Internet marketing gurus are fans of the “squeeze page”. This is a device where you are given some basic information and you are enticed into giving your email address to get the rest of the free material. You are then on a series of autoresponder email messages which eventually try to sell you something.
Internet marketers are fans of these pages because they work. Millions of people enter their name and email details into the boxes on the page because they want the information that’s on offer. The system partly works on the basis of the “rule of reciprocity”. When someone does something for us, we feel duty bound to do something for them. The Internet marketers who use squeeze pages are saying “here, have this, it’s free” and we return the compliment by giving them our email address. We don’t mind doing it; we see it as a fair exchange.
Now let me hold my hand up before I go any further; yes, I admit, I use squeeze pages. For instance, if you want my free guide to increasing your profits on the Internet, you simply have to go give me your email address and the report is yours. However, such pages do have limitations and a new book for teachers strangely suggests an important aspect of squeeze pages and Internet marketing which needs considering carefully.
Teachers, for years, have known that if you reward rather than punish you get better results from children. Throughout the Internet this concept is also in place. You buy something and are rewarded with a bonus item. If you are really good and buy some extra stuff, you are also given another reward of free shipping, perhaps. Internet marketers use the bonus system extensively in product sales letters; buy the product and get a string of rewards (free ebooks usually) for doing so.
Squeeze pages also have an element of reward in them, as well as reciprocity. By only doing a small thing, such as providing personal details, we are rewarded with a potentially valuable item.
However, the educationalists who have studied the whole notion of reward have revealed that it is not as simple as it seems. For instance, research conducted in the 1970s shows that when children expect a reward for something they are not truly engaged with it. In fact many studies have shown that children are often more engaged with their studies when they do not get a reward. Even so, the most engagement with something appears to arrive when rewards are given surprisingly, when the children did not expect a reward but did get one.
On squeeze pages, the expectation of the reward is potentially demotivating. In other words, you know you are going to get rewarded for giving your email address and so you are less engaged with the material. How many free offers have you signed up for, downloaded the ebook and have yet to read the content? Tons of hard drives around the world are storing Gigabytes of free information all downloaded after visiting squeeze pages which has yet to be read.
Even the best Internet marketing gurus find it hard to convert to buyers more than 20% of the people who enter details on a squeeze page. Average rates are much, much lower than this. Part of the reason is, rather like the school children in the studies, we expect the reward and are therefore less motivated to get engaged with the subject than if the reward was unexpected.
The problem we have is that rewarding our online readers and our customers becomes difficult unless we can actually get in touch with them; hence we need their contact details. And they are not going to give us this information unless there is something in it for them. Catch 22. Once they expect the reward for their efforts, they are less motivated.
The squeeze page is successful, but only to a degree. It doesn’t deal with the demotivated individual – the bulk of people who really engage with squeeze pages. They want the information, but don’t engage because, often, they are just really “ebook collectors”, demotivated from reading because of the impact of reward expectation.
So what can be done about it? Firstly, get a reputation for surprise. Instead of using your autoresponders to sell products and services, also use it to provide even more free reports, extra information, bonuses, and so on. Surprise the people on your list; the word will spread.
Next, think of alternative ways of getting to your marketplace other than a squeeze page. For instance, find out where they go. Visit those places and give them a surprise of some free gift they were not expecting. Alternatively, meet them on Facebook and reward them for being your friend with a surprise gift voucher, simply for staying on your friends list.
In other words, don’t rely on squeeze pages to reward your customers or potential clients. Find them, track them down in other ways and reward them when they are least expecting it. This will bring you much more engagement with your information than the simple squeeze page alone.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+