5 ways to capture e-mail addresses of landing page visitors
By Robert W. Bly
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: key word selection and meta tag creation that can increase traffic by raising the site’s search engine rankings.
But in addition to conversions and unique visits, savvy Internet marketers are also concerned with a third performance metric: e-mail address capture.
If you have a two percent conversion rate, then for every 100 visitors to the landing page, only two buy – and of course, during these transactions, you capture the e-mail addresses of those buyers.
What happens to the other 98 visitors -- those who do not buy? You will not be able to add their e-mail address to your list unless you incorporate a deliberate methodology into your landing page to capture it.
Here are four different methodologies for capturing the e-mail addresses of landing page visitors who do not purchase. Every landing page you operate should use at least one of these methods:
1. E-zine sign-up box. This is a box where the visitor can get a free e-newsletter subscription just by entering his name and e-mail address. You can see an example of a simple e-zine sign-up box at www.bly.com and countless other Web sites.
The e-zine 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 commonly used for micro-sites and landing pages.
The reason is that, if your headline and lead properly engage the reader’s attention, he won’t bother to sign up for the e-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.
2. Squeeze pages. Also known as preview pages, these are short landing pages that require the visitor to register – by giving his name and e-mail address – before he is allowed to go on and read the long-copy landing page. To see a squeeze page at work, visit: www.squeezepagegenerator.com.
In some cases, the long-copy landing page itself is positioned as a “report” which the visitor can read only if he submits his name and e-mail address first. 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, just for submitting your e-mail address. Those seeking to capture snail mail 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 primary source of traffic is organic and paid search. Reason: search visitors clicking to your site are only mildly qualified, because they are making a decision 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 long copy from a source they are not familiar 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. In addition, these prospects have been pre-qualified, in terms of their interest in the subject, and so are more likely to stick with long copy.
3. 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 of the e-mail capture sidebar 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.
Therefore, 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.
4. Pop-under. 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!” – and makes a free offer. To see how this works, go to one of my sites, www.becomeaninstantguru.com.
The big 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. Therefore, the free content offer doesn’t compete with or distract visitors from the paid product offer.
The disadvantage is that about half of Internet users run pop-up blockers on their PCs, and these blockers will prevent your pop-under from showing.
5. Floaters. 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. You can see a floater at http://bhg.com/.
The floater blocks a portion of the landing page when you click onto the site. You can enter your e-mail or click it away without doing so. Either action removes the floater and allows you to see the complete landing page.
As you can see, all of these e-mail capture methods offer some sort of free content – typically a downloadable PDF report, e-course delivered via auto-responder, or e-zine subscription – in exchange for your e-mail address.
Why bother to maximize capture of visitor e-mail addresses on your landing pages and other Web sites?
There are two primary benefits. First, by sending an online conversion series – a sequence of e-mails delivered by auto-responder – to these visitors, you have another opportunity to convince 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. So the faster you can build a large e-list, the more profitable your Internet marketing ventures will become.
How much more profitable? Internet marketing expert Fred Gleeck estimates that, for information product marketers, each name on your e-list is worth between ten cents and a dollar or more per name per month.
Therefore, a 50,000-name e-list could generate annual online revenues of $600,000 a year or higher. In other businesses, the sales could be significantly higher. Hewlett-Packard has 4.5 million e-zine subscribers, from whom they generate $60 million in monthly sales.*
* B-to-B, 4/4/05.
About the author:
Robert W. Bly is a freelance copywriter and the author of more than 60 books including The Copywriter’s Handbook (Henry Holt & Co.). His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org and his Web site address is www.bly.com.