What distinguishes a successful business from the one that struggles?

A long-term, fruitful relationship with its audience and customers.

And email marketing is one of the best tools you can use to establish one. Obviously, to be able to email your audience you need their email addresses. How to get them? Just ask – using pop-ups, widgets, footer opt-ins and, of course, squeeze pages.

What Is a Squeeze Page?

A squeeze page is a special landing page with one exclusive goal – to collect emails from your audience. It’s a place where those whose attention you’ve managed to capture, show their interest by sharing with you a piece of their personal information. Usually in exchange for a small gift. A simple squeeze page can look like the below example:

squeeze page screenshot

A simple yet effective landing page. Source: Baeldung

Sometimes, the opt-in will be visible right on the page. Other times users will have to click a button to trigger it (like in the above example). Usually, in this case, the opt-in will appear in the form of a pop-up:

the second step of a 2-step opt-inWhat distinguishes a squeeze page from other opt-ins, such as one placed in the middle of a blog post? The goal. A squeeze page has one exclusive goal – to capture user’s email. There are no distractions, and everything is clear right from the start. Usually, there are also no links either (or as little as possible). What are the essential elements of every (successful) squeeze page?

Basic Elements of Every Squeeze Page

I’m sure that by now, you’ve seen many different squeeze pages. Some of them are short, while other look like small sales letters. But there are things that no squeeze page can thrive without:

  • A headline (and a sub-headline)

This is the first thing visitors see when they land on the page. You have a brief moment to grab their attention – make sure that you tell them exactly what they get, and why they would want it in the first place. When writing a converting headline, you should:

  • Be direct when talking about the offer
  • Focus on one thing at a time
  • Say what’s in it for the user
  • Focus on the benefit but without exaggerating (users can unsubscribe just as quickly as they subscribed)

Why should you focus on just one thing? You don’t want to distract your users, and you want to convert exactly those that are interested in your offer. Those will be the most loyal and engaging subscribers. When it comes to building email lists, quality always outperforms quantity.

How does that look in practice? Take a look at the sample headline below. As you can see, it’s direct when talking
about the offer and tells the user exactly what he will get. Both the gift (a guide), as well as the benefit (helping him hit the ground running), are presented in a clear and easy to understand way.

Analysis of a headline (offer) and a sub-headline (benefit)

  • The opt-in form itself

The second element is the opt-in form itself. Although it could be named number one, the form alone without any headline would not be effective. Simply because users would have no idea what to do and why.

The only thing that you are required to ask for is an email address. That’s the number one goal. But if you want to be more personal in your communication, you can also ask for a name. In fact, hundreds of marketers are still debating whether it’s worth asking for a name or not. I believe that in the end, it’ll all depend on your goals. Should you do that? There are pros and cons to doing that:

  • On average, personalized emails generate higher revenue
  • You don’t have to use subscriber’s name in every email, but it’s good to use it from time to time
  • Personal details help grab user’s attention
  • Personalization can lead to a stronger engagement
  • Most of the time, an opt-in rate for 1-field opt-ins is higher
  • Many people don’t give their real names (making your emails look funny)
  • You can always collect that data later
  • Emails without a name generate lower spam complaint rate (contrary to what you might have believed – according to a test by GetResponse. This will depend on how often you’ll use user’s name in your communication.

But while many businesses are thinking of whether they should ask for a name or not, others (especially in B2B industries) ask for a lot more than that. For example, on one of Hubspot’s squeeze pages, you’ll be asked about your name, last name, business email, company name, website URL, phone number, and a number of employees and services sold by the company. That’s eight things on a simple page!

a complex opt-in form with eight fields to fill out

Source: Hubspot

  • A Call to Action

The third element is a call to action. As you can see, there are actually two CTA’s on the example page. The first one shows the user where to click to trigger the email form. It’s worth noting that it’s focused on the payoff (accessing the guide) and not on the action itself (clicking here):

a call to action and a button

The second CTA encourages the user to share his email and download the guide. There’s also an arrow pointing users in the right direction. Such tiny tweaks can greatly increase conversion rate:

an opt-in with an arrow pointing at the form

And that’s it. You don’t need anything else to have a successful squeeze page. Of course, it could be worth adding a few more elements to increase the conversion rate. But there is no bullet-proof formula. Every successful page is a result of testing because every audience is different.

