Lead capture pages or "squeeze" pages are the best tools to use in a traffic exchange. That way, you can collect names and email addresses for your "list" of potential customers. You know the saying--"The Money Is In the List."
But, do you know how to build a squeeze page? A “please sign up,” and a fill-in form won’t get you many (if any) sign-ups. Here are some hints:
First, you need to intrigue viewers to get their information. If you’re offering a free newsletter, the best thing to do is to give readers a sample of what they might find inside. For my newsletter, OVMarketing One-Tip News, I offer a tidbit of advice, such as using your picture to brand your business or another teaser about what people might find once they subscribe.
If you don’t have a newsletter to offer, you may be offering a short marketing course or a course on pet care. It really doesn’t matter what you offer, as long as you’re offering something of quality. You can even buy autoresponder messages now.
You can also find tons of stuff out there to give away. Various programs provide a clearinghouse of sorts, where product owners allow their products to be downloaded in exchange for coveted names and email addresses.
Of course, before you give an ebook or product away be sure you have permission from the author to do that. You’ll find that information within the ebook or product or in a separate file that accompanies your download. Using something without permission is plagiarism and could result in legal problems for you.
Once you have something of value to offer and permission to distribute, then you’ll need a good autoresponder. These services offer a system that will not only store your “list” of names, email addresses, and other information. They send a confirmation message to the person who signs up, which the enlistee must verify. This provides you with what’s known as a “double opt-in.” (The first opt-in is signing up, and the verification is the second.) Having this verification assures that you can never be accused of spamming, which is a truly obnoxious practice that can get you booted from your ISP. Just don’t do it. In the United States, it’s now against the law.
Your autoresponder will also provide the code you need to make the sign-up form. You give it some basic information, such as what fields you want to acquire and then, an HTML code will be provided, which you have to add to your splash page. Usually you’ll want to do this at the bottom of the page.
But directly before the code, you’ll need to type in a disclaimer. It will be your privacy statement and you can make it as simple as you like: “Your information will not be sold, rented, or given to anyone for any reason.” And then, live by it. This is very important. Your privacy statement could encourage potential clients to sign up by giving them a bit of added security.
So, you have the autoresponder, your client has double opted-in, and now you want to welcome them. You need to set up your autoresponder’s first message. In it, thank your potential customer and welcome them to the newsletter or thank them and give them a link through which they can download your book, software, etc. For a newsletter or e-course, you’ll need to set up subsequent messages, too, and let the autoresponder know at what interval you’d like the messages sent. You’re set! Now, you can forget about it and just continue to build your list in the exchanges and anywhere else you advertise.
Don’t expect your list to grow overnight. If you’re getting 25 names a week to add to it, you’re doing well. Just keep showing the page, brand it with your image or logo, and folks will get used to seeing your page. The more folks that see your page, the better they come to trust you and the quicker they will sign up.
But once you have a list, don’t abuse it. If you do, you won’t have that list for long. Don’t spam members everyday with the newest, best product you’ve ever seen, or even every week. I tend to feel used when people do that, and you probably do, too. If you are offering a newsletter, perhaps you can put the item you’re pushing into your signature file or even better, a P.S. (Folks usually read those.) But never betray people’s trust by shoving stuff into your newsletter that doesn’t belong. If the service or product is not relevant to what you’re writing about, don’t even think about using it. Be kind to your list and your list will be kind to you.