These 5 Squeeze Page Tricks Have Helped Me Get Up To 58.6% Opt-In Rates

Okay, right up front I need to call your attention to the fact that you’ll never convince anyone to opt in to anything if they aren’t right for your offer—or if your offer just sucks.

In other words, these tricks aren’t magic bullets—they aren’t the deciding factors in my high opt-in rates.

But if you’ve got a good offer and well-qualified traffic, they certainly will improve your existing opt-in rates by at least a few percent. So here they are:

1. Make the offer match the medium

I’m starting with this because it seems the most obvious to me—yet almost no one I know of does it. Not even top email marketing experts.

Making the offer match the medium simply means that if you’re asking for someone’s email address, it should be because you need it to deliver what you’re offering.

You don’t need someone’s email address to show them a video.

You don’t need someone’s email address for them to download a PDF.

People routinely view videos and download files without needing to be sent links first via email. By forcing him to click a link in an email, you’re actually breaking your prospect’s normal sequence of clicking links on web pages. And this really draws attention to how you’re harvesting his contact details in exchange for an ethical bribe.

But if you offer the content of that PDF or video in the form of an email course, for example, then obviously you need your prospect’s email address to send it to him. You can’t send an email course any other way than by email.

An email course is also particularly easy to justify because people absorb information best in small, actionable chunks. So you’re doing your prospect a favor by not giving him a half-hour video he’ll quit watching after the first two minutes, or a 15-page PDF he’ll just put into his giant folder of unread documents.

2. Offer less than you think you should

Speaking of unread documents, there’s a lot of talk from the dimmer areas of the internet marketing world about “moving the free line”—giving away more and more free content to “build value”.

This is the opposite of what you should be doing, especially at the opt-in stage—because your prospect will only get value if he can absorb, retain, and use what you’re offering.

But he is very busy. He is information-overloaded. He is jaded and cynical and suspects you’re full of crap. He is not ready to invest a lot of time in seeing what you have to offer, or trying it out. The idea of reading through multiple pages of your content, of having to check out a bunch of files or a sequence of videos, not only bores him…but triggers his avoidance reflex.

So even if what you’re offering is genuinely brilliant and would completely change his life if he took the time to learn and implement it, the fact is he will not learn and implement it. Thus he will get zero value out of it.

And he knows that—hence your offer has zero perceived value, and will fail.

So offer less than you think you should. Find ways to emphasize how easy your information is to absorb and use. Show him that the time and energy you’re asking him to invest is very small, and the payoff is much greater.

Email micro-courses are ideal for this too, because you can deliver useful information in short, easily-digested chunks, staggered over enough time that your prospect won’t be overwhelmed. It gives you the ability to offer ongoing value. But you can also use cheat-sheets, short videos or special reports, or even things like specialized calculators, and apps that generate useful content or structures.

The important thing is to give him something he will use. Not something he should use. Something he will use. That’s the only kind of thing he’ll find valuable.

3. Reduce form fields

The only thing you need to send your prospect anything by email…is his email address.

Yet nearly every opt-in form in the world at least asks for my name as well. Sometimes only my first name; sometimes my last name too. That’s often not all. What do my occupation or company name or physical address or (heaven forbid you use it) my phone number have to do with sending me some small nugget of goodness via email?

Precisely nothing, of course—and if I know it, your prospect knows it. So once again you are drawing attention to the fact that you’re harvesting his details. Add to that the fact that even two fields (name and email) is twice as many as one, and therefore represents twice as much friction—and thus potentially half the conversion rate. You have to wonder if it is really worth it.

market samurai

Market Samurai asks for a name in addition to the email address, and then adds further friction by asking prospects how they came to the site. That could be important info, but it definitely adds friction to the page, and calls attention to what’s really going on here: information harvesting.

4. Turn your call-to-action into a give-the-payoff

After spending hours on funnels and objectives, sequences and timings, it’s only natural we start thinking in terms of what our prospects must do to trigger the events we have planned.

That’s why we talk about the call to action—we are asking our prospects to do something.

The trouble is, that’s backwards. Prospects want to know what they get, not what they have to do. Rather than calling our prospects to action, we should be giving them the payoff we’ve promised. We should be emphasizing what you will do for them, not what they must do to get it.

