Top 10 Lead Magnet Mistakes (And What To Do Instead)


Do you have a lead magnet that you use to attract ideal clients?

If so, great! And how’s that working for you?

Most people tell me they either don’t have a lead magnet (aka, freebie). Or, they have one that’s not really working to attract the clients they want. So, I’ve put together my Top 10 lead magnet mistakes so you can double-check your freebie (or create one from scratch)!

Mistake #1. Writing to a general audience, rather than to a specific person who is your ideal client.

We are bombarded with information and advertising 24/7. It is no longer sufficient to put out generic messages that “speak to everyone.” In trying to speak to “everyone,” you will speak to no one.

For example, if your expertise is weight loss, the challenges, motivations, and desires will differ from a person wanting to lose 10 pounds to look good for their high school reunion and another person wanting to lose 50 pounds to reverse Type-2 diabetes and drastically improve their health.

Instead: Know your ideal client’s exact pain points and desires and speak directly to that one person. (Remember your avatar.)

Mistake #2. Having too broad a focus.

Related to the weight loss example above, you do not want to create a lead magnet that simply addresses “weight loss.”

Instead: You want to make a specific promise as a result of consuming and taking action on the content in your freebie.


  • “5 Steps to Reversing Type-2 Diabetes”
  • “3 Mistakes You Might Be Making in Trying to Lose the Last 10 Pounds (and What to Do Instead!)”
  • “7 Steps to Losing the Post-Baby Weight”

Note: Be cautious in using the terms “weight loss” and “losing weight” when advertising on Facebook. You will have to find a different doorway to address weight loss, such as “increasing energy” or “looking and feeling your best.”

Mistake #3. Giving away 80-page eBooks.

Not long ago, an 80-page eBook was the norm. However, we’re all overwhelmed and there’s a plethora of information, so people are more likely to opt-in for an instant gratification offer.

Instead: Break up your content into shorter “slices” of transformation and deliver a quick win. Focus on ONE thing with 3-5 action steps that will “move the needle forward.” Do not give them more information than they need. Drip the content one bite at a time so you can leave your audience wanting more.

Mistake #4. Making too bold a promise.

The depth of transformation you provide may be enormous. However, people tend not to trust you if you promise too much, too soon. It’s like meeting someone for the first time and proposing marriage.

Instead: Focus on one smaller result within each freebie.

Mistake #5. Using jargon or “your tribe” language.

A confused mind never buys. Avoid using industry jargon or language for “your tribe” (aka, words and phrases that identify your brand and make sense to your community.) This belongs in your fulfillment phase, not in your marketing.

Instead: Use language that everybody can understand. If you’re not sure whether the word you want to use is jargon or not, you can analyze it with Unsuck It to get recommendations for rewording. If you’re looking for an easy tool to help you to write in a more clear and concise manner, check out the Hemingway Editor or Grammarly.

Mistake #6. Selling to “need” and not “want.”

Just like your paid offers, a free offer must address what ideal clients want and solves their pain points.

For example, “Grow Your Sales by Identifying Your Target Audience,” or “5 Days to Discover Who Your Target Audience Is,” may be attractive as secondary-level offers. You may know that they need to know their target audience. However, someone who wants to grow their sales wants to grow their sales.

Instead, consider:

  • “The 7-Point Checklist to Grow Your Sales”
  • “5 Stress-Free Steps to Overcoming Objections”

Mistake #7. You’re educating or asking people to know too much up front.

Beware the curse of knowledge. You may be really excited to educate your audience about how to get what they want or what is holding them back. However, a good lead magnet is designed to meet them where they are.

For example, “Are you at risk for vocal nodes?” or “The 7-Step Checklist for Avoiding Vocal Nodes” would most likely attract vocalists who know what vocal nodes are, or who know that they could be a problem for singers.

If you’re trying to attract speakers, they may not know anything about vocal nodes, and so this lead magnet isn’t working.

Instead, consider:

  • “The 7-Step Checklist to Improve the Power of Your Voice” is a lead magnet that will allow you to educate within “free offer” guidelines (and sells to “want,” not “need”).

You can educate your new lead once you get them into your lead magnet. Do not try to educate before they access, view or download their freebie (and don’t try on the landing page either). Instead, you want to equip your ideal client with a few key pieces of information needed to get a result and inspire them to take action.

After your lead magnet is consumed, you can invite your prospect to take further action into the education portion.

For example:

“If you’re interested in how to _________, _________, and _________, I invite you to check out more details at _________ (URL), where you can find out more about my _________ program.” 

Mistake #8. Trying to attract those who do not know what their problem is.

For example, if your lead magnet is titled, “The Sensory Integration Disorder Toolkit,” someone would have to know that they have sensory integration disorder to be able to take advantage of your freebie. If you’re trying to attract people who don’t know what their problem is, or don’t know enough to even want your freebie, then you need a different freebie.

Instead: Address core desires (i.e., “want”) and solve pain points. 

Addressing core desires:

      • “7 Steps to Maintain Your Focus in a Noisy Environment”
      • “5 Tips for a Calm and Peaceful Workspace”
      • “3 Simple Tricks to an Organized Work Schedule (for the Highly Sensitive Person)”

Solving pain points:

    • “3 Surprising Tricks for Reducing Your Sensitivity to Noise”
    • “Stress-Reduction Toolkit: 7 Small Changes to Decompress in 30-Seconds or Less”
    • “5 Strategies to Eliminate Energy Vampires from Your Daily Life”

Mistake #9. Writing about a topic that isn’t your main focus.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “There are riches in the niches.” You may be good at many things or have expertise in different areas. However, if people do not know what you do or what you stand for, they will not know how to find you (or who to refer to you).

Choose a main focus and be the go-to person for that topic. Sometimes you have to give up the good to get to the great. (And, you do not have to choose a niche to stick with forever. You can always pivot or branch out when it makes sense for your business.)

Especially when you are first starting out, it is important to pick a topic and stick with it.

Mistake #10. Have the free offer be independent.

It’s a waste of time and expenses to create and run ads to lead magnets on topics that are not of interest to your target market or not related to your Signature System or High-Ticket Offers. It should be part of an overall online marketing strategy that causes a client to take a specific action.

Instead: Your lead magnet should be congruent with your Signature System or High-Ticket Offer. It’s the entry-point designed to get your ideal client a “quick win” or a “slice of transformation” so they can take the next step in working further with you.

Think of this free offer as the first step in the process of working with you. In a sales funnel, the lead magnet is the first step in getting a prospect to take action and get to know your business, making it an important piece of marketing content to do right!