May 18, 2022

How To Make a Lead Magnet for Your B2B SaaS Company (with examples)

Lead magnets are a powerful way to connect with your target audience. Learn how to craft a lead magnet so irresistible your target prospects can’t help but trade their email for it.

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Lead magnets are one of the most effective ways to grow your customer base because they offer your target audience valuable information in exchange for their email address. They get the resource, free trial, or discount, and you get an open invitation to nurture them into a paying customer.

What’s a lead magnet?

Simply put, a lead magnet is some kind of valuable, highly relevant resource you give potential customers for *free*in exchange for their email address.

The prospect gets their free stuff, and you get the opportunity to uncover a potential new customer without them needing to make a big commitment—such as scheduling a call or completing a lead form.

Lead magnets are often referred to as ‘gated content’ because prospects need to unlock it with their information.

There are many different types of lead magnets, but not all of them will make sense for every industry…

And, though some might be more effective than others at pulling in email addresses, the quality of the leads may vary greatly depending upon the resource you’re providing and where the prospect is in the funnel.

In this article, we’ll be covering the following lead magnets:

  • Checklists
  • Quizzes
  • Case Studies
  • eBooks
  • Webinars
  • White papers
  • Free Trials

The benefits of a lead magnet and when to make one

Though a lead magnet can be anything from a cheat sheet to an in-depth industry report, every lead magnet should:

  • Build trust
  • Generate leads
  • Have high perceived and actual value

Lead magnets not only add to your potential customer pool, they help establish your brand as an authority in the space.

Just think, if a customer finds your lead magnet through a Google search, even if they don’t download right away, you’ve already experienced a small win—Google just introduced your asset as a credible source.

So, later, when they’re comparing products for a purchase, your brand will stick out.

If you want to grow your business, you should be investing in a variety of lead magnets to attract customers at every stage of the buying process. 

When they’re just getting started and want to take a helpful quiz or download a useful checklist...

When they’re doing more intentional research into a product or service like yours and need helpful how-tos, buying guides, or case studies...

And when they’re ready to make a purchase and want to sign up for a free trial.

What makes a good lead magnet?

Regardless of the type of asset, your lead magnets should always, always, always include these five characteristics:

  1. It’s so specific it feels made just for your target customer. People are inundated with marketing tactics every day. Generic resources just won't cut it anymore. If you want to break through the noise, you should take the time to make your lead magnets as polished as possible. The more specific you can be, the more irresistible your assets become to your target audience.

  1. It’s well written and well designed. Nothing turns people off from a business quicker than an unprofessional asset. This is even more true in B2B SaaS, when the product costs are high, and companies are often heavily reliant on the solution they choose to keep their business running smoothly. If you don't make polished assets, how can they trust you to make a polished product?

  1. It is what it says it is and does what it says it does. Whether your lead magnet is an entertaining quiz or a revealing industry secret—you must deliver on whatever you promise. Because if you don’t, you’ll turn a potential customer into an avid detractor by breaking their trust for something as small as an email.

  1. It’s accessible as soon as they give you their email. Whether you provide a download link on a thank-you page or automatically follow-up in their inbox, you should always give your prospects instant access to the asset. They're interested in your resource... right now! Don't break their trust by making them jump through another hoop.

  1. It has a high perceived—and actual—value. It can seem counterintuitive to give away some of your best content, processes, or secrets for free… but the truth is, the greater your lead magnet's value, the higher the likelihood prospects will see you as an expert. The more they trust you, the more likely they are to buy from you when they’re ready.

Remember, a lead magnet isn’t about making a sale at this very instant—it’s about collecting a pool of qualified leads highly likely to buy later.

Your lead magnets need to build your credibility above all else.

8 lead magnet ideas for B2B SaaS companies (with examples)

Realistically, anything of value to your customers can be an effective lead magnet, but a few tried-and-true assets tend to stand out across the board.

Think of these examples as a great starting place rather than a master list.

Checklist

Checklists are some of the easiest lead magnets to create, and they often convert the most prospects.

B2B SaaS Product Onboarding Checklist | ProductOnboarders

People love checklists because they’re scannable, actionable, and generally help solve a problem right away.

We recommend using them as content upgrades.

Just break down a blog post into a bite-size, step-by-step list, gate it, and boom, you’ve got yourself a quality lead magnet.

This ProductOnboarders lead form doesn’t require much in the way of design because the offer itself is so specific and compelling.

For these kinds of top of the funnel assets, as long as the resource looks polished, you can provide huge value for very little work on your end.

Checklists are a great option for an initial lead magnet while you’re working on a longer form asset.

Quiz

If Buzzfeed is any indication, quizzes are an incredibly engaging way to bring in new leads…

Because, well, they’re just plain fun.

For B2B, it might make more sense to call a quiz an ‘assessment,’ just to give it a more serious tone, but the underlying concept will remain the same.

Case Study Quiz | Uplift Content

They answer questions. You give them a result.

