What is a B2B lead magnet?

A B2B lead magnet is a piece of content that you give away to your audience in exchange for their contact details. It can be written, usually in the form of an ebook or pdf. Or it can be video, usually in the form of a webinar.

Lead magnets are ‘gated’ behind a form which will ask users for information, such as:

  • Name
  • Industry or sector
  • Employer
  • Role
  • Email address
  • Phone number

Once the user has filled out their data and submitted the form, they can access the content. This data is added to your marketing database and used in future marketing campaigns.

Because users have to identify themselves and opt-in to future marketing campaigns, lead magnets tend to be weightier or go into more detail than you would expect to find in a blog post.

Why are B2B lead magnets useful?

Lead magnets are one of the main ways that B2B brands can convert site traffic into leads – sometimes called lead generation. Site traffic is great, but unless you’re getting your visitors’ contact details, you have no way to engage them one-to-one and learn more about them.

What do I need to have in place before I begin?

If you’re reading a post about lead magnets I’m going to assume you already have a domain and a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress.

You’re going to need to have some way of capturing the data. There are loads of WordPress form plugins that are available and easy to install. You probably want to pay rather than using a free one. Free plugins are free for a reason and when you’re dealing with customer data cutting corners isn’t wise.

gravity forms logo gravity forms is a data capture form for lead generation

In my experience, Gravity Forms is a reliable plugin that can integrate with the majority of customer database management, email and marketing automation platforms. If Gravity Forms doesn’t take your fancy, there are countless articles rounding up the best WordPress form plugins that are available.

You’re also going to need to build a landing page to host the form and a thank you page that users will be taken to once they have submitted their data.

What is a good B2B lead magnet idea?

Like all effective B2B content marketing, your lead magnet should be user-centric. It should stem from a real challenge your customer has and wants to overcome.

Exactly what that problem is will be determined by your sector and the persona you’re targeting within that sector. But, in general, effective lead magnets have a few characteristics:

  • Solve a real problem the audience has
  • Make solving the problem sound easy
  • Are really specific about what problem they’re solving and who they’re targeting – they may even call these people out in the title
  • Offer some kind of time-constraint, either in the sense that they solve the problem in ‘six easy steps’ or ‘within six months’
  • Quantify their effectiveness – saying that you’ll increase the effectiveness of someone’s lead generation is good, saying you’ll increase it by 66% in two months is better

Often, B2B lead magnets take the form of a report or a whitepaper. These can work, but ideally you want to do more than share some interesting information. The internet is full of interesting information. And being interested in something may not be enough of a draw for someone to hand over their contact details.

You need to make them feel like that information is going to make their life easier, or solve a problem that’s been bugging them.

How long should a lead magnet be?

Some people think that lead magnets need to be long. Some people also think that lead magnets should be an ebook of some sort. Wrong on both counts.

Ebooks have far lower conversion rates than other types of content, such as checklists, email courses or webinars. They take ages to read and ages to write. They’re bad for everyone involved.

If part of the value proposition for your lead magnet is that it’s really long, you need to come up with a better idea.

What format should your lead magnet take?

There are loads of formats to choose from, but here are a few to get started.

Checklist or cheat sheet

Break a complicated process down into simple steps and walk the reader through them one-by-one. These perform much better than ebooks because the format makes the process sound easy and offers a time-constraint.

Email course

Rather than asking for someone’s email address in return for a pdf or video, why not invite them to sign up for an email course? Signing up for a course feels less transactional and breaking down the content into bitesize email chunks is handy for the user. Plus, you then have a reason for getting in touch on a regular basis, keeping you front of mind.


Your webinar can be live or ondemand. And you can either present to camera or you can hide behind some slides. There are loads of free webinar tools, making webinars one of the most cost-effective lead magnet formats on this list.

DIY repurposable template

A ‘fill in the blanks’ tool that does the legwork for the user. The template could be a template for a proposal, a calendar to help with their planning or a spreadsheet with useful formulas already included, ready for the user to put in their own data.


A round-up of the best resources for your particular target audience. It may sound like a bit of a cop-out, but rounding up resources can be a time-consuming process. Why not help out your audience by rounding up the best resources that are relevant to their sector?


Something which can be printed out and put on the wall. This could take the form of a calendar or an infographic, ready for printing.

How self-promotional should my B2B lead magnet be?

Don’t overload your lead magnet with sales messaging. You’ve already got their email address. Adding genuine value for the reader will do more to promote your services and expertise than gratuitous self-promotion.

Clean up that filename

If you are producing a document of some sort, make sure that the filename has been cleared up. It’s only a small thing but a messy filename will undermine your credibility. Keep the filename short and make it searchable so it’s easy to find on users’ hard drives once downloaded.

Do you need help with your B2B lead magnet?

If you’re looking for help creating lead magnets for your business, feel free to drop me a line anytime using the button below.

Looking for a Bristol content marketing & SEO consultant?