The most egregious example of terrible give-the-payoff copy is on buttons. Often we even forget to change the default text—“Submit”. (In case this has slipped by you before, go look up “submit” in the dictionary—and then think about whether it carries the kinds of connotations that make for the best relationships with customers.) The button is not the only place where marketers forget to emphasize what their prospects get, but it is the most obvious place. Below I’ve included some examples of typical button copy, with suggested improvements for improving their implied value by reframing them in terms of your prospect:

call to action vs. GTP

5. Use a splash page

This goes one better (a lot better) than the standard, in-your-face, get-the-hell-outta-my-way opt-in popups that load over existing site content when you first view a page.

Popups are universally despised by web users. In one survey by usability researcher Jakob Nielsen, 95% of users reported that their online experience was affected “negatively or very negatively” by design elements that popped up in front of their windows. 93% reported the same for elements which covered what they were trying to see.

More importantly, in a survey of 18,808 users, over 50% reported that popups affected their opinion of the advertiser very negatively. Almost 40% said it affected their opinion of the website very negatively.

Not a great way to start a relationship with a prospect.

A splash page avoids these problems while still giving you the chance to capture prospects when they first arrive: When they type in your URL, they’re taken directly to your squeeze page, which also includes a nice big visible button saying something like, “No thanks, take me to the main site”.

splash page

bnonn tennant splash web page

Email marketing maven Ben Settle uses an opt-in splash page that comes up before his homepage at www.bensettle.com—as do I, on my own business site at www.informationhighwayman.com. Notice also that neither Ben nor I ask for a prospect’s name; just their email address.

Of course, the splash page only appears before the homepage. If you try sending someone to a squeeze page when they click a link to an article or product, they ain’t gonna be real impressed. But if prospects are just going straight to your homepage, why not offer them something of value as soon as they arrive—provided you make it clear how to continue to the rest of your site?

Got any tricks of your own?

These aren’t the only tricks I use, but they are some of the most valuable. Do you have any that you’ve discovered in your testing? If so, show us your smarts by sharing in the comments.

About the Author: Bnonn is the creator of the email micro-course “5 Sales-Spiking Website Tweaks Web Designers & IM Gurus Don’t Know.” It is one quick lesson per day, each with a tested conversion-boosting tip you can implement on your site in 30 minutes or less. Get them free at www.attentionthievery.com.

  1. Bnonn, great insights!

    On the splash page, are you suggesting that it appear as a gateway to all site content or just the homepage?

    • Hey Steve, definitely just the homepage, as usually people will be following direct links to other site content — so taking them somewhere else is a really bad idea :)

  2. Very interesting points, especially with the splash page. Personally I close most popups without even reading what they’re about, but a splash page seems less annoying and not in your face!

  3. This is awesome Bnonn! Another kick-ass post!

    I’m curious – how would you approach selling a video course to prospects with your methodology?

    Would you break out a video course into 5-10 minute videos, and deliver it over a period of a few months?

    • Hey Daniel, well it really depends, but I’d almost certainly sell the course via email, and I’d get people onto the email list in the first place by offering a micro-course that gave them some basic complementary content.

      I try to keep my own videos down to 20 minutes, since that’s how long the brain can focus before it needs to change tack. And I think delivering them once every few days is best, since you don’t want people to forget what they’ve already learned, but you don’t want to overwhelm their busy schedules either.

  4. How does this jive with the kissmetrics signup which requires all kinds of stuff including a phone number. Is there a reason you didn’t go simple on this?

    • Hey Joel, I just write for KISSmetrics — you’d have to ask one of their web team I think.

      That said, the email signup on the left hand side of this page only requires a name and email. I’d reduce that to an email address only, but you definitely don’t need to enter your phone number. Probably you’re thinking of signing up for KISSmetrics’ actual web service — where it’s legitimate to ask for more information.

      • Awesome tips! Funny that while reading this I got a KM lightbox popover and the offer was for PDF articles in exchange for email – and it elicited the exact feelings you suggested it would (hate popups, why do they need my email for a PDF)
        :)

    • And their Splash page!

  5. Hi Bnonn, great tips and great opt-in number. I’m curious as to what the trickle down effect was. Did you fatten up every part of the funnel by only driving higher opt-in rates? Or did you just move the drop-off further down the pipeline?

