked” with my audience.

I’ve experienced every single one of these. Thanks to fabulous training (such as The LEVERAGE Conference), and a bit of trial-and-error, I’ve learned how to create effective lead magnets that serve my people.

Don’t make the same mistakes!

In hopes of saving you time and anguish, here are four action steps to help you avoid my lead magnet mistakes.

1. Solve your people’s problems.

 My 1st Lead Magnet Mistake:  For years, I offered people what I knew they needed. What I expected them to want. What I wanted to tell them.

Catch the over-used pronoun?


My lead magnets were all about me. And every lead magnet I created from that perspective bombed because I was making things nobody wanted.

Action Step 1:  Start by getting crystal clear about your audience’s felt needs. Then, select one felt need to meet.

Need help discovering your audience’s felt needs? Kathi and Michele did a couple of great podcasts on this very topic:  How to Discover What Your Audience Needs — Part 1 and How to Discover What Your Audience Needs — Part 2

Example: To create the “To the Speaker Who Says ‘I’m Not a Writer’” manifesto, I crowd-sourced via Facebook. Many of the words on the landing page and in the manifesto itself are direct expressions of my audience members’ felt needs.

2. Give your people a “quick win.”

My 2nd Lead Magnet Mistake:  My original lead magnet was a 50-page e-book. Can you say, “Information overload”? While the content was accurate and excellent, it was overwhelming.

Action Step 2: Give your people an immediate solution to one aspect of their problem. Make it short, sweet, and doable.

NOW. When someone downloads your freebie, make it your goal for them to take action within 5 minutes and experience results within 10 minutes.

Example:  The “Am I a Highly Sensitive Person?” self-quiz available at Sensitive and Strong. By the end, many women discover that they are, in fact, HSPs—which is often a huge relief.

3. Match your medium to your message.

My 3rd Lead Magnet Mistake:  For years, the lead magnet on my speaker site was a 50-page e-book.

Let that sink in: I offered a 50-page e-book on my speaker site.


I’m now replacing it with a short video of me speaking.

Makes so much more sense, doesn’t it?

Action Step 3: After discerning your audience’s felt need and selecting the “quick win” you’re going to provide them, choose your freebie’s format.

Here are some common options:

___  PDF

___  Cheat Sheet

___  Checklist

___  Quick-start guide

___  Quiz

___  Manifesto

___  Cut-outs (scripture cards, permission slips, gift coupons, etc.)

___  Email sequence (3 short emails in 3 days, max)

___  Audio File (5 minutes or less)

___  Video (5 minutes or less)

Example:  At Grit ‘n’ Grace, subscribers receive 12 permission slips to help them learn to break bad rules. This freebie connects directly to the subtitle of our podcast: Good Girls Breaking Bad Rules.

4. Have your lead magnet professionally designed.

My 4th Lead Magnet Mistake:  I did it myself. Even though I know I’m entirely non-visual and non-techy. But because I tried so hard and poured so much time into my lead magnets, I convinced myself they were beautiful. Or at least good enough.

They weren’t.

They were hideous.They screamed “amateur.”

Action Step 4:  Hire (or barter with) a professional to design at least the cover of your lead magnet. Ideally, have them design the cover, the entire PDF, and a separate image of the lead magnet that shows its value.

If you absolutely have to DIY? Listen to this interview with Nicki Koziarz with fabulous Tips for the Non-Graphic-y. And check out Julie Landreth’s article too.

Which lead magnet mistake are you ready to not make?

(* If you’re asking, “Exactly what is a lead magnet?” A lead magnet is a freebie that you exchange for someone’s email address. Another common term is bribe to subscribe.)

notice the needCheri Gregory is co-author with Kathi Lipp of Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore Your Sanity and founder of Write Beside You author coaching and manuscript development services. Connect with Cheri via Voxer (cherigregory), Facebook, or Email (cheri@WriteBesideYou.com).