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How to Test Your Online Product before It’s Even Made – Part 3: Lead Capture

How to Test Your Online Product before It’s Even Made – Part 3: Lead Capture

By Pat Flynn on

This is Part 3 of 4 of the “How To Test Your Online Product Before It’s Even Made” series.

In Part 1, we made sure a market exists for our product. In Part 2, we discovered the features and benefits of our future product and deconstructed the philosophy behind the “two-phase” sales process. Here in Part 3, we’re going to take a closer look at the first phase of the sales process, which is all about lead capture.

In order to convince a person to take a big action, it’s easier if we get them to take a smaller action first. We know this already. This is why we get free samples, why we are encouraged to test drive, and why we want to capture email leads.

For the purpose of testing our ideas for future online products, if we can’t get people to be interested in what we have to offer and simply sign up for an email list (the small action), then there’s no point in creating the sales page and/or the product itself. If they don’t want to test drive the car, they are not going to buy it.

So Why Email for Our Test?

You might be wondering why we’re so interested in capturing email leads at this point more than anything else. Why don’t we just track to see if people reach a certain page, or click a certain button?

There are two specific reasons:

Reason #1 is because clicking a button and reaching a certain page is too easy. It’s almost second nature for most of us. When we see a dark blue underlined piece of text like this, we automatically want to click on it. Did you just try?

So, if it’s second nature for most people, then it’s not a great indicator for people’s interest and the possibility of buying from us. It may be a small indicator, but not really.

Reason #2 is because if we do capture an email lead, which takes a certain amount of thinking and processing of information from the person filling in their name and email address, we can follow up with that person if we do end up creating a sales page and a product in the future. You can’t go back to those who clicked a certain button or went to a certain page, but you can always contact people on your email list. No waste.

How Do We Capture Email Addresses?

There are several email marketing software companies available to choose from, but the email service from ConvertKit is the one that I recommend. [Full Disclosure: I’m a compensated advisor and an affiliate for ConvertKit.]

For this post, we’re more concerned with getting people to take that first small action and signing up for our email list. Consequently, I won’t be covering what you should be writing in your follow up emails, but I will definitely cover that in a later blog post.

As far as setup and creating your opt-in forms for your website, ConvertKit does a fantastic job of walking you through the process.

Step 3: Setting Up The Lead Capture Process

The rest of this post is dedicated to illustrating how we can setup a “squeeze page” to properly test and capture email addresses for our product. To me, the page gets it’s name because we’re taking traffic to a certain page, and “squeezing” them into an email list.

If you have a blog or website where you can place an opt-in form in your sidebar, that’s great. Your sidebar is a perfect place for an opt-in form, but for the sake of this test, we’re going to leave it out.

The reason for this decision is because we want to see results and numbers that come directly from the features and benefits of our product, not just because there’s an opt-in form that shows up in the sidebar. For this same reason, we will not be offering a freebie, or “lead magnet”, because many times people will only sign up to get a free gift. Remember, we want to see raw results from the product we’re going to offer. Once we know the product will sell, we can introduce the sidebar opt-in form and lead magnets to get as many people into the sales funnel as possible. We don’t want any false data.

I love how this is starting to sound like a science experiment. In a way, it actually is.

Squeeze Page Theory

There are said to be “proven” methods and tactics to optimize squeeze pages. I will cover most of these next, but realize that the only way you’ll know what works best for you is to literally test different strategies against each other. We’ll talk more about that in a bit.

Here are some basic “squeeze page” theories:

1. No Choices

The primary function of a squeeze page is to get people to opt-in—that’s it. Because of this, we want to remove any other action that the visitor could possibly take. Advertisements, links, and navigation items should be taken out. We’re basically leaving them no choice but to either opt-in, or leave.

2. Nothing Fancy

This is one of those cases where less is definitely more. The more graphics, dazzle and glitz we put on our squeeze page, the more distractions there will be. The focus should be on the content of the page and the opt-in area.

3. Continuity

Many people say that a squeeze page should have absolutely no graphics at all, but I think that’s a mistake. At least for me, I think a squeeze page with a simple header that has graphics similar to our other pages will help keep a sense of continuity throughout the entire process. I’d like for them to know that they are still on our website.

4. What Goes Where

Since most people read from left to right, we want our content on the left hand side of the page. Our opt-in area should be in the upper right hand corner, and everything should be above the fold.

(Remember, “above the fold” means the reader can see everything without having to scroll down).

