1400% Growth: The Lead Magnet Experiment

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Until now, I’ve only posted deep dives on this website. And while they’re helpful, I think something is missing from them.

I’ve been wanting to share experiments with you of someone implementing these growth levers I’m finding, not just telling you what they are.

So that’s what I’m doing today, sharing with you the first of what I hope is many of these.

A Little Backstory

Lead magnets seem like a very heated topic in the newsletter space today. You can ask one person who loves them, while other experts hate them and say the quality of subscribers isn’t great.

So who is right?

I wanted to put it to the test and see how a lead magnet would work for my newsletter. After all, advice from experts is great, but every audience is different so don’t take anyone’s advice too seriously (including my own!).

I’d been thinking about creating a lead magnet for a while, but with writing and doing research every week, it felt overwhelming to create.

That is until someone from Bryan Harris’ team reached out saying that in a few days, they were going to share my lead magnet in their newsletter.

If you don’t know Bryan Harris, he runs Growth Tools, but I’ve been following him since 2014 and the days of his Videofruit blog. Back when he had epic 90s hair (sorry Bryan!):

So anyway, they were going to include me in an email about lead magnets, even though I didn’t have a lead magnet!

They were just going to share my newsletter signup page because the deep dives themselves are interesting enough to sign up for.

I didn’t love that idea, especially since this email was going out to over 75k subscribers.

I wanted to do it right, and decided I would create a “real” lead magnet for this.

The email was going out in just a few days so I’d have to move quick – this was exactly the kick in the butt I needed to finally create a lead magnet.

The Lead Magnet 🧲

I was going back and forth between what I could offer, and then remembered how ByteByteGo had simply put together all of their best content into a PDF and gave that away for free.

So I decided to do something similar. I took all the growth levers from the deep dives that I’ve written and put them together into a “library” of sorts.

Readers of Growth In Reverse have been asking me to compile everything I’ve learned from these deep dives into one place, so this felt like a win-win for everyone.

I created the Growth Levers Library as a Notion database that can be filtered and sorted by type.

I’m not a Notion expert by any means, but it seemed like an easy way to set something like this up.

Here’s what it looks like:

After that was done, I created a custom landing page for Bryan’s team to share.

And since I hadn’t told anyone else about this, the landing page had the added benefit of letting me see exactly how many subscribers I got from this email he sent out.

The email went out on March 2nd, and I ended up getting 276 email subscribers from that mention...I think.

Even though they only linked to the custom landing page I’d setup, somehow people came through the home page as well.

I only know this because people were replying to my regular welcome email asking for the Growth Levers Library, so I ended up manually replying to them with the link.

So the real number is probably closer to 350 subscribers. Not a ton, but certainly a meaningful amount. And the big benefit to this was that I now had this asset I could use to run a real experiment.

Now that you have some backstory, let’s jump into it.

The Experiment 🧪

Now that I had this lead magnet, I wanted to see if people would be more likely to sign up the newsletter if they were getting this free resource right away.

Within all of my deep dives, I have signup forms that show up if someone isn’t yet subscribed. I use a tool called RightMessage to implement this.

These forms looked like this:

It was not super compelling, to say the least, but it was better than nothing. People share the deep dives, not the homepage, so it would be silly for me not to have some kind of optin on those pages.

The problem is that I’ve had the same optin form since July 22, 2023. That is way too long to go without changing this up with new ad copy, testing the style, etc.

Now that I had a lead magnet, I wanted to replace these optin forms with this:

You might notice that I also added a name field, which does add a little friction to the email signup process.

I made the change on 3/3, exactly two weeks ago.

So how is it doing?

The Results

The Original Optin

  • Impressions: 380,958
  • Subscribers: 392
  • Conversion Rate: 0.1%

The New Optin

  • Impressions: 10,719
  • Subscribers: 162
  • Conversion Rate: 1.5%

The new optin form is converting at 1.5%, compared to the old one at 0.1%.

While it’s only been a few weeks since this went live, the new version is definitely performing better in terms of signups.

And yes, the old one has been around a lot longer so you could argue that it’s “stale.”

But I went back and looked at the first 2 weeks of data with that one, and the numbers were the same. In fact, they were worse, coming in at a 0.09% conversion rate.

The Opportunity Cost

Just for fun, if I had done this back in July 2023 instead of putting up that boring optin form, let’s see how many subscribers I might have had.

  • Impressions: 380,958
  • Subscribers: 392 5,714
  • Conversion Rate: 1.5%

Oof, that stings a bit. With a 1.5% conversion rate, I’d have 5,714 subscribers instead of that measly 392.

The moral of the story? Don’t put these things off, kids.

The Future 🔮

It’s safe to say I’ll be keeping the new optin, and iterating on that version from here on out.

I’ll want to keep an eye on the quality of these subscribers to see if they are opening and engaging with my emails. Because I created a new form for this optin, I can easily track that.

A few future tests I might try out:

  • Different imagery
  • Different headline
  • Removing the name field
  • Testing out the button copy

If you want to try something like this for yourself, it’s pretty simple once you have the idea for the lead magnet.

Replicate This For Yourself

Ever since I wrote the deep dive into ByteByteGo and how they used a massive ebook as their lead magnet, I was curious as to how I could replicate it, so this was fun to try out.

Here is a link to this growth lever within that deep dive.


Something else I included in the lead magnet itself came from this example.

At the end of their ebook, they link to the full books they’ve written on the topic.

lead magnet book link

So, I took the same approach and included links to my Twitter profile, newsletter, and the newsletter audits I offer as well.

The results so far? I’ve sold 3 newsletter audits. Now, I also did mention the audit in that week’s newsletter, so it’s hard to tell which had a bigger impact.

But it can’t hurt to include more awareness for some of the other products and services people can buy from you.

So what do you think? Are you going to be trying this one out?

chenell basilio

Chenell Basilio

Chenell is the head writer and reverse engineer at Growth In Reverse. She spends her days researching newsletters, audience growth, and generally figuring out how to help others create better content.

She has an almost useless Bachelor's Degree in Geography, enjoys running, listening to podcasts, and eating guacamole. 🥑

Where I hang out on social media:

3 thoughts on “1400% Growth: The Lead Magnet Experiment”

  1. With tens of thousands of newsletters out there, near-term results through a clear value prop naturally converts better.

    It isn’t trivial to identify the right magnet, of course. Narrowing down your audience can create a silo. Still, a great problem to have with a 15X CVR increase 🙂


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