If you’ve been daydreaming about what it would be like to wake up and see your social media follower count triple overnight, you might want to reshift your focus.
While growing a social media following is a great way to engage with new people in your audience, it isn’t the best place to grow your audience. Your email list is.
Since email subscribers can be as much as 15 times more valuable than social media followers (in terms of their likelihood of converting on your offer), it’s better to grow your email list.
That doesn’t mean you need to get rid of your social media accounts. Instead, you can use these platforms to turn social media followers into subscribers through downloadable lead magnets.
10 types of downloadable lead magnets to build your email list
A lead magnet refers to any free incentive you give your audience in exchange for joining your email list, and a downloadable is any lead magnet type that can be instantly downloaded by your subscriber.
Why use downloadable lead magnets to grow your list?
- They are quick to download, design, and utilize.
- They are an accessible way to teach your audience.
- They position you as a knowledgeable expert.
- They show how much you care about leading with value.
- They can be automated through ConvertKit.
There are plenty of benefits to using downloadables to grow your list, but most especially because you only need to create them once. Once they are connected to your ConvertKit account, it will automatically deliver your downloadables for you so you’ll be completely hands-off in the process.
Think about what it would be like to collect email subscribers and client leads on autopilot without sacrificing the personal connection you have. You can still nurture your connection with them by offering valuable freebies and insightful follow-up emails. That’s what we’re going to talk about today.
In this article, I’ll be breaking down 10 of the most common and effective downloadables lead magnet types, who they are perfect for, and why they might be a fit for your audience.
Do you want to teach everything you know to an audience that can’t wait to learn from you?
Do you find yourself giving the same advice to your audience members and wish there was an easy way to compile your thoughts into a downloadable lead magnet?
If you answered yes to these two questions, an ebook may be your lead magnet of choice.
You most likely already know that ebooks are books or guides that can be digitally downloaded on any device. You can use them to grow your email list on autopilot because all you need to do is connect your ebook document file to your ConvertKit account and it’ll deliver the freebie for you through an opt-in email.
The length of your ebook entirely depends on your goals.
The ebook should only be long enough to properly teach your audience and convey your message. For some creators, this can be around 15 pages, whereas for others, it might be more around 30 pages.
Remember that it's not about the quantity of pages but rather the quality of the information inside those pages.
So how do you get started with creating that information?
One of the benefits of writing an ebook is that you’re able to utilize content you’ve already written and repurpose it to fit what you’re teaching.
Think about a niche topic you’ve talked about on your blog, through a podcast episode, or during a video interview. Those conversations and that content can easily be turned into ebook content. All you need to do is to structure it in a way that makes sense for the reader.
Here’s more information on how to create a fantastic eBook in 48 hours or less, which comes with a downloadable template to help you outline and design your guide.
If you want to see some examples, you can create a PDF guide much like brand strategist Piper De Young did with her Brand Style Guide. It gives her audience of hairstylists and makeup artists an opportunity to perfect their visual aesthetic so they’re more ready to work with her.
In a different niche, travel blog Freedom Expeditions uses a landing page to promote their ebook guide that helps people save more money when traveling. The more their subscribers are able to travel, the more they will come back to the blog for more advice. It’s a win-win!
In both of these examples, these content creators are giving the full guide away for free. If you’re hoping to sell a full-length ebook instead but still want to grow your email list, you might want to think about giving them a preview of your ebook.
Dmitry at Criminally Prolific was able to grow his email list by 550 subscribers by offering the first chapter of his ebook for free to subscribers. This tactic allowed him to utilize the “try before you buy” tactic that many marketers use to increase conversions.
Gillian Perkins, an online business educator and entrepreneur, created an ebook that grew her email list by 800 subscribers in just two months. That’s amazing! Just think how that kind of email list growth could help you sell more products and services in the future.
As you keep thinking about the possibilities that are available to you with ebooks, let’s talk about a more interactive way to teach your audience.
If you’d rather spend your time creating prompts and activities to help your audience learn more about your topic of choice, offering worksheets as your lead magnet could be a great move.
It’s one thing to learn about a new topic in an ebook. It’s another when you’re able to take action with exercises that you’ve already prepared for your audience.
Worksheets are more activity-based so you most likely won’t spend as much time writing as you would with an ebook. Instead, you’ll spend more time in the outline and design phase.
Luckily, worksheet packets like the examples below are typically easy to create with tools like Canva that have free worksheet templates built right into their platform. These worksheets can either be digitally fillable PDFs or printables, depending on what your audience needs.
It’s even easier when you can upload your worksheets to ConvertKit and create a landing page from one of our design templates. That means you can create worksheets without having to create any of the designs from scratch!
You can also create worksheet packets that can be completed at home.
This can be a great way for service providers to gather necessary information they need before working with a client or for course creators to give potential students a preview of the kind of worksheet activities they’ll find in the course before they join.
If your audience already knows about your niche topic but you want to help them find what next steps to take, then you might want to create an easy-to-follow checklist. Checklists usually highlight a list of tasks your audience can complete in order to reach their intended goal.
