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7 E-Commerce Lead Magnet Ideas to Grow Your Email List

  • Conversion Rate Optimization

If you’re an e-tailer, you’ve likely researched lead magnet ideas at one time or another.

And if you have, you might have noticed something troubling…

Not all of the lead magnet ideas are relevant to e-commerce.

Well, that ends today.

In this article, I’ll share seven simple but effective e-commerce lead magnet ideas inspired by top brands. You can use these to get more targeted leads and increase conversions site-wide—even if you don’t have a blog.

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1. Capitalize on Holiday Traffic With a Unique Offer

In Denmark, we have a holiday called Mortensaften.

It’s a national holiday celebrating Saint Morten, and one of its evening traditions is to eat hot wheat buns.

Why am I telling you this?

Because you can capitalize on national holidays to create content that incentivizes visitors to join your newsletter.

Kitchenware retailer, Mette Blomsterberg, takes advantage of holidays like this by offering a lead magnet with recipes for Mortensaften:

They offered the lead magnet site-wide to ensure that all visitors saw the offer (although existing newsletter subscribers were excluded as they had already received the recipes by email).

Offering kitchenware shoppers recipes is clever. But offering kitchenware shoppers holiday-specific recipes is genius.

Action Item

When you offer recipes as lead magnets, make sure to include a few appliances needed for the recipe to be a success. Then, link to the appliances’ product pages on your site. It’s a great way to drive new signups to make a purchase.

2. Increase Email Signups with Free Advice

When you buy expensive products, you want to make an informed decision, right?

I know I do!

And so do a lot of online shoppers.

Consumers want the best product at the best price. And thanks to online review sites, it’s never been easier for them to research and compare products online.

Take Travelmarket, for instance. 

They offer a comparison service for people looking to book a vacation. How does Travelmarket ensure people use their site (and their referral links) to buy the trip?

They offer a lead magnet with tips on how to save money when traveling:

It’s a great resource for Travelmarket’s audience because they’re already looking to compare prices, which indicates that they’re interested in saving money on their trip. 

This resource also keeps Travelmarket top of mind for future vacation planning.

Action Item

Give visitors a reason to buy from you by offering a lead magnet with free advice. Give advice that’s relevant to your product or service and you’ll earn goodwill with your audience—which leads to more sales.

3. Offer How-To Guides to Increase Product Sales

If you’re looking for a way to optimize your product pages (and increase sales) this strategy is for you.

Hobbii—a Danish retailer that specializes in yarn and other DIY products—found a clever way to collect email addresses on their product pages.

Take a look at this example:

It’s for a type of pink yarn (I’m unfamiliar with yarn so I can’t be more specific).

The product images showcase what the product can be used for such as oven mitts. But what’s interesting about this product page is the green button that says “Download the recipe.” It’s a free downloadable “recipe” for how to make the oven mitts shown in the image.

When you click the button, Hobbii asks you to join their newsletter in exchange for the recipe.

Hobbii knows their audience is into knitting and crocheting, so they offer free knitting recipes for things you can create with their product (in this case the yarn).

What’s more, Hobbii can follow up by email and invite new signups to buy a few more items mentioned in the free recipe (needles, perhaps).

Action Item

If your product can be used for any type of DIY project, you can create recipes, step-by-step guides, video tutorials, and more. Show your visitors how to use your products and include a few other product recommendations to increase additional sales.

4. Help Visitors Reach Their Goals with a Free Guide

A good, albeit obvious, way to get more customers is to help prospects achieve their goals.

People will always link their success to someone or something that made a difference in helping them reach their goal.

Take Delightful Mom Food, for instance.

They offer gluten-free recipes for people who want to live a healthy lifestyle.

Like many sites in their niche, some of their recipes contain affiliate links: 

Delightful Mom Food doesn’t sell products on their site, but they still want to build a relevant email list so they can drive subscribers to click the affiliate links in the content.

So, to collect emails, Delightful Mom Food offers a guide to gluten-free living:

Delightful Mom Food knows that its visitors are interested in gluten-free recipes, and can assume that they want to live a gluten-free life—to some extent.

