Lead Magnet Not Converting? Here’s Why!

advertising mistakes

A couple of weeks ago I launched a new lead magnet. I was BEYOND excited to share my new tool with the world. Plus I was champing at the bit to ramp up my reach by running my own cold traffic Facebook Ads to this free offer.

But after several weeks promoting this lead magnet to my email list and social followers – it was clear something wasn’t right. 

The much-anticipated flow of opt-ins was more half-arsed dribble than avalanche of leads. In fact, the conversion rate on my opt-in page was embarrassingly poor. We’re talking less than a 12% sign-up rate to a WARM audience.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m no Dan Kennedy. But I know how to throw together some decent opt-in copy. And when I’m writing lead gen copy for clients, I’d expect a MINIMUM conversion rate of 30-40% (ideally over 50%)…to cold traffic.

So, I quickly re-grouped. And I rewrote the opt-in page…thinking I’d screwed up the copy. But after repositioning the offer and strengthening the bullets, there were still barely any takers for my lead magnet.

That’s when I realised…

I didn’t have a copy problem. I had an

OFFER problem

I’d accidentally created a lead magnet my social media followers and email subscribers didn’t want. Not even for free! Thank goodness I didn’t invest in any Facebook Ads to promote this disaster magnet. 

The sad reality is, this isn’t always the case when I speak to some clients. Many business owners launch brand new cold traffic lead magnet funnels that were never going to convert. And then they experience sky-high customer acquisition costs as a result. 

In most cases, the reason for this kind of funnel massacre comes down to 3 fatal errors. 

They’re easily avoidable (when you know what they are) – which is why – in this week’s blog – I’m going to walk you through each error in turn. 

Plus, I’ll explain the best ways to avoid these costly mistakes – so you can confidently launch your own profitable lead magnet funnel without risking thousands of dollars in hard-earned cash.

Mistake No.1 - Creating the Wrong Lead Magnet for a

Social Audience

As I mentioned at the start of this article, I made the mistake of creating the WRONG lead magnet for my target audience. This resulted in almost no sign-ups – despite me re-hashing the opt-in page copy and promoting my free offer relentlessly for a number of weeks. 

Turns out, my free tool simply didn’t have the magnetic appeal it needed to convert new leads. You see, I’d created a Facebook Ads Health Checker. The purpose of this Health Checker was to help advertisers audit their ad account…diagnose campaign problems…and find the right solution to their ad problems.

Useful, no? At least I thought it would be! 

But here’s what I learned from my Freebie Faux Pas. It’s that it takes a certain type of lead magnet to appeal to a social media audience. It makes no difference if your lead magnet is useful…if the problem it solves is not fit for a social audience (more on this in a second).

This is true for WARM social media audiences…and COLD social media audiences.

It means the point I’m about to make is relevant to both organic marketers and paying advertisers. 

Here’s the score with lead magnets. Your lead magnet must appeal to an audience WITHOUT any intent. What do I mean by that?

Well, the thing with social media is that your ideal prospects are NOT actively seeking solutions to their problems when they’re scrolling through the newsfeed. And so, you’re attempting to generate conversions from an audience that’s in a passive state of mind.

It means your offer and messaging need to excite your prospects enough to force their problems to the top of their mind. 

This is what’s known as “Interruption Marketing.”

(As opposed to “Intent-based Marketing” like Google Ads or YouTube – where we have a high level of certainty that people who see our ads are actively seeking a solution to the problem we solve).

Why audience intent matters when

it comes to your Lead Magnet

If we loop back to my ill-fated Facebook Ads Health Checker, it’s clear that it solves a problem. It’s also clear that it solves a problem my audience may have at some point in their business. However, the problem it solves is a “Red Alert” problem. I.e. It’s the kind of problem you urgently need to solve at that precise moment in time.

It’s a problem you want to solve when your hair’s on fire and your ad account is in meltdown. It’s also the kind of problem that sends you hot-footing to Google in search of an immediate solution.

It’s not the kind of nice-to-solve problem you deal with when you have a spare minute…

…which is EXACTLY the kind of problem that works perfectly on social media. 

And so, your cold traffic lead magnet needs to meet the following criteria:


  • It must fix a “nice-to-solve” problem your ideal client cares about…not a “Red Alert” problem they’re more likely to search for on Google
  • It must provide a solution your client wants now…instead of being a tool they’ll save for a rainy day (trust me, they’ll forget they have it by the time they really need it!)
  • It should be a proactive tool that offers a positive transformation…rather than a reactive tool that fixes a negative situation

Mistake No.2 - Not Testing the Offer First

One of the first questions I ask my clients is if they’ve ever tested their lead magnet to cold traffic. Ideally they’ll say, “yes” and we can crack on creating some high-converting ad campaigns.

If the answer to my question is “No”, then I ask my clients if they’ve tested their lead magnet to warm traffic (i.e. email subscribers, social media followers, past clients etc). 

There’s a reason why I ask these questions. It’s because I want to make sure the offer is solid before we spend a penny on Facebook Ads. If a lead magnet has failed to generate sign-ups in the past, there could be an offer problem (much like my experience with the Facebook Ads Health Checker). Here’s the thing though. 

A lot of business owners get super excited about launching new ad campaigns and funnel assets. And so they forget to test their offer before they hit the GO button. The result? A lot of wasted ad spend…and barely any leads.

The saddest part is, this tragic cash wastage could all be avoided if you hold fire for a few weeks and test your offer first. 

If the offer bombs during the test period, that’s totally OK. It simply means you need to try a different lead magnet.

Mistake No.3 - Obsessing Over Ultra-Low

Cost Per Lead

I once took over a client’s lead magnet campaign, and got a less-than-positive response to my results. The reason being that my Cost Per Lead was way higher than it was before I took over the client’s ads.

But listen, achieving a low Cost Per Lead for your lead magnet funnel isn’t always a winning strategy…even if you’re on a tight budget. That’s because low-cost leads can also be LOW QUALITY leads. And low quality leads don’t normally turn into actual buyers. 

I mean, who wants an email list full of leads who are never going to buy? Not me! Which is why chasing low CPL is not always the best approach. 

In general, when low quality leads enter your funnel, it’s because of poor quality ad creative. It’s the type of ad creative that does a bad job of pre-qualifying leads – and fails to filter out prospects who are bad fit for your products or services.

The characteristics of poor quality ads?

  • Generic stock photos 
  • Short copy
  • Click-baity messaging 
  • Hypey promises

Here are some tips to help you avoid attracting unqualified leads into your lead magnet funnel:

  1. Write longer form copy, which makes it clear EXACTLY who the lead magnet is for – and the transformation it provides 
  2. Create message-enhancing imagery – that speaks to your ideal client avatar and sums up your promise in a clear visual
  3. Dial down the hype – Don’t over-promise. Instead, offer something valuable to the people who are most likely to buy from you

Since experiencing my epic lead magnet failure, I’ve gone back to the drawing board and created a bigger, better free offer. And you can bet your house on the fact that I will not make any of these 3 mistakes this time around!

So knowing what you now know about creating a high-converting lead magnet funnel – what are you going to do? 

  • Create the right lead magnet for a social media audience
  • Test your offer before paying for ads
  • Focus on pre-qualified, high-quality leads…not low CPL

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