Lead Magnets and privacy law

What are the rules for Lead Magnets within the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?

Lead Magnets and privacy law
The GDPR rules on Lead Magnets turn out to be restrictive but relative simple. 

Lead Magnets are giveaways for obtaining e-mail addresses of interested parties. What are the rules for Lead Magnets within the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)? I wanted to know and was shocked by the strictness.

Where and when does the GDPR apply?

The GDPR is a regulation (binding regulation) of the European Union, but the law applies to any transaction, whether free or for a fee, where a party is in the European Union during the transaction.

If your business is based in the European Union, you must comply with the GDPR throughout your business.

If you are not located in the EU, you only need to comply with the GDPR when interacting with, marketing to, or selling to people in the EU.

GDPR and Lead Magnets

GDPR requires specific, freely given and clear consent. Consent should not be a condition for receiving a lead magnet (gift, webinar, ebook, or workbook).

So if GDPR applies to you, then you can no longer add someone to the general marketing or newsletter list when they sign up or subscribe to a lead magnet.

It also means you can't add a newsletter tick to the opt-in and make it mandatory.

Specific permission

If someone wants to be added to your general marketing list, they must specifically agree to join the list, separate from any other offer. This means you can add a newsletter checkbox to the opt-in and make it optional.

This way, if someone enters their email AND checks the checkbox, they can be added to your newsletter list. If they only enter their email address, they'll only get the lead magnet and its follow-up.

Options to comply with GDPR

Here are options to offer a lead magnet and stay GDPR-compliant:

  • Add a voluntary (unchecked) checkbox to your opt-in asking if they also want to receive your newsletter.
  • Create a "middle page or sandwich page" between the opt-in and the thank you page asking if they wish to subscribe.
  • Include a call to action in the email that gives access to the lead magnet.
  • Include promotions for your newsletter in your lead magnet.
  • Present the benefits of your newsletter and ask for specific permission in the email sequence for a lead magnet.

Ignoring GDPR anyway?

These are serious hurdles in building an email list. Now you first have to get people to request a lead magnet and then try to get them added to the email list. Is the GDPR impossible to ignore?

Yes, it can, but with two major risks. The alienation of potential customers by being pushy and a hefty fine by your local Data Protection Authority. Although it won't be a big deal right away, that fine can come without warning and can be quite high.

I have adapted my lead magnets to the new etiquette and rely on value creation and mutual consent to further contact.

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