    I’m asking b/c if my CTA is to sign up for a beta, can I introduce a little friction, like collecting name and company, at the expense of lower opt in rates? I could argue that this is actually helping you pre-select higher “quality” beta users–ones who will actually engage, use your product, and be willing to provide feedback–versus getting a lot of interest that might actually be distracting. What’s your feedback?

    • I’d add another question to this, would adding fields help get higher quality emails and with the right field, get people to give you their most used email address rather then their spam address?

      • Raj, I don’t think adding more fields will convince people to use their main email address. In fact, I suspect the opposite would happen. The more personal information you ask for, the more people will distrust you and expect to be spammed :)

        I actually think there’s very little correlation between number of fields and quality of leads *for email* (not necessarily for other kinds of signup). If people want what you’re offering, they won’t necessarily give you their real details. Plenty of them will just put in fake names etc just to get through the subscription and see what you’re offering. In fact, again, the more fields you make them fill out, the more likely they are to give you false information out of annoyance or distrust.

    • Great comment Allen. Yes, I think there is often a time where adding extra friction is a good idea to produce higher-quality leads. It’s always difficult to find the balance there.

      In the case of email opt-ins though (as opposed to other kinds of signups), I think as a general rule the less friction the better. You pay little (if anything) for the extra subscribers, and although many of them won’t be ideal leads, many can *become* ideal with the right education and rapport — which is what email is brilliant for.

      To answer your question, it’s actually really hard to say. I’ve been using these techniques for so long that I don’t really have a baseline funnel to compare to. However, my impression is that more opt-ins fattens up the whole funnel *and* increases drop-off in the funnel :)

  6. Thanks Bnonn, I read this before when you wrote about it on your email list. As a result, I changed my 10 page pdf into a 3 day email micro-course as a result because I found, no-one was ready my 10 page pdf, even clients that had been with me for 4 years.

    We’re a design firm, so I’m stil a bit weary about switching our homepage to a squeeze opt-in page, as no-one does that it in the industry and my feedback is that people just want to check out our work page first… not sure if there’s another way to do it with a simliar result.

    • Why not trying adding a feature box? It isn’t obnoxious like a pop-up, and lets people go straight to the content if they want to.

      Since it sits right on top of all your content, it’s plenty visible too- and has an excellent conversion rate.

      • Hey Rachel, feature boxes can work very well and I recommend them too, especially for pages where a splash page isn’t appropriate (ie, most of them).

        Bear in mind though that a feature box competes with other content, so you’re dividing your prospect’s attention, whereas a splash page does not. Because of this, for homepages in particular, I think splash pages are better than feature boxes.

  7. Valid points. I have to agree what you just need would be email address and name. Where the lead came from would just create confusion.

    However, I think it is also valid to ask additional details like, website, phone and such if you really want to gauge the interest of the lead based on how far would they go to get that free info. :)

  8. I would add that you could also increase conversion by making sure your website is responsive.

  9. Hey Jonathan, by responsive I take it you mean it loads very quickly etc? If so, definitely agree. That will increase conversions a lot compared to a slow site.

  10. Bnonn,

    Any thoughts or tests done on having visitors get cookied in once they visit your site? That way they only see the splash page on the first visit and not returning visits.

    • Hey Joe, I actually had a comment about exactly that in my original draft of the article, but cut it out due to length :)

      I don’t actually use a cookie myself, which is primarily because my site doesn’t have an opt-in form anywhere else at the moment. That’s not because I think it’s the best way of doing it — just the way I happened to design it originally.

  11. The splash page is a very interesting thing, or at least looks like it. I personally close most pop-ups as well, but this really seems it has more potential in CTR. Thanks for these insights.

  12. Great post, Bnonn.

    I’d like to add number 6: matching your upstream message. You do that well with having the same message (“5 Sales-Spiking Website Tweaks Web Designers & IM Gurus Don’t Know”) in your bio and on your squeeze page.

    My experience is that this really boosts opt-ins, too.

    • Hey Henneke, definitely — marketing is ALL about thought sequences, and the better you are at creating coherent, “slippery” thought sequences the better you’ll do. So big transition points like changes in channel are places you gotta pay close attention to maintaining that thought sequence.

  13. Hi Bnonn,

    There are some great tips here and I was nodding all the way until point 5. A splash page? Really?

