The secret to successful online lead generation is to leverage LEAD BAIT.

This is often ignored, but a proven trick to maximizing lead flow. The wise use of ‘lead bait’ can easily double or even triple your lead flow.

Lead bait is what you offer your prospect to incentivize them to call you, book an appointment or fill out a form on your website. Lead Bait is free stuff that motivates people to reach out or divulge their identity.

To get more leads, your lead bait must do two things:

  1. Incentivize (motivate) the visitor to share their contact information with you.
  2. Filter out poor quality leads.

Learning to choose and package great lead bait is a fundamental skill. You must master it. You must also master the art of presentation. The fact is, how you decide to present your lead bait can have a dramatic impact upon its success.

Once you have your lead bait, you can create a page on your website to ‘sell’ it. We call this an ‘optin’ page. When the prospect enters their email address in your form, they have ‘opted in’… a throwback from when people would ‘optin’ to your newsletter list. You may also refer to this as a lead generation page.

Here is a sample of a lead generation page:

example of a webpage that displays lead bait and an optin form

Below I’ll provide you with tools that will help you create the best lead bait for your market.

It is not necessary for your bait to be voluminous, or expensive. But it must be good. One great ‘trick’ or ‘trade secret’ is better than a mediocre 100-page eBook.

Your challenge is to maximize perception of value. The more valuable the lead bait appears, the more the prospects will want it. The more they want it, the higher your conversions. Therefore; it is not enough to create the bait; you must also do an excellent job of packaging it to maximize perception of value. This is done with graphics and copy.

Bait can be used online as well as offline, and below I give you my lead bait cheat sheet to make it easy to select the best option.

The art of Escalation

Your marketing workflow should be a series of attempts to escalate the relationship one step closer to the sale.

For best results, your handshake and lead bait should naturally lead the prospect to the next step of your funnel. We refer to this as escalation.

If you had an ecommerce store, your escalation strategy might look like this:

  1. Move prospects from my home page to a free lead bait page.
  2. Move prospects from lead bait page to thank you page, which showcases a list of related products (a category page).
  3. Move prospects from category page to specific product sales page.
  4. Move prospect from sales page to shopping cart, quantity selection.
  5. Move prospect from quantity selection to data entry form for name & address.
  6. Move prospect from data entry form to payment options.

See the escalation?

Your lead bait is not merely a random gift that gets people excited. It is a gift that leads to a specific sale. For this reason, it is preferable that your lead bait be directly related to what you are selling.

If you were a financial planner, you might give away a savings calculator.

If you were a realtor, you might give away a pre-sell planning guide.

If you were a vitamin supplier, you might give away a free sample.

Even new marketers would most likely choose lead bait which is related to what they are selling. But with more sophisticated funnel integration, the lead bait may form only one piece of the solution, with a higher commitment necessary to get the next part of the solution.

If you were selling a course on how to start an importing business, your lead bait might be a list of foreign wholesalers who sell a total of over 100,000 items. When a prospect registers for the bait, they are immediately taken to a page that offers to sell them a short-list of the 100 most profitable products offered by those suppliers. If it is too soon to ask for money, they you could ask them to book an appointment, and you could offer the short-list as a bonus for registering.

Get it? You need to move them to the next step. Don’t make that step so big that very few will take it. Make the step easy. Entice them with juicy promises of a better life, savings, relief from problems.

In the design of your handshake and lead bait offers, you must think through your entire funnel. What is the next step we want them to take? How can we make that next step so enticing they cannot resist? This is the game. Learn to play it well.

1. Idea Generator

Your bait can take many shapes and forms. It could be a video, an eBook or a checklist.

There are many formats available to you. See the idea generator below for a complete list of formats.

Once you have decided on a format, you must decide how you are going to deliver the bait. By mail?  Email? Live stream? Use the idea generator to select the most appropriate delivery option.

2. Planning your Lead Bait

The cheat sheet will help you plan out your lead bait. Download it and then add it to your master planning document.

  1. Which product or service will you be selling to the people who register for your lead bait? If you keep the idea of Funnel Integration in mind, the bait you pick should align the product you will be selling.
  2. Describe the target audience. Your bait should be relevant and valuable to your audience.
  3. What needs or desires does this market have? Articulating them on the cheat sheet will often lead to great ideas for bait.
  4. What is the general topic of the overall conversation? What problems are discussed? Again, articulating this will often lead to ideas.
  5. What promise or solution can you offer as part of your bait?
  6. What format should your bait be in? See the Idea Generator.
  7. How will you deliver the bait? See the Idea Generator.

3. Comparing your ideas

The merits of each idea are easy to compare when using this rank tool:

There are five criteria for ranking your bait ideas. By rating each one on a scale of 1 to 10 you have an objective method for evaluating multiple bait ideas against one another.

  1. Perception of value. The more (perceived) value the bait has, the higher the rating.
  2. Ability to give rapid satisfaction. 7-day courses are great, but giving instant satisfaction is more important.
  3. How much trust and authority will the bait build?
  4. How much time and expense will be needed to create the bait? Easier is better!
  5. Does the bait naturally lead the prospect to the next step of the funnel? Self-qualifying bait ideas get a higher rating.

4. Maximize Perception of Value

The almighty name

Come up with a great name for your bait.

Which is better: ‘Safety Tips’, or;
Free report reveals “7 Simple Ways to Save your Baby’s Life”

The name you attach to your bait will be a huge factor in the perception of value.


Many lead bait formats are intangible. They are information. By creating graphics, you can tangibilize the item and give it a sense of worth.

The example below shows how you might package up your lead bait to add perception of value. Notice the button, to add visibility and a specific call to action.


Copy that adds value

How you describe the bait is crucial. Don’t be scared to make promises. Just be sure you can fulfill them! Good copy should draw out the emotion as you describe the benefits. For example…

Free report reveals 7 Simple Ways to Save your Baby’s Life. Smart doctor discloses lessons for new mothers. Download your copy now. It’s free and it could save your baby.

Put a price on it

If it is legitimate, you can put a price tag on the item to further enhance perception of value. Many marketers have found some offers see dramatic improvement in conversion rations when affixing a price tag to the item:
Previously offered at $97.00, get yours free now.

5. Promote your Lead Bait

Now that you have lead bait and a handshake page, you’ll want to drive your website traffic to to it so you can start filling your online sales funnel.

A helpful exercise is to develop graphical teasers and scatter them around your site, such as on the sidebars of the blog. You can also add them to the site menus or simply add text teasers within blog articles, all pointing to our various handshake pages which promote your lead bait.

Best practice is to design a complete ad set for each piece of lead bait. This set of display ads can be used on your own site. It can also be used later for remarketing… bringing previous visitors back to your site. We’ll cover that later. For now, you can create the ads, then select a few to place on your website.

As of the time of writing, the popular sizes:

Promote your Lead Bait

In summary, your online lead generation is highly dependent on the quality and presentation of your lead bait. As a starting place, try repackaging whatever you are offering now to add higher perception of value. This applies to catalogs, free consultations, price lists and whatever else you are offering your visitors.

And don’t forget ABO… Always Be Optimizing! Make AB testing your best practice for new lead generation ideas and you can confidently expect your lead gen conversion ratios to improve.