The Best B2B Lead Magnets for High-Growth SaaS Companies

Written by Patrick Socha

Patrick Socha is the founder and managing director of Sonan Digital Inc. He is a seasoned business growth professional with a background in B2B Sales.

March 9, 2022

When it comes to filling your pipeline with great opportunities, B2B lead magnets are a powerful tool. In B2B, the buying process is typically lengthy, with 95% of buyers being out of the market at any given time. Being able to engage with buyers at different stages in their buying journey often boosts success rates significantly. You have the opportunity to expose them to your brand. To educate them. To show them how you’ve helped others. By carefully crafting your lead magnet strategy, you can create a steady pipeline of new potential buyers. In this post, five of the best B2B lead magnets types will be examined, with a specific focus on what works best for SaaS companies.

What is a Lead Magnet?

Before we get into the examples, we believe it’s best to clarify what we mean by a lead magnet. In the world of inbound marketing, a lead magnet is what uncovers your visitor’s identity in an indirect way. How often have we signed up for a newsletter just to have access to a template or eBook? By providing something of value, visitors are often willing to provide their personal information.

Measuring Intent of the Leads

Lead magnets are often misused by organizations. Just because someone has expressed interest in reading your eBook, does not mean you should have your sales team pursue them. Often, they are not ready or willing to buy. Instead, signing them up for your newsletter or an email nurturing sequence may be more appropriate. On the other end of the spectrum, if they view your pricing guide or signup for a free trial, putting them in touch with sales may make sense. When designing your process for handling lead magnet leads, you want to carefully measure how interested each contact likely is.

Keeping Forms Short

When it comes to gathering information, a shorter form is typically better. For a free trial, you may not request credit card information. For an eBook download, all you may want to collect is the email address instead of a long list of questions. The easier you make it for the contact to access what they’re looking for, while getting what you need, the higher the conversion rates.

The Best B2B Lead Magnets to Consider

1) Free Trials and Functionality for Software

Free Tier Functionality

Have you ever bought a car before taking it for a test drive? Customers feel the same way about software. They want to see what it’s all about before they commit. Oftentimes, this is a great way to collect their information and provide them value. Leading SEO tools such as SEMRush, and Ahrefs offer some limited functionality for all users. Features such as single keyword research and website health monitoring keep casual users coming back. Brands such as HubSpot, take this even further. They offer a fully functional CRM and marketing platform at no cost. By adopting this approach, you build a steady pipeline of free users that will then potentially upgrade down the road.

Free Trials and Refund Gaurantees

If you offer software that does not allow for this approach, you can also attract potentially interested customers with offers such as trials and refund guarantees. This again is another great way to expose customers to your software before they are ready to fully commit. Many software companies offer 7/14/30 day trials to their visitors. It is worth experimenting with both the length of the trial and refund guarantee to see which performs best for your product.

Examples of Free Trials:

2) eBooks & Guides – A Classic B2B Lead Magnet

Applicable to most if not all B2B businesses, eBook and guide downloads are an effective way to both provide value to your customer and educate them on a topic. As a result, you will often enjoy the combined benefit of collecting your customer’s information and helping them in their buyer’s journey. By carefully understanding what questions your customer has or what information they would appreciate, you can create a lead magnet perfect for them. As an example, our mission here at Sonan Digital is to help SaaS companies create great content, so we created, The Founder’s Guide to B2B SaaS Content Marketing.

Companies across the B2B space have relied on the creation of content for years, but with the right approach, you can craft something truly of value for your information-hungry B2B buyer. eBooks tend to have more general information about a topic, such as “How to Start a Small Business”, while guides tend to be more specific, “The Guide to Accounting Software for New Business”.

Gated or Ungated eBooks and Guides?

Another important consideration in the distribution and promotion of your eBooks or guides is whether you will require an email address from visitors in order to view the content. Gated content requires users to provide their information to access it, while ungated content does not. In recent years, there has been a trend toward ungating pieces of content to reduce bounce rates. However, the benefits of gating content exist as well.

As a happy medium, some companies allow their eBooks and Guides to be read without a gate, but then provide the option to download the content in a PDF in exchange for an email address. Others allow readers to enjoy some of the content before prompting them to provide their email addresses. A free chapter or two, so to say. We encourage experimentation with this to see what works best for your content, marketing funnel, and audience.

Examples of eBooks and Guides:

3) Courses and Certifications

Helping your users get promoted is one of the mantras of HubSpot. Through their academy, they have developed an extensive body of knowledge on topics ranging from email marketing to website design. This approach of educating your customers and giving them the skills they need to succeed has proven successful. Oftentimes, buyers need further education before they are ready to use your product or service. As an example, if you are offering accounting software, a new business owner may need information on how to set their accounting up for success first.

Video Courses – One of the Best B2B Lead Magnets

Video courses often prove to be some of the most engaging. Companies such as SEMRush and HubSpot Academy, have created multiple video series on their respective topics. Platforms such as Vonza and Thinkific make this process easier, but creating a video course series often takes hours of planning, scripting, shooting, editing, uploading, and distributing. The returns can be significant, but so is the commitment. If you are just launching a course we suggest testing the demand for it by creating a landing page and having visitors be notified when it launches by leaving their email address.

Similar to eBooks, courses can either be ungated and distributed on platforms such as Youtube, gated through private hosting and signup pages, or actually sold as revenue generators themselves.

Email Courses – Easy and Effective

One new trend in B2B education is automatic email drip campaign courses. Visitors can leave their email to signup for the course and each day you can deliver them a new lesson of written or graphic information. This can be a great way to get feedback on a course structure before you dedicate the time to produce a full video series, and is typically more engaging than a straight eBook or guide. Furthermore, your audience will get used to getting contacted by you via email.

Course Examples:

4) Webinars – Live Video as a B2B Lead Magnet

Instead of having the pressure of creating finely polished pre-recorded videos, webinars have gained popularity in recent years. They allow for hosts to easily organize an event through platforms such as Linkedin or Eventbrite and then host it through either Zoom or other specialized solutions such as Livestorm. Often they can be organized as a presentation, a panel, or a Q&A session where the audience interacts. If you’re able to interact with your audience and respond to questions, that often leads to the greatest levels of success. Beyond that, you can also engage with prospects that are earlier in their buyer’s journey and unable to commit. Your salespeople can build a relationship with them in a more meaningful way.


5) Templates, Worksheets, and Examples

People like guidance when they’re putting in the work. Help them by offering templates and worksheets for them to work off of. If they need to have a business plan before they can buy accounting software, offer them a business plan template. If they need to have a webinar strategy before they are able to buy webinar software, look at providing them with a webinar preparation worksheet. These can range in length and complexity but often can serve as effective gated lead magnets as visitors will be willing to exchange their email in order to download them.

Template Examples:

What B2B Lead Magnet is Right for Your Business?

When it comes to B2B Lead Magnets, there is no best option to engage every prospect or buyer. With this list today, you’ll have a good starting point of options to consider. Typically, we recommend starting with written content such as guides, eBooks, or templates before moving on to courses and webinars. By starting small, you will allow your team to develop the skills to execute these techniques effectively. If you’re looking to get started with these techniques but don’t have the resources or staff, get in touch with the Sonan Digital team and we’d be happy to help.

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