Lead Magnets for Inbound Marketing Flywheels

12 Content Creation Techniques For Inbound Marketing (Examples)

Table of Contents

How To Create Lead Magnets That Work


If you’re a business owner, marketer or sales person, you need to generate leads in order to make sales. To state the obvious, the more sales you need to make, the more leads you need. Preferably high quality leads. In order to generate leads using Inbound Marketing, you need high quality content typically designed by an inbound marketing expert and built using the top content creation tools.


Learn 13 Content Creation techniques used the world over by leading editors, journalists and marketers. Get our in-depth Content Creation Guidebook.


Best Lead Magnets


Content comes in many forms, but in the ever more competitive world of digital marketing, content must be both high quality and educational, while at the same time, serving as an effective Lead Magnet.  The best lead magnets work both on your website and with your email marketing campaigns.


Lead Magnet Definition


Before diving further into our expert’s guide to inbound marketing content creation techniques, entitled "How to Create Killer Marketing Content", of which developing lead magnets are a key output, we first need to understand what a lead magnet is.


Content Creation for Inbound Marketing Lead Generation


In its most basic form, it’s a form on a website page, normally called a landing page, where you get someone to give you their email and other relevant contact information in exchange for something valuable like a free ebook or checklist. 


This is especially useful in early-stage content, which is usually less 'meaty' and for which people may not be willing to exchange much beyond their email in exchange for your content offer.  Higher up the funnel, you may find greater success with visual content creation tools, such as video.  In the direct-to-consumer (DTC) space, instagram video editing tools have proven to be especially useful in creating lead generating magnets.


Marketing Content


How They Become a Lead in Your System


By giving you their contact information, they become a lead in your marketing system. Once they become a lead, you then use additional pieces of content to ‘pull’ them through your system, ultimately handing them off to sales to be closed or in the case of e-commerce, getting them to buy from you directly on your website.


Lead Magnet vs Tripwire


As opposed to creating a lead in your system that has not yet converted into a customer, such as what a lead magnet does, a Tripwire is designed to get that lead to make that first purchase, thus becoming a paying customer.

Lead Magnet Tripwire

A Tripwire is typically a low value item, with the key characteristic that it can be used to both Upsell and Cross-Sell.


Lead Magnet vs Landing Page


A lead magnet can be embedded on a landing page, for example a BMI calculator or can be behind an optimized form on a landing page. A landing page is just another ‘flavor’ of a web page, but it is a web page. Within Hubspot, the primary difference is what you measure.  


For example, your lead magnet conversion rate may or may not be equal to your landing page conversion rate (which uses lead magnet forms), though in most circumstances, they should be close. Where you may see significant deviation is where you provide an online calculator, see examples, here, here and here that can be run many times by the same user without requiring the user to provide his contact information.  Some calculators can be ungated whiles others are not.  They both have a role to play.


Difference Between Upsell vs Cross-Sell


Though you could probably debate the differences, in order to provide a clear example, let’s work with shoes to get to an agreed upon understanding about the difference between an Upsell and a Cross-Sell.


If I was going to upsell a shoe customer, I might offer a BOGO (an intermediate lead magnet example), or Buy One Get One type of offer of the same shoe. This is a fairly easy sell and is one of the best lead magnet examples out there. But if I wanted to Cross-Sell, I might offer someone who just bought a pair of weight lifter shoes some athletic socks, since they are closely related products. 


Make it Look Pretty


All I would really need are the services of a good graphic designer and the ability to create the offer in my system, i.e., coupon, and I would have very a strong offer.  I would also want to make sure my graphic designer created social media channel specific graphics and imagery that met all technical and aesthetic requirements of the company. 


The reason for keeping this in mind is that most companies are operating on multiple social media platforms.  Though there may be marketing campaigns where distinct marketing agencies are managing social media posts on each individual platform, I typically see where one person or agency handles them all for consistent brand awareness purposes.


You Need Corporate Content Style Guide

While beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, your 'brand voice' should be in your content style guide and it should be included with every content brief you send to digital content creation team.  Your content style guide should explain to your content marketers:


  • Style

    Here's where you should provide examples of acceptable writing, ideally from content you've already gotten past the gatekeepers, internally and externally.  It's also a great place to include which style manual you prefer, for example, I personally use The Chicago Manual of Style.  I also lean heavily on the Tongue & Quill, a manual all Air Force Officers will be familiar with.

