To create a successful lead magnet that fills your funnel with qualified prospects, you’ve first got to get the basics right

Bertrand Blancheton
Jul 31 · 5 min read
artwork by @morysetta (IG)

This article is for strategists and marketing professionals who like to stay up to date and look for solutions to their daily challenges. Visit the content platform and join the community hub we made for you at: a p e r t u r e | Hub


It’s almost a cliche but the magnetic ‘Always Be Closing’ scene from Glengarry Glen Ross is one of the most quoted sales maxims out there. But what most people don’t know is that the scene shares another nugget of wisdom that is often overlooked.

After delivering the classic ABC line Blake, i.e. Alec Baldwin, goes on to say,

“You got the prospect comin’ in; you think they came in to get out of the rain? Guy doesn’t walk on the lot unless he wants to buy. Sitting out there waiting to give you their money! Are you gonna take it?”

To acquire clients in digital marketing we use lead magnets. Lead magnets are small, valuable incentives that we offer prospective customers in exchange for their contact information and the implied permission to keep engaging them with our offer.

But not all lead magnets are made equally. As a matter of fact, many fail to generate the expected number of leads.

In this article, I will share 3 rules of thumb that will help you pick the right lead magnet before you start building it.


Rule #1 — Focus Demands Sacrifice

Many businesses plan their client acquisition with the assumption that they can convert everybody who comes into their sales funnel. Yet nothing could be further from the truth.

You will never convert the vast majority of your traffic into paying customers, regardless of how great or irresistible your offers are. In fact, most marketers feel they’re doing very well if they have a conversion rate of 2–5%.

That being said, whatever your market or niche is, your traffic is made up of three types of people:

  • Those interested and willing to buy from you now;
  • Those who will never buy from you;
  • And those interested and willing, but still undecided about buying from you (i.e. the ‘maybes’).

The implications of this are simple but profound.

Your sales funnel will take care of those willing and ready to buy now and there’s no point in trying to convert people who are not your customers.

This is why the first rule of picking the right lead magnet is ‘focus’. To create a valuable lead magnet you need to concentrate on the needs of a well-defined customer base. In order to achieve this, you have to exclude all other groups.

Finding the right lead magnet starts with finding, defining, and addressing the needs of your ‘maybes’.

Focus demands sacrifice.

Follow this rule and you’ll see a much better response rate to your lead magnet, simply based on the fact that it will speak directly to people who are willing to become your customers.

Rule #2 — Commercial Intent Is Your North Star

Marketers spend a lot of time on finding the right keywords for their content, but very few confirm that these keywords have real commercial intent behind them.

Commercial or buyer’s intent is the probability that prospects will buy from you given how motivated they are to solve whatever drives them.

Correspondingly commercial intent matters when you’re looking for the best fit between your lead magnet and target audience. You want to cover a topic that is backed up by commercial intent.

Before creating a lead magnet consider the words and phrases your target audience will use to discover it. Put a few keywords related to your topic ideas into tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest and see what comes up.

At this point, you need to realize that there are two groups of words you need to pay attention to.

Let’s start with the group that is made up of purchasing and product keywords. Backlinko has an excellent list of these, which include keywords like ‘buy’, ‘discount’, and ‘review’. Anybody who uses such keywords is clearly looking for a solution.

On the other hand, we have keywords that contradict commercial intent. These include informational keywords like “how to” and “tips” on one side and ‘free rider’ keywords like “free” or “for free” on the other.

If your research turns up more of the latter than of the former keywords when it comes to your lead magnet’s topic, it might not have any serious commercial intent that will result in increased conversions.

Rule #3 — A Simple, Clear Message Is All It Takes

What you say matters. Flashy design and presentation are nice, but what your lead magnet really needs is a simple and clear message.

It’s not my intention to trigger anybody’s political pet peeves, but I believe that one of the reasons why Trump won the 2016 U.S. elections was the fact that he had a simple message that resonated with enough voters to get him into office.

It’s not what you tell people that matters -it’s what they remember that counts!

Everybody who saw Trump in action remembers his message “Make America Great Again”. By the same token, you want your target audience to remember the value proposition of your lead magnet.

Here’s a great way to test if your message is simple and resonates.

Find 3 people from your target audience and show them your lead magnet for 5 seconds. If they can’t tell you what your lead magnet is about afterwards, you don’t have a message that resonates.

So how do we fix that?

We use message maps. Message maps are compelling 15-second ‘elevator’ pitches that will help your target audience remember your message.

To achieve this you have to figure out what you want them to remember about your lead magnet.

Keep in mind that good message maps are descriptive.

According to Forbes, the average person is exposed to a minimum of 4,000 advertising messages a day!

This means that to stand out you’ve got to be clear. Don’t try to get too smart or creative with your copy. Tell your audience exactly what kind of value your lead magnet will provide and nothing more.


Do It Right The First Time

To create a successful lead magnet that fills your funnel with qualified prospects, you’ve first got to get the basics right.

There’s no point in sending valuable traffic to a lead magnet that doesn’t convert or is ineffective. This is why you’ve got to do it right the first time around.

By focusing your lead magnet only on the percentage of your traffic that you can convert, you’ll increase your response rates.

Using commercial intent to verify interest in the topic of your lead magnet will help you validate if it’s likely to convert people who want what you have to offer.

Lastly, by providing a simple, clear message for your lead magnet you’ll help your prospective customers remember your value proposition. When they can remember the value you provide, you’ve already won half the battle and won another qualified prospect for your sales funnel.


This article is for strategists and marketing professionals who like to stay up to date and look for solutions to their daily challenges. Visit the content platform and join the community hub we made for you at: a p e r t u r e | Hub

a p e r t u r e

a p e r t u r e is built on the exchange of ideas around technology, strategy and the dynamics of the platform economy. A content hub and a community.

Bertrand Blancheton

Written by

Swiss Award Winning Digital Marketing Consultant. I am constantly looking for new Customers Acquisition Growth for www.SwissDigitalMarketers.ch

a p e r t u r e

a p e r t u r e is built on the exchange of ideas around technology, strategy and the dynamics of the platform economy. A content hub and a community.

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