Welcome to the first installment of my new marketing and business column: Ask An Online Business Coach!

This is where you can submit your questions and get practical, actionable answers about marketing your online business and attracting and managing your clients.

(Thank you to everyone who submitted questions already, and if you have one click here to ask away!)

Our first question comes from a web designer who wants to educate potential clients about the value of what she does using a lead magnet (a free download for subscribers) but isn't sure about which topic she should pick.

Ever wonder what's the best lead magnet for web designers?

Or if you're a web designer, have you ever worried that you chose the wrong lead magnet?

This question is a must-read if you hear coaches or entrepreneurs talk about mindset, but it feels vague and fluffy.

This is an ultra practical example of how your mindset can set you down the wrong path, undermine your progress, and make it harder for you to succeed.

Let's help this designer get back on track!


I’m a web designer and I’m looking for ways to get in people's inboxes, build an email list, demonstrate my expertise and offer free value to my social following using a lead magnet.

I wanted to do this was because I currently don’t have an email list – it’s something that's just fallen on the back burner. My thought was that if if people sign up for this, then they’ll be on my new email list, and I can continue to advertise to them or reach out to them.

My problem is that I’m not sure if I’m on the right track for the topic of my lead magnet.

I ran an Instagram poll last week about what people wanted to learn more about, and overwhelmingly my audience chose: What is strategic web design, and does it really work? (Which I thought everyone already knew)

My idea is that I could turn it into a five to seven part email course, where I would teach people how to rearrange and optimize their website as it is, without having to do a redesign right away. 

What do you think of this idea? Am I on the right track? What would you suggest? 


It sounds like:
– You want to be known for strategic website design
– Your Instagram followers want to know more about what you do
– You're thinking about how you can communicate that to them
– You want to make sure you have a solid plan so you don’t waste time.

I’m here for all of that!

The email course you're imagining that would teach people who to rearrange and optimize their website would effectively teach them how to do what you do, so they don't need a redesign for a little while. 

I agree – that is something that a lot of people would be interested in!

It makes perfect sense that you're approaching the problem this way. You're taking your main service, breaking off a piece of it, and using that to create a lead magnet.

This is how a lot of business owners create their first lead magnet.
…and it can lead to a lot of frustration.

Here’s why:
This doesn’t actually appeal to your dream clients. 

A course on how to rearrange and optimize their website, would be really exciting to people who are looking to avoid or delay hiring a web designer – and that's not who you want to attract more of.

As a web designer, your dream clients are people who are motivated enough to hire a web designer. 

But let's get even more specific! 

As a web designer, your dream clients are people who are motivated enough to hire a web designer in the next 30-90 days.

Take a moment and imagine how you could best help that person?

I’m going to guess that it’s pretty different, right?

This is a prime example how mindset can trip you up, in a sneaky way.

If you’re unintentionally creating from a place of:

  • Being worried that the price of your offers might be why you're not fully booked.
  • Feeling like you have to convince people of what your work is worth.
  • Being under-booked and under earning.

That fear, anxiety, and stress can set you off into a pattern of thinking that you need to prove the worth of what you do. So you start explaining it in detail, point by point…

And the result of that actually sets you up to create more hardship and unwanted results in your business, by attracting people who want freebies instead of people who are excited to become clients.

Just as a thought experiment, imagine that you're someone who was already incredibly excited to hire a designer in the next 30-90 day. 

What would they want to learn?

….Why your process is different? (Think: more personal, responsive, low stress, less work?)
…How to avoid the costly mistakes that other website designs could make?
…How to have a wildly profitable website, that helps them meet their business goals?

These are ideas that focus on the benefits to clients who are ready to buy, and I think they would help both those clients, and your business.

Once you have that idea that you’re excited about, I would look at the delivery method for these ideas separately, and think about the best way to serve people with this information. 

An email course or sequence could be great! Maybe you teach this on IG, and put up a question box after each one and ask what questions people have. You can then use that to shape the longer form content. 

I would personally err on the side of posting these on your blog so you get the SEO benefit of them, and then also make them into a welcome email sequence or a course to educate new subscribers! You can either share the full post as the email content, or share a teaser and link to the post.

And full disclosure: Some teachers do suggest making lead magnets that teach people who to do exactly what you do. But they often suggest the strategy of making your training as detailed and overwhelming as possible, so people who try to use it feel demotivated, hopeless, and like they should just hire you.

Gross, right?

I think we can all do a LOT better than that.

What do you think the writer should do? Share your take in the comments, or submit your anonymous marketing question here.