What is the best type of lead magnet for B2B writers and copywriters to use to attract potential clients?
This was a question I received recently from a new B2B copywriter, so let me share my insights into what I’ve seen work well.
But first, let me begin by describing what a lead magnet is.
What is a Lead Magnet?
A lead magnet is something special you offer on your website or in your other marketing campaigns to get prospects interested in your services. It intrigues and interests them enough to give you their name and email address.
It could be anything really, but typically, a lead magnet is a content piece like a white paper or special report. It can also be an infographic, tip sheet, or any other type of content.
You’ve no doubt seen lead magnets before when you’ve visited websites where there’s an offer for a free report. The topic of that free report may have been so enticing to you that you clicked on the button to get the report. Then, you filled out a form with your name and email address. Afterwards, you received an email with the report or a link where it could be downloaded.
And sure enough, you started to get some follow-up emails from that company. So, what’s happened?
Well, that free report you downloaded was a lead magnet. Once you signed up for it, you became a lead for that company. Now the company thinks you might be interested in their products and services, so they follow up with you.
Now, you can do that in your own business as a copywriter. You can create a lead magnet to get prospects interested in what you do and willing to give you their contact information. Those prospects might be marketing directors, business owners, or creative directors of design firms you’re targeting with your copywriting services.
A lead magnet may go by different names. It used to be called a “freemium.” In a book I co-wrote titled The Wealthy Freelancer, I called it a “buzz piece.” The most common name in the B2B world now is lead magnet.
How Do You Use a Lead Magnet?
The most common way to use one is on your website. But you can also use it in other ways as well. You can use it in prospecting when you’re reaching out to potential prospects via email or even telephone.
You can use a lead magnet as an offer. You can contact companies and offer them your free white paper, e-book, or tip sheet.
You can also use it in advertising. If you go to a networking event or a conference, you can offer to send potential prospects you meet a copy of your lead magnet.
But don’t say, “Hey, would you like a copy of my lead magnet?” Instead say, “I have a special report on this topic that you might be interested in. May I send it to you?”
You can also promote a lead magnet in your social media posts to generate interest.
Lead magnets are versatile and can be used in many different ways in your marketing.
Two Criteria Your Lead Magnet Content Must Satisfy
Before we get into formats, let’s start with the content. The content is critical. It needs to satisfy two criteria or your lead magnet will not work.
First, the content has to be so irresistible that they want to download it and look at it right away. If it’s not high interest to them, you’re just not going to get their attention.
Second, your content also has to position you as the expert to call.
Let me give you some examples…
Let’s say you were to write a white paper on how to get low-cost vacations in the Bahamas. Now, would that be of high interest to your prospects? It might be. A lot of people would enjoy a low-cost vacation in the Bahamas.
But would it position you as an expert to call for B2B copywriting services?
No, it wouldn’t at all because a low-cost vacation in the Bahamas has nothing to do with your copywriting. It doesn’t position you as an expert copywriter at all. So it wouldn’t meet those two criteria.
Now, let me give you another example.
If you wrote a tip sheet called “Five Copywriting Tips that Work,” would that be of high interest to your prospects?
Again, the answer is no. That topic is so general and so fluffy that prospects are not going to be motivated to fill out a form on your website or request it. They can get copywriting tips just by googling that phrase.
So it’s just too general to work. It may be of some interest, but not of high interest to your prospects.
But does that position you as an expert copywriter?
In a way it does, because you’re authoring a tip sheet on copywriting. Just by doing that, it positions you as a bit of an expert. So it satisfies the second criteria, but not the first. You’ve got to satisfy both criteria.
Let me give you an example of a real special report that does just that. A few years ago, a copywriter named Sally Jones wanted to get more case study work because she’s an excellent case study writer.
So she identified that the number one problem her prospects have is getting their customers to agree to participate in a case study to begin with. That’s very difficult for marketing directors. So she wrote a special report called “Nine Powerful Strategies to Get Customers to Say Yes to Case Studies.”
Now, does that satisfy the first criteria? Is that of high interest to her prospects?
Yes, because getting their customers to agree to participate is a big problem her target audience has. So, yes, that’s very high interest to her prospects.
And does that topic position Sally Jones as a go-to copywriter for case studies?
Absolutely, because she wrote the report. Just by authoring that report, it positioned her as the go-to expert on case studies.
Anybody who’s interested in case studies and sees that on her website is going to see her as an expert.
So that is a great example of choosing the right content because it satisfies those two criteria. Whatever format your lead magnet takes, it must satisfy those two criteria.
What’s the Best Format for a Lead Magnet?
So now, let’s say you’ve nailed the content and you know the topic and you want to create a lead magnet.
What format should it take? You can do a long white paper. You can do a shorter e-book or a special report. You can do a one-page infographic.
What works best?
5-Page Special Reports
There’s no hard and fast rule to this, but in my opinion, the best format is the five-page special report. This will be a cover plus five pages of content.
A five-page special report is long enough to be meaty and meaningful, and to contain a lot of great content. But yet, it’s short enough to be relatively easy for you to write.
It’s a manageable type of project because it won’t take as much time to write as a nine-page white paper. In those five pages, you can provide some tips or some good information or advice.
And a report of five pages is also enough to show off your great writing. Never forget that your lead magnet is also a portfolio sample. This format works well for copywriters.
But there are other formats that work as well…
An infographic, as you know, is a combination of words and images working together in a unique format. If you’re unfamiliar with that format, just google “infographic.”
These are typically one or two pages long, although sometimes they’re longer. It’s a great format if you’re providing content that’s relatively short, like a short list of tips or survey results or a process.
For example, a five-step technique for writing a great headline might be perfect for an infographic.
Infographics have kind of a buzz factor to them that makes them popular. Even though the internet is loaded with infographics, people are still curious about them and like them because they’re visual.
Infographics are one of the most shared types of content on the internet, so your idea may spread far and wide.
I know several B2B copywriters who use infographics as their lead magnet, so it could be a format that might work well for you.
Now, it doesn’t take long to write an infographic. You can probably write one in a day.
But it’s getting it designed that may take you some time. You have to partner up with a graphic designer and get it professionally designed.
You don’t want it to look sloppy or amateurish because it represents you. You want it to look good. There are a lot of infographic templates you can find on the internet to try to do-it-yourself.
But seriously, unless you’re good at graphics and have a good eye for what works and what doesn’t work with graphics, then I recommend hooking up with a good freelance designer. You’ll pay a couple hundred dollars, and you’ll get a nice-looking infographic design.
Checklists work well and are really easy. You can come up with a checklist for just about anything. You can offer a checklist for a successful email campaign. Or a checklist for an effectively written website. Maybe a checklist for writing about your company brand.
If it’s a practical and useful checklist, then your target audience may be very interested in it. And the great thing about a checklist is that it’s relatively easy for you to create.
But again, just like the infographic, when you do create it, don’t just have a Word document or a simple-looking PDF. Dress it up with a nice design. Make it look good, because it represents you.
So those are the three formats I think that work well. And my favorite is the five-page special report simply because it gives you an opportunity to showcase your writing, which is very important as well.
Although it seems like everybody uses them, lead magnets still work very, very well.