The Squeeze Page Dilemma: Meeting Clients’ Needs When You Hate a Practice
The squeeze page is a marketing tool that’s been around the block and back and is touted as the premier way to close a sale on the web. What a squeeze page amounts to is an internet hard sell. I hate them. I hate the hard sell when a salesperson tries it on me and I have moral opposition to using the tactic on other people. In fact, the only way to turn me off of a company, product or service faster is to try a bait and switch.
That being said, the established internet marketing gurus insist that they work. I’m sure they did at one time, after all, they were being used by the internet porn industry in the early 1990’s. If there’s one market on the web that knows how to make a quick sale, it’s the porn industry. Unfortunately, most modern squeeze pages look about as seedy as the old porn pages did. For those of you who don’t know what a squeeze page looks like, click on the thumbnail at left for a model.
Claims of effectiveness in the neighborhood of a 30-50% conversion rate are difficult to argue with, especially when the client also wants a well-formed and respectable web presence—something that is the polar opposite of a traditional squeeze page. So I went hunting for studies and hard facts and figures.
Had the people with these conversion rates tried sending traffic to more attractive pages with the same message? Did they KNOW that a squeeze page worked better? Where was their traffic coming from? Direct emailing? How targeted? Organic search? Paid search?
How long ago were they getting these conversions? Yesterday? A year ago? Five Years ago?
The Hunt For Squeeze Page Statistics
A squeeze page is a call to action and it’s trying to either:
a) Get you to purchase a product or service, or
b) Give up your name and email address in exchange for a free offer so that they can try and close the sale later.
It took a while to find it, but I did finally find some sources on the subject. Ray Edwards posted a blog article in May of 2007 called, “Do Squeeze Pages Still Work For List-Building?”. Ray warned that a squeeze page could potentially scare off prospects by burying the content that people came to your site looking for. He’s describing me. I gave a little cheer, but there was no hard data to support his claim.
My next find was another blog entry, also posted in May of 2007 called: “How To Get Your Visitors To Opt-in – Reverse Squeeze Pages.” Here, Gary argues that sign-ups for free e-newsletters and other offers are on the decline as web surfers become more jaded. He suggests a thing called a “reverse squeeze page,” and refers readers to his blog on anacondas. Low and behold, his boa blog is a content-rich, lovely to behold environment. It’s well-formed, attractive and its offerings reassure potential free e-newsletter subscribers that he knows what he’s talking about and has something to offer them.
But that’s a real web site! The only difference is that he offers his free e-newsletter on every page–with free videos! What snake lover wouldn’t want that? But how does he KNOW that this works better than the ugly squeeze page? Again, no data. So I kept looking.
After clicking on fifteen more search results offering squeeze pages for products that promise to create the perfect squeeze page for only $49.99 (not a shred of proof on any of them), I found Tim Erway’s May 2007 blog post, “Are Squeeze Pages Really Dead?” Tim and his group have been conducting tests on paid search traffic since 2004. Part of those tests included the effectiveness of the type of page landed on when the link was clicked. Those pages included both squeeze pages and reverse squeeze pages (what Tim calls hybrid squeeze pages).
What he discovered was an almost 15% better conversion rate for the hybrid pages. That’s amazingly significant. There is a caveat here and that is the important point of his post.
The success of the page was completely dependent on the source of the traffic.
The down and dirty truth is that squeeze pages (all promise with delivery of the goodies after the opt-in) performed better when the traffic came from direct email marketing offers–ie. people who were already sold on the product or idea. Hybrid (or reverse squeeze) pages performed better when the traffic came from paid or organic search sources–ie. people who were shopping for an idea or product and who weren’t quite ready to commit.
That’s it. So the hard truth is that I’m going to be programming squeeze pages for my clients. I can salve my ego with the knowledge that they’ll also need a well-formed web presence. Ah well. At least I can make them pretty.
Originally posted on my WordPress blog, November 11, 2007.