If for some reason you cannot place everything above the fold, it’s wise to place a second opt-in form (for the same list), below the fold as well. This way, you can make it easier for the people who do scroll down.

5. Your Content

The content of your squeeze page is the most important element of this phase of testing, and probably the hardest thing to figure out. For help, we can use the list of features and benefits that we created in the previous post.

If you have the resources, I definitely recommend finding a copywriter or hiring one for this quick project. He or she will definitely use the list you created to write you some killer content for your squeeze page.

Your content should include:

  • An Attention Grabbing Headline: The headline is usually placed in large red text at the top of the page, and is used to “hook them in.”
  • 1 or 2 Questions Directed to the Reader: These questions should address the top concerns that your target audience has in your niche. These are usually placed below the header on the left hand side of the page.
  • 3 or 4 Things Your Product Can Do For Them: Usually in bullet form, underneath the questions, you’re going to answer the questions you just asked using the benefits from your list. Don’t worry about the features—your readers don’t care about them. Remember, all they care about is “What’s in it for me?”
  • A Call To Action: This is really important. You’re going to ask them to sign up for your email list to get more information about your product. If you don’t ask, they will not sign up.

Things to remember:

  • You don’t want to mention any specifics or features about your product just yet. All we’re doing is creating excitement about your product, and making them want more.
  • Don’t mention the name of your product, if you even have one yet. The name is probably the last thing you should worry about, but for some reason it’s what we all want to figure out first. There’s really no need to mention it here.
  • Again, less is more. If it looks like an essay, they’re not going to read it, which is why the bullet points work so well. They’re easy to read and straight to the point.

6. Your Opt-In Form

The opt-in form, which is located on the right hand side of the page, doesn’t have to be fancy either. As long as there is a call to action, a name field and an email field, you have exactly what you need.

Lastly, you should somehow mention that you won’t be selling, distributing, or spamming their email addresses.

Other Options for Content

The content piece of your squeeze page does not have to be just text. In fact, many people are using audio and video in their squeeze pages now because it adds a little more personality to the page.

If possible, I would recommend testing all three forms of content at the same time. You can use Google Optimizer to send equal amounts of traffic to each and see which one performs better for your audience. This way, we can make sure we’ve covered all of our bases so we don’t assume that we have a dead product when people would actually respond better to a video instead of text.

You could also test different headlines, font sizes, and bullet points—anything you want!

A Final Word About the Squeeze Page

These theories for the design and content of your squeeze pages should give you the best chance to determine whether or not your product will be something that your audience will be interested in, in the least amount of time. Remember though, that these are theories (although they have been tested on several sites and mentioned by a lot of other internet marketers). The only true way to know if a certain setup for a squeeze page works for you is to tweak and test your ideas for yourself.

Sending Traffic To Your Squeeze Page

Once you setup your squeeze page, your job is to send traffic to it and let your page do all the work. You can use the features on Google Optimizer, Google Analytics, or even a url shortener like bit.ly to track the numbers for you. I prefer Optimizer or Analytics because you can set it up to see the exact percentage of how many people signed up for your list, vs. how many people viewed the page. If you’re testing different versions, as you should be, then all you need is Optimizer.

Here is a list of some of the ways that you can send traffic to your squeeze page:

  • Links via Twitter.
  • Links in your sidebar. (This is ok here, because they still opt-in on a separate page after reading your content)
  • Links after your blog posts (in a highlighted box!)
  • Links on your Facebook page.
  • Place a link in an existing email list.
  • Ask a friend to tweet or blast a link for you.
  • Paid Advertising via Google Adwords and Facebook

Regarding the paid advertising, think about this: it’s a lot cheaper to spend $250 for traffic now, than to work on a project for 3-6 months that doesn’t sell as expected.

If you get a lot of signups, that’s a great sign! Plus, your email list will continue to grow. If you don’t see very many sign-ups, then you either need to tweak something on your page, and if that doesn’t work, you may have to dump your product idea and move on to the next. Better to know now, than later.

The lead generation factor is a good indicator of customer interest in the product that you want to sell. Some may even suggest to stop here, and get your product created at this point.

In the next step, for those of you who want to be absolutely sure about your product, we’re basically going to setup a real live sales page. I’ll show you how that works in the next post.

Thanks again everyone, you have no idea how much I appreciate your time, attention, and your comments. Cheers!

Click here to read the last part of this series.

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