Creating Lead Magnets for Ecommerce + 28 FREE Lead Magnet Ideas

A magnet attracting money

How many times have you downloaded an ebook, signed up for a webinar or joined a free email course?


How about checklists, cheat sheets, guides and exclusive content?

Or maybe it was a free discount that was sent to your email or a giveaway competition to win a product from your favourite brand?

If you’re anything like me, then it’s probably somewhere between 10 and 100 times!

You see, that’s the power of lead magnets.

They’re impossible to resist. Even to savvy marketers like you and me!

In a hurry? Download our cheat sheet: 28 Lead Magnet Ideas for Ecommerce Stores

What are lead magnets?

Lead magnets are marketing tools. They’re products or things of value that marketers give away in exchange for email addresses.

YOU want something that’s on offer and the person who’s offering it to you wants your email address. It’s a win-win situation – a simple exchange of value.

It’s no different to the way we use money…

Email addresses are quite literally money as we’ll see later on.

Think about when you go to the supermarket. If you see something you want, you check out the price. If you agree with the price, you exchange your money for the product.

Only now, the lead magnet IS the product. And the price of a lead magnet is an email address.

You can’t put a price on a good lead magnet

What makes lead magnets so powerful is that most people underestimate the value of their email address. After all, they can give it out as many times as they want so they effectively have an infinite supply of value.

And the lead magnet that you may have spent 40 hours to create seems like an absolute steal to the uninformed website visitor.

Let’s say your time is worth $50 per hour… this hypothetical lead magnet has cost you $2000 to make!

“And all you want is my email address?!”

To the unknowing shopper, it’s the D.E.A.L. of the century!

But YOU are a clever marketer. And YOU understand the true value of an email address.

Let’s say you collect 1000 email addresses in 1 month. You then continue to send these new contacts emails after they receive your lead magnet. And 100 of them become paying customers that spend an average of $80 in your store.

Your lead magnet just made you $8000.

Eight… thousand… bucks!

That can buy you this many doughnuts:

8000 donuts that you could buy with $8000


Or one of these:

A car worth $8000


That $2000 investment doesn’t seem like such a bad idea now, does it?

Because here’s the thing that makes a lead magnet’s perceived value much higher than its true value:

You can exchange one lead magnet for as many emails as you like!!!!

You don’t have to create a new one every time you sell it. You don’t have to restock. No. You don’t have to do any of that!

So, your new #1 fan thinks you’re amazing because you’ve just given them a $2000 product in exchange for their measly email address.

But you get to make an infinite amount of sales from that one $2000 investment… which wasn’t real money anyway and was actually just a few evenings of work.


How I used 1 lead magnet to generate 13,000€ in sales

Let me take you back in time…

It’s 2015. I’ve had two failed ecommerce businesses and I’m still trying to work this whole marketing thing out.

I’m getting ready to launch my next business – the first online paleo food store in Spain. Why Spain? That’s a story for another blog post.

Before we launch, I convince my business partner that we need to invest some time and money into creating a killer lead magnet.

I spend two weeks working evenings and weekends to write an amazing guide to the paleo diet, called ¿Qué Demonios es Paleo? – What the Hell is Paleo?

ebook that helped me launch paleo brand

I pay a graphic designer a thousand bucks to make it look awesome. This is definitely much more than you need to spend on a lead magnet. I’m just useless at budgeting and decided to go all out.

I create some popups on the website and add it to the end of our blog posts.

And guess what… in 3 months this one lead magnet alone generates 13,000€ in sales for our store!

graph displaying growth for ecommerce store after ebook launch

¡Gracias y buenas noches!

Lead magnets for ecommerce

So how exactly did that lead magnet help me get those early sales and how can you do it yourself?

Well, in order to understand this, you’re going to have to understand a little bit more about the customer lifecycle.

Circular diagram showing the different stages of the customer lifecycle

You see, when customers first land on your website, they don’t have a clue who you are yet!

They might have just seen one of your blog posts on Facebook and clicked on it because it interested them. They’re certainly not ready to buy yet.

So if you flood them with sales messages as soon as they land on that blog post, what are they going to do?

That’s right. They’re going to run for the hills as fast as they can.

A lead magnet is a way for you to offer something of huge perceived value, for free… well, for an email address.

This means that you haven’t scared this precious website visitor away with spammy sales messages, and you’ve now got the chance to build a long-lasting relationship before you move in for the sale.