With this guide, Delightful Mom Food helps prospects get closer to the goal of living without gluten, making them more likely to return to the site whenever they want more recipes or product recommendations.

Action Item

This example has some long-form content (recipes). But you don’t need it to create this type of lead magnet. Create resources that will help your audience achieve their goals, whether it’s running a 10k (in a pair of your sneakers) or learning how to play the ukulele (using a ukulele they bought from you).

5. Use Reciprocity to Drive More Sales

A few months ago, I went to Honolulu, Hawaii to visit my sister who is studying abroad.

I booked a car online before arriving and paid in advance. Or so I thought.

Turns out that, when we went to get the car, I had to pay double the amount in insurance—a fee I thought I had already paid.

As a result, I’m choosing a different car rental service next time I need to rent a car.

I’m telling you this because I’m not the only one who’s experienced unexpected fees when renting a car.

Danish car rental service, Billeje.info, created an eBook to help people, like me, avoid unexpected charges when booking a car online: 

This is a great way to get warm prospects on your email list. It’s a small commitment to download an eBook, but it drives prospects closer to making a purchase, or in this case, rent a car.

It’s a good use of reciprocity. As Robert Cialdini writes in this book Influence: “By virtue of the reciprocity rule … we are obliged to the future repayment of favors, gifts, invitations, and the like.”

Action Item

Help prospects avoid unfortunate situations and they’ll likely feel obligated to return the favor by choosing your business next time they need a product or service you offer.

6. Establish Authority with DIY Product Guides

Consumers love freebies.

Many online retailers offer freebies like product samples to collect emails and gain trust with potential buyers.

It’s a clever strategy as long as the freebie is relevant to the product.

Cetina Skincare takes a similar approach for their lead generation. They offer a free eBook about skin care. But not just any eBook. In it, they included recipes for skin care products you can make with simple ingredients found in most kitchens:

Cetina Skincare isn’t just offering a free eBook. They’re essentially offering free products.

But why would Cetina Skincare offer free DIY skin care recipes when they sell skin care products?

To establish authority.

The recipes in the eBook are all carefully selected to complement the products they sell. (Every woman knows an effective skin care routine requires multiple products).

Like this banana/yogurt face mask recipe:

In English, the last sentence reads: “You can supplement this facial treatment with your favorite moisturizer.”

If prospects try this recipe and it works, they’ll automatically assign authority to the Cetina Skincare brand.

If the DIY recipes work, so, too, must the products they sell.

So where do you think prospects will go when they need to find a new favorite moisturizer?

Cetina Skincare.

Action Item

Give new subscribers a taste of what the can expect when they buy your products. It could be dog treat recipes, where you upsell dog food subscriptions. Or, it could be DIY headbands and hair clips where you upsell hairspray and other hair products. You’re the expert in your industry, so you know what goes together.

7. Use Simple Tips to Provide More Value to Prospects

A good e-commerce lead magnet doesn’t have to be a long eBook or a freebie.

Sometimes, a few tips will do the trick.

Take a look at this example from A.C. Perchs:

They sell tea and their lead magnet offer is tips on how to brew the perfect cup of tea.

It doesn’t sound like much, but for prospects who like to drink tea, it has great value.

Plus, the offer drives curiosity. They might think they know how to brew a cup of tea, but maybe there are some tips they didn’t know about that will make the experience even better?

Action Item

If you don’t have much time to create a lead magnet, offering tips to help your visitors can be just as effective. Ask yourself what tips you can give subscribers to improve their experience with your product.

Free Downloadable Bonus

Want More Conversion Rate Optimization Strategies?

Get access to our free CRO toolkit and skyrocket your organic traffic, on-page conversion rate and more (includes resources not found in the blog post).

Conclusion

E-commerce lead magnets are a rare sight. And it’s a shame.

They are a great incentive for collecting relevant email addresses and they offer tons of value to your visitors.

You can make them as general or specific as you want, depending on how you want to use them as long as they’re relevant to your product.

What is your experience with e-commerce lead magnets? And which of the above would you like to try? Leave a comment below.

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