    I don’t think you should assume that just because someone comes to the homepage that you need to motivate them into a CTA (or a GTP). They may have a specific journey in mind and know how to execute this from the homepage and throwing a spash-screen in the way can create friction and potential confusion (Am I on the right site? Has it been hacked? his looks unfamiliar, etc.)

    Have you ever walked into a store and had an offer/discount flyer forced into your hand the second you walked in? How did you feel at that point?

    That said, I would like to see some conversion testing results from using splash-screens versus user tolerance of the tactic. Maybe another blog post? ;)

    • Hey Steven, good thoughts.

      I’d say if your splash page creates confusion then you’re doing it wrong. If you look at mine, for example, it is designed in the same style as the rest of my site, so you’d definitely know where you were. And Ben’s has his picture on it, so there’s no doubt whose it is.

      If someone has a specific journey in mind, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say they’ve visited your site before. In which case you could cookie them so they get taken straight to the homepage.

      If they haven’t been to the site before, the absolutely MOST important thing to do is capture them before they leave. Most people bounce right off a site, never to return. That’s a lot of wasted potential. Research shows that you can increase revenue as much as 4,800% just by following up with prospects — so if you have no way of doing that, you’re throwing a whole heck of a lot of money away.

      So I respectfully disagree that we shouldn’t try to motivate people coming to the homepage into opting in. That’s the very first thing we should be doing. For most businesses, the website is just the mechanism for making sales. The actual motivation to buy comes from the email sequence. That is where all the persuasion takes place.

      In terms of analogizing to a brick-and-mortar store, I think that runs into problems. The interaction paradigm is so completely different, as are our expectations. But many stores do present offers very promimently at the entrance, and no one complains about that. If they were smart, those offers would be in exchange for contact details.

      In fact, if we take the contentious “forcing a flier into the customer’s hands” angle out, I’d be willing to bet you could build a HIGHLY successful retail business by offering a free initial purchase up to a value of $50, in exchange for the right to send customers regular offers on similar deals :)

  14. Hey Bnonn,

    Great tips, and I’ll be sure to test them out. I’ve got one question though…when you send your emails, how do you start the email without having the prospect’s name? e.g. you can’t start with “Hi John”…

  15. Bnonn,

    Sweet little read. I’m starting some work where these are great reminders!

    If I may, I’d make one suggestion on your examples. The Ben Settle website does have a splash screen that is inline with your recommendations, but skipping past that page into his website only gets you to a page with – you guessed it – a pop-up!

    Keep up the great work!

  16. The general concept of incetivised opt-ins works well for any business or any idea. Results vary of course bases on the tactics used of course. But I have results improve by as high as 500% in cases.

  17. I know a lot of people that believe that the first name is important, so that you can personalize the emails that you send out. I do agree that all the other details are useless, but there is a lot of research on the usage of names in marketing emails. Are you implying that it doesn’t help to know what to call someone?

  18. A question regarding signup friction – do you have any insight into the most effective way to capture the user’s geographic location, if it’s information that is really important to the post-signup process (e.g. to customize messages, or to target only customers in the markets that you serve)?

  19. Nice post! Thanks for sharing the information. I got what I was searching for.

    This information is really usefull and will be beneficial.

    You guys rock. I really appreciate your help in providing such a nice information.

    Regards
    Aafsaa

  20. Hi Bnonn,

    Thanks for this insightful post. Curious – does the Splash page suggestion apply mainly to websites that are hosting lots of content (ie “Join the mailing list, or continue on to 1,000′s of articles”) or can it work for just as well for e-commerce websites without introducing too much friction?

    -Ken

  21. Thank You This is Great.

    Very Useful tips. The environment of digital world is changing rapidly. Check out my blog for some more insight http://www.topdigitalmarketingschools.com

  22. Great post about conversion… After yrs of online marketing I am finally ready to grow a list – never really liked the concept of it until I read this – makes way more sense to me now.

    May I ask what type of squeeze page theme you are using? Is it custom or can it be obtained? WordPress I am assuming… right?

  23. Hi!

    Thanks for the information. I always wondered about Ben Settle’s and Social Trigger’s splash pages. I didn’t know the names of these pages so I assumed they are some sort of pop ups. So how do you create a splash page? Is there a plugin for it or a software to buy?