You need to know what goal your audience wants to achieve before you can create a checklist. Does their goal relate to what you teach or talk about? If so, it’ll be a great fit for a checklist.
Checklists are even easier to create than worksheets because they can be one simple page with an organized list of tasks. You can create categories for each tasks and organize them in a way that makes sense to your audience.
Checklists can be helpful for parents who want their children to excel in school, like this example from reading specialist Aylin Claahsen.
Checklists can also be great for bloggers or content creators who want to share their best tips through a digital downloadable lead magnet. Travel blogger Lexie from Living Like Lexie did this by creating a travel planning checklist for hopeful travelers who read her blog.
Think of your checklist as a “cheatsheet” guide to help your audience know exactly what they need to do in order to reach their goals. The more tasks they check off the list, the closer they are to getting what they want or becoming who they want to be.
Checklists take a lot of the guesswork out of the goal setting process. This is why many coaches, teachers, and content creators use checklists to easily grow their list.
When you create a landing page to promote your lead magnet, our library of template designs will make the process so much easier. Templates like this allow you to skip multiple steps in the creation phase of a project because you don’t have to start from scratch.
As a content creator, you’re also able to save your audience from having to start from the ground up. Get creative with the kinds of templates you want to offer!
If you’re a copywriter, you could offer social media caption templates or fill-in-the-blank headline formulas. If you’re a designer, you could offer graphic design templates for people who are launching new products or their new website.
Think outside the box when you create templates. Sarah from Beginner Bookkeeping helps other business owners track their income and expenses with Excel spreadsheet templates. They are simple for her to create but save her audience a lot of time.
As another example, the designer duo behind With Grace and Gold offer their subscribers something other than design templates. Surprising, right?
This is because they decided to create a different kind of template bundle for a smaller segment of their audience. They offer email templates to fellow designers so they can use them when interacting with their own clients.
Many of these templates might seem pretty easy for you to create, especially since you have expertise in your field, but they’ll save your subscriber a lot of time. What takes you one hour to create as an expert could take them an entire day or more.
Since time is the one resource we can never get back, helping your audience save more of their valuable time and energy with templates will build a strong sense of brand trust.
Printables can also be used as templates, but it also refers to any downloadable lead magnet that comes in a printable format. These instant downloads are an easy way to grow your email list because all your audience needs to do is sign up for your email list and your automations inside ConvertKit will take care of the rest.
When someone receives your printable in a simple incentive email, they’ll click the button inside the email to quickly download the printable and then they can print it on their own. If you are savvy with design, printables could be a great way to grow your email list.
As an artist or designer, you can offer art printables with hand-lettered quotes, abstract art, invitations, and much more. (Here’s a list of art printables on Pinterest if you want more inspiration.)
Can you use printables to grow your list if you aren’t an artist? Absolutely! Kids Yoga Stories created three printable yoga posters that their audience can print and hang up in their own homes. Each poster shows different yoga poses with easy instructions and visuals for young children to follow.
Maybe you want to give your subscribers access to multiple printables all at once. If so, you can create a printable resource library that’s exclusively available to your email list, much like this example from Halfprint Design.
You can create a printable resource library by uploading your files to your website and making them available on a hidden or password-protected website page. If you create a website page that needs a password to be unlocked, we recommend sending the password code inside your incentive email to keep all of the information in one place.
If you want to create a free resource library for your subscribers, another good freebie to include would be a collection of planners. If you work with clients on goal setting or strategy building, offering downloadable planners could be a simple way to guide audience members through your exact process.
This is exactly what blogger Jennifer of Coffee and Creativity did. As a business strategist and success coach, it makes sense for her to create a set of planners that help her audience achieve their goals.
If she can help new subscribers accomplish goals with a simple planner freebie, just think about how much trust she’s already built with subscribers when she sells coaching packages.
Not only does Jennifer offer a set of planners, but she also includes a goal tracker so people can track their progress along the way to accomplishing their goals. This is a great complementary resource to planner downloadables.
What else can you add to your planners? We love how Diana from Forever Bebes includes multiple activities inside their free mini photography planner.
Along with a yearly and monthly calendar, she also includes blank pages, a mind map, and multiple note pages so moms who sign up for her email list can plan newborn photoshoots.
Get creative with what kind of activities you can put inside your planner. The more variety you have, the more features you can add to your lead magnet offer to make it shine.
Much like planners and worksheets, creating a workbook allows you to add multiple activities all in one place. Workbooks give your audience an opportunity to work through various exercises they need to complete in order to put their knowledge into action.
Workbooks can include worksheets, prompts, scripts, checklists, and other lessons your audience can learn from. The main difference between workbooks and other downloadable lead magnet types here is that it compiles all of these types in one multiple-page document.
Usually, workbooks are best when all of the activities help your audience accomplish something specific. For example, if you are a fitness coach, you could create a 30-day fitness challenge workbook. Inside the workbook, you could include several weightlifting and cardio exercises to complete each week, a few healthy recipes to make at home, and prompts to help people track their goals and reflections throughout the challenge.
