12 Types of Lead Magnets to Attract (and Keep) Email Subscribers: Part One

Want to grow your email list with lead magnets and content upgrades? Here's 12 types to get your business started by Kayla Hollatz

If you’re a regular around here, you know I usually add a little intro to my blog posts but because this blog post is SO meaty, let’s just get right into the really good stuff. 

First, what’s a lead magnet? 

I’ll tell you!

A lead magnet is just a fancy marketing term that is defined as the offer you’re giving a subscriber for signing up for your email list. 

Lead magnets can be placed anywhere on your website. I’ve seen lead magnets in header banners, blog posts (commonly called “content upgrades”), About pages, pop-ups (which aren’t my favorite but I digress)... the list goes on.

Why are so many business owners using lead magnets? Isn’t it a lot of extra work? 

Well, yes and no.

It does take extra time and effort to put together lead magnets but it’s for good reason. Here’s a few of them:

  • Lead magnets entice subscribers to sign up more than age-old language like “sign up for updates”. #yawn
  • Lead magnets show that you’re willing to go above and beyond to freely give your subscribers the best, most relevant information you can offer. 
  • High-quality lead magnets often lead to high-quality experiences, which subscribers love. 

Pro tip: You can decrease the amount of time you put into creating lead magnets by going through your blog post archive or old notes and piece together content you’ve already written. When you approach the subject(s) from a fresh perspective, the content is just like new!

When I speak at networking events and conferences about email marketing, I often hear business owners say they don’t offer lead magnets because they’re worried subscribers are only after one thing. 

I get it. I started out in that same camp, worried that by giving my audience a freebie, subscribers would take the content and run. And I was right. 

Some subscribers were only interested in the one-time download, but most were looking for a way to connect. By not offering lead magnets like my Copy CPR email course or my brand voice style quiz, I could be losing out on a chance to make not only a lasting impression on new visitors but a lasting connection, too. 

Let’s talk about the types of lead magnets that can attract AND keep your subscribers engaged. I have a dozen of them below to help you get started as soon as today.


01 // Email course

Email courses are all the rage, especially for business owners who are trying to build a passive income stream for their business. Email courses may sound fancy, but really it's a simple collection of automated emails that are meant to educate and activate your audience. Think of it like mini blog posts you’re uploading into an email series (called a “sequence” on ConvertKit).

Within all the great educational content, you can also add in soft and hard pitches for your main call-to-action, whether that’s to purchase your paid course, workshop, ebook, or even give a nod to your services. 

I love using ConvertKit, my email service provider, to automate these email courses so after I write and upload all of the content, I’m done. It’s as simple as pressing the “publish” button!

Examples: Last month, I launched my Copy CPR email course to help entrepreneurs write the copy on their websites, but here are two others I love: Claire Dobson’s Instagram Secrets course and Anung Vilay’s Getting to Your No course (okay, I’m a little biased since I was the ghostwriter behind both of these courses, but it still counts! *wink*)


02 // Video training

Take your educational content one step further by creating an incredibly helpful video training. Through video, you can share step-by-step tutorials, give a backstage look into your creative process, and allow your audience to connect with the face behind your brand. 

If you’re a designer, you could teach lessons on how to pick your color palette, choose the right fonts for your brand, or build an inspiration board using Pinterest. If you’re a photographer, you could teach viewers to find their perfect Instagram filter, take photos with the rule-of-thirds, or choose a flattering outfit for their session. The sky’s the limit so get creative!

If you’re wondering what you should create a video training on, think about what questions you’re commonly asked by subscribers and your social media or blog audience. The best video trainings are those that answer questions people are already asking about!

Examples: Regina of byRegina is constantly creating some of the best video trainings I’ve seen in the blogging industry, but this free 2 hour presentation called Serious Social is seriously awesome. 


03 // Interactive quiz

This lead magnet has been my most successful lead magnet EVER, and I’ve tried quite a few lead magnet types. Why? I think it’s partly because everyone loves a good Buzzfeed-style quiz and because it helps visitors feel like you truly understand them. 

I use Interact Quizzes for my lead magnet and cannot recommend their platform enough, especially since it automatically adds all subscribers into segmentations in ConvertKit. #swoon

I was able to get my quiz, along with all of the personalized email series for each quiz personality, up and running in about 6 hours. It was the biggest hit of my relaunch last month! 

Example: You know what’s coming next. *wink* Feel free to test out the Interact platform and start brainstorming with what you can do with interactive quizzes by taking my own on Finding Your Brand Voice Style. Fun, right?


04 // Ebook

When most business owners think about creating a lead magnet, the first form to come to mind is usually an ebook. While it may seem like ebooks have been around forever, I’ve seen a few entrepreneurs use them in really genius ways. 

The freedom of an ebook is what makes it special. You could create an ebook on lessons you’ve learned in your industry, how-to’s, personal storytelling on your experiences, roundup advice from other entrepreneurs, or tips on just about any subject. 

If you naturally feel confident with writing or feel like you have a bigger story to tell, an ebook may be a great lead magnet for you. Start with writing the content and then bring the same amount of intention into your ebook design. 

Example: I wrote an ebook lead magnet for my previous homepage called Blog to Biz on 20 lessons I learned from, you guessed it, using my blog to create a full-time business. Another example I love is from A Branch of Holly who took this a step further and created a digital magazine, Blogging Breakthrough, for her subscribers. 


05 // Email challenge

An email challenge is the sister of an email course, meaning it has a similar format but the action is a bit different. Instead of solely educating your subscriber like you would in an email course, you’re also inspiring them to take action with a challenge. 

“Challenge” is an action word, meaning the word alone inspires subscribers to sign up and opt-in before you even explain what it is. Can you tell I love me some copywriting magic

What about the length of an email challenge, you ask? I usually recommend no more than 7-8 prompts because when challenges are too long, participation drops significantly, which then leads to more unsubscribes. #TheMoreYouKnow

Example: There are many email challenges out there but here are a few from people I love: Allyssa Barnes’ 7 Day Blog Boost challenge, Jess Creative’s 5 Day Amp Up Your Wordpress challenge, and Erika Madden’s 21 Day Brand Impressions Detox challenge. That’ll keep you busy!

Tune in next week for the rest of the lead magnet types!

email, convertKayla Hollatz