Are Lead Magnets the Bread and Butter of Content Marketing?

There isn’t a day in the life of a content marketer when she’s not thinking about her lead generation targets. While quality content is at the forefront of any content marketing efforts, it’s the results that can build or break careers for content marketers. In 2018, only 20% of B2B marketers rated their content marketing approach as very successful.

Are Lead Magnets the Bread and Butter of Content Marketing?

Source: Content Marketing Institute

Wondering what’s the reason behind those grim numbers?

There’s content all around, and it’s hard for businesses to get the users’ attention, forget about collecting leads.

When the audience knows that content is marketing, it’s quite an uphill task to stand out and earn those extra brownie points.

60% of people recognize business content they consume online as content marketing. – (Source)

A lead magnet is a juicy giveaway that helps induce a site visitor into signing up for a mailing list. It’s an upgrade to regular content pieces available on a website. There are a variety of lead magnets that marketers can produce:

  1. eBooks
  2. Reports and white papers
  3. Online courses
  4. Infographics
  5. Polls, quizzes, and assessments
  6. Tools and templates
  7. Webinars
  8. Contests and games
  9. Product demos and consultations
  10. Checklists

Are Lead Magnets the Bread and Butter of Content Marketing?

Studies show that giving the audience a clear idea of the content they would receive, increases the chances of an opt-in by 85 per cent.

Giveaways not only add leads to the sales pipeline but also help understand prospect preferences. The sales team can use this data to personalize follow-up emails and get more conversions.

Lead magnets help marketers to start a relationship and two-way communication with prospective customers.

Resolute Technology Solutions, an IT consulting company, created the following eBook to educate its audience on managed IT services:

Are Lead Magnets the Bread and Butter of Content Marketing?

The company also offers a free 30-minute consultation to help potential customers experiencing IT challenges. The IT solutions provider gets 10 leads every month from the ebook and 4 from the gated consultation. Whether it’s an ebook or a one-on-one, the idea is to solve problems for target customers while creating product awareness on the side. The results for each lead magnet may vary. Some may fetch a higher lead quality while others may result in more leads. An analysis would help decide what to offer and where to focus the promotional efforts.

“We get a lot more ebook leads than consult requests, but consults have a much higher conversion rate,” says Colton DeVos, Marketing and Communications Specialist at Resolute Technology Solutions.

Marketers should know that publishing and offering an ebook for free is not enough. It’s essential to understand audience pain points and provide them with a unique piece of information.

“Offering a downloadable content in exchange for contact information is a classic awareness tactic, but it works if readers find real value,” says Swati Singh, Growth Marketer at WebEngage, a marketing automation tool for consumer businesses. The company saw a 17% boost in traffic and 20% growth in top-of-the-funnel leads from the following eBook:

Are Lead Magnets the Bread and Butter of Content Marketing?

The lead magnet contributed to 25% of the total monthly leads for the automation software.

Video content is in vogue. Videos can work as excellent lead magnets providing education and entertainment to site visitors.

70% of B2B marketers claim that videos are more effective than other content when it comes to converting users to qualified leads. – (Source)


The purpose of a lead magnet is to attract the right people. Many marketers prefer doing a trend analysis before creating content pieces that would work well in a niche. Publishing an industry study helps provide valuable insights to users ensuring their success comes first.

“We do market research using Google Trends to create a realistic content calendar for all marketing channels,” says Joseph Sloan, who’s an SEO expert at Advice Media, a digital agency that specializes in the medical and health niche. Advice Media created a website grader and a gated industry best practices content. The agency got 13 new customers from these two upgrades alone.

Are Lead Magnets the Bread and Butter of Content Marketing?

Here’s another example of a niche template from Crazycall, a calling tool for sales professionals and call centres:

Are Lead Magnets the Bread and Butter of Content Marketing?

It’s critical to have a smart placement strategy as well. Marketers can experiment with different placement options: home page popup, blog page popup, blog side scroll, and blog post banner, etc.

“We display targeted lead-gen content based on the topic of each specific blog post, and use in-line CTAs with embedded forms,” says Frank Brogie, Content Marketing Manager, at Repsly, a performance tool for retail teams.

Are Lead Magnets the Bread and Butter of Content Marketing?

“As a result, we convert close to 1.5% of our blog visitors into leads, a number that has scaled alongside a significant rise in traffic. We work on lead-generation beyond our blog when promoting time-sensitive offers like new webinars. The lead magnets appear as slide-out sidebars across the rest of our site. We customize the messages to match the language of the page on which they’re displaying,” he adds.

An easy and quick lead magnet option is a free template. You can create a template in a presentation or a spreadsheet or a word doc. Take a look at this example of an expense report template from Spendesk, a business expense management software:

Are Lead Magnets the Bread and Butter of Content Marketing?

The template worked very well for Spendesk in regional markets. The upgrade fetched over 1000 leads from the French market, for instance.

Creating new freebies and content upgrades is not enough to get off the ground and start collecting email addresses. Marketers must have a definitive promotional strategy.

Besides placing banners and popups, dedicated landing pages are essential for communicating the USPs of a lead magnet. A powerful CTA is essential for raking in those conversions.

Are Lead Magnets the Bread and Butter of Content Marketing?

Image Source: Tapad

Marketers can use social media channels to share links to lead magnet pages and run paid campaigns as well.

Are Lead Magnets the Bread and Butter of Content Marketing?

Image Source: CloudShare

Another good way to promote such content is to share it through newsletters and strengthen relationships with existing subscribers.

Over To You

Most businesses suffer from a high website drop-off and poor content performance. While lead magnets are terrific for content conversion optimization, it’s the intent behind creating them that matters most. While offering giveaways, you must create authentic, industry-relevant and audience-centric content. Such content will not only add real value and get repeat site visitors but also create lasting customer associations that convert into more sales and revenue. Last, but not least, you must promote your lead magnets and achieve optimum business outcomes.

Are Lead Magnets the Bread and Butter of Content Marketing?

My Dad was a Creative Director all his life. I spent my youth working in the agency, and the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. All those experiences made me into a thinker, dreamer and doer that specializes in integrated branding, marketing, digital and public relations services. I feel my key value to clients is the ability to turn creative concepts into analytically driven marketing plans and tools with greater stopping power & relevance, leading to greater results.

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January 24, 2021

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