Lead magnets in the water industry: Why? What? How?

lead magnet checklist

If you’re going to give it away make it worth it. An 8-point checklist


In the last few years, the term lead magnet has become a bit of a buzzword. But what exactly is a lead magnet? And why is everyone making such a big deal about it?

lead magnet checklist

Essentially, whenever a prospect lands on your website, your end-goal is to drive profitable action. But visitors are seldom ready to make a decision right away. They want useful and relevant resources and information. That’s where lead magnets come in.

When you use lead magnets, you give your prospects access to gated content. In return, they fill out a signup form on your site. Voila! They just joined your email list, which makes it much easier to engage with, and convert them into future buyers, through email marketing.

In this post, we’ll look at why you need a lead magnet, what kind of lead magnet to offer, and how to make sure your lead magnet meets its goal.

Why give stuff away?

You may be asking why you should develop something valuable just to give it away? You do it because a lead magnet is a piece of content that will draw in the type of leads you want to your business. It’s a way for you to identify potential customers.

lead magnet checklist

The main benefit of a lead magnet is to grow your email list. Your lead magnet must, therefore, be valuable enough for a person to give you their contact details in return. Once a person has given you permission to email them, you can start to build a relationship with them. Pure gold!

What to give away?

The type of lead magnets you offer will depend on your product and on your prospects. Some good types of lead magnets for the water industry are:

Useful and educational resources

Once you have identified a topic your audience wants more information about, develop a short, concise piece of content that educates and informs. Infographics are excellent useful and/or educational lead magnets when professional designed and presented.

Just keep content assets short and leave them wanting more. Leave them wanting more information they can only get from contacting you directly.

Cheat sheets, and checklists

Cheat sheets are popular because they save people time. They work similarly to a checklist, only cheat sheets have a more actionable nature to them.

lead magnet checklist

Both cheat sheets and checklists are useful if you’re sharing tips that help readers understand complex tasks for the first time.

When developing a either cheat sheet or a checklist, remember to keep things brief and concise. With this type of content, it’s not about telling a story, it’s about getting straight to the value of your offering.

Video training/tutorials

Video tutorials have been shown to boost your conversion rate as much as five times! There are technologies that make it easy to create a step-by-step video product in just minutes. Tutorials help customers understand a process or see how easy it is to use your product. An excellent choice for demonstrating your water and/or waste treatment processes.


Webinars are another highly efficient and currently quite popular lead magnet. Regularly scheduled webinars encourage your visitors to learn more about your company, your products/services, and your business culture. Remember, avoid making it purely promotional. In fact, you must offer value before asking for commitment from your leads.

Software downloads/demos

If your product is more intangible, like software, think about offering free downloadables. By offering a trial or a slimmed-down software version, you can significantly increase your conversion rate. Make sure your visitors have to opt-in before downloading your free product.

Surveys and quizzes

Depending on your audience online, surveys and quizzes can be effective. They encourage prospects to test their skills, knowledge, or attitude. You get to ask them for their contact information while entertaining them. You can also gain valuable information about your audience with clever survey/quiz questions.

How do you know your lead magnet is good? 8-point checklist

You’ve decided you need a lead magnet to build your email list. You have picked the perfect type of lead magnet for your audience. The next step is to develop an effective offering. So, what makes a lead magnet good? This checklist explains the eight criteria of a successful lead magnet:

  1. It is specific

Your lead magnet must be ultra-specific to the audience you want it to engage. If your offering isn’t relevant to their wants and needs, they aren’t going to download it.

  • It focuses on one emotionally compelling idea

It is a common theme in content marketing: one emotionally compelling idea. Your lead magnet should engage your reader on an emotional level. Solve a problem – generate gratitude. Offer a useful resource that makes their job easier – build trust. Give them an engaging quiz – entertain them.

  • It will solve a problem

Successful lead magnets are focused on solving a problem for the reader. Make life for your prospects easier, better, smarter.

  • It is useful

The offering must have value – actual value. Solve a problem for your lead. Provide valuable information. Offer a demo or free trial. Make sure it is valuable enough to your audience from them to give you their email address.

  • It is actionable

Lead magnets should provide instant gratification. Solve a problem, entertain, or educate – just do it quick!

  • It is concise

Lead magnets are for quick consumption. The rule is no more than 5 minutes to experience the content. Leave them wanting more.

  • It shifts the relationship

When the reader trades their contact information for your lead magnet, they are demonstrating trust. Trust that you will value their connection. Trust that you will follow up with them.

