Lead Capture People Want to Download | Captain Coder

Grow Your Email List with a Lead Capture People Actually Want to Download

Marisa VanSkiver / May 23, 2023

woman on her phone in a yellow chair downloading a lead capture

Do you hear online marketing experts talk about the power of an email list all of the time, but you’re not sure how to get more people on yours? (I mean, besides your family and a handful of friends of course). The answer lies in something you’re probably already familiar with but just haven’t done yet – a lead capture.

You may have heard of a lead capture talked of as a lead magnet, freebie, opt-in, free offer, or giveaway. The gist is that it’s something that you’re giving away for free in exchange for your ideal customer’s email address.

And before you go thinking that this is all too complicated and not worth your time – email marketers report that they can get $42 back for every $1 they spend on email marketing.

That’s not something to ignore!

Chances are you’ve tried to create a freebie before but you’ve not had a ton of luck getting people to sign up.

If you’re ready to build your email list and start earning that incredible ROI, it’s time to create a lead capture your dream customer actually wants to download.

Ready to learn how to do just that?

What is a Lead Capture?

A lead magnet refers to anything that you offer to your audience completely free, in exchange for their name and email address. They just have to fill out a form saying they want it, you deliver the freebie to their inbox, and they’ve now joined your email list!

Many of the people that encounter you on social media, find your website, or even listen to your podcast might not be quite ready to work with you yet. They are, however, ready to learn more about you and get a bit of a taste for whether or not you might be the right person to help them.

Giving away a freebie doesn’t just help you build your email list; that lead capture can be the perfect pre-sales tool that brings your ideal customer into your sphere and warms them up from a cold lead to a red-hot one.

Plus, with getting someone on your email list, they’ll be allowing you into their inbox and seeing every single week whether or not you’re someone they want to actually spend money on.

But the biggest thing you want someone to walk away with from your free lead magnet is the thought – “Wow, this is so good and it’s free! How valuable is their paid offering for my business?”

Choosing Your Lead Capture Topic

You know that you need to have something to give away to a potential customer, but where do you even start?

One of the biggest issues I’ve seen online business owners make – especially service-based businesses – is creating a lead capture no one will actually care about.

Take web designers for instance. I could totally give away my website launch checklist, but I know that my ideal customer isn’t launching their own website, isn’t doing that more than once, and doesn’t have the technical knowledge to follow my personal process.

When you’re creating a lead magnet to give away, you have to meet your customers where they are and provide them with something they’re actually going to get value out of.

To create a lead magnet that your customer actually wants to download and give you their email for, you’ll need to follow a simple process.

Knowing Your Target Audience

The first step is to understand who you’re talking to.

I know this sounds simplistic, but think about my web designer example. If I’m trying to give away a website launch checklist to my customers, then I probably don’t know my customers very well.

One of the best ways to do this is to go back and figure out how your ideal customer talks about their problems and issues. We dove into this in greater detail back in episode 4, but the basic concept here is that you need to understand what they’re struggling with and why they might be coming to your business in the first place.

You’ll also want to think about the conversations you’ve had with your current customers and drill down by asking yourself:

  • What are they afraid of?
  • What do I get asked all of the time?
  • What could help them right now?
  • How can you get them out of a rut and/or overwhelm?

Grab a notebook or open your notes app and just start asking yourself these questions. If you have a good relationship with your current clients, you can always ask them to give you 10-15 minutes of their time and ask them those questions, too. Their answers might surprise you.

What Transformation Can You Help With?

The biggest question you should be answering with your lead magnet – what transformation can you help your customer get?

A freebie needs to solve a small problem or challenge they’re having. The best thing you can do is help your prospective customer get a quick win or quick transformation.

This helps you to build trust and showcase that you can provide a bigger transformation if they work with you. But it also associates you and your company with a feeling of accomplishment. I don’t ned to tell you that how you make someone feel is a really powerful sales tool.

Decide on Delivery

Now that you might have a decent idea of what you want to create, you need to decide on how.

A lead magnet can be as simple as a quick PDF checklist or as involved as a mini-course.

If you’ve never created a lead magnet before, I’d recommend starting small with a checklist. One of my favorite things to do personally is to create some kind of download and then record a short 5 minute video walkthrough to accompany it.

This allows those who are joining your email list the ability to get to know you on a different level, put a face to the name, and even understand a bit better about how you teach and might work with them.

Your lead capture freebie can come in many forms, including:

  • Checklist
  • PDF Guide
  • EBook
  • Hidden podcast episode(s)
  • Video walkthrough
  • Mini-course

For your main lead capture, you’re going to want to stick with something that can be delivered whenever (evergreen) and can be set up through your email service provider (my favorite is ConvertKit).

Promote Your Lead Capture

Once you have your lead magnet created and ready to go, you actually have to promote it.

I know, crazy that if you want sign ups that you have to tell people it’s there, right? But believe me, this is a mistake even I’ve made in the past.

When you are ready to get people on your email list, you can promote your freebie on social media (the Link sticker in your Instagram stories is perfect for this). While you always want to keep your freebie in rotation on your social media throughout the week (share it at least once a week that is), there are more places you should be promoting it.

Host a podcast? Share about your freebie, especially when it’s relevant to that episode.

Guesting on a podcast? Ask to share your lead capture with their audience!

Have a YouTube channel? Share a link to your lead capture in the captions of your videos and give your audience the ability to go from video subscriber to email subscriber.

Got a website? Your lead capture sign up should at the least be on your homepage and potentially be on more pages throughout your website. Common places would be to include it in the footer of your blog articles, on your About page, and even create a dedicated landing page for that download.

Create a Dedicated Landing Page

About that dedicated landing page – yes, you heard that right.

You should have a mini landing page for your lead capture on your website.


The simplest answer is that if you’re promoting your lead capture throughout social media, interviews, your own content marketing, and everywhere you can think of, you don’t want a potential customer to get tripped by having to find the form on your homepage.

The landing page for your lead capture doesn’t have to be overly complex either. Just provide enough content to showcase the benefit of downloading your freebie and the problem it’ll solve, then add the form from your email service provider’s form and you’re good to go.

Use a Double Opt-In to Protect Your List

Before I let you go and you’re away to create a beautiful lead capture, I want to make one recommendation.

When you’re setting up a lead capture through your email service provider, you’ll want to follow something called a double opt-in sequence.

This just basically means that you’re allowing your subscribers the ability to confirm that they want to be on your email list.

Not only does this cut down on spam emails on your list, but it is a requirement for many privacy laws like GDPR.

The big trick here is that you don’t send them the freebie until they’ve confirmed that they want to be on your list. This is just a simple email that they’ll receive and you can customize.

The sequence would go –

  1. Customer fills out initial form
  2. Customer gets an email to confirm they want the freebie
  3. After they confirm, they go onto your list and the automation triggers
  4. They get the freebie

It’s really simple and it keeps your email list clean from the outset.

Create a Lead Magnet Your Ideal Customer Will Love

The easiest way to get more people on your email list is to give them something they’ll love in exchange for them to join that list.

Creating a lead magnet your ideal customers actually want to download takes just a bit of research and thinking upfront, but it will provide you so much value in your business.

Not only will you get more of the right people on your email list, but you’ll be able to even tailor other offers and even digital products around whether or not that lead magnet is successful.

The best way to not only grow your list but also grow your business is a really good lead magnet.

Let’s get creating!

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