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17 October 2023 • Resources

Lead magnet: Guide with definition, characteristics, and creation tips

Lead magnet: Guide with definition, characteristics, and creation tips

On the internet, there are a particularly large number of ecommerce sites, forcing marketers to put in place genuine marketing action plans to attract more and more shoppers. Today, however, this approach has changed dramatically. In the past, commercial companies would send out an overabundance of advertising to their prospects. They were the ones who reached out to consumers. Today, the objective is quite different...

Delivering relevant content to potential customers delivers far greater returns. This is what we call inbound marketing. More specifically, when it comes to unearthing valuable information on a particular subject, it's internet users who approach companies. By offering interesting content, you can generate better leads. This is precisely what lead magnets are all about. What are the best practices for pacing the customer buying journey and boosting your brand's appeal? Follow our guide to increase your chances of success!

Lead magnet: Definition and key elements

A lead magnet is a kind of web content that can take different forms, using different tools, in order to reach the most qualified prospect. However, whatever its category, the main aim of a lead magnet is always to gather contact information from website visitors through the use of appropriate tools.

What is a lead in marketing and how do you generate one?

When we talk about a lead in marketing, we're referring to somebody, either an individual or an organization, who's shown interest in a brand's products or services and has the potential to be converted into a customer.

A lead magnet is a piece of content that you offer to potential customers in exchange for their email address or telephone number. The goal of a lead magnet is to capture prospects and turn them into customers. It could be an ebook, a fact sheet, or a series of videos. The key is to offer something valuable that your target audience will find irresistible.

If the prospect wants access to additional interesting, free, subject-specific web content, all they have to do is leave their contact details. The lead magnet then transforms the anonymous visitor into a new, identified lead.

The lead magnet is also known as "gated content" or "premium content." All three terms mean exactly the same thing.

Want an example to help you understand? You could simply offer to download a free multi-page PDF document as a step-by-step guide on a particular topic for your website visitors, asking them to fill in a short lead contact form to initiate the file delivery procedure.

Ultimately, whether you wish to work on digital product marketing or marketing for physical goods or services, lead magnets are formidable weapons that marketers can use to increase website traffic and build a bigger audience!

Why use a lead magnet?

The lead magnet is part of an inbound marketing strategy. Its principle is to attract prospects, by proposing quality content (such as a blog post) and leveraging SEO.

A lead magnet is a great way to attract new prospects and capture their attention by positioning yourself as an expert in your field, therefore building brand awareness. What's more, it's also a great way of nurturing potential customers in the buying process. All in all, lead magnet is a great practice for cultivating your brand image and developing your reputation, especially if you're a small business owner.

As you can see, the lead magnet has a lot going for it. Here's a list of its advantages:

  • attracts targeted, qualified shoppers to your pages;
  • helps you to get seen by your prospects at their request, rather than interrupting them with an unsolicited marketing message;
  • facilitates your future prospecting actions;
  • simplifies complex subjects related to your business;
  • offers your website visitors educational content;
  • allows you to position yourself as an expert in your field;
  • collects contact details from qualified web users, so you can interact with them more frequently;
  • increases productivity and efficiency;
  • generates a steady flow of visitors to your web pages; and
  • makes it possible for your to work in an automated manner, using marketing automation solutions.

How do you create an ecommerce lead magnet?

To create a lead magnet that will help you to gain customers online, as with any other marketing action, it's important to follow a structured approach, broken down into four main steps:

  • Determine the objective of your lead magnet

A high-quality lead magnet must be integrated into an overall acquisition strategy, in a structured way. Perhaps you've already drawn up a general digital communications plan. You may also already have an idea of the ideal customer journey you want to create... Your lead magnet must be one of the pieces of this puzzle. It needs to fit logically into the user journey and thus respond to a precise scenario.

To design it, it's best to ask yourself the right questions: what will be its final objective? What offer should it promote? How will it raise your prospects' awareness of a particular subject?

  • Define your lead magnet target

To address your visitors correctly, you also need to define your persona. In fact, it's very rare to create a lead magnet aimed at your entire customer base. Generally speaking, this is a tool that follows a precise segmentation.

  • Identify your customers' needs

Before setting up your lead magnet, it's imperative to identify your target audience's main focus. In other words, you need to do some research and define the major problem facing your typical customers.