  • It must have high perceived value

Just because you are giving something away, it shouldn’t look free. Design and formatting must look professional and of high perceived value.


If you want to build a relevant contact list and establish a relationship with your prospective customers, you need a lead magnet. Email marketing still delivers the highest ROI of any channel, so the quality and size of your contact list is extremely important.

With a lead magnet you give your prospects something they want for free. In return you get contact information to use in email campaigns. However, before creating your next lead magnet, ask yourself this question:

What can we give away for free that will make our prospective customers’ lives better?

If you can answer that, you’ve got a great idea for a lead magnet!

Are you so busy making a difference to your clients that you don’t have time to tell your good news stories?  Have you solved a wastewater problem for a client, a community, a country? Then get that story out there!  Let the world know how your company solves problems and makes a difference.

That’s where WATER COPY comes in.  I research and write top quality science-based content. (Click here to see more details about my skills and experience).

Contact me to discuss your next content asset.

Book a FREE Consultation!

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The Truth about Your Content: Five steps to more persuasive writing

more persuasive writing


Is your content ‘talking’ to your audience? Would more persuasive writing increase your content’s ROI?

The whole point of marketing is to start a one-on-one conversation between two people. Ultimately a conversation between your sales person and their CFO.

Your product is complex and technical. That’s fine.  But if your content is hard to understand the conversation may never get started.  You need to simplify the language in your content to make your complex, technical product understandable.

In this post, we look at five steps you more persuasive writing. First let’s look at how readability is assessed by most word processing software.

Readability: Flesch Kincaid (FK) Explained

The Flesch Kincaid readability assessment was developed to assess the difficulty of reading materials for upper elementary through secondary grades.  Although the FK test was developed to assess reading material for students, the FK score is basically about the readability of the text.  A scale based on a formula.

The FK score is assessed on these factors in a piece of writing:

  • # of letters per word: more letters, more difficult to read.
  • # of words per sentence: more words, more difficult to read. 
  • # of sentences per paragraph: more sentences, more difficult to read.
  • % passive sentences: more passive sentences, more difficult to read.

Most word processing software reviews documents and reports on two FK parameters:

  • Flesch reading ease, and
  • FK grade level score.

The Flesch reading ease assessment is reported as a percent and the higher the score the better. On the other hand, for persuasive content, an FK grade level score of 8 or less is best.

Although the FK score can help you improve the clarity of your writing, it does have drawbacks.  For instance, in writing water industry content, you will need to use some jargon and technical terms. Just be aware that your FK score may creep up if you rely too much on these less familiar and less used terms.

Remember too, that while bad readability scores often reflect poor writing, good readability scores do not by themselves mean the writing is good.

Now on to the five steps that will start you on your road to more persuasive writing.

Step #1: Find one emotionally compelling idea

The most powerful aid to more persuasive writing is to identify one emotionally compelling idea.  One that engages the reader both emotionally and rationally. When you try to write about many things your message becomes diluted.

more persuasive writing

It doesn’t have to be factual. But it does need to feel like it is or should be true. It must be so emotionally attractive the reader will want to believe it.

An emotionally compelling idea should generate a feeling of discovering something new and useful.  Something new to think about and share.

How to find that emotionally compelling idea.

There is no substitute for research.  You need to know the topic – your product or service – and its features and benefits. You need to know your audience and their needs. 

It always helps to start with a brainstorming session.  Whether alone or with your team, think about all the features and benefits of your product or service.  If an emotionally compelling idea doesn’t jump off the page, which it most likely won’t, more research is required.

more persuasive writing

Keyword research identifies topics that people are searching for. Keep and maintain a list of keywords and keyword phrases. Find out what your audience is interested in, what they want to learn about.

After further research into features and benefits and your audience’s needs, you then repeat the brainstorming activity. Itemize the benefits and turn each into one emotionally compelling idea.

Put that emotionally compelling idea right up front

Studies have shown that people like to know what they’re in for right from the start.  Put your emotionally compelling idea right up front.  In primary school, they taught us that when writing a report, you should:

Tell them what you are going to tell them,

tell them,

then tell them what you told them.

It still applies today.  Put the emotionally compelling idea up front and draw your audience through to the call-to-action. You can help your reader by:

  • Stating the subject of an email in the subject line.
  • Including an executive summary with a white paper.
  • Stating the basic facts about a news item in the first sentence or two of a news release.
  • Providing an introduction, regardless of the length of your document.

Step #2: Use an easy-to-read style

More persuasive writing uses an easy-to-read style. Your reader can then focus on your message rather than muddling through dense text.  These three tricks will help you develop that easy-to-read style.

