What is a lead magnet funnel?

Much like other funnels, a lead magnet funnel is a journey a lead takes from being a lead to becoming a paying customer. The difference for lead magnet funnels is that the journey down the funnel is started by a lead magnet.

Lead magnets are an offering you as an organization send to potential customers in exchange for their data. Instead of just asking for their contact details, they exchange their contact details for gated content you offer them. This is a fantastic way to generate leads and conversions while at the same time positioning yourself as an industry leader and authority on the subject matter.

By offering a lead magnet in exchange for contact data, the process becomes an informal transaction between your business and the lead.

Building a lead magnet funnel

Starting a lead’s journey down a lead magnet funnel begins your content. Using engaging content, like lead magnets, for inbound lead generation will attract all the right attention and will help to build relationships that turn readers into leads.

Content can include a whole host of options – but don’t feel you need to pick one type and be done with it. In fact, you’ll likely use more lead magnets throughout a journey, increasing the relevancy and value of your product or service and pulling them deeper down the funnel.

So what can you offer? Before we look at the examples, you have to consider where a lead is in the journey. You also have to consider the value given. If you offer them a 25-page PDF with no visual elements, they won’t be very likely to open it, let alone read and absorb the information. Lead scoring helps determine what is relevant to a lead based on things like non-disputable engagement data.

See our lead scoring guide and build a lead scoring model that suits your organization’s goals.

Step 1: The bait

The first step in a lead magnet funnel is to offer something easily digestible, relevant, and value-driven. This could be something as simple as a gated blog post,  podcast, or content guide. The goal here is to obtain contact data, make people aware of your business, and start them on the customer journey.

Examples of first offerings:

Chief Marketer’s report about Sales and Marketing alignment was built in Turtl. The report gives content analytics that proves who is reading what.

Click to read Bridging the Gap

Step 2: Polite follow-up

It is widely accepted as best practice to follow up on a lead’s interest with a thank-you email. It does not have to be fancy, but a quick note to let them know that they are valued by you can make all the difference. This follow-up can also lead directly to the next offering. Use previous content engagement clues to determine what to serve next. And if you are able to supply tailored and personalized content, you’re showing your lead that you are considering their needs over just throwing what you want to at them.

Step 3: Nurturing and education

The next step is to nurture your lead. Now is the time to offer the lead something of greater value. Something that shows the value of your business whilst offering them content relevant to their industry and interests.

Some great examples of the next offerings are:

  • White papers
  • Webinars
  • Case studies
  • Online courses
  • Panel events and discussions
  • Podcasts

For an in-depth look at how to best nurture a lead, check out our guide on Mindful lead nurturing: Email cadence, content, and CTAs.

Remember, this is not just a one-and-done activity. Nurturing takes time and you’ll want to offer many things to the leads to really provide value. Some leads may fall through your funnel faster than others, but having a good library of content you can send various personas, from separate industries, and at different funnel stages is essential. We would recommend putting your choice in the hands of your audience too. Offer your leads topic options at least three times to build rapport and give them a good experience with your brand. This will also give you more data with which to understand the lead, which segues nicely into the power of data.

Here’s a visual guide on different content types that suit different stages of funnel intent.

Engagement and lead capture soared for Guidant Global at a time of economic uncertainty. Lead generation results have been so good, that they now make all types of content across the entire customer flywheel.

Click to read Guidant Global + Turtl | Case study | Turtl

Analytics and the power of data

Casting your net aimlessly in the dark is only going to produce a paying customer if you get lucky. Understanding the behaviors and actions of a lead based on how they’ve engaged with your content will help you to understand exactly how to convert them into a paying customer.

If you send a nurture email offering two content options, for instance, one webinar and one case study, and you find that leads pick the case study nine times out of ten, then it’s likely that offering a webinar again would just be wasted space in your email. It also means a lead is less likely to open an email if they find themselves being offered things over and over that they show no interest in. Low open rates mean low click-through rates, and this means low conversion.

You can build separate funnels and email automations based on personas and behaviors, and even serve relevant personalized content with automated workflows, to avoid wasting time that could be spent gathering more leads.

Nielson creates high-value research reports for clients but previously lacked a solid understanding of its content performance. On switching to Turtl, Nielson could drill into engagement metrics to improve future research content and lead-generation activity.

Click to read Nielsen + Turtl | Case Study | Turtl

Step 4: Securing the net

This final stage focuses on getting the lead who has clearly shown interest in your business to engage with your product/service. The lead at this point should be ready to buy, or at least is considering your business among their options.

The lead magnet here is going to be the final offer of the funnel. Examples are:

  • Discount codes
  • Time-limited offers
  • Free trials
  • Live demos
  • Sales consultations

Step 5: Post-purchase marketing

Once a lead becomes a paying customer there will be more opportunities for them to get more out of your service – and they won’t be aware yet.

This is where you as a business build a loyal customer base and strong relationships. Leaving a customer to their own devices alienates them and can lead to canceled orders or non-renewals. Instead, consider what you can offer them to really get the most out of your product so that they consistently want to use it and find value.

Examples of this are:

  • Customer Success demos
  • Tips and tricks guides
  • Free templates or helpful materials
  • Examples of other uses of your product
  • Community events
  • Customer showcasing

Turtl Takeaway

Offer leads useful and insightful content they can actively use, to help them fall naturally through your funnel. Building a strong lead magnet funnel smoothes handovers from Marketing to Sales and captures higher-intent leads.

We show you exactly how to create lead magnets and use reader analytics to fundamentally boost conversion rates.


Check out our utimate guide to lead magnets

What, why, how, and more.
Become a pro at creating content that attracts all the leads.