    Thanks again!
    Niveen

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  25. Bnonn, great insights!

    This is what i want man.i would like to thank you for such a nice article very informative and useful for everyone.
    Thanks!

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  27. Hey Bnonn !
    I really liked the whole article.
    And i liked the concept that offer something which some one will use, not that someone should use , but I just want to add that sometimes we can make a customer realize about their need, which they didn’t know about but they really need that.
    What do you think about it?
    Thanks.
    Matt

  28. What can I say? I’m a total fan of your work!
    Thank you
    Hermann

  29. Have you changed your mind about pop ups?

    Went to BenSettle.com and as advertised, went to your splash page, which I like by the way. Then went to your site and within 3 seconds or so, up popped a pop up seeking an opt-in.

    So, what’s your thinking here given the stats you cite about how this is disliked by visitors?

    Thanks.

    -Joe

  30. Whoops!

    Apologies.

    Just realized that I mixed up D Bnonn Tennant with Ben Settle, so please ignore my earlier comment which was about Ben’s pop ups not DBT’s.

    -Joe

  31. thanks for info.
    how i work it with life style website .

  32. Really great post – thanks for taking the time to share.
    I hope you don’t mind, but I linked back to this post in one of my own lessons. Thanks again!

    Adel (‘Oddle’)

  33. Great article, very informative. I didn’t know this information before, so this was very curious to read. Thanks!

  34. my goal is to sell a course that teaches, using video, how to create a website. I want to provide a 5 day e course to show first hand the quality of the training and learn how to complete the first 5 steps of a 25 step process. I plan to emphasize in the squeeze page copy the benefits of the complete course. Do you agree or recommend emphasizing what they will learn in the 5 day e course only? the 5 steps are mandatory for completing a website but also the additional 20 steps in the video training is just as important.

    • Art, it depends on what your prospects already know. If giving them the first five steps will help them immediately (ie, create real value by solving some problem or giving them some information that is top-of-mind for them) — plus help them see how important the rest of the course will be — then that would definitely be a good strategy.

  35. Always bring Value, Transparancy and attention grabbing styling. squeezepagegraphics.com

  36. great tips, we´re working our way conversion wise.
    58.6% is insane though – that must have been highly targetted traffic, right?
    were they “presold” on the optin somehow?
    not that i don´t believe it – there are sites that have that cr for commercial transactions
    so its def. possible.

  37. You are a genius! I have been playing around with this (in wordpress) but how did you make your splash page the 1st they see, yet in your navigation when you click HOME it takes you to a different home page. What is your set up? How can you make a stand alone page in wordpress and how do you make it show up first?

    Thanks!

  38. Hey Anna, there’s probably a plugin that will do this, but all I did was:

    1. Create a page for the homepage with a URL of http://www.informationhighwayman.com/home.

    2. Create another page for the splash page (URL doesn’t matter), and set it to my front page in WordPress under Settings > Reading.

    3. Set the “Home” link in my navigation to http://www.informationhighwayman.com/home rather than http://www.informationhighwayman.com.

    Not saying that’s the best way, or that it will work for everyone…but that’s what I did :)

  39. Awesome tips for squeeze pages! I’m going to incorporate these for the next release of my software. Invaluable thank you! :)

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  42. Concerning the splash page…. we are trying to get people to sign up for a contest and get a free health assessment. However, as they go through the sign up process they become confused. I believe this can be particially fixed by having something like a “splash page” that gives them a quick “status” of where their are in the sign up process and informs them of the free stuff and discount that are still available to them..just by simply clicking YES. It sounds like this message would not be well recieved if delivered by a pop up. So what this might look like is they would fill out just some basic info and them click something like “Join the contest” then something like a splash page would come up that gives them a very quick overview of what has occurred… so when they click next they are clear on where they are going and what they just have done. So can the “splach page” concept be effectively used in this manner?

  43. Hey there! I’ve been following your blog for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Huffman Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the fantastic work!

  44. Hey,

    Thanks for share. These are cool tips that have help me build quality squeeze pages through the year for myself and my clients. They are great tips.

    Thanks again.

    Louis

  45. Hey there! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this website?
    I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve had issues
    with hackers and I’m looking at options for another platform. I would be fantastic if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

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