According to the dictionary, the definition of extort is: To obtain by coercion or intimidation. For example: “They squeezed the e-mail address out of the website visitor by threatening to deprive him of certain free information. "
Some might call the aforementioned paragraph an overexaggeration. But in my opinion, squeeze pages are nothing more than a new method of cyber extortion. In fact, their very name implies as much. “Squeeze Pages. " They're designed to “squeeze" your name and e-mail address out of you.
I think businesses that use squeeze pages are exhibiting a blatant disrespect towards the very people they depend on for their livelihood.
For those of you who don't know what squeeze pages are, allow me to explain. A squeeze page is a single web page designed for the sole purpose of capturing opt-in e-mail addresses from people who visit that website.
Most websites have a front or home page that has various options and/or choices. However, when you arrive at a site that utilizes a “pure" squeeze page, you have only two options: either subscribe to be put on an e-mail list. . . or leave!
However, on other variations of squeeze pages, you are allowed to continue exploring the site without opting in.
Well, whenever I come across one of those squeeze pages, that try to extort my e-mail address, I click away in an instant. Why? It's just the principle of the thing. I personally don't agree with that particular way of doing business.
Besides, the way I look at it, if the free information you have to show me is so great, why do you have to try to extort my name and address out of me? If your information is something that's truly valuable, why not let it stand on its own merit?
Because quite frankly, if the information is good, I'll probably opt-in to your list anyway. You won't need to twist my arm.
So, why do some websites use squeeze pages?
Simple. Because of information overload and spam, more and more people are reluctant to give out their e-mail addresses as freely as they once did.
In fact, newsletter open rates have steadily declined in recent years. And from all indications, that trend is likely to continue.
I guess that's why some marketers have resorted to using tactics such as squeeze pages, to collect e-mail addresses.
I also think it has something to do with laziness as well. Let's face it, it's much easier to use gimmicks like squeeze pages than it is to put in the necessary work and effort required to build a quality content website that people will return to again and again.
But is extorting people's e-mail addresses really worth it?
Well, I'm hearing that squeeze pages have an extremely high conversion ratio, as far as getting the desired e-mail addresses.
However, I'd be interested in learning about the retention rate of people who subscribe from a squeeze page. My guess is, it's not very good. But I could be mistaken about that.
And what about all of those people you risk alienating by using a squeeze page? From the many e-mails I've received on the subject, I know I'm not the only one who instantly clicks away when they come across one.
Apparently, a lot of other people click away as well. So, I ask the question again. Is it really worth it?
I personally don't harvest my visitors e-mail addresses. Why? Because I'm a contrarian. And also because I don't want to. I honestly don't believe you have to collect your visitors e-mail address in order to be highly successful on the Internet.
Let's take a moment to examine why marketers collect e-mail addresses in the first place:
Conventional wisdom says, since only 1 or 2 percent of visitors to your website are going to purchase anything the very first time, it's critical to collect their e-mail address so that you can have multiple opportunities to convert them into customers.
But I don't have to do that because in the month of June, 48.9 percent of my traffic were repeat visitors. And so far this month, I'm right around 47 percent. That means nearly one out of every two visitors to my website returns.
Do you see my point?
With those kinds of numbers I don't need to collect e-mail addresses and I don't need to resort to gimmicks to get my visitors to return and purchase something.
So, what's my secret? All I do is provide an attractive and entertaining website with high quality content that I update regularly. That's all I do. Apparently, my visitors appreciate that.
So, am I leaving money on the table, by not collecting my visitors e-mail address? With my high return ratio, I doubt it. And even if I am, so what? I'm going to continue to do things my way.
So, does that mean you shouldn't use squeeze pages to collect e-mail addresses at your website? No it doesn't. I'm simply presenting my philosophy and opinion regarding the matter. How you conduct business at your own website is a matter of personal choice.
But having said that, bear this in mind: Visitors to your website have more opportunities than ever before to purchase products and services from your competitors. You should consider it an honor and a privilege whenever they visit your website.
Don't jeopardize potential sales by using tricks, gimmicks or tactics that will anger, frustrate or insult potential customers. It's just not worth it.
In closing, the more quality information you provide to potential customers, the more educated they become-and the more likely they are to visit your website again and again to purchase something. That's my philosophy, and so far it's working like a charm.
And why shouldn't it? After all, it's based on a sound and proven marketing strategy.
Dale King is an ex-advertising salesman and the owner of GuruKnowledge.org