Online Lead Generation – Creating The Right Lead Magnet


Ian Brodie

Ian Brodie

Ian Brodie teaches consultants, coaches and other professionals to attract and win the clients they need using "Value-Based Marketing" - an approach to marketing based around delivering value, demonstrating your capabilities and earning trust through your marketing.


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Online Lead Generation – Creating The Right Lead Magnet

Margaret AdamsToday's blog post is by Margaret Adams, a writer and speaker on inbound marketing. Margaret's article gives you some rock solid advice on creating a “lead magnet” to generate leads – a topic I know a lot of people struggle with. Over to you Margaret…

If you want to generate more leads for your business online, you will need to encourage visitors to your website to join your e-mail list. Many professionals write a special report or “lead magnet” to help them do this.

However, creating an appealing report is difficult. Before you put time and effort into your document, it’s worth checking that you’re planning to write a report that will work hard for your business. Use the following guidance to help you.

Choose A Topic That Matters To Your Prospects

You want to draw the right people to you and demonstrate, via your special report, that you are the sort of expert they need to get to know better. That means you must choose a topic that’s important to your target audience. You must also demonstrate that you can add value and help your readers deal with this issue.

Therefore, make your report exclusive in its focus. You want to attract a specific group of people to you. You want, as far as possible, to attract the people within that group who are ready to take action about an issue rather than simply read about it in general terms. Your report’s title will help you. Here are two you could adapt.

  • BYOD – Insider Solutions For IT Specialists
  • How To Wake Up From The BYOD Nightmare – A Blueprint For Action

BYOD may mean nothing to you, unless you’re involved in IT. (It stands for Bring Your Own Device.) It’s an issue that is causing IT departments problems today when more and more employees want to use their own tablet computers, smart ‘phones and laptops at work.

IT departments know that viruses can be introduced into a business’s IT systems via employees’ devices. IT security may be breached when people take sensitive data away from the office on their tablets, let other people use their devices, lose them or have them stolen.

IT support companies and IT departments want solutions. Your special report will help them to find one.

Test Your Thoughts Before You Write

It’s not difficult to find a topic that will interest your target market. Choosing your angle, the way you deal with your topic, will be your principal challenge. It’s important to get this right because the way you approach your topic will have a significant impact on the success of your lead magnet.

Should you be serious or light-hearted in your report? Should you build on anxiety or aspiration? Either of the titles noted above could work, but one will work better than the other. You need to know which.

Try writing two or three blog posts about BYOD – or your chosen subject – before you commit to creating that special report. Note which aspects of the subject are most popular and which issues generate the most comments, or the most telephone calls. Ask your readers what you have missed or if there is something else they would like to know. Don’t just rely on people commenting on your site. Talk to your clients about your subject, too.

Write The First Page As If You Were Writing A Bestseller

Getting people to sign up to your list is a good start, but you also want them to read your special report, so that they will learn how useful you and your services could be. Just like the novelist with a new book to sell, you want to grab your reader’s attention, engage interest and draw each reader into your narrative. Be prepared to work with readers’ emotions to achieve this.

See how a report produced by a consultancy specialising in executive development does this with its opening sentence.

If 86% of senior executives admit to missing crucial e-mails and important meetings, where does that leave you?

The question perplexes the reader and makes him or her feel uncomfortable. Surely those really successful entrepreneurs don’t miss meetings, do they? Well, the only way to find the answer is to read on, isn’t it?

Choose The Right Layout

Consultants, and other experts, who are new to writing special reports, often under-estimate the importance of the layout of their document.

The right layout will be dictated by how you intend your readers to use your report. Do you want readers to print your guide out and use it at their desks? Is it a document to be used as a reference manual? Is the report to be read once and filed on the hard disk?

Your decision will affect the font size you choose, whether you use a portrait or landscape orientation and how much colour or white space you include on each page. If you want people to print your report, don’t waste their toner cartridges by using large images, colour backgrounds or bands of colour on each page throughout your work.

Create A Great Cover

Example of Lead Magnet ReportPeople do judge a book by its cover. The look of your special report will influence your website visitors’ decision whether or not to sign up to obtain a copy.

If you want to create a cover that’s an asset, keep it simple. Make the title stand out. Make sure your name is displayed prominently, and include a relevant image. Check, too, that the cover works as a thumbnail image as well as in a larger format.

Write To the Right Length

Your special report serves a specific purpose. It’s an introduction. It’s a means by which you’re letting people who don’t yet know you sample your expertise at no cost and with no risk. Therefore, aim to address a specific problem and then stop writing.

Don’t be tempted to write too much. 1000 to 2000 words is a good length for this type of document. If you’re writing more than 2500 words, you will need a good reason to justify such a big investment of your time. However, always let your title guide you. With a title such as:

Five Ways To Improve Your LinkedIn Profile In The Next Hour

the length and structure of the report are already pretty well defined.

Include The Right Call To Action

What do you want your readers to do after reading your report? Is there an offer? Does the report relate directly to one of your services? Make your decision about the next step you want readers to take before you start writing.

Don’t wait until the end of your document to introduce your call to action.

Nudge your readers with links in your text and invitations to take a look at specific web pages. Encourage your readers to pick up the ‘phone to ask you a question. Remember that if you save all the information about you and your business for the last page, that’s a page that might not get read or printed out.

Creating The Right Lead Magnet

If you’re keen to generate more leads for your business online, then writing a special report or lead magnet will help. Creating the right lead magnet will take time, but once it’s written, it will work hard for your business for a long time. That makes it worth the effort.

Margaret Adams is a content marketer, business ghostwriter and sought-after speaker on inbound marketing topics. She helps businesses selling complex products and services to build a strong online presence and, as a result, make more sales in the real world. Find out more about her work at

Ian's take:
Ian BrodieThere's some excellent advice in this article – make sure you've thoroughly read and digested it. A couple of areas I'd highlight:

1. Your Lead Magnet Title. Look at Margaret's example title: Five Ways to Improve Your Linkedin Profile in the Next Hour. Specific (five ways), clearly related to an important area for many people (their Linkedin profile) and offering immediate payback (doing it in the next hour). Excellent.

2. Write to the Right Length. Many people worry about giving too much away in a lead magnet. My experience is that you rarely give too much away – but if your lead magnet is too long (and to be honest, mine normally are) you run the risk of overwhelming your readers. If they put your report to one side to read later because it looks too big, chances are they won't come back. And they you'll have lost all the impact.

3. Open Like a Bestseller. This is great advice. If people don't read your lead magnet because they get bored in the first page or so, there's no point in writing it!

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4. Your Call to Action. More great advice – I'd not thought about including earlier calls to action peppered through the report but it makes absolute sense – well done Margaret!


Ian Brodie

Ian Brodie

Ian Brodie teaches consultants, coaches and other professionals to attract and win the clients they need using "Value-Based Marketing" - an approach to marketing based around delivering value, demonstrating your capabilities and earning trust through your marketing.

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