  • Tone

    While humans, when speaking face-to-face, can adjust their tone based on real time feedback from the person they are talking to, the written tone is slightly trickier.  But it can be done.

  • Voice

    Your brand voice should be consistent, but not boring.  Unless that's what you're going for.  

    Personality - Done right, your personality will shine through in your content.
    Rhythm and Pace - As in life, people speak, listen and hear at different rates.  You're content should 'read' like you want people to hear it in their head.  It should be as if you're there.
    Vocabulary - While there is a lot to be said for keeping it simple, there are often times when you have to step it up a notch.  Your product or service should play into the level your content is expressed in.

When you create content with these content style guidelines in mind, and if you have done the proper keyword research by, for example, knowing how to find keywords for Google adwords using the free Google Keyword Planner tool, you should be able create highly effective content that resonates well with your target audience.  This will go a long way toward making your lead magnets outperform the competition.




How To Develop a Lead Magnet Strategy


Know What You Sell


If you’re going to develop a lead magnet, the first, most important thing to know is what you’re selling. This seems like something that should be obvious, but a surprising number of our clients struggle to define what they sell. Ultimately, this makes it difficult to develop a lead magnet using our lead magnet creation service. 


Authoring Tools for Lead Magnets


Even using the best lead magnet creator software on the market, the first prerequisite is to have a thorough understanding of what you sell and how your customer benefits from using your product or service.  


Know Your Audience


If you’re in marketing, you should already know that you need to know who your buyer persona is. What’s a buyer persona? It’s a fictional representation of your ideal buyer. If you’re lucky enough to be able to speak directly to a real buyer, then you should. If you’re not, then you will have to rely on a variety of other means, such as market studies.


If you have the budget, one of the most data driven ways to discover your audience is to run some Google Ads. This can get expensive, but since Google has about 90% of the search audience, if you know how to use their Adwords Keyword Planner Tools and Google Analytics, you can discover a lot about who is responding to your ads, including age, gender, income, interest, and preferred device type.  For example, in the image below, you can see site visitors clustered by age groups, which can greatly assist in targeting your advertising and content production.  This is a key piece of informance you can use to improve your Google Ads performance.  In fact, for our Google Ads clients, we monitor several KPIs from this chart to achieve ever Lower Cost per Acquisition.


Google Analytics Demographics Information


Google Analytics Demographic Breakdown


Facebook Audience Targeting


You can also do amazing things with Facebook, as it has hundreds of audience attributes you can use for targeting. Find which one converts and you'll have a good idea of who your buyer persona is. But nothing beats face-to-face conversations and observations.  Facebook also conveniently offers a whole library of content creation templates.


Find Your P.A.S


Problem, Agitation, Solution, or P.A.S is a popular lead magnet copywriting model. What does it mean when it comes to developing a lead magnet? First, find the problem your audience is having, then agitate the problem and then provide the solution to the problem, preferably your solution. 


The Trend is Your Friend


One great way for content creators to find these problems is by using the Google trends tool to search for Topics versus Keywords.  For example, perhaps your prospects are looking for ways to improve their customer service, and that's what you solve.  Create a beautifully designed lead magnet that explains how you can help your prospects improve their customer service with your solution.


Lead Magnet Design Best Practices


Though there are many lead magnet best practices, the top three to keep in mind, derived from our experience with generating over three million leads across a wide variety of industries, are:


  • Make It Clear What The User Will Get Or Learn From Consuming This Piece of Content.

  • Make It Easy To Use or Get

    That means make it accessible.

  • Make It Free to Use and Easily Repeatable.


Follow these three inbound content creation tips to complete your lead magnet checklist.


Lead Magnet Funnels


In an ideal world, a prospect (someone who has visited your website but not converted or become a contact in your marketing platform, such as Hubspot) would complete your lead magnet, go immediately to a Buy Now button, and make a purchase.


That rarely happens. What happens instead is that they consume many of your pieces of marketing content, which are either gated (behind a form) or ungated (not behind a form). They probably spend a great deal of time reading your blogs, slowly becoming more and more educated about your product or service.


