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Squeeze Play

Offering your site visitors something for free can help grow your contact list--but be careful not to drive them away.
April 1, 2007
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/175840

Growing your e-mail list is essential. The bigger your list, the more people you can communicate with over and over. Yet persuading people to opt in can be a challenge. A squeeze page, which offers something free in exchange for an e-mail address and possibly other contact information, has been heralded as the list-building magic bullet. But be careful--it can backfire.

Generally speaking, a squeeze page isn't part of your website. It's a stand-alone page that doesn't link anywhere else. Nor does it feature information other than your free offer. Eliminating distractions is smart. This keeps people focused and gets them to opt in.

It's often effective to use a squeeze page as a landing page for individual marketing campaigns. For example, you can buy an online ad, promote your free offer in it, then direct viewers to the associated squeeze page. Or you can write web articles and then link to a squeeze page from your byline (a short bio). Your options are limitless--that's the good news.

The bad news is that many business professionals are killing their publicity potential. They're using a squeeze page as the entry page to their website.

First, search engine spiders can't fill out forms, which means they can't get to your site's content. Don't block spiders from giving your site free rankings.

Second, journalists searching the web won't see your site, either. Most won't bother forking over their contact information hoping your free offer has something they might want to quote--they'll move on instead.

A squeeze page that acts as a gatekeeper to a website can also scare off potential customers. They might opt in if you or your company is a trusted name. However, with growing concerns over spam, spyware and viruses, people are leery about opting in to something that can harm them.

Although a squeeze page is a powerful list-building tool, when used to hide your compelling content from people until they opt in, you risk losing them. Carefully choose when and where to use one.

Catherine Seda is an internet and search marketing expert. She's also a dean of LA College International. Get her "Top 10 Internet Marketing Mistakes" report at www.catherineseda.com.