A brand is what enables a company to stand out from its competition in the mind of a customer. Part of what goes into it can be a unique name, logo, slogan, and the product or service itself. These elements are what makes a company’s brand instantly recognizable and memorable to consumers.

When it comes to the visual identity of a brand, Nike has the distinctive swoosh logo, McDonald’s has the golden arches, Coca-Cola has its “Taste the Feeling” slogan, and Apple Inc. has the Apple logo and the sleek look of its iPhone and other products.

The true power of branding is intangible.

Yes, it’s true that Nike and the swoosh logo are inseparable. However, this is not to say that a company’s brand is nothing more than its logo or its most popular product. After all, Apple was already an established company years before they even introduced the iPhone.

Underneath everything, a strong company’s branding boils down to powerful intangible elements. When companies execute successful brand strategies, they bring together elements that tap into their audiences’ emotions and pains that need to be solved.

When this foundation is set, it gives a company the ability to create tangible assets that support these emotional trigger points.

In the modern era of digital marketing, lead magnets are one of the first ways many consumers interact with a brand.

In this post, we’ll talk about lead magnets and how you can use them for your brand strategy with the ultimate goal of making your company easily identifiable, memorable, and likely to be chosen by your ideal target customer.

What are lead magnets?

Lead magnets are any incentives in the form of downloadable content that a brand offers website visitors in exchange for their name, email address, and other contact information.

Common types of lead magnets include:

  • Whitepapers
  • Case studies
  • Templates
  • Webinars
  • Ebooks

There is a wide range of lead magnets that brands can use.  Some types work better for certain types of business with most of this depending on the product or service that a brand provides.   The number one rule though is that as long as the brand’s audience will find value in the content, the content can serve as a lead magnet.

Lead magnets can be used to build your company’s brand.

The main purpose of using lead magnets is to grow an email list so that your brand has an audience of interested prospects who are most likely to purchase your products and services. When website visitors sign up for your email list in exchange for content, they become subscribers or leads. The next goal of a brand is to move them further down the sales funnel with a goal to convert them into paying customers by providing them with more valuable content that solves their problems and positions their solution as the best fit.

In this way lead magnets help build your brand strategy because ultimately they help tell your story and demonstrate your value to the customer.

Lead magnets for digital design companies.

If we use to use a web design company as an example, a type of lead magnet that helps builds its brand is to offer templates based on user experience and best practices to help customers with a small need before that customer might consider the company for a full design project.

Do you want your brand to be known as one that cares about its audience?

Use different templates suited to your audience’s needs as lead magnets. With templates, you can help your audience and make their lives easier without requiring monetary payment. It’s a good way for your brand to establish goodwill with prospective customers right off the bat.

It’s all about providing value upfront!

Lead magnets that offer free trials for SaaS companies, service companies, and subscription-based companies.

It’s time for another example.

Let’s consider a software company or even a service company that offers a service on a recurring basis.  There are lead magnets that work even better for them – free trials.

More often than not, website visitors are not ready to purchase from your brand right away. Typically they don’t know enough about the product, service, or brand overall and what it stands for.  They are on your website because they are looking for the best possible options available to them… a.k.a. research mode!

You can make it easier for visitors to decide by offering free trials as lead magnets. They are very likely to sign up if all it takes for them to sign up is their email address.

By offering the trial you allow your visitors to experience the value your brand provides and not just tell them about it… which frankly, may go in one ear and out the other.

Hulu - Lead Magnet Example

Source: Hulu

When you offer something for free, you demonstrate the value of your brand and its products or services without asking for anything substantial in return. This goes a long way in showing the audience that your brand is one that prioritizes customer experience instead of one that is just out to make money as quickly as possible.

Lead magnets that offer special discounts, free shipping, and other incentives for e-commerce and retail shops.

You might be wondering at this point how a company that sells physical products might use a lead magnet.  It’s not like you want to just give away free merchandise all the time.

In this example, you can see how e-commerce and retailers can make use of lead magnets through special discounts, free shipping, and other similar incentives.

These are some of the simplest yet most effective types of lead magnets you can offer your visitors. It’s the kind of offer that grabs attention right away and entices visitors to sign up. After all, consumers are always searching for the best deals when it comes to things they want to buy.

Frame Bridge - Lead Magnet Example

Source: Framebridge

Once you confirm the signup, you can immediately send your new subscriber a welcome email and include the code for the discount or whatever incentive you’re offering. It ensures that your brand remains top of mind with your audience and gives them value instantly.

Lead magnets for B2B brands with a high value offer.

In the early stages of the B2B sales journey, the vast majority of purchasers do not want to be sold any product or service. What they want is information so they can understand the offering better and how it fits with their needs. In fact, research from Conductor indicates that consumers are 131% more likely to make a purchase from a brand if the brand can provide them with educational content.

An excellent way to provide information is to offer data, as well as any advice based on that data. Doing so enables you to position your brand as a leader in your respective niche.

That being said, data can often be hard to digest. To make it more appealing and easily digestible for your audience, present your data in the form of infographics. Turning statistics and other forms of numerical data into infographics can transform boring content into fun, engaging pieces that your audience will surely sign up for.

Another way to educate your audience is through ebooks or “mega” blog posts. As lead magnets, these types are most effective when they offer knowledge that is not readily available online or goes into much deeper depth than the competition. For example, an inventory management software brand can offer an ebook that goes into detail about the best practices when it comes to managing inventory. A local hard money lender in St. Louis put together a mega guide that educates real estate investors on how this type of lending can help them meet their goals.

Foundr - Lead Magnet Example

Source: Foundr

Lead magnets can help you build your brand.

While lead magnets are definitely tools that you can use to grow your email list and increase your conversion rates, they can do so much more for your brand. By offering the informative, timely, and valuable content to your audience, you can:

  1. Help solve your prospective customers’ initial pain points.  This makes them increasingly likely to engage with your brand further.
  2. Provide immediate value to your audience even without selling your products and services.  This builds brand equity and goodwill in the marketplace.
  3. Establish your brand as an authority within your niche by showcasing your expertise on the topics that you address.  Brands perceived as an expert are able to command higher prices and still win the business.
  4. Do something that not all brands do.  This gives you another angle to set yourself apart from the competition.

All of these will help not only expand your reach but also allow your brand to create its own identity and stand out in a crowded landscape. Make sure you consider these factors the next time you think about what type of lead magnets you are going to offer your audience.

This guide is written in collaboration by Ash Salleh and Frank Spohr.

Ash Salleh

Ash Salleh is the Director of SEO at Campaign Monitor, where he works closely with content, copy, and analytics teams to improve site-wide optimization. Prior to his time at Campaign Monitor, he also provided SEO and digital marketing expertise at Zappos and Axiata Digital.

Frank Spohr, CEO of Clicked Studios

Frank Spohr is the Chief of Digital Strategy and Design at Clicked Studios, where he works closely with clients to develop effective digital strategies and build digital presences that set their brands apart from the competition.  He has worked with brands large and small such as eBay, the St. Louis Auto Show, House of Denmark Furniture, Madison County government entities, and many young growth-oriented B2B and B2C companies in different verticals.