That’s why the challenge for marketers is to design marketing content for each stage of your marketing funnel. Within the Hubspot Inbound Marketing world, those stages are typically defined as Attract, Convert, Close, Delight.


Lead Nurturing Between Lead Magnets


When you have an Inbound Marketing platform, like Hubspot, you use email lead nurturing to ‘pull’ leads through each stage of your marketing funnel. If all leads did exactly what you expected of them, then this approach would work fine, without a lot of effort.

Unfortunately, your leads, who can do use search engines, can and will enter your marketing funnel at any point of your funnel, and behave much more like kids riding a merry go around. Your marketing and sales funnel then starts to resemble a flywheel. The faster it spins, and the closer your leads are to the edge, the easier they will fall off your flywheel.


You Must Have The Strongest Value Proposition


However, the closer they are to the center, the easier it is for them to hold on, though there is always somebody’s else’s flywheel trying to call or pull them off your flywheel.


Inbound Marketing Flywheel


Lead Magnet Blueprint


It should be obvious by now that you’re going to need more than one lead magnet and probably many sources of traffic. That’s why it's absolutely imperative to develop a content plan that is aligned with each stage of your marketing funnel. Each requires a different kind of lead magnet.  For example, if you're a thought leader, your lead magnet may be a book, while if you run an ecommerce webstore, and no one else offers special sizing tool for shoes, like you do, that's going to be your best lead magnet option.


There’s one characteristic about funnels that should be very obvious, they’re bigger at the top than at the bottom. This implies you will need more content, i.e., lead magnets, at the top of the funnel than at the bottom of the funnel.


Hubspot is Powerful Marketing Platform


You should also know that when it comes to building a lead magnet, Hubspot provides a powerful platform to help you with website content creation so you can build out your lead magnet based marketing funnel.


Best Lead Magnet Builder Ideas


Now that you have built out your content strategy, you should have a map of the content, i.e., lead magnets, you’re going to need to create for each stage of your funnel.   Though there is no ‘law’ that says what the best lead magnet ideas are. However, for each stage, broadly speaking, the best examples of lead magnets map out like this:


  • Top-of-the-Funnel

    Annual Industry Roundups
    Educational Courses Delivered via Platforms like Thinkific
    E-Mail Courses
    Evergreen Webinars
    Product Marketing Videos
    Educational Videos
    Educational Audios
    Entertainment Videos With an Angle
    Idea Generators (Headlines for Example)
    Thought Leadership Series

  • Middle-of-the-Funnel

    Case Studies
    Solution Guides
    Online Reviews

  • Bottom-of-the-Funnel

    Free Trials
    Sign-Up or Buy It Now Buttons
    Proof-of-Concepts (POCs)
    Free Shipping
    Catalog Request
    Free Consultations
    Free Quotes

From Content Ideation to Content Ideas

These are just some of the great lead magnet examples you may want to consider when developing your marketing funnel using lead magnets and content marketing.


No Limit to Lead Magnet Ideas


There’s no limit to the lead magnet ideas you can come up with when you put your mind to it. Lead magnet design is both an art and science as well as software engineering problem.


Content Creation Process Flow


Now that you know what a lead magnet is and what type is needed for which stage of your marketing funnel, let me give you some expert inbound marketing content marketing development tips:


  1. Read.  That’s right, read, constantly and widely. 

  2. Pay attention to what style you like to read.  

    Do you like fairly straight forward “newspaper’ style content, or do you like your prose to be a little more high brow?

    This will prove especially valuable as the marketing world begins to use artificial intelligence to write with.

  3. Actively analyze your audience. 

    You do this, within the context of Inbound Marketing, as part of the 
    buyer persona development process. 

    But, if your audience, like our audience, spans the depth and breadth of ALL industries, you will need to develop multiple buyer personas, then refine from there.

  4. Write content to address each stage of the buying cycle, for any given persona.

    Content creation that is aligned with each stage of your buyer's journey requires skill and research.  A search engine can assist greatly with this as you can determine what questions searchers are actually performing.

  5. Write in a style you enjoy reading, but explore writing in other styles.  

    If you are running your website on Hubspot (recommended), pay attention to the questions your prospects are asking when they find your website.

  6. When analyzing your inbound prospects’ questions, I recommend you download them into a spreadsheet then sort on the search terms to see what are the most common patterns. 

