On Generating Leads

I help marketers understand and leverage seemingly complicated marketing technologies to reach and appeal to their audiences. Lead generation can be pretty complicated and isn’t something everybody gets right, especially if they are in the early stages of digital marketing.

I love showing people how to build up their email list and I am going to share with you some of the most effective methods we use at Leadpages to generate leads for those lists.

To generate leads you need to think deeply about what you’re selling. Think about what product you’re marketing and the audience it’s meant to appeal to. What’s different or unique about them that factors into how you discuss and sell your product?

Once you know what you’re trying to sell, we can pave a pathway to that product, through the creation of what I like to call a “stepping stone lead magnet.” This incentivized lead magnet, closely related to your primary product, is the most effective tool for lead generation.

The Incentivized Lead Magnet

An incentivized lead magnet offers free content in exchange for an email address. The content can be as simple as an email newsletter (or periodic updates) you send to potential subscribers. However, the content has to provide a strong enough “incentive” to be effective. So I encourage you to go beyond a newsletter. Does anybody really want to just sign up to get more email?  
People will only opt-in if the lead magnet you offer carries enough potential value so that it is appealing to them.

There are three lead magnets that I have found to be the most effective at converting in this way – while also being easy to create, even if you’re the only one doing the marketing for your business.

1) A Handy Resource Guide

People love shortcuts and a resource guide delivers that. A resource guide is effective because it’s easy to use and easy to consume.

The entire document should be at a maximum 1 page. Why not 2 pages or 3? It’s important that we don’t create content that is too long. If the content is too long it may not be immediately usable or consumable. The subscriber may “get to it later,” which really means they never will. They won’t get the value, which also means they won’t help spread the word about it.

A 1-page guide is something people can use. For example, they can keep it handy on their desk as a reference while working.

On a page, list out 5 tools that you use. For each tool, have the tool’s name, a picture of the tool, a 2 or 3 sentence description of what it is and how it works, and a url of where to find that tool.

Once you’re done, convert it to a pdf document. This method is both useful and easy to consume.

Here’s an example of a resource guide to attract small businesses who want to get started with Facebook ads.

2) The Content Upgrade

This strategy is great if you have a blog. The content upgrade provides value by adding bonus content to blog posts. The link above for our Facebook Tools Resource Guide embedded in this list building post is a great example of a content upgrade.

When someone comes to your blog, they are interested in that specific blog post – not everything that you do. Instead of offering them your general lead magnet, create bonus content that is closely related to what they read right there.

After you write your next blog post, think about what questions your readers will have. Design a content upgrade that will take their implementation of your blog post ideas to the next level.

One of the best content upgrades you can give away is an action guide for the task or process that you just explained in the blog. For example, if you were in the fitness industry, a content upgrade could be as simple as a printable illustrated workout sheet with step-by-step instructions. If you are a personal chef seeking new local clients, you could offer a shopping list of must-have ingredients for busy parents.

3) A Free Webinar

The best incentivized lead magnet for lead generation (and nurturing) has been live webinars. Webinars are super appealing because they’re a social event that connects you to your audience in real time. Seeing or hearing a speaker builds trust, and seeing other people join online adds to the overall experience. People are starving for real human connection in their pursuit of solutions.

Offer a webinar that delivers on a focused promise with solid content. Be clear about who your webinar is for, and what they’ll get out of it for attending. When your webinar is over, you can offer access to the replay, but I suggest repeating your webinar frequently (weekly is ideal) to continue the momentum from these live online classes.

Some Things To Keep In Mind

A great lead magnet will excite people and offer them something truly valuable. Avoid using overused lead magnets like newsletters and instead use interesting offers that provide more instant gratification for your prospects. Use these 3 lead magnets to build your list, and you won’t be disappointed that you did.


Action Steps

  1. Make a 1 page resource guide of tools you like to use in your work. Keep it short enough to be easy to consume.
  2. Add content upgrades to your top 5 blog posts. Make downloadable bonus content for each post that is actionable, and make sure it’s relevant to each of those posts.
  3. Host a live webinar. Look over your most recent blog posts and social media conversations to discover a hot topic that will attract registrations. Repeat monthly (or weekly if you can).


Result You Will Achieve

3 proven lead magnets to build your subscriber list, reputation, and your business.

Mentor: Bob Sparkins

Manager of Marketing Education at Leadpages, and the author of Take Action, Revise Later. Leadpages provides a suite of lead generation tools to small business owners who want to make the world a better place through their products and services.

This article is based on an EHQ interview with the mentor.