By Jenna Cyprus

If there’s one marketing strategy that will always be relevant and work wonders to help you build your email list, it’s creating an ultimate resource guide and offering it as a lead magnet.

Not all resource guides are created equal, though, and if you’re going to create one, you can’t just make it good – you’ve got to make it phenomenal.

The best resource guides don’t just offer information, they include everything you could possibly think of related to the subject. Just like these three guides do:

  • Coffee Geek. If there was ever an ultimate resource for coffee enthusiasts and baristas alike, this is it. Coffee geeks gather here to share knowledge, information, tips, tricks, and experience with everything from commercial and home equipment to techniques learned by the pros.There isn’t another coffee resource on the internet that can top this in terms of having the most information and the most knowledge available in one spot.
  • Wood Working Fuel. This ultimate guide is more than just a guide for choosing the best power tools. This is a seemingly endless compilation of expert knowledge and experience, including demo videos that tell you what each type of power tool is good for, including which cheaper brands to avoid when you’re working on important projects you can’t afford to mess up.
  • Survival At Home. Everyone knows how to make a fire, right? Just toss some wood on the ground, add some kindling, toss a match on the pile and watch it burn. Well, that might work under absolutely perfect conditions, provided you have all of the right supplies, but what if you don’t? This ultimate guide teaches you how to start a fire in multiple ways including with a lens, a bow drill, an aluminum can and even electricity.

Now, here are 3 essential elements you need in your resource guides:

1. A brilliant, engaging title

Every good resource guide starts with an engaging title that grabs the visitor’s attention and doesn’t let go. You can see some examples of titles that created successful conversions in this lead magnet guide, including bold titles like “How to Get Anything You Want.”

Just be sure that your content lives up to the title. Don’t assume a brilliant title is enough to get people to take action by clicking your links, signing up for your email list, or buying your products. Your title will open the door, but your content is what will make people stay (and buy).

2. Beautiful, flawless typography

Every resource guide needs flawless typography if it’s going to be effective. Typography involves more than just choosing a typeface or font. Typography is what keeps your reader’s attention on your content. Great typography allows your readers to stay focused on your message instead of spending energy trying to figure out how to read your message.

Font size, color, line height, line spacing, text organization, and proper use of content hierarchy all play an important role in creating flawless typography. What makes typography flawless isn’t the way it looks to you – rather, how well it maintains the reader’s attention by being unremarkable. If a reader is fully engaged in your content, they won’t notice the details of your typography.

If your typography stands out or is noticeable in any way, it’s probably ineffective. In fact, the importance of unnoticeable typography is one of the most overlooked aspects in design, and too many people try to get fancy.

Too many people have been led to believe that typography should be unique, bold, stand out, and represent your brand. Sure, you could say that about typography when it comes to designing a logo that people will glance at for a fraction of a second. However, when it comes to content you want your readers to extract a message from, stand-out typography is the last thing you should aim for.

The only sections of your typography that should stand out are those areas you’ve decided are more important, in which case you’d want to bold or underline that content.

3. A single link you can track

If you send out your guide in PDF format, it’s going to circulate the internet for many years to come. You want to make sure it’s loaded with a link you can track for two reasons. People need to be able to click on a link to buy your product or visit your website, and you want to be able to track visitors that come to you through your lead magnet.

Creating smart links

If the link you want people to click on is an affiliate link, or a complex link that has the potential to change in the future, here’s the best way to set that up so you don’t run into trouble in the future.

  • Using FTP or your file manager, create a generic directory like www.yoursite.com/buy-product/
  • Setup this folder to forward to your affiliate link
  • Insert only the www.yoursite/com/buy-product/ link into your lead magnet
  • When people click on the link, they’ll be forwarded to your affiliate link
  • You can change where the general directory forwards at any time

Any resource guide you create should contain content you’d normally charge for. That’s the kind of value people are looking for. Email inboxes are flooded with marketing messages, and if you don’t capture people’s attention right away, you could end up with unsubscribes or in the spam folder. So follow these tips to create a true, ultimate guide, and provide people with the professional value they expect.

Jenna Cyprus is a freelance writer from Renton, WA who is particularly interested in travel, nature, and parenting. Follow her on Twitter.