What format should you choose for your freebie?

When it comes to creating your freebie, the good news is that any format is a winner. As long as it addresses your audience’s pain points and gives them a quick and easy win to solve their problem—or at least parts of that problem.

I mentioned earlier that Facebook groups are a real gold mine for collecting lead magnet ideas. They can also be invaluable when deciding what format to choose for your freebie.

To satisfy my curiosity if there’s a freebie format preferred better than others, I did some research in the Facebook groups I hang out. Here are my findings based on answers from fellow small business owners worldwide.

The most commonly used lead magnet format is: Guides & eBooks

Why does this format perform so well as a lead magnet?

First of all, you can create them easily.
Like write the guide in a Word document or Pages, throw in some images, and voila. Export your creation into a PDF file, and you’re good to go.

If you want to take the eBook design to the next level, you can still do it with free design tools like Canva. Design it from scratch, or buy customisable eBook templates to start with.

And for the pros, you can always make your perfect guide in InDesign.

Secondly, if you find that sweet spot in length, so that it’s not too long to overwhelm your reader, but it’s still detailed enough to deliver a quick win to your subscribers. Such a guide is the easiest way to establish yourself as an expert in your prospects’ eyes: as someone who knows their stuff.

Last but not least: if you’re planning on selling digital products, you can use a high performing eBook lead magnet as the prototype of your final paid eBook. You can collect further intel from your subscribers during the welcome/nurture sequence. And just like that, you have everything at hand to expand on this freebie into a detailed, multi-chaptered guide for sale. Like this gem from my sister brand, ARRA design studio on The Smart Way to Create Contentthat helps your business grow.

The Smart Way To Create Content

The second place goes to: Worksheets, Workbooks, Checklists

No big surprise here, in my opinion. When it comes to quick, actionable wins, something fillable that gives an immediate feeling of achievement can never go wrong.

A further advantage is that it’s shorter and easier to create than an ebook. And it’s very versatile. You can create a worksheet, workbook or checklist literally for any business niche as a lead magnet:

  • Income Planner Worksheet
  • Morning Routine Checklist
  • Website Planning Workbook
  • Weekly Self-care Checklist
  • Hospital Bag Checklist
  • Product Launch Workbook
  • And so on

Also, people love printables. Just run a quick search on Pinterest for ‘checklists’, and you’ll see. So make sure that your freebie is adequately designed for print.

The third most popular freebie format is a tie with Quizzes, Challenges, and Workshops


They are a bit time-consuming to set up. You need a quiz platform, like Interact. You need to have the right question and answer combos planned out ahead. And to get people to want to take your quiz, you need to make it fun, informative, and the results customised.

But once you have your battle plan in place, quizzes are an excellent way to segment your prospects right away when they sign up for your list.

If you want to give it a try, in this blog post, Savannah Young shows how you can integrate your Interact quiz with Flodesk—my go-to email marketing platform—without the need for additional platforms like Zapier!


Just like quizzes, they need some planning and logistics. Depending on how long you want to run a challenge, you need your content drafted, and pre-scheduled.

If you may want to allow late joiners for your challenge, you need to think about how you will bring them up to speed with the rest of the participants. Without overwhelming them by sending several days worth of challenge emails at once.

Challenges typically run for several days, and you can set one up even for a whole month. Due to their format, they suit scenarios where the transformation or solution you promise your prospects can be best achieved by small chunks of activities built upon each other.

(Online) Workshops

They’re like condensed forms of Challenges where you deliver the outcome within a few hours.

What do you need for a workshop?

  • Goal:
    • What is it that you want to teach your audience? What is your purpose with the workshop?
  • Audience:
    • Who is the intended audience for the workshop? You need this to advertise the event and attract the right participants.
  • Content:
    • Develop an outline of how you’ll achieve the workshop’s goal. Write your notes, collect visual aids, create your slides, and practice your speech.
  • Interaction:
    • Think about how you can get people involved during the workshop. It also depends on the platform you use for live streaming and its features.
  • Equipment:
    • You may need to invest in audio and video capturing equipment. Otherwise, the participant’s attention will be distracted by the recording environment, failing audio, or low image quality.
  • Venue:
    • Will you be recording from home? If yes, make sure that no one interrupts you. And look for a room with good lighting, no outside noises, and a neutral background.
  • Hosting platform:
    • Check and compare the various platforms, and pick one that best suits your needs

So, what’s your verdict? What is your favourite type of freebie? Let me know in the comments.

And if you need more lead magnet ideas, remember to check this post, too: 33 opt-in freebie ideas to jumpstart your email list.

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