Samantha McLean: how to create a lead magnet that brings in new clients (for real estate agents)

Qualified leads are the bedrock of a marketing funnel, and creating a lead magnet is usually the first step in enticing new potential customers into your world. But what exactly is a lead magnet, and how can you create one attractive enough to get consumers to hand over their email in exchange? Elite Agent Managing Editor Samantha McLean has created the lead magnet bible - a deep dive into how to create one, what it should contain, how it should look, where you should promote it and how to nurture the leads it generates. Get started on creating your lead magnet here.

But what is a lead magnet, and how do you create one?

A lead magnet, by definition, is a marketing tool that generates leads by freely offering a valuable or long-term resource in exchange for a prospect’s contact information.

For real estate professionals, lead magnets can take many forms, including checklists, market reports, destination guides, quizzes, cheat sheets, resource lists, video training or a newsletter subscription.

The planning stage

Before you do anything else, I highly recommend you make a list of your past 10 customers.
Do they have anything in common? Can you do a rough stick figure drawing and name that person – and really figure out what their problems and struggles are?

Step 1: Get inside the mind of your ideal client

Once you’ve done this, think about a quick win you can provide that person with when it comes to property.

Then try to craft a great headline that follows the classic ‘promise’ formula: How to (yay!), without (boo), even if (common problem this person has).

Of course, ‘yay’ you replace with a great result (for them), and ‘boo’ you replace with a common problem.

For example: How to increase yield on your investment property (yay!) without spending heaps of money (boo!), even if you are time poor (a problem most people have).

Choose your lead magnet type: If I were going with the above example, I would probably use a checklist-style, but you could equally use some of the other examples I’ve listed above.

Time to get creative

The one thing I know is agents have heaps of source material in the form of questions people ask you day-in and day-out. 

  • You can repurpose content you already have, or you can go out and find new content.
  • You can answer your client’s questions or create a market monitor (this is great for finding information that customers can’t get from anyone but you). 
  • Interviews with experts or online research are also great places to look if you are starting from scratch. 

Once you’ve gathered those materials it’s time to create an outline and get writing.

Edit, edit, edit!

Most of the time, when I write, I will start by writing something – anything – to get my thoughts out on paper.

Then I’ll leave it and come back the next day and give it a good edit. 

Leaving your words to marinate a bit overnight allows you to come back with fresh eyes; it helps me remember things I might not have otherwise and delete bits that are not really relevant. 

I’ll often turn to some great editing apps for help; my favourites are:


The best tasting dish on MasterChef does not come out on top of the judge’s scores unless it’s been plated well – because the first taste of anything (even a lead magnet) is always with your eyes.

Similarly, no one wants to download a plain Word document. Just because the piece is free, it shouldn’t be cheap.

If you have a design team, talk to them about your vision and ideas.

If you don’t have a design team, everyone can be a designer with tools like:

Where will your lead magnet live?

You have a couple of choices these days of where your target customers might access your lead magnet:

  1. It could be a direct lead ad from Facebook or Google
  2. It could be on your website.

If you choose option 1, there’s nothing else to do at this step. 

If you choose option 2, you might like to look at tools to make hosting your lead magnet easier – like:

Some folks also use simple websites for this purpose, like:

You’ll need to think about your landing page copy – again, think the ‘promise’ formula of: how to (yay!), without (boo!), even if (current situation).

How will you get people to download your lead magnet?

The answer is traffic!

This could be in the form of Facebook Ads, Google Ads, a website popup (my fave tool for this is Convertbox), paid advertising like TV, radio and newspapers, or someone else’s newsletter (like The Brief) or print advertising.

Focus on the platforms you know your ideal customer is on. If you’re using paid ads, make sure your ad images and copy are consistent with the landing page copy/design if you’ve chosen option 2. If you’ve chosen option 1, make sure your ads are set to lead ads, and the copy and images are consistent with the lead magnet itself.

Build that database

As soon as someone downloads your lead magnet you’ll want to make sure you can zap their details across to your database using a tool like Zapier, and also deliver the promised item.

This email should at least thank them for downloading the lead magnet – and reiterate any calls to action.

Don’t forget to test these automated emails work!

What’s the next step?

Now that you have a new lead in your database, what’s your nurture plan? Do you have a newsletter or a social media strategy to support this? How about calling them and suggesting a meeting or putting them on your client care plan?

Everything is a test until it’s not

Check-in on your processes and goals to track your progress – at least every day or two.

If things aren’t happening quite the way you thought they should, then run your lead magnet process through this checklist:

  • Is your lead magnet specific enough, does it solve a real problem?
  • Is there a quick win for the person that downloaded it?
  • Does it speak to a known and desired end result?
  • Have you targeted the right audience?
  • Is the landing page easy to use?
  • Is your ad engaging?

At the end of the day, your prospective customer is thinking to themselves, ‘Is what is this person offering worth giving my email address for?

If it’s something they can find elsewhere in a Google Search, it’s probably not a great lead magnet.

Solve a real problem, save people time and reduce risk, and you likely have a winner where you can get heaps more prospective customers into your world.

Want to ask me anything about how to make your marketing work without spending a fortune – even in a downturn? (see what I did there?!)

You can do that that Elite Retreat in August. There are just a handful of places left: Register at

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Samantha McLean

Samantha McLean is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Elite Agent and Host of the Elevate Podcast.