That’s just one fictional example, but mindset coach Deanna from Lucky Love Life also illustrates how powerful workbooks can be with her own downloadable lead magnet workbook. It helps new subscribers overcome their self-limiting beliefs so they’re better prepared to learn from her and eventually work with her.
If you are a service provider, think about what other kinds of activities would be beneficial for your incoming client leads to do before they express interest in working with you. What do you like them to already have nailed down when you start collaborating?
For Elise of Sunny Social Design, it was important to use her workbook to help subscribers understand who their ideal client is. Since Elise wants to know who she would need to attract with her designs, it’s helpful if her incoming client leads can fully explain who that ideal person is. It also acts as a great lead magnet for people who simply want to learn from Elise.
You can create a fillable PDF workbook so people can go through the activities on their digital devices. This can be a great way for people to take your workbook on-the-go and save on printing costs. Otherwise, you can create a printable version that your subscribers can download.
We recently mentioned how you can add prompts to your workbook, but they can also stand alone. If you want to contribute to your audience’s self-reflection or self-discovery process, offering prompts as a lead magnet could be a great way to grow your email list.
Prompts can come in the form of a question or a fill-in-the-blank statement.
Here are a few prompt examples to show the variety of formats you can use:
- If you could trade places with anyone in the world, who would it be?
- I really want to improve my [blank] because it would allow me to…
- What am I most well-known for? What do I want to be well-known for?
- If I only had [blank], I’d be able to…
If you love to journal and already create your own prompts, you could create a prompts-related workbook like this example from Becky Mollenkamp.
She goes above and beyond by offering 365 journaling prompts, one for every day of the year. No matter when someone signs up, they can jump into the corresponding day’s prompt, making it easy to get started right away.
If you offer a large number of journaling prompts at once, it might be a good idea to send automated follow-up emails to check in with your subscribers on their progress.
You can do this inside ConvertKit by setting up an automated email sequence that re-engages your email subscribers every month or so. That way, you always stay top-of-mind with your audience and show how much you care about their progress.
Of course, you don’t have to create 365 journaling prompts to get started. Instead, take this example from Julie of Filling the Jars.
She gives her audience 30 writing prompts to help them get started with journaling so her blog readers can cultivate their own journaling practice. By offering only 30 prompts, she gives enough information to earn her reader’s email address without overwhelming beginners with too many prompts.
To get started, you can create a simple list of writing or journal prompts that can be instantly downloaded from your incentive email. This works well if you know your audience has their own journal or notebook that they want to write in.
Otherwise, you create a workbook of prompts with an open space underneath each prompt for your audience to fill in their thoughts. No matter what format you choose, prompts are a great way to help your audience discover their own “ah-ha” moments, increase their self-awareness, and develop their voice.
Much like a checklist, which we’ve already talked about, a cheatsheet puts all of the most important information your audience needs to know in a central place.
While a checklist gives people a list of tasks to complete, a cheatsheet usually takes a bigger or more complex topic and breaks it down into an easily digestible format. This can be in the form of a recipe, formula, infographic, and beyond.
This cheatsheet example from food blog Whole Lotta Yum is a great example. It may not feature recipes, but it’s one-page cheatsheet includes a list of zero carb snacks with the name of each snack, common serving sizes, and the carb count for each snack.
The topic directly relates to their blog since it’s specifically a low-carb food blog, and subscribers are able to print off this cheatsheet and take it with them to the grocery store.
When occupational therapist Jaime of Miss Jaime OT created her own cheatsheet lead magnet, her main goal was to help parents who subscribed to her email list better understand sensory processing disorders. She included an infographic that defines important terms parents need to know along with an umbrella visual that they can relate to.
Cheatsheets usually come in a one-page format, showing us that your lead magnet doesn’t need to be long and complicated to be effective. Think about what topics you can break down into a simple cheatsheet. Your audience will thank you.
The final lead magnet type on our list is downloadable tools. You can offer tools like calculators, generators, assessments, digital art brushes, and much more. Think of these tools as an easy way for your audience to create something new or learn about something new.
In this letter sound assessment example from Teaching Products, they give a variety of worksheets and downloadable lead magnet tools to assess how well children associate letters with their corresponding sounds.
Both teachers and homeschooling parents can use these tools to assess their child’s early development.
What if you aren’t looking to teach anything? Maybe you’d rather offer a tool that gives your audience the freedom to create new things. If so, you could offer a free font like this example from designer Sarah of Hewitt Avenue.
All her audience needs to do is fill out their information in her email sign-up form and they’ll receive a link to download the font type she’s created. She even includes a preview photo of what the font looks like so people know if it is applicable for what they want to create.
No matter what tool you create, think about how it can make your audience member’s job or life easier. What is the ultimate goal behind offering the tool? How does it improve their creative process or workflow? These questions will help you create better tools.
Create a lead magnet landing page for your downloadable
Once you’ve chosen one of the downloadable lead magnet types we’ve outlined above, you’ll be able to promote it through a landing page. Luckily, you don’t have to start from scratch.
We have a full library of lead magnet landing page design templates you can customize to fit your visual branding and content. Simply create your own inside our ConvertKit landing page builder and share it with your audience when you’re ready.