Future of Lead Magnets

Lead Magnets have been around for ages now but does it need a refresh?

Abhishek Nandi
Nov 28 · 5 min read
Photo by Matt Nelson on Unsplash

It all started with the pressure of qualifying leads. It made sense for people to generate Grade A content and ask you to fill up a form in exchange for that. All was well until the pressure to churn out more “quality” content kept surmounting on marketers and the outcome today is abysmal.

When a measure becomes a metric, it ceases to be a good measure. — Goodhart’s Law

A few days back I landed up a Download PDF link by a reputed brand. I filled up the form and was waiting for my copy of the amazing FREE EBOOK they were offering. I had some time at hand to read what they were offering. To my surprise, I received the PDF the next morning at 3 am IST, when I was sleeping.

The most crucial thing for a Lead Magnet is —

it must be consumed by the prospect for it to have an impact

The current state of Lead Magnets

When was the last time you shared a content piece created as a Lead Magnet with someone for being amazing? Chances are it is few than what it used to be a couple of years back. I am not going to talk about quality. Some of the following might not apply to all the types of Lead Magnets, for eg. Videos.

1. Missing out on SEO

You put your PDF behind a form, or you might be simply sending them to your prospects over emails, hence inaccessible for Search Engines. So, you create a landing page and add a ton of keywords or put up a text explaining what it is and optimize that page to ran. Isn’t it kind of irritating, you created amazing content probably 10–50 pages of it but that does not become part of your Content Topic Clustering. To drive traffic to these forms, you even spend on Ads and lose out the opportunity for generating organic content.

2. Not providing enough choices

You got the user to the page where you have a long and beautiful form waiting to be filled. What about the user, he/she might not have enough time to read your 100-page document? But they just might find the time to do so the next morning?

3. Breaking the user flow

Okay, so you jumped through hoops, send emails, spent on ads and got the user to the form, and now you want them to open their email and download the PDF to read it. Almost 70% of the traffic on any website will be from mobile devices. In mobile devices, the PDF does not open in the browser, it downloads it and opens in your PDF reader of choice.

4. Not being able to track usage of the Lead Magnet

Well, you have done it, you created your content which people graciously downloaded. But do you know how many of them read it? Do you know where they lost interest and dropped off? In a world of constant improvement, if you do not have a feedback loop in place, how are you planning to improve?

5. Missing out in collecting useful information

I cannot ask you the size of your shoe, until and unless you walk into my store and have expressed that you need a shoe. The forms do the injustice of asking everything before you even start reading it. If I asked you the right question at the right time, the chances of getting the answer are much higher than asking everything right away.

6. Treating everyone in the same way

Would you not want to make your existing customers/prospects feel right at home? But you end up asking them questions for which you already have the answers. You then go through and remove them and list only prospects. Worst, sending out a Sales Demo to an existing customer.

7. Missing Interactions

PDFs cannot have embedded interactive charts, they cannot have video testimonials, they cannot have polls or even conversational interfaces, where you say, I need this right now and someone on the chat magically appears to help you schedule a call.

How do we solve this?

Well, its nothing that you have not done already, use web pages instead of PDFs. Websites can house interactive content, allow you to capture more information and provide the best experience to your users.

1. Allow bots to crawl your content

If you allow bots from Google, Duck Duck Go, Bing and the likes of it to crawl your content and gradually gate them when interacting with humans, the chances of your organic traffic growth would be higher than building a landing page and hoping to rank high. While bots are getting more intelligent these days like scraping JS enabled pages, and emulating devices, this would still work just fine.

2. Give Choices

Ask the user what they want. Tell them upfront the time commitment they need to go through the content. Provide them options to remind them later over email or read now should be the best approach.

3. Identify users

Differentiate between an existing user/prospect and a new user so, to treat them in the right way.

4. Add Pixel and Analytics

Track how far they have read, provide them options to continue from where they left. This also opens up more avenues like being able to run ads on other platforms to create brand awareness. Use the information to write better content in future to reduce drop-offs and increase consumption.

5. Ask the right question at the right time

Gradually ask more questions to users, throughout the content to have more relevant information like, what are they using today, how much do they pay for it, are they willing to switch providers, etc. All this information can help your sales representative to close a deal because they have more context beforehand.

Does this even need solving?

While a lot of folks might argue that, if I can get an email address with half the effort then why should I spend more time and money? Well, it all depends on how you want to treat your users or prospects.

See it in action

I created a small Lead Magnet with these principles in mind. Reminder, it’s about how the content is consumed and the way I ask questions to fill my CRM. Experience this.


Do let me know what you think.

Abhishek Nandi

Written by

Co-Founder @ NextStep | Former CTO YourStory, Co-Founder Odiocast & PureMetrics, X- MoEngage, Huawei, Infosys

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