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Lead Magnets: How to Become the “Hunted”

If someone does something nice for you – pays for lunch, watches your kids, gives you a gift – you feel like you need to do something nice in return.

If you don’t, you feel a sense of guilt or pressure, as if something is amiss deep in your psyche.

This sense of pressure is what psychologists call The Law of Reciprocity. I call it “The Law Of Not Being A Total Jerk,” but for some reason psychologists haven’t adopted my phrase yet.

The Law of Reciprocity means that if I do something for you, you feel obligated to do something for me:

  • Quid-pro-quo.
  • Give some, get some.
  • Take a penny, leave a penny.
  • You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.

In traditional marketing, the Law of Reciprocity has often been used to bring in potential new clients. If you’ve ever sat through an awful timeshare presentation in exchange for a $100 gift card, then you’ve experienced the Law of Reciprocity first hand. You subjected yourself to torture in exchange for the gift card.

And despite all the bad vibes you may have over timeshares, the Law of Reciprocity has proven to be a hugely powerful marketing tool for finding new clients.

In the the world of online marketing, we use things called “lead magnets” to harness the power of this principle.

A lead magnet usually works something like this:

A person comes to a single page website (often called a “landing page”). In exchange for their email address, they get a free resource – a cheat sheet, a free guide, a video or some other valuable content.

Lead magnets have been HUGELY helpful in allowing me to build my own business and reach out to potential customers.

But here’s the thing: lead magnets only work effectively when they are used properly.

In a sense, lead magnets are like lures used when fishing. If you don’t know how to use them, you’ll never get a bite. If you use the wrong lure or go fishing at the wrong time, you find yourself endlessly frustrated.

The more I work with entrepreneurs, the more I’m convinced that most people use lead magnets incorrectly. They offer lead magnets at the wrong time or to people who are in the wrong mindset.

You can blame landing pages or Facebook ads all you want, but most often, the reason your marketing fails is because your offer, not your ad, doesn’t resonate well with potential leads.

In this article, I’m going to teach how to use lead magnets in order to EFFECTIVELY grow your business.


Using lead magnets effectively requires that you first understand that there are three “lanes of leads.” If you don’t understand these three “lanes,” you’ll end up putting the wrong lead magnet in front of the wrong people at the wrong time.

Sidewalk Leads are potential customers who don’t know they have a problem, or they have a problem but it doesn’t seem like a big deal. Their problem is a whisper. They don’t know why they need your services. You could say they are in a “problem oriented” mindset. To effectively engage with this audience, you need to offer them something that is low obligation, requiring no more than 2-5 minutes of their time. This is a free offer or lead magnet that won’t require much in return.

Slow Lane Leads are potential customers who know they have a problem and are looking for information about how they might solve that problem. They’re looking for a logical solution. Because they know they have a problem, they’re willing to give up more time when they’re looking for a solution. You can offer them something that is medium obligation that takes more of their time.

Fast Lane Leads are potential customers who are ready to work with you right now. They know they have a real problem. They react with emotion. They make conditional choices based on time, price, requirements, etc. If you can adequately identify and pinpoint their problem, you can create huge conversion rates with them.

Our job is to identify what lane each lead is in, and then direct them to a lead magnet that suits their particular needs.

I can’t stress enough how important this is. Top conversion rates come when the right lead magnet is paired with the right lane.

Sidewalk leads will get quick takeaway lead magnets that require a minimum time investment (under 5 minutes).

Slow Lane leads will receive lead magnets that require a little more investment, like long-form articles (10-30 minutes).

Fast Lane leads can handle the most commitment, and so they’ll receive lead magnets like webinars and hangouts (20-60 minutes).

Lead Magnets Done Right

For example, in the Slow Lane, we need to develop a lead magnet that will take 5-10 minutes to consume. No more, no less.

Downloadable PDF guides, around 6-8 pages, are a great way to stay within this time limit and pack in a lot of value.

Plus, a PDF is a fairly universal document. Users can easily view it in a variety of situations without having to worry about video, audio, external programs, etc.

It’s low/medium obligation, presents a logical solution, and speaks to the Slow Lane mindset.

Sidewalk Example – INFINITUS Growth Guide

Our Growth Guide hits the 2-5 page sweet spot required for lead magnets in this lane. It gives value, contains actionable information the user can implement, and can be consumed in less than 5 minutes. Remember, users in this stage are not actively looking for any product/services, so you only have a short time to focus their attention on a potential problem in their life. In our case, that problem is not identifying 80% of the missing leads, and the Sidewalk, Slow Lane, Fast Lane methodology.

Slow Lane Example – INFINITUS Growth Formula Videos

A step up from the Sidewalk and we’re officially in the Slow Lane. Users in this stage have recognized a problem, are actively searching for information, and are more invested in the buying process. This gives us the opportunity to put something in front of these users that contains more information. Our personal favorite at this stage is to use video because you can pack in more information. It’s more engaging than copy, and you can easily adjust it to be consumed within 5-10 minutes.

Fast Lane Example – Webinar Sign Up

We’ve kicked it into high gear now! Fast Lane users are the most engaged. They’re looking to make a purchase, and they just need that extra push to close the deal. In this stage we are talking specifically to that user and directly addressing their needs. We want to answer any questions they have and really set ourselves apart from the competition. We tend to lean on webinars or strategy calls for this stage. It’s a very personable way to interact with a person. You can answer questions on the fly, AND you have the ability to alter your content on the fly based on feedback/responsiveness of your audience.

Lead Magnets Done Wrong

Taking cold traffic from Facebook – people who don’t know you – and inviting them to apply for a strategy call or attend a webinar is a lead magnet done wrong.

You’re expecting Sidewalk leads to make a Fast Lane choice with a high obligation. This simply won’t work. It’s the wrong lead magnet to the wrong person at the wrong time.

The reason so many people have low conversion rates on their landing pages is because they’re giving the wrong person the wrong lead magnet.


Given the amount of time and money you pour into creating your marketing funnels, the last thing you want to do is ruin it by messing up your lead magnet strategy.

Thus, it’s important you know how to become the “hunted” simply by offering the “right” thing at the “right” time to the “right” person based on their mindset and where they are coming from.



Oldford |

Founder and CEO Infinitus

Scott Oldford has been an entrepreneur since his early teens, having built multiple million dollar businesses. In 2013, after a failed business left him $726,000 in debt, he decided to go all in on building an online course for entrepreneurs. Since then, he's paid off his debt and generated millions in revenue.

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