What's at stake in your business? Logically, if you don't know exactly what questions your visitors are asking or what problem they're dealing with, you will probably find it very difficult to provide a relevant response to their needs...

  • Devise the answer to their needs

Now that you know what's bothering your visitors, all you have to do is provide them with the answer they've been waiting for...

However, you still need to define the format of your content. "Lead magnet" is a general term that refers to a number of different formats. How will your lead magnet be structured?

Now that everything is clear in your head, all you have to do is write the layout of your content, gathering information from the right people. You may also need to call on the services of a communications agency or freelance writer who specializes in digital marketing or copywriting.

What are the characteristics of a successful lead magnet?

As you can see, this type of content is absolutely essential for your business. After all, what's the point of generating traffic to your website if you can't even keep track of who's visiting you? A lead magnet is an excellent way of finding out about the quality of your audience, so that you can then provide them with even better, more personalized content.

But what are the characteristics of a proper lead magnet?

The persona is well defined and targeted

The lead magnet must systematically be designed according to a particular buyer persona profile. More specifically, you need to take the time to perform quality research and determine your target audience's expectations, their main aspirations, but also their frustrations or obstacles to purchase.

It's only when you have a perfect understanding of your target customer that you will be able to address your ecommerce persona and offer them THE lead magnet that they will find impossible to resist! It's also the ideal way to stand out from your competitors.

The lead magnet meets a specific need

Keyword research related to your business is an excellent way of thinking. This process often reveals what consumers really want.

However, knowing your audience's specific needs is not enough. Your lead magnet must then be of sufficient quality to satisfy them. Make sure you don't disappoint with your landing page advertisement! For example, if you promise your visitors an ultra-complete white paper on a particular subject, and they end up receiving a PDF of barely two pages, they'll probably be disappointed!

The lead magnet is visible and prominently displayed

The lead magnet must be a central element of your communication. Therefore, for it to have the desired effect, it needs to be visible and attractive. Your visitor must be instinctively encouraged to click on it. No matter what form your call-to-action takes, it must be seen if your customer is to progress through your sales funnel.

Position it strategically! Create an attractive, impactful design! If necessary, don't hesitate to create a sense of urgency in your target audience. This is a great way to get visitors to take action as quickly as possible.

How do you make a good lead magnet? 6 effective ideas

When you're fishing, you can't catch a fish without a hook. In ecommerce and during the buying process, it's exactly the same! It's impossible to grow sales without the right bait to attract qualified leads. Here are a few examples of lead magnets... Here's your checklist for betting on the right kind of content!

Create an engaging, inspiring, and SEO-optimized blog

A blog with well-written blog posts is an excellent means of communicating your expertise. What's more, as with other content marketing examples, it's a great tool to improve your rankings on Google. As a key element of search engine optimization (SEO), a blog enables you to be seen by as many people as possible. In addition, it can also be a lever for lead generation.

For example, your blog posts could focus on a specific topic, while offering your readers the opportunity to leave their contact details if they'd like more information on the subject. A powerful conversion and SEO lever!

Build a thematic landing page to subscribe to your newsletter

A newsletter is another example of lead magnet, a very good lever for maintaining a recurring link with your audience. On your website, it can be advantageous for you to design a dedicated landing page.

The aim of the landing page? To highlight the benefits of receiving your high value-added newsletters on a regular basis... And to encourage web users to provide you with their email address as part of their purchasing process!

Offer opt-in levers to download your documents (ebooks, templates, etc.)

Because a little gift always goes a long way, web users are often delighted to have access to free, qualified content on the internet. So it's up to you to make certain documents available for download as a valuable resource, in return for filling in a simple contact form.

White papers and ebooks, for example, are very popular on the web. They provide detailed, non-commercial answers to specific problems. These comprehensive, multi-page documents are veritable goldmines of information, structured and attractively presented. There's nothing to stop you calling in an external service provider to write them.

Templates are also highly sought-after on the web. These are pre-established documents made available to users to save them time. These can then be customized to suit their needs. For example, they can include letters, formatting templates, calendars, etc.

To collect as much data as possible, creating a landing page dedicated to your campaign or adding a registration form on an exit-intent popup, for instance, are good solutions.

Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook... Leverage social networks and ads

Here again, social networks are invaluable allies for obtaining names, building your email list, and getting contact details. In fact, these days, it's simply impossible not to use them as part of your communications strategy!