What makes a great lead magnet?

Lead magnets don’t have to be overly complicated and you don’t have to spend a bunch of time or money on them.

In fact, simpler lead magnets actually tend to perform better than bigger, more complex lead magnets, for reasons you’re about to find out.

When you create a lead magnet there are 7 things you should keep in mind. You don’t have to hit them all, but the more boxes you can tick, the better your lead magnet will be.

Just remember, a bad lead magnet is better than no lead magnet. So try not to get caught up in the weeds and take action as soon as possible.

  1. High perceived value – but never more than your real products.
  2. Evergreen – something that will have just as much value in 12 months time as it does now.
  3. Solves a problem – makes your ideal customer say, “yes, I need that!”
  4. Digital – generally speaking, if you can’t download it or send it by email, it’s not going to be a good lead magnet.
  5. Establishes you as an industry leader – anything that can reinforce your credibility within your industry will help you sell your products later on.
  6. Gets the person familiar with your product – without being ‘salesy’.
  7. Filters out the perfect buyer persona – you want a lead magnet that is attractive to your target buyer persona. Something completely unrelated will just attract useless contacts who will never convert on your paid products.


Coming up with lead magnet ideas for ecommerce

Here’s the problem that most ecommerce store owners face:

Sure, it’s easy to create a digital product that you can give away for free when your paid products are also digital.

You can just make a similar, lower value digital product and voila! You have yourself a lead magnet.

Bloggers are blessed with this simplicity. They’re constantly giving away ebooks, tutorials and digital guides because their businesses operate in the digital world. When this is the case, it’s really not all that difficult to come up with ideas.

But it becomes a little bit more complicated when you sell physical products, right?

That’s why you’re going to have to get your creative juices flowing and really try to work hard on this one.

Most ecommerce brands give up and take the easy option: offer a discount.

If you really can’t think of anything better, a discount popup is still better than nothing. People browse ecommerce stores because they’re looking to buy something. So discounts are very effective.

But if people are visiting your blog, they might not be in the buying mindset, so I challenge you to come up with something more creative.

Let’s take a look at some hypothetical examples and then we’ll jump into some real ones…

Example #1 – Backpack Brand:

For some reason, I love backpack brands so let’s test that one out.

Imagine you’ve created a brand that sells backpacks and you have a couple of great, carry-on approved backpacks for short travel.

Try creating:

  • travel guides
  • packing efficiency tips
  • packing checklists for different holiday types

These work well because anyone who is interested in any of these lead magnets is highly likely to be the perfect target for your products as well.

Example #2 – Skincare Products:

Anything that has the word “organic” on the packaging seems to be popular these days so let’s say you’ve got an organic skincare brand.

  • You could create a “home remedies guide” for curing different skin conditions.
  • Or how about a tutorial on how to make your own shampoo at home.

Showing people how to make your products themselves may seem counterintuitive but it really works.

How many times have you bought a pre-made pasta sauce or even a pizza? You could easily make these things yourself, but most of the time you just buy it premade and save yourself the hassle.

Case in point.

Example #3 – Ergonomic Products:

Ergonomic products such as laptop stands and standing desks seem to be pretty popular these days as well. So let’s say you’ve got a brand that sells a bunch of that stuff.

  • Why not create a pdf with illustrations that show: “The Perfect Desk Setup to Stop Back Pain and Be More Productive”.
  • Or how about a checklist of “5 Amazing Tips to Avoid Neck Pain on Long Airplane Journeys”.

Example #4 – Gardening Tools:

Maybe you’re thinking, “Okay Charlie, but those are all exciting, modern products. My product is boring and difficult to create a lead magnet for.”

Alright then, maybe you sell gardening tools.

Nothing fancy. Just regular ol’ gardening tools.

Let’s give that one a try. How about:

  • A video course: 5 Amazing Garden Features You Can Create in Less Than an Hour
  • An ebook: 10 Gardening Hacks That Will Save You Hours Every Week
  • A pdf instruction book: How to Build a Beautiful Birdhouse for Less Than $20

Whatever your brand sells, there’s always something you can come up with. It just might take a bit of thinking.

It’s down to you to switch on that idea machine and start brainstorming some ideas. Write them all down. Even the bad ones. Out of 30 bad ones you might just find a good one.

