Is your squeeze page helping or hurting your sales?

Are you using, or thinking about using, a squeeze page to convert your site visitors?

A squeeze page is “a web page that is specifically designed to compel visitors to opt in to your web site”. In other words, the page leads to an online order, capturing the viewer’s email address or some other single, measurable action with as little distraction from its objective as possible.

Because the squeeze page wants to walk your viewer down a path that finally results in one single yes/no decision—preferably yes, of course—it usually contains a large amount of argumentation and testimonials to convince the reader. These tactics are borrowed from offline direct mail. If you want to learn more about them, just type “direct mail techniques” into an online search.

But my point today is that you can potentially hurt your conversions and sales with your squeeze page.

What do you want to achieve?

If you think of your potential buyers, what will they most want to know about your product? Right:

  1. Does it solve my problem?
  2. What does it include, how does it work?
  3. How much does it cost?
  4. Is the vendor credible?

Depending on the price sensitivity of your audience, this order of importance may be different. For example, if you’re selling to small businesses or individuals struggling to make ends meet in a down economy, price will probably top the list as budgets are limited. In other words, you may have clients who, instead of wanting the best solution for their problem at a price they can accept, are looking for the best solution within a certain price bracket. “I can only afford to spend this much, what is the best solution I can get for my money?”

How long should the copy be?

I’m using a recent promotion of a training program for freelance writers by three well-known copywriting experts as an example. The link to more information led to a squeeze page about the program in more detail. The gist of the story was that besides being able to write well you have to know how to land lucrative clients with well-paying gigs. The copy promises to teach you how to get jobs that will lead to your B2B writing being “the surest route to earning six-figures as a freelance copywriter”.

This clearly positions the course. The potential buyers are freelance writers who don’t yet earn six figures. From this we can deduct that their price sensitivity is high.

That’s why it amazed me that the vendors of the program, themselves acknowledged copywriters, fail to match their sales pitch to their most probable audience: cash-strapped writers wanting to earn more. Cash-strapped meaning that price will be near the top of the potential buyers’ priorities.

Instead of addressing this issue, the squeeze page makes you read 3,069 words before the price is mentioned for the first time. Considering that 800 words on paper fill about two letter-size pages, the program vendors expect you to read 4 pages of sales pitch before coming to the point.

The length of copy isn’t a deal-breaker in itself. Good copy is as long as necessary. But four pages is huge overkill.

If we again look at the four things the buyer will want to know about the product—does it solve my problem, how does it work, how much does it cost, are you a credible vendor—all these points can be addressed within the scope of one or two pages.

So what’s the takeaway?

Four things.

  1. Match your message to your audience’s needs. (A buyer persona exercise is useful. A good introduction is Tony Zambito’s 10 Rules for Buyer Persona Development on SlideShare.) Address your customer’s pain points, not the features of what you have on offer.
  2. Arrange your sales arguments in the customer’s order of importance. You may regard certain aspects of your product or service as the most important or beneficial, but your customer may approach it from a totally different point of view.
  3. Get to the point. You can’t bore people to buy.
  4. Leverage your clout. When you’re well-known in your industry, use it to your advantage. Let your goodwill do part of your pitch. If you sell like an unknown startup you’ll just erode your credibility.

What’s your experience with squeeze pages? Working? Not working? Did I leave something out? I’m inviting you to share in the comments!

Comments

  1. Eija Paajanen - December 9, 2010 @ 08:33

    Hi Kimmo,
    I couldn’t agree more. I think this also applies to all other marketing communications, whether it be e-mail direct marketing, or even the old fashioned snail mail. The KISS principle is a good one to keep in mind.
    At least I don’t want to read even one or two pages of marketing speech, before getting to the real issue. I would much prefer to get the facts – 1.Does it solve my problem? 2.What does it include, how does it work? 3.How much does it cost? 4.Is the vendor credible? (in whatever order of importance) – stated in a very short and straight-to-the-point way, and then have links or additional information pages for the rest of the information. In case the short facts got me interested, I would be much more likely to read the whole thing through. But, not getting to the point immediately and just going on and on about how great the service/product is, will just make me close the page, or press the delete button.

    • Kimmo Linkama - December 9, 2010 @ 19:07

      I’m also a big fan of KISSing… Marketingese, let alone corporatese, and particularly in large portions, is an instant turn-off.

      Journalists use the “inverted pyramid”. I think it is an excellent way of presenting almost anything in writing: first the gist of the story, possibly a summary, and only then the details and background.

      I have found myself occasionally wondering whether there’s a difference between the American and European ways of constructing marketing pieces. It seems Europeans in general prefer shorter, more to-the-point copy, whereas in the US it seems to be customary to write considerably longer.

      Views on the US/Europe difference, anyone?

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