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What In the World Is a Lead Magnet and Do You Need One?

Young businessman at modern workplace holding poster with digital marketing diagram. Communication concept
By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

Marketing people have their own language, and it's ironic how it can be confusing.

After all, shouldn't they be super good at communicating clear messages? Like, what was "IHOB" all about anyway? And now the pancake place wants to change its name again?

Anyway, let's talk about something called a "lead magnet." No, it's not a heavy magnet that drags down marketing. It's actually a good thing for your business.

What's a Lead Magnet?

Basically, a lead magnet is something you offer to website visitors for free in exchange for their email addresses. It would be more straight-forward to call it an email magnet, or email bait, but we don't make this stuff up. We just report the facts, with maybe some (snarky) commentary. Blogger Susan Gebauer says a lead magnet is just the thing to collect email addresses and build a subscriber list. That's where "you will make your big time money from blogging and online marketing," she writes.

She's not the only one pushing magnets on the internet. Optimonster offers "69 highly effective lead magnets" to grow your email list. Typically, writes Mary Fernandez, marketers offer digital, downloadable content, such as a free report, checklist, ebook, video, etc.

So that's a lead magnet. Now why do you need one?

It's Personal

Fernandez says people don't give away their email addresses for nothing. If you want that personal information, you have to give them something.

For example, say you have a blog post about how to improve customer service. At the end of the post, you ask readers to join an email list for updates. Or, you could ask readers to join the email list in exchange for a free case study about businesses that improved customer service. "Which offer do you think will get the most email messages?" Fernandez poses.


So if you would like to join our email list, we offer free newsletters and free jokes. Sorry, no pancakes.

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