Trick #1: Use personal pronouns

Using personal pronouns gives your writing a conversational tone.  Personal pronouns seem to connect the reader to the writer.  A conversational tone helps your reader focus on your message rather than your language. 

Just be sure that personal pronouns are right for the content.  It may not be appropriate in every situation.

Trick #2: Avoid jargon

It’s easy to be drawn to words that are common in your industry. But are they common to your audience?  When writing for non-specialists and you have a choice between words, use the common, everyday word.

more persuasive writing

A couple further pointers on word choice:

  • Use positive words. Negatives like don’t in front of a verb can make some readers stumble.
  • Avoid long strings of nouns. Sentences with several nouns in a row can be difficult to navigate.
  • Use inclusive language. Unless your document is about men, don’t use only male pronouns (he, his).

Sometimes you may have to use a technical term, even when you’re writing for non-specialists. In that case, choose words that will help your readers. 

Trick #3: Avoid padding with words like very, really, actually, or carefully

These words don’t serve any purpose.  Keep in simple, keep it easy to understand.

Step #3: Keep it concise and to the point

When writing about complex technical subjects, you need to construct your sentences carefully. More persuasive writing uses direct, simple sentences.  In fact, long sentences almost always have complex grammatical structures.  This puts a strain on the reader’s immediate memory.  The reader has to retain several parts of each sentence before he can combine them into a meaningful whole.

Here are a few tricks to help you keep concise and to the point:

Trick #1: Keep sentences and paragraphs short.

The average length of your sentences should be 20 words or fewer.

Trick #2: Sentences should focus on one idea

Keep it simple. Cover only one idea per sentence and one theme per paragraph. Get to the point; don’t wander around first.  Find one emotionally compelling idea, as we discussed in the earlier in this post.

Trick #3: Use the active voice

Use the active voice.  The passive voice tends to seem evasive:

The standards were breached.

Who breached the standards? As a reader, you might think: Is the writer trying to hide something from me? If you don’t want to appear to be hiding something, you should use an active voice:

The refinery breached a water quality standard.

Step #4: Make it skim-able

You can make your document more persuasive by providing cues that promote skimming.  There are a couple tricks you can use to help these readers out.

more persuasive writing

Trick #1: Use headings

Headings show your readers how your document is organized.  And they let your reader skim the text to find the information they’re looking for.  Readers on the Internet tend to move on to something else if they don’t find what they’re looking for quickly.  In longer documents, add a table of contents at the beginning, too.

There are several ways to write a heading.  You can state it as a question, as a phrase, or as a declarative sentence:

  • Question. “Are there two kinds of people in the world?”
  • Phrase. “Two kinds of people in the world”
  • Declarative sentence. “There are two kinds of people in the world.”

Trick #2: Break up blocks of text with bulleted/numbered lists

Lists are easy for readers to skim. Choose numbers when presenting a list with items in a specific sequence or rank order. Use bullets when the items listed are equivalent in importance.

These tricks improve readability because:

  • They make it easier for readers to find what they want.
  • They make your content less intimidating by breaking it up visually.

Step #5: Structure it to soothe the reader’s eye

Long blocks of text can intimidate readers.  Persuasive writing is easy to read in a visual sense, making it easier for the reader to understand your key message.

You can soothe the reader’s eye by using white space. Use adequate margins and space between sections. Keep paragraphs short.  The lists help break up text and provide relief to the eye as well as enhancing its skim-ability.

Visual tools can help explain your content.

  • Infographics provide a clear visual representation of data, relationships, or ideas.
  • Tables can help comparisons and show relationships without using a lot of text.
  • Lists group similar items. Numbered lists are ideal for items that are sequenced or ranked; other lists may be bulleted.
  • Other visual tools include inserts, charts, maps, and checklists.

Make sure the tool you use matches your content and the needs of your audience. You can’t explain everything with a pie chart!


In this post we see how plain language improves understanding.  Understanding leads to trust, and ultimately to action from your prospect. Action that can lead to a one-on-one conversation between two people.

Your product is complex and technical. Simplify the language in your content to make your complex, technical product more easily understood. Take these five steps to more persuasive writing:

  1. Find one compelling idea
  2. Use an easy-to-read style
  3. Keep it concise and to the point
  4. Make it skim-able
  5. Structure it to soothe the reader’s eye

To keep these five steps in mind while writing, download and print the handy checklist:

Five Steps to More Persuasive Writing – A plain language checklist to simplify your writing


Contact WaterCopy for all your content writing requirements.


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