Lesson 6

Lead magnets and the coupling prohibition

Online marketing often works with lead magnets (free gifts) to acquire new contacts. In exchange for their email address, the visitor receives a lead magnet such as a free e-book or checklist. At least that’s how it’s been done so far.  

Introduced by the GDPR, the so-called coupling prohibition unsettles many online marketers.

​What exactly is meant by the coupling prohibition?

The coupling prohibition is a matter of weighing up what data you ask the visitor to supply and what they receive in return. A substantial consequence of this is that the disclosure of an email address may not be used as a prerequisite to access content, along as it is not directly required for the service provision.  

For example, as things stand at the moment, if you offer a checklist as a lead magnet, you will no longer be able to retrieve an email. The reason for this is that this is not needed to fulfill the actual purpose, since a checklist could also be directly downloaded from a website.

This is how you deal with restrictions

Version 1: Make the email address part of the product
The situation is different if you, for example, offer an email course or access to an online course as a lead magnet. It is natural in this situation that you require an email address in order to be able to provide the service.

Please bare in mind, as mentioned in a previous chapter, that you communicate clearly why you need the email address. Don’t forget to seek consent in accordance with the law (double-opt in).

Version 2: Let the customer choose
Some legal advisers have pointed out the possibility of how you can also receive an email address with an e-book or checklist.  

According to their interpretation, you offer the e-book for a fixed price in Euros. You offer your visitor the alternative possibility to “pay” for the e-book with their email address. This way, the customer has a direct choice in accordance with GDPR.


This is our interpretation of the current legal situation. This can change over time, mainly due to jurisdiction and how it is practically interpreted by lawyers.

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Overview Lectures

Switch quickly and easily to all lessons of the course.

Course Overview
Lesson 1 GDPR basics - definitions
Lesson 2 Data protection: Your business - your responsibility
Lesson 3 Data protection declaration
Lesson 4 Data processors
Lesson 5 Email marketing: what changes
Lesson 7 GDPR compliant tracking
Lesson 8 Internal handling of data
Lesson 9 Information request
Lesson 10 GDPR and Digistore24

We would like to expressly point out that this online course in no way replaces legal advice from a specialist lawyer and has no claim to correctness or completeness. 

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