Online Lead Generation: Solve Just ONE Problem

Alex Minchin
Alex Minchin

“We struggle for leads”

There’s a phrase I’ve heard thousands of times in over a decade of helping businesses with online lead generation.

And it’s often down to a recurring symptom too…

The problem is that you’re not solving a problem.

You see, many websites have a very linear conversion process. A prospect lands on your website, reads all about you and what your company does, and how you work.

They are then given a few options of contacting you for more information, or to make an enquiry. Perhaps that’s a phone number or a contact form – or worse – an untracked email address.

The problem is that, by this point, you haven’t proven that you can help your prospect at all. Sure your case studies are impressive, and your accreditations help too.

But proving that you have the skill is just one part of the puzzle when it comes to converting prospects into leads.

People buy from people they know, like, and trust.

Case studies, testimonials, and flexing your muscles are all trust builders. But they’re not always enough when it comes to online lead generation.

So how do you go about resonating with your would-be-customers, and how do you get them to like you?

The answer is surprisingly simple: help them to solve just ONE piece of their puzzle

Let’s dig a little deeper…

The gains and pains of your customer profile

Businesses serve to help their customers to solve a problem or to accomplish (gain) something. It’s very unlikely that you solve hundreds of problems, or accomplish hundreds of different ‘things’.

It’s much more likely that you solve just a handful. And, in simple terms, it’s people with those particular pain points and/or goals that make up your customer profile.

And it’s those gain and pain points where you need to focus your efforts.

By zooming in on just ONE of these, you can begin to demonstrate exactly how you are positioned to help this prospect. In fact, this is the first step in converting a prospect into pipeline opportunity. So it has to deliver.

If you can take your prospect just one step closer towards their goal (or away from their problem) then, you guessed it, they will begin to like you a whole lot more.

And whilst you’re helping them, they’re going to get to know you too. They’ll begin to understand your style, your methods, your way of thinking, and your personality too, be that your personal or company brand.

The first step in this process is to list out what customers come to you for. Some examples include:

  • Vehicle signage and wrapping
  • Waste management services
  • EPOS systems for restaurants

As you can tell, these are pretty high level. And if you’re a business that provides these services, you’re not going to be giving them away for free.

But you can break them down further to find something that you can give away for free. Something that adds value, and solves ONE piece of the puzzle for your prospect.

Solving this isn’t going to mean that you lose the opportunity to win a new customer. In fact, it’s more likely to increase the likelihood of that happening, since you’ll be educating them on your process.

And if they follow your instruction to a successful end, they will have already have bought in, and you’ll be one step closer to having a conversation about how you can help them with the rest of their puzzle.

So let’s break them down and see what we can come up with. I’m going to take ‘vehicle signage and wrapping’ as the chosen example for the rest of this post.

Next, we are going to break down the whole sum into its component parts. I talk religiously about creating a Point A to Point B journey.

This is your system, or the customer journey. In fact, one is often the reverse of the other – you have to do certain things in a certain order to deliver your service. Your customers have to follow that process in order to move from Point A (frustration) to Point B (success).

Getting to ONE thing

Now it’s time to break down the steps taken to deliver my vehicle signage and wrapping service. This isn’t my real area of expertise of course, so I’m going to be using a little creative license.

I’m going to assume that there are these steps:

  • Set template to match vehicle shape/size
  • Brief requirements
  • Design signage
  • Create 3D preview and approve
  • Print signage
  • Apply signage
  • Finish

I am almost certain that this won’t be the real process, but it will do for this example!

As you can see, there are 7 steps that my imaginary vehicle wrapping business takes in order to move customers from Point A (an untrustworthy and anonymous vehicle) to Point B (a trustworthy mobile advertisement).

Only when my customers go through all 7 steps, will they reach Point B. And they probably know that too.

But they might not know where to start either – and that’s precisely why we’re going to help them.

So let’s take a look at that list again. It’s time to look at what we can realistically solve for our prospect, from that list, within a reasonable timeframe.

Side note: your prospect likely has other jobs to get on with too, so avoid picking anything that is going to need hours of education, trial and error, or that might have them stop half-way through due to sheer frustration.

Looking at my list, the stand-out option is step 2, ‘Brief Requirements’. Some of the others require specialist tools and skills that might be too steep of a learning curve to expect of my prospects.

