by Robert Bly
Most marketers I know who use landing pages to make direct sales online focus on conversion: getting as many visitors as possible to the landing page to place orders.
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 in addition to all this, savvy online marketers are concerned with a third performance metric: capturing email addresses. If you have a 2 percent conversion rate, then for every 100 visitors to the landing page, only two buy. What happens to the other 98 visitors? You won’t be able to add their email addresses to your list unless you incorporate a deliberate methodology into your landing page to capture them.
Here are five methods for capturing the email addresses of landing page visitors who don’t purchase. Every landing page you operate should use at least one.
1. Ezine Sign-Up Box
This is a box where visitors can get a free enewsletter subscription just by entering their name and email address. The ezine sign-up box placed prominently on the first screen is a widely used method of email capture for websites, but it’s less commonly used for microsites and landing pages. That’s because if your headline and lead properly engage the visitor’s attention, they won’t bother to sign up—they’ll just start reading. Then, if they lose interest or reach the end but don’t order, and instead click away, you haven’t captured their email address.
2. Squeeze Page
Also known as a preview page, squeeze pages are short landing pages that require visitors to register with their name and email address before they’re allowed to go on and read the long-copy landing page.
In some cases, the long-copy landing page itself is positioned as a “report” that visitors can read after registering. For this to work, your landing page must be written in an informative, educational style. Many squeeze pages offer a content premium, such as a free report, just for submitting your email address. Those seeking to capture snail mail as well as email addresses make the premium a physical object that must be shipped, such as a free CD.
Squeeze pages work well when your primary source of traffic is organic and paid search. That’s because search visitors arriving at your site are only mildly qualified—they’ve decided to visit based on only a few words in a search engine description or paid Google ad. Therefore, they may not be inclined to read a lot of copy from an unfamiliar source. 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 you capture an email address from every visitor who reads the full landing page. In addition, they’ve been pre-qualified, in terms of their interest in the subject, and are more likely to read through the long copy.
3. Email Capture Sidebar
These are forms built into the main landing page as sidebars, again making a free offer. In a long-copy landing page, the email capture sidebar usually appears early, typically on the second or third screen, and may be repeated one or more times throughout the page.
The drawback of the email capture sidebar is that the prospect sees it before they get too far in the sales letter, and therefore before you’ve finished selling them and asked for the order. So, the risk is that if your product teaches, say, how to speak French, and the email capture sidebar offers a free French lesson, the visitor will just take the free offer instead of spending money on the paid offer.
When you attempt to click away from the landing page without making a purchase, a window appears that says something like, “Wait! Don’t leave yet without claiming your free bonus gift.”
The advantage of the pop-under is that visitors see it only after they’ve read to the point where they’re leaving without ordering and the free content offer doesn’t compete with or distract visitors from the paid product offer. The disadvantage is that about 25 percent of U.S. internet users run pop-up blockers on their devices, and many of these blockers will prevent your pop-under from showing.
A floater looks and functions much like a pop-up window, but it’s actually part of the landing page’s HTML code, and therefore won’t be blocked by a pop-up blocker. The floater blocks a portion of the landing page when you click onto the site. You can enter your email or click the floater. Either action removes the floater and allows you to see the complete landing page.
As you can see, all these email capture methods offer some sort of free content — typically a downloadable PDF report, an ecourse delivered via auto-responder, or an ezine subscription — in exchange for your email address. But be warned: The ever-changing Google algorithm penalizes sites with floaters because, until you click out of them, they block the homepage.
Why bother to maximize the capture of visitor email addresses on your websites? First, by sending an online conversion series — a sequence of emails delivered by auto-responder — to these visitors, you’ll have another opportunity to persuade them to buy. Second, the best names for your email marketing efforts are on your house elist. The faster you can build a large elist, the more profitable your internet marketing ventures will become.