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Convert Your Website Visitors Into Clients With Lead Magnets

Lead Magnets baby on slide

In an earlier post, I explained why your website doesn’t have a traffic problem. I told you the real problem with your website is one of conversion.

In this post, I’m going to give you step-by-step directions to fix that problem.

What Is Conversion?

That might be a new term for you. But conversion basically means you take a website visitor to the next stage. For example, if a visitor subscribes to your email list that’s a conversion. If a website visitor calls you up, that’s a conversion. If an email subscriber becomes a client, that’s a conversion.

You want to continuously move the visitors on your website closer and closer to becoming your client.

The first conversion we are going to focus on is converting visitors to subscribers. But before we dive into that, let’s talk big picture.

The Philosophy Behind This

If you are selling architecture, engineering, or construction services, this whole concept of conversion might sound crazy. People don’t buy these services from a website like they buy books from!

In fact, your clients have likely already used an architect, engineer, or contractor in the past (i.e. your competition). They may also have complex systems set up to procure your services.

Think of this whole conversion thing like getting a child to go down a playground slide for the first time. It can be daunting for the child to do something new, something that may seem scary. Rather than trying to get them to go down the slide, we’re going to take it step by step.

The first conversion would be to get them from the grass to up the ladder. With each conversion, it will become easier and easier for the child to go down the slide and into your arms. Likewise, as we convert your website visitors, it will be easier and easier for them to select your firm for contracts.

The underlying concepts behind this are heavily rooted in psychology. Let’s talk about some of the principles here.

  1. Commitment/Consistency: If you get someone to take a small action, it is going to be easier to get them to take a much larger, but logically consistent action. For example, if someone has agreed to subscribe to your email list than it is easier for them to agree to send you an RFP or talk to you about their challenges.

  2. Reciprocation: The more value you provide your potential clients, the more eager they will be to reciprocate by giving you contracts.

  3. Liking: By creating a regular flow of valuable content that comes their way, you are building familiarity and trust. Clients are much more likely to hire firms that are familiar and trusted.

The Simple Conversion Flow

The plan couldn’t be simpler. People are already coming to your website. We are going to:

  1. Determine which of those visitors are likely to buy your services.
  2. Convince those people to give you their contact information.
  3. Build trust and familiarity by providing useful information.
  4. Then, we’re going to sell them on your service.

Converting Visitors To Subscribers

People are already coming to your website. You want to figure out which visitors are likely to buy your services and convert them to subscribers.

You’ll need a few things here:

  1. An Email Marketing System
  2. A Mechanism to Capture Visitor Information
  3. A Lead Magnet

Let’s look at these in more detail.

An Email Marketing System

Since visitors are going to give us their contact information, we’ll need someplace to automate the process and store it. You’ll want to use an email marketing service.

I’m going to recommend Mailchimp simply because that’s what I use and it’s free to start with.

Here’s a video on how to set up your Mailchimp Account.

A Mechanism to Capture Visitor Information

Now that you have a place to store visitor information, you’ll need a form for them to enter the information.

Although this is a little bit different than what I do, I’m going to suggest you collect both visitor email addresses and first name. Those are the two fields you’ll want in your sign up form.

Here’s a video detailing how to create a form in Mailchimp and integrate it with WordPress.

Once this form is created, you can paste the code anywhere on your website. And the video shows you how to do that in WordPress.

A Lead Magnet

Now you have a mechanism in place to capture client information. But how are you going to:

  1. Figure out which visitors are potential clients.
  2. Actually convince them to give you their information.

Well, we’re going to bribe them. That’s right! We’re going to bribe them with something it will be impossible for them to assign a monetary value to…information.

You are going to create some document that solves a problem or provides insight into a challenge that only a potential client could have.

Let’s look at how people across the web bribe you all the time.

Every day many people are trying to bribe those of us who work for A/E/C firms. Let’s look at some of the best bribers we know. And we’re going to refer to these bribes by the more politically correct term, lead magnet.


Hinge is probably one of the best out there at creating lead magnets that we’re likely to want. Let’s take a look at some of them.

hinge marketing lead magnet

Here’s another one…

Spiraling up Conversion lead magnet

…and another one…

visability Expertise giveaway

Who would want that but someone responsible for marketing at a professional services firm? Nobody. But Hinge’s target market is certainly going to want that information, right?!?


And, in all fairness, I use this tactic all the time. In fact, on I’m extremely aggressive with it. Here’s an example from my website.

help everybody lead magnet

If you are responsible for working on proposals, why wouldn’t you want this?

But wait a minute Matt…that’s fine for you or Hinge, but what about people who work for prestigious A/E/C firms? Well, let’s look at how some A/E/C firms use lead magnets.

Trauner Consulting

I know for a fact that these guys have a top notch marketer! :) TRAUNER’s lead magnet is tailor made for their potential clients.

Trauner Lead Magnet

Fosdick & Hilmer

Fosdick & Hilmer provides a useful guide for those who might be, you know, on the fence about building a cogeneration plant. That’s a pretty specific audience.

Cogeneration Lead Magnet

There you go. I’ve provided you everything you need to get started. In upcoming posts, I’m going to cover easy ways to build lead magnets, discuss conversion metrics, and share an awesome tool I use to increase conversions and deliver lead magnets.

So, was this the first time you’ve ever heard of a lead magnet? Have you used lead magnets before? Let us know by posting a comment!

Listen to Me Share Proposal Wisdom And Make A Fool Of Myself

I’ve been experimenting with podcasting lately. I recently appeared as a guest on two construction-related podcasts.

I thought I’d share these with you because I drop some proposal wisdom and I clear up any misconception about what I do for a living (spoiler alert: I have a job just like you).

Construction Industry Podcast

In this first one (which you can hear here) I speak with Cesar Abeid about proposals.

And being the flag waving, bald eagle flying, ugly American that I am…I instantly give US specific examples and narrowly avoid causing an international incident.

We discuss my career and what I do for a living, the most common proposal mistake, my $1M piece of proposal advice, my groundhog problem, using templates, one of the big things I’m working on now, and a few other topics.

A/E/C Business Podcast

In the second one, (which you can hear here) I speak with Philip Wylie on the same general topic. This time, I have a little fun with my interviewer. Fortunately, he’s a good sport.

We discuss proposals and the experiences that shaped my perception about them, social psychology, common complaints about proposals, the economics of proposals, again delve into my groundhog problem, and debate smoke signals vs. email.

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