    For instance, in our case, it is obvious that many people are looking for a simple way to understand SAP, and we provide that in the form of a 
    MindMap, which is constantly downloadeded and which generates a lot of follow-up question and answer traffic.

  7. Learn to use graphics to tell your story.  

    By graphics, I mean both charts and art.  

    Remember, the human brain can process graphical information 60,000 times faster than it can written information. You should understand that it retains written information far better than visual information alone. But when you can combine visual and written information with interactivity, you have the most powerful type of digital content available.

  8. Learn to ‘chunk’ your content into bite size elements, even if your story is long. 

    People today truly do have an attention span problem. 

    But if your content is interesting enough, they may be able to devote enough attention to it over time to consume all of it, just not all at once.  You should also be aware that if out of all the noise in the environment, someone finds your content, they are demonstrating some level of intent.

  9. Keep in mind where your content might be consumed-PC or Mobile or physically held. 

    Short videos, easily made these days, can and are being viewed on multiple mobile devices.

  10. Keep your content positive, even when addressing a problem.

    Although addressing a problem is a fundamental task of business, finding a positive way to address the problem is more useful and easier to consume when done in a positive manner versus negative manner.

  11. Always take your time before hitting that send button. 

    I know I constantly find mistakes in old emails I have sent, and was for years convinced that the system was intentionally deleting words that I knew I had written. 

    Though I am not sure this is not happening, I do know that sometimes, your brain says type ‘and’ but your fingers refuse to cooperate and simply lie to your brain about having done it. 

  12. If writing a ‘how to’ checklist, it is best to actually have done it, even better to provide illustrations on how to do it or even better, a video of how to do it.

    That’s one of the reasons "How To" videos are one of the most popular genres on Youtube.


Lead Magnet Marketing


Once you’ve built your beautifully designed lead magnet, you’ve only begun the process of lead magnet marketing.   You need to have already decided, using the available lead magnet statistics available to you, for instance, from within Hubspot and potentially Google Analytics and Facebook Analytics, what an acceptable lead magnet conversion rate will be for you.


Who Can Use a Lead Magnet?


Though just about any business can use a lead magnet, when it comes to using a lead magnet within a business that is using Inbound Marketing, there’s a few key customer characteristics that work well:


  • Product or Service is a Considered Sale
  • Product or Service Cost $500 or More, Either a Single Purchase or Over the Customer Lifetime


What Are Some Typical Businesses That Can Use a Lead Magnet?

We've Built Lead Magnets for Various Types of Service Providers and Platforms


  • Coaches
  • Virtual Assistants
  • Ecommerce
  • Artists
  • Instagram Influencers
  • Photographers
  • Travel Agents
  • Health Coaches
  • LinkedIn Guru's
  • Real Estate
  • Restaurants
  • SaaS
  • SAP Partners
  • SAP Customers
  • Schools
  • Shopify Stores

Example of a Lead Magnet For Real Estate Agents

Using Inbound Marketing for Mortgages

Mortgage Payment Calculator

To provide a concrete example, I've included a working Mortgage Loan Calculator with the twist that is designed to collect a lead.  It could just as easily be designed to simply output the answer, which many do.  The final design depends on what you want it to do as far as feeding your funnel.




Your Guide to Irresistible Lead Magnet Content


Creating content doesn’t have to be hard. But it does have to be done correctly. That’s why we’ve developed an ebook to “Developing Killer Marketing Content” which you can get by clicking the button. How’s that for a lead magnet😎


Marketing Content


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Lonnie D. Ayers, PMP

About the Author: Lonnie Ayers is a Hubspot Certified Inbound Marketing consultant, with additional certifications in Hubspot Content Optimization, Hubspot Contextual Marketing, and is a Hubspot Certified Partner. Specialized in demand generation and sales execution, especially in the SAP, Oracle and Microsoft Partner space, he has unique insight into the tough challenges Service Providers face with generating leads and closing sales using the latest digital tools. With 15 years of SAP Program Management experience, and dozens of complex sales engagements under his belt, he helps partners develop and communicate their unique sales proposition. Frequently sought as a public speaker in various events, he is available for both inhouse engagements and remote coaching.
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He also recently released a book "How to Dominate Any Market - Turbocharging Your Digital Marketing and Sales Results", which is available on Amazon.

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