How to Create a Squeeze Page That Converts at 21.7% (Case Study)

social squeeze pageI think you’ll agree with me when I say:

It’s REALLY hard to convert ice cold traffic into email subscribers.

Or is it?

Well, it turns out, you can dramatically increase your site’s email signups by adding one simple page to your site…

…a page that’s converting 21.7% of my traffic into new email subscribers.

And in today’s post (and video) I’m going to show you what that page is…and exactly how you can easily add one to your site.

Bonus: Download a free checklist that will show you exactly how to create your own high converting squeeze page.

How I Accidentally Discovered The Secret to High Converting Pages

Before I show you my high-converting page, let me share a quick story with you.

Backlinko’s traffic has grown consistently over the last 6-months:

Backlinko Traffic

While I was (obviously) happy with my traffic, there was one VERY important area of my business that I wasn’t as happy with: conversions.

Contrast the traffic chart above to my blog’s average conversion rate over the same time period:

Backlinko Conversions

As you can see, my conversion rate had all but flat-lined.

But here’s the thing:

I already had the old internet marketing adage “the money is in the list” seared on my brain.

I just didn’t know HOW to build that list…

…without bribing people with a free ebook or annoying them with distracting popups.

Here’s what happened next:

Landing Pages Don’t Work Unless They Have This

Think about it:

How many times have you landed on a landing page that screams: “I’m going to twist your arm until you give me your email address”?

And how often do you actually hand over your email?

Hardly ever, right?

That’s why I was reluctant to put a traditional squeeze page on Backlinko: I knew that today’s visitors cling to their email address like a $100 dollar bill.

And the promise of a free ebook wasn’t going to loosen their grip one bit.

Then one day I stumbled upon a page on CopyBlogger called How to Write Magnetic Headlines.

Magnetic Headlines

This page is designed to do one thing: collect emails. In other words, it’s a squeeze page.

But unlike most squeeze pages, it’s beautifully designed and optimized for social sharing.

That’s when it hit me:

The squeeze page isn’t dead…it just needs to be adapted for 2014.

And by adding a few strategic tweaks to the Magentic Headlines model, the Social Squeeze Page was born.

Here’s the live page:

Social Squeeze Page

Over the last 8-months that page has boasted an insane 21.7% conversion rate.

And added 812 highly-targeted subscribers to my email list:

Aweber List

Here’s how I did it…

How I Turned 21.7% of My Traffic Into New Email Subscribers

This video will show you the exact 3-step process you can use to publish a high-converting Social Squeeze Page on your site:

Now that you’ve watched the video, you can see why this page sucks up emails like a vacuum cleaner.

Now let’s dive into each of the 3-steps…

Step #1: Choose Your Social Squeeze Page’s Topic

This is HUGE.

Unlike a traditional squeeze page, your Social Squeeze Page’s topic can’t simply be “sign up and get a free ebook”.

Instead, you need to find a topic that your target audience is desperate to know more about.

In other words:

Unless someone is starving for information, they’re not going to give you their email address.

In my case, I knew that my target audience (entrepreneurs, professional SEOs, and bloggers) were fed up with vague nonsense like “write great content”.

My audience wanted to get their hands on actionable information that they could leverage for higher rankings.

That’s why I made the topic of my Social Squeeze Page (SSP) a real-life case study:

Social Squeeze Page Topic

Here’s another example from a landing page on Ramit Sethi’s IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com, a popular blog in the personal finance space:

Ramits Opt In Page

Ramit understands that good chunk of his readers are bored with their job. They want a career that’s better paid and more fulfilling.

Although there’s already plenty of information out there about getting ANY job…there’s hardly anything about finding a dream job (big difference).

And Ramit knows that people are happy to fork over their email if it means they can get their hands on information that