Increasing CR – Extra Elements of a Squeeze Page

Before you jump right into implementing any of the below, keep in mind that this is just a list of ideas. Those elements usually help increase the number of emails acquired, but they don’t have to be effective for your particular squeeze page.

  • A short description of the giveaway

Sometimes the headline may not be enough to convert your visitors. Especially if you are marketing to a cold audience. Moreover, for some users, a headline may not be enough, and they’d like to learn more details before they hand you any personal information.

This is where a short description comes in. By adding a few sentences (for example, in a form of a bullet-list), you can easily share more benefits of your offer. And if you’re promoting your squeeze page using paid traffic, you’ll be required to add a lot more text than just a headline (AdWords).

Coming back to the squeeze page introduced earlier in this article, it has three bullet points. Each of them consists of a short paragraph that describes what’s inside the guide:

a bulleted list of features and benefits

  • An Image of the offer

Including an image of the “gift” makes users feel it’s tangible, even though they know well it’s just an e-product. The most popular example of this are eBook covers. In fact, there’s one on our squeeze page:

cover of a giveaway

And that’s it – there are no more elements on the reviewed squeeze page. But there’re still a few more you could test on yours.

  • A video

Another great way to boost your conversion rate is a video. The best videos are the ones that introduce both the giveaway and the business. But they should not be created in the form of an ad. Instead of talking about how cool you and your services are, the video could feature you or someone from your team introducing whatever it is that you’re offering on your squeeze page. This works great, especially for small businesses and consultants.

video squeeze page and an opt-in form

The opt-in features as many as six different forms – that’s a lot of data for a simple workbook! Source: Vidyard

  • User testimonials

Testimonials are not the only thing you can use when playing the social proof card. The second one is social media. If you have an active audience on any of the networks, don’t hesitate and share that number somewhere on the page. But don’t try to inflate the numbers – people are way smarter than you think. They will go to your social media pages, and if they see that you have a non-existing engagement, they’ll lose trust and might not go back to your squeeze page.

three testimonials and a CTA button

Testimonials from respected and well-known people can skyrocket your opt-in/webinar sign-up rate. Source: Lurn Workshop landing page

  • Other forms of social proof

Another thing worth bragging about is the total number of people who subscribed to your mailing list. Why? People want to know that what they sign up for is worth their time. And when you have thousands of subscribers, they know they’ll join a group of people who are happy to read what you send them. Of course, while this number can’t be easily verified, it’s not worth lying here either.

The third and most commonly-used social proof are logos of companies that are your customers. This works great especially if they include well-known international corporations. Having such clients is a proof that you are trustworthy and good at what you do.

And this is what Mindflash has implemented on their squeeze page. As you can see, there’s some solid social proof out there. Their clients include Apple, Uber, Microsoft, Kellogg’s, PBS and a few other well-known international giants:

logos of renowned brands on a squeeze page

In brands we trust – potential customers feel safer when they see a company has reputable clients. Source: Mindflash

  • Scarcity

The fear of missing out (FoMo) is so strong it makes scarcity one of the best persuasion techniques. Many people will sign up for or even buy things they don’t need just because the quantity or time was restricted. That’s why this technique is so eagerly used by businesses all around the world in all kinds of promotions – from giveaways to early-bird sales.

If you look at the LinkedSelling squeeze page, you will see a timer showing time left for the workshop. While the goal is exactly that – show time left – it is actually FoMo in action. But is there anything that could be improved to make the fear even stronger?

Limiting the number of available seats. It’s still three days before the workshop, so it’s not as urging as if there were only a few seats available. Why?

It’s simple. We know when the workshop starts, but we have no way of telling when all the seats get taken.

Webinar Opt-in Page with a timer

Even though many webinars can be viewed after the live session, many people are still afraid of missing out when they see the time left. Source: LinkedSelling Online Meeting

Contact information and links to legal pages probably aren’t going to skyrocket your conversion rate. But in some niches (especially in B2B) they are frequently sought after and studied diligently. But it’s not the only reason why you should include such info on your squeeze page:

  • It may be required by law in the country where you run your business (or in the country where your subscribers come from)
  • If you run paid traffic campaigns to your squeeze page, most of the time you need contact info and links to your privacy policy and terms of service
  • Physical address at the bottom of a squeeze page adds your business credibility

On top of that, you might be required to have a link to your homepage for a better user-experience.