Feeling motivated? Go and write down 5 lead magnet ideas for your brand right now. They can be shitty! The point is to come up with 5, no matter how bad they are. Do this every day for one whole week and I promise you you’ll find a great idea amongst all the crap ones.

Looking for inspiration? Download this list of 28 Lead Magnet Ideas for Ecommerce Stores to spark some creativity. Yes… this IS a lead magnet.

Examples of great lead magnets

Intelligent Change:

Intelligent Change are the guys who created the 5-Minute Journal – a journal that helps you practice gratefulness every morning and supposedly turns you into a happier person.

After you done your morning meditation a drunk your Darjeeling tea of course.

The journal’s actually pretty cool. But what they’ve done a really good job of is offering a killer lead magnet!

Check this out:

Lead magnet popup for the 5-Minute Journal

They’re offering a downloadable, quick-start PDF and happiness boosting tips.

Why does this work so well?

The PDF is basically literally just the first few pages of the journal. It has an introduction to the benefits of the journal and then a couple of days for you to begin trying it.

This does 2 things:

  • It educates you on the benefits of the product
  • It lets you start using the product before you’ve even bought it

They then follow up some automated emails that send “happiness boosting tips” for a few weeks, build brand awareness, engagement and establishing that long-term relationship.

If you don’t hand over your email address with this popup, they’ve also got a newsletter subscription.

Alright, I know… every company has a newsletter subscription.

But take a look at how they do theirs:

Newsletter subscription box for the 5-Minute Journal

This doesn’t look or feel like a newsletter right?

No. It feels more like a club… something I want to be a part of.

Good work Intelligent Change!


Suttons is an ecommerce store that sells gardening tools in the UK.

I was determined to find a good lead magnet from a gardening store after my earlier examples.

Most gardening stores do absolutely nothing to capture leads. All they do is sell, sell, sell.

But Suttons are outperforming the rest and theirs a very good reason why.

They understand that a gardener doesn’t just need garden tools. A gardener has many more problems to solve, such as planning a landscaping job, working out which plants to use and observing to see how the garden evolves.

That’s why they’ve created apps that they’re giving away for free.

Screenshot of lead magnet for Suttons

Not only is this a great lead magnet, but it’s also a great marketing campaign, getting them visibility in the App Store.

People may not be looking to buy gardening tools, but they’ll still download the app if they want to join the forums and plan their next project.

Then, when the time comes to buy some gardening equipment, who do you think they’ll go to?

Kettle and Fire

Kettle and Fire is a bone broth brand that was co-founded by fellow marketer, Justin Mares.

Not only have they built a great product and a great brand, but they’ve also built a great lead magnet.

Check out this recipe book:

Lead magnet recipe book for Kettle and Fire

This free, downloadable “Bone Broth Sipping Guide” shows people exciting recipes they can make with bone broth.

Why does this work so well?

  • Anyone that downloads it is clearly interested in bone broth and it should, therefore, be easy to sell to them later.
  • It highlights the benefits and versatility of the product.
  • If someone reads it and likes one of the recipes, where do you think they’re going to buy their bone broth from to make it?

See how easy that was? But man, I bet you they’re generating a tonne of leads through this.


Tools to help you create your lead magnets

Lead Magnet Ideas Cheatsheet – Download our free cheatsheet with 30 lead magnet ideas to give you some inspiration.

Canva – a great tool that I personally used to make the cover image of our 24-Hour Growth ebook. You can set up an account for free and it has a bunch of free templates that you can use to create beautiful designs in seconds

King Sumo – a free tool that you can set up giveaways with.

Designrr – a great tool that can convert blog posts and word documents into ebooks.

Sumo – a suite of tools that help you capture leads. Build popups, slide outs, exit intent campaigns, top bars and other widgets to offer your lead magnet and capture email addresses.


Time to Take Traction!

So now you’re ready. You’ve got everything you could possibly need to go out there and make a killer lead magnet.

Start today by writing down 5 ideas. Do this for an entire week and from the 35 ideas you produce, you’ll definitely have a couple of great ones in there!

And just remember how many doughnuts you’ll be able to buy yourself once you’re done 😉

And don’t forget to download our cheat sheet: 28 Lead Magnet Ideas for Ecommerce Stores

mockup for cheat sheet – 28 lead magnet ideas for ecommerce stores

What’s your biggest challenge with creating lead magnets? Let me know in the comments.


Like this article?