To catch the eye of as many people as possible, rely on social media ads, recommendations, and thematic groups!

Offer B2B online training and professional webinars

If you're positioned in the coaching, services, or even publishing market, note that you can also offer free training online courses in the form of videos. This type of content is an excellent way of initiating an exchange with potential buyers. Similarly, webinars (internet conferences) are examples of effective lead magnets for providing solutions to consumers' problems.

Another advantage: when internet users decide to sign up for video training online courses or webinars, it means they're already very interested in the subject you're dealing with. This is the first sign of strong commitment to your company. As a result, these online course participants or webinar attendees are generally easier to convert into customers.

Create private groups for direct contact with your customers

Finally, don't hesitate to humanize your relationship with your customers, even if it means taking the time to set up private groups on Facebook, for example, to maintain direct contact with them. Your customers will be delighted to be able to talk directly to you, share their feedback, or help each other solve a problem, as they would with a specialized salesperson in a store, for example.

What are some examples of lead magnets?

To inspire the creation of your future lead magnets to increase awareness of your business and encourage people to purchase your product or service, let's explore some great examples that can supercharge your lead generation strategy.


The WiziShop ecommerce solution understands the importance of SEO for today's e-merchants. In addition to providing our platform users with over 50 features to optimize their website's technical SEO, we decided to create an ebook focusing on ecommerce SEO.

To access the ebook, you simply need to provide your email address. You will then receive the ebook via email. This free resource is filled with tips and insights from SEO experts, information that can help readers take their SEO strategy to the next level! 

landing page example wizishop seo ebook

Source: WiziShop

Clever Girl Finance

Clever Girl Finance is a platform that focuses on personal finance media and education. Its aim is to empower women by offering essential financial guidance and assistance, fostering financial confidence, and enabling informed financial choices in their everyday experiences.

The platform offers a number of free resources to help people get on the right track to financial wellness, including a library of financial worksheets and calculators.

clever girl finance financial worksheets calculators library

Source: Clever Girl Finance

Glow Recipe

Skincare brand Glow Recipe features a varied product catalog with items designed to accommodate a range of skincare needs. With the understanding that a large number of products can sometimes be overwhelming to shoppers, the brand offers a free skin quiz to help people determine the best skincare routine to suit their unique concern or need. 

After completing the quiz, users have the option to see their results immediately or submit their email address to get their results as well as receive a 10% discount off a future order.

glow recipe skin quiz lead magnet

Source: Glow Recipe

What is the most effective lead magnet?

The most effective lead magnet is one that offers high value and resonates with a business's audience. It solves a specific problem or fulfills a need, capturing consumers' attention and contact information in exchange for the valuable resource. It's tailored to the audience's interests, clear and concise, and easy to access. The best lead magnets establish trust, showcase expertise, and serve as a bridge for deeper engagement, ultimately driving the business's conversion rate and nurturing valuable leads.

Whatever lead magnet that marketers use in their inbound marketing or lead nurturing strategy, be it a template, ebook, list of ideas or tips, free consultation, online course, quiz, etc., it's essential to be rigorous and responsive. The support provided must be of sufficient quality not to disappoint customers. What's more, it must also be sent in a short amount of time. After all, nobody likes to wait, and that's perfectly normal!

To summarize the list of important steps in lead magnet creation:

  • The first step in creating a lead magnet that'll work well and allow you to better attract leads is to understand what the people in your target audience want and needs. Once you know this, you can create a lead magnet that addresses their unique pain points and delivers value or an effective solution.
  • Keep it short and concise: The more concise your magnet and lead capture form, the more likely prospects are to read it and take action.
  • Make it visually appealing: Consumers are of course more likely to engage with content that's pleasing to the eye. Use images, infographics, and other visual elements to help liven up your text and make it more interesting.
  • Offer an irresistible freebie: Your lead magnet should be something your target audience would find really valuable—something they'd be willing to trade their contact details for.
  • Promote it effectively: Just like for a product or service you're trying to sell, if users don't know about your offer, they can't sign up! Pop-ups, email marketing, social media posts, ads... Be sure to take the time to promote them on your website and social networks, and consider running ads specifically for one of the lead magnets mentioned, depending on your company's level of maturity. This just goes to show how important digital marketing is to any communication campaign!
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