  • What about the anti-spam note?

I am not a big fan of adding the “We don’t spam” text to your opt-ins. Simply because I want users to decide for themselves what they think about the emails. If they feel that the content is not meeting their expectations, they can easily opt-out. Besides those “pledges” are nowadays so common that nobody pays attention to them anymore.

And that’s it. Of course, there are other tweaks that you could try, but they’re not as effective as the things listed. Now that you know how to create a squeeze, let’s take a quick look at one of the most popular ways of implementing one – a splash page.

A Splash Page – a Beautiful and Effective “Alternative”

Just like a squeeze page is still a landing page, a splash page is still a squeeze page. But because it’s not technically a separate page (just an overlay), some people consider it an alternative to traditional squeeze pages. Another big difference is that usually the user is sent to splash page immediately after they visit your homepage. The advantage of such approach is that you can get users to opt-in right after they visit your site.

The most significant drawback is that it’s super disruptive. That’s why every splash page should include a big “close” or a “thank you” button – similar to the one in the below example:

A splash page with a big button and even more distinct thank you note

Splash page is a double-edged sword. It can skyrocket your subscribers count, but at the same time will scare some visitors away. Source: ConversionGods

This is a must for all those that just want to get to your homepage and are not interested in your offer. But you still have to take into account that some people will hit the back button and will never reach your homepage at all. Adding a splash page can lead to an increase of your site’s bounce rate.

But even the best splash page will fail if you don’t give your visitors a reason to opt-in. In the end, you have to offer them something in exchange for their email addresses and permission to send them messages.

What about the offer?

The dreaded question – what should I offer people in exchange for their email? The answer is way simpler than most people think. And so should be the offer. Why? There are a couple of reasons why your offer should be short, simple and actionable:

  • Creating huge giveaways requires lots of effort that could be spent elsewhere
  • Your subscribers don’t have the time to read through a massive course or a 150-page eBook
  • They are looking for instant gratification (even if they don’t openly admit that) – so give them something they can implement easily

Instead of a 100-page eBook, go for a 5 or 8-page one. Send them an infographic or a short white paper. Something they can skim in a couple of minutes and digest in half an hour. But there’s something that could be even more effective than a standard eBook.

Email Course – Establish a Long-Lasting Relationship in A Few Short Steps

If you want to make sure your subscribers don’t forget about you after the first email (without spamming them), give them an email course. Here is why it’s so effective:

  • If written well, it gives your subscribers short and actionable pieces they will be looking forward to
  • Because they will actually take action, they will value your emails and brand more
  • Thanks to this relationship, your email open rate will be higher and your users will be more eager to click through to your occasional offers

Of course, the course itself has to be good. If you write mediocre content, the form in which you deliver it won’t really matter. This works the other way around too. If you have an idea for an excellent eBook or a case study your audience will love, you don’t need to create an online course after all.

Look at the Examples but Test Everything

All of the discussed ideas are exactly that – examples which you can take, tweak, and implement. But I have no way of telling you what elements will work for you. You have to test everything – from major elements such as a video or a bulleted list to single words in the header and the color of the CTA button.

Once you find out what works, implement it and test once again, against yet another element. Always strive for improvement. Every page can be improved in one way or the other. Naturally, when running the tests make sure that:

  • There’s only one change tested at a time. Otherwise, you’ll have no idea of telling which one was responsible for the improvement (or deterioration)
  • You have enough traffic (100 visits are not enough to get meaningful results. Aim for an at least mid-four-figure number.

Now that you know how to set up a page, all that’s left is attracting traffic to it. The way that you choose will, of course, depend on your business strategy – and this is not the right place to discuss that.

The critical point of every sales funnel

When you look at your sales funnel, a squeeze page is its first serious narrowing point. This is where many people will make a decision either to stay with you for some time (even for years to come) or to leave immediately. Their ratio will depend on your squeeze pages conversion rate. But those who go further down the funnel are on their best way towards becoming your customers. Of course, as long as you implement a good email strategy.

PS. If you happen to be a Java developer or would like to learn more about programming, don’t hesitate and visit Baeldung.com. If you look around, you will find the squeeze page I reviewed in this article.

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