This is going to help my prospect to get clear on exactly what it is they need from their signage. I can walk them step-by-step through my briefing process, and they’ll have a working document to use with my company, or any of my competitors.

That’s right – “any of my competitors”


But that’s okay. Why would this prospect go to a competitor straight away, when you’ve just helped to solve a part their puzzle?

And if they do, then take that as feedback .What was it? Price? Timescales? Not picking up the phone quick enough?

The bottom line is that, to generate leads online, you have to give to receive.

Plus, wouldn’t you rather win 8 or 9 out of 10 new customers who do decide to give you a call, that perhaps wouldn’t have before you helped them?

Selecting a format

Now that we have chosen the ONE specific piece of the puzzle that we’re going to solve for our prospects, we need to choose a format that will work.

There are tonnes of formats to work from, but some will be more relevant than others when it comes to online lead generation.

? Your format should naturally compliment the piece of the puzzle that you’re solving

For a brief to be useful, there has to be an end product – a document of some sort that communicates what the customer wants with as much clarity as possible.

? Consider the amount of investment required – people, time, and financial

For example on my list, Step 3 was to design the vehicle signage. I could software that allowed my prospects to select from standardised vehicle wrap sizes and templates, and the ability to go on and create a design. Developing such a tool would likely need some substantial investment, though.

? Consider how the information is best communicated

If your prospect needs to carry out certain steps, it’s worth putting thought into how the information is best communicated. The easiest way of thinking about this is to consider how you learned, or how you teach others. Is it a case of following each step by reading clear instructions? Or are there little steps that are best taught by demonstration, via video for example.

Here is a short list of lead magnet formats that are all proven to help with online lead generation. All you have to do is choose the one that’s right for you and your prospects:

  • Cheatsheet
  • One-page plan
  • How-to guide
  • Report
  • Videos
  • Online course
  • Audiobook
  • Software
  • Infographic
  • Checklist
  • Survey



Keep it simple stupid.

Wise words, and words that you should always keep at the front of your mind when creating a lead magnet.

In my example, I want to help my prospects to brief out their requirements. In my imaginary business, I normally sit down with a new customer and run through a series of questions, filling in the answers for them based on their response.

So I just have to follow the same process, right?

Not quite.

It’s likely that as part of the process, I help my customers to get to the right answer. For example the question might be, “what contact details do you need to be visible?”.

My customer’s response might be, “well, all of them”. And they’d be right… ish.

Let’s say that I know from my fictional years of experience that Linkedin company pages don’t really perform all that well on vehicle signage. In fact, let’s pretend that it’s proven that website URLs and memorable phone numbers perform best, hands down.

In this case, it’s my job to help guide my prospect. So we KISS, split out, and rephrase the question:

  • “What website address needs to be visible on your signage?”
  • “What contact telephone number needs to be visible on your signage?”

OK, we’ve asked one more question, but we have also eliminated any naive errors that might occur from someone less experienced. You could also include a box for “other contact details” just incase Instagram really is the primary point of reference.

The point of this is to remove as many assumptions as possible.

Ask questions in a directive way, and offer tooltips or examples as aids. Remember that this lead magnet is trying to build likeability and trust. If you treat someone like an expert, who isn’t one, they’re not going to like you much.

Remember also that this isn’t about showing off how much jargon you know. Keeping things simple means that your prospects will create a better brief. That means they’ll get the outcome that they want, and you’ll be to thank for that.

And lastly, it’s fair to assume that to get the outcome they want, they’re going to need to complete the rest of their puzzle. And that requires expert help… Your help!

Remind your prospects of the whole puzzle

To improve your online lead generation, you need to solve just ONE piece of the puzzle, and solve it well.

It’s also important to show your prospect how that piece fits into the bigger picture. It might not be clear what the next step is, so help them to move forwards by telling them what they should do next.

This is your call to action.

It’s an option for your prospects. Not all will take you up on it, but some will.

At the end of the briefing process, you might offer a free review or appraisal of their work. A chance for them to tidy up their requirements, and another chance for you to demonstrate your knowledge, and to strike a rapport, and to build trust.

Know. Like. Trust.

Remember those words!

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