How to Design an Effective Lead Magnet

I know what you’re thinking: What happens now?

OK, let me backtrack a little bit. You have interests and hobbies. Maybe you have work experience in a certain field. Either way, there is something that makes you tick, and you feel inclined to share your knowledge with the world. Who knows, maybe someone has the same interests you do.

So you do what anyone in 2016 would do – you start a website. And on your website’s blog, you mix your authoritative expertise with your warm and friendly personality.

And the content is compelling. Before you know it you’re getting a couple unique visitors every day, and those numbers are slowly starting to grow.

You’ve read about some different marketing techniques, and you decide it’s time to really reach out to your audience. Then all of a sudden it happens: Your latest blog post just pulled in 10,000 visitors! Those numbers are growing by the hour. Each new blog post is bringing a few thousand new people to your website.

So … what happens now?

You’re entering new territory. It’s time to turn those numbers into customers. The best way to do this is with a lead magnet.

What is Your Lead Magnet?

If you’ve done any research on marketing your blog, I’m sure you’ve come across the term lead magnet. A lead magnet is something you offer that’ll benefit your readers in exchange for their contact information.

Courtesy of GIPHY

Lead magnets are important for business because you’ll be compiling a large list of contact information for consumers that are invested in your blog and your company. Whether you publish a new post, launch a YouTube channel or write a book, you’ll have a list full of emails of people who want to buy what you’re selling.

Your lead magnet can essentially be anything, but it usually has something to do with the your products and services. If you run a pet grooming business, your lead magnet could be a free e-book of 50 pet grooming techniques used by professionals. It’s exclusive bonus content that visitors want while they’re on your website.

Why is Design Important?

You know what a lead magnet is. Maybe you already have an idea for what your lead magnet is going to be, and you’ve started creating the content. Great! Just make sure you pay attention to design.

Courtesy of GIPHY

Courtesy of GIPHY

You want to get as many visitors as possible to notice your lead magnet. This is why design is important to your lead magnet’s effectiveness and success. You can design the webpage so people are drawn toward your lead magnet. You can also create an appealing design for the lead magnet itself so visitors will have no choice but to take notice.

Now it’s time to design your effective lead magnet. Let’s go through the most common ones and see how you can get people to opt in.

Cheat Sheet or Checklist

The simplest lead magnet that can get a lot of traction is a cheat sheet or checklist. They’re easy to make, and you can customize different ones for each blog post. That way people can opt in if they’re only interested in the specific topic you covered in one blog post.

Important Note: This article is meant to serve as a resource to you as you go about creating your own lead magnets and free offer landing pages, so I encourage you to bookmark it, and you can download a PDF copy of our lead magnet checklist here.

Your cheat sheet should be a simple PDF that summarizes your blog post. If you usually write more than 1,000 words, sum up the most important parts into a bullet-point format.

Design an icon for your cheat sheet so visitors know what they’re signing up for. A 3-D pamphlet always looks great because it gives off the impression there’s a lot to learn and you’re getting your money’s worth.


Another popular lead magnet is an e-book. The more content you can give away for free the better, but don’t worry. You don’t have to write a 500-page informational guide on your topic to get people to opt in. You can simply give them a long PDF document that is formatted like an e-book. Make it easy to follow with bold headers and specific sections.

Courtesy of GIPHY

Courtesy of GIPHY


To get people interested in this lead magnet, you must design an exceptional e-book cover. Use a high-quality, yet subtle image that makes the text of the title pop. Contrasting colors work well because you want the cover to stand out from the rest of your webpage.

You should also design the cover to make it look like its 3-D instead of a flat book. This will add depth and make the e-book feel more like it’s packed with useful information.

Video Course

Courses are synonymous with learning and getting better at a certain skill. Creating an entire video course can take a lot of time, but it’ll certainly pay off in the long run. You can create a free 10-week course, and send out one video each week. This much content will have people signing up for your lead magnet in no time.

The logo for your video course should somehow incorporate the play button. You can have an image from your course on a computer screen with the play button over it. Visitors automatically relate the play button to video content, and they’ll be tempted to click on it. The title of the course and a call-to-action should also be included.

The course itself can be sent via email or be available on a private webpage. If you choose the webpage, make the design simple but easy to navigate. The videos should all be there and ready to go.


Now you have your lead magnet fully designed. The content itself is designed to appeal to your audience and induce positive emotions. Your icon is designed professionally to draw attention to your lead magnet. How do you actually get people to sign up for your lead magnet?

Call-to-action, my friend.

Courtesy of GIPHY

Courtesy of GIPHY

A call-to-action is what actually entices users to opt in for your free lead magnet. It’s usually promotional language about the lead magnet followed by a button that says something like, “Download Now” or “Subscribe Today.”

The button should be a bold color that stands out. Yellow is often used because it’s bright and pops against any color. Green is also a popular choice because it’s synonymous with go.

The language of your call-to-action should also be chosen carefully. Netflix used three sentences – “Watch anywhere. Cancel anytime. Join free for a month.” All three of those are positive messages that the consumer wants to hear. Make sure you’re getting inside the mind of your visitor and giving them exactly what they want.

Opt-In Box

You have great content for a lead magnet and you’ve thought of the perfect call-to-action. Now where do they go?

The opt-in box.

An opt-in box is an effective way to draw attention to your lead magnet. It usually includes a picture of your lead magnet, a short description of your lead magnet in bullet form, a text box so users can enter their email and a call-to-action button that advances the transaction. Opt-in boxes can scroll down from the top of the webpage, pop up in the middle of the webpage or appear at the bottom of the blog post.

Courtesy of GetResponse

The first thing you notice about the opt-in box above is the color. The background color enhances the button, which is what we really want visitors to look at. The light red certainly stands out, especially if your webpage is white. The yellow call-to-action button contrasts the red and pops out at the user even more.

The image is a screenshot of a paused video from the lead magnet. You immediately want to hit play and watch the rest of the video – but you can’t until you opt in. Use a picture of your lead magnet that makes visitors want to take the next step and consume your content.

Landing Page

A landing page is a separate webpage that acts as the final sales page for your lead magnet. Links and call-to-actions will lead readers to this page, and it’s now your job to convince them they should officially opt-in.

With a landing page, you have more room to convince users they should opt in and receive your lead magnet. There’s more opportunity to use testimonials, teasers and promotional content to make the sale.

However, your landing page should be designed like a longer opt-in box. Have a header that tells the user exactly what they want to hear. Then, include text that explains why the user needs your lead magnet right now. Finally, choose a bold call-to-action button that screams at the visitor.

The landing page is your final attempt to get visitors to opt in for your lead magnet.

From Blog to Business

A lead magnet is the first step to taking your blog into the world of business. They allow you to reward users for opting into your marketing.

What offers do you make to boost your opt-in rates? Do you have any other lead magnet design tips? Tell us in the comments!

Filed Under: lead generation

About Lexie Lu

Lexie Lu has a fervor for design, writing, and coffee. Her posts feature design trends throughout all industries and show how the field is always changing. Follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

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