Traditionally, businesses will prompt prospects for their email after they've completed the quiz—so they’re more invested in getting the results.

Alternatively, you could consider trying Uplift Content’s out-of-the-box approach.

Prospects take the quiz as usual, but, in the end, you just give them the results—immediately following up with the offer to download a checklist or some other valuable asset.

At that point, prospects are likely happy to connect with the brand for even more insightful information.

eBook

An eBook is a well-designed, digital book, usually delivered in PDF format, that can be read on any device.

While an eBook is similar to a long-form blog post in its conversational tone, eBooks cover topics from a more in-depth perspective and feature more elaborate branding and imagery than the typical, text-heavy blog post.

For a quick lead magnet asset, you can even repurpose your highest performing blog posts into eBooks to use as content upgrades right in your blog post.

Meaning, you can simply offer a downloadable version of a popular blog post in the blog post itself—it's surprisingly effective and saves a lot of time!

Digital Ad Design eBook | Superside

Plus, every additional asset you create helps to further establish your brand as a thought leader.

Easily the prettiest eBook we’ve ever seen, this digital design guide from Superside heavily leverages social proof on its landing page to drive sign-ups.

Even more cleverly, prospects are granted access to a gated web page rather than simply sent off with a download link—allowing Superside to track each prospect’s engagement with the eBook.

With a download, you can’t track any engagement metrics at all, so this is a great alternative if you want to see exactly how your audience engages with your asset.

Case Study

A case study uses concrete examples to demonstrate how your product or service solved a problem for one of your customers.

Zoom Case Study | Asan

Case studies make excellent lead magnets for B2B SaaS businesses because they highlight your biggest wins and add to your credibility.

Prospects that are ready to buy want to see how you helped a company like theirs achieve a desirable result.

If you can definitively show how your product or service can improve their company, they’re as good as sold.

The best case studies share specific stats and let the reader in on what your client was trying to achieve, why they struggled, and exactly how your product or solution solved their problem.

Asana’s case study on Zoom’s productivity gains is a great example. That headline makes such an incredible claim, it’s hard to ignore.

Webinar

Recorded Webinar Still | AWeber

A webinar is an interactive, online presentation or panel discussion that anyone can join in on, so long as they register for the event. 

Webinars are hugely popular in the B2B space, and for good reason—they have built-in urgency and FOMO.

Conveniently, webinars can be repurposed into transcripts and recordings, doubling as lead and additional content generators.

Make sure to include plenty of real-world examples like AWeber in the screenshot above. The more value you can provide, the more credibility you build.

And leave time for questions at the end!

White paper

According to HubSpot, “A whitepaper is a persuasive, authoritative, in-depth report on a specific topic that presents a problem and provides a solution.”

Whereas blog posts and eBooks are lighter and more conversational in tone, white papers are serious, academic, and often far longer resources.

One thing to note: white papers should not sell your product or service. 

State of ITAM Report - Flexera

While it’s fine to have a call to action at the end, this kind of asset is really more about building trust than anything else.

Thoroughly researched, data-backed, comprehensive white papers make excellent lead magnets for B2B companies.

This comprehensive report from Flexera is a great example of a high-quality white paper asset.

The report is highly specific and valuable to a particular industry, so Flexera can afford to make the buy-in a bit higher by requesting more personal data.

Their landing page is also more complex than you’d see for, say, a checklist, with a detailed description, overview, and sneak peek at the data they used to compile the report—all of which help add to the irresistibility of the lead magnet.

Free Trial

Everybody, and we mean everybody, wants to try before they buy.

Even if they know they want the product, it feels like a nice little bonus to get it free for 30 days.

Most people don’t even realize free trials are lead magnets because they’re so compelled and distracted by getting something for free.

Free Trial Lead Magnet | Salesforce

Putting a free trial offer on your homepage is a surefire way to get more leads.

SaaS heavyweight Salesforce offers a free 30-day trial to prospects, hooking them with a great headline.

With a benefit statement like that in the headline, who could refuse?

Bonus Idea

Once you have a litany of lead magnets pulling in prospect emails, you could consider upping the ante by bundling assets together by topic.

One particular asset might get a prospect’s attention, but maybe it isn't enough to get them to part with their email.

But, if they could get four or five high-value resources at once, suddenly the benefit far outweighs the ask.

This way, your lead magnets are all working double time to attract prospects.

Final Thoughts…

If you’ve ever downloaded an eBook or attended a webinar, you already know lead magnets work!

Just remember that even though lead magnets exist to collect emails, not all emails are created equal.

For instance, you might get more leads from a checklist than a case study, but the person downloading the case study is likely more qualified and closer to a buying decision.

So, it’s better to create a variety of lead magnets that will reach prospects at every stage so you can keep your pipeline full.

If you find yourself in need of a marketing partner to help you generate more leads for your B2B SaaS company, shoot us a message—we’d be thrilled to learn more about your growth goals and explore how we can help.

Written by
Hannah Peritore
How To Make a Lead Magnet for Your B2B SaaS Company (with examples)
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