Snare E-Mail Addresses on Landing Pages

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Most Internet marketers I know who use landing pages to make direct sales online focus on conversion: getting the maximum number of visitors to the landing page to place an order for the product being advertised.

Other Internet marketers, when writing landing page copy, focus not only on conversion, but also on search engine optimization: keyword selection and meta-tag creation that can increase traffic by raising the site's search engine rankings.

But wise Internet marketers are also concerned with a third performance metric: e-mail address capture.

If your conversion rate is 2 percent, then for every 100 visitors to the landing page, only two buy, and you capture the e-mail addresses of those two buyers. But you will be unable to add the e-mail addresses of the other 98 visitors to your list unless you incorporate a deliberate methodology into your landing page to capture it.

Here are four methodologies for capturing the e-mail addresses of landing page visitors who do not buy. Every landing page you operate should use at least one of these methods:

E-zine sign-up box. This is a box where visitors can get a free online newsletter subscription by entering their name and e-mail address. You can see an example of an e-zine sign-up box at www.bly.com and countless other Web sites.

The sign-up box placed prominently on the first screen is a widely used method of e-mail capture for Web sites. But it is less common with microsites and landing pages. The reason is that, if your headline and lead engage the reader's attention, he won't bother to sign up for the online newsletter - instead, he'll start reading. Then, if he loses interest or reaches the end but does not order and instead clicks away, you haven't captured his e-mail address.

Squeeze pages. Also known as preview pages, these short landing pages require the visitor to register, by giving his name and e-mail address, before he is allowed to read the long-copy landing page. To see a squeeze page, visit www.squeezepagegenerator.com.

In some cases, the long-copy landing page itself is positioned as a "report" that the visitor can read only if he submits his name and e-mail address. For this to work, your landing page should be written in an informative, educational style.

Many squeeze pages offer a content premium, such as a free report, for submitting your e-mail address. Those seeking to capture postal as well as e-mail addresses make the premium a physical object that must be shipped, such as a free CD.

Squeeze pages work well when your main source of traffic is organic and paid search. Search visitors clicking to your site are only mildly qualified, because they visited based on a few words in a search engine description or paid Google ad. Therefore, they may not be inclined to read long copy from a source they are unfamiliar with. A squeeze page lets them absorb the gist of your proposition in a few concise paragraphs. The main advantage of the squeeze page is that it ensures capture of an e-mail address from every visitor who reads the full landing page.

E-mail capture sidebars. These are forms built into the main landing page as sidebars, again making a free offer. In a long-copy landing page, the e-mail capture sidebar usually appears early, typically in the second or third screen, and may be repeated one or more times throughout the page. Example: www.rocketfrench.com.

The drawback is that the prospect sees it before he gets too far in the sales letter, and therefore before you've sold him and ask for the order. The risk is that if your product teaches, say, how to speak French, and the e-mail capture sidebar offers free French lessons, the visitor will just take the free offer and feel no need to spend money on the paid offer.

Pop-under. When you try to click away from the landing page without making a purchase, a window appears that says something like, "Wait! Don't leave yet!" - and makes a free offer. To see how this works, go to one of my sites, www.becomeaninstantguru.com.

The advantage of the pop-under is that the visitor sees it only after he has read to the point where he is leaving without ordering. The free content offer doesn't compete with or distract visitors from the paid product offer.

All of these e-mail capture methods offer some sort of free content - often a downloadable PDF report, e-course delivered via auto-responder or e-zine subscription - in exchange for the e-mail address.

Maximizing capture of visitor e-mail addresses on your landing pages and other Web sites brings two main benefits. First, by sending an online conversion series - a sequence of e-mails delivered by auto-responder - to these visitors, you have another chance to persuade them to buy and increase your overall conversion rate.

Second, the best names for your e-mail marketing efforts, far better than rented opt-in lists, are in your house e-list. The faster you can build a large e-list, the more profitable your Internet marketing will become. Internet marketing expert Fred Gleeck estimates that, for information product marketers, each name on your e-list is worth 10 cents to $1 or more monthly. A 50,000-name e-list could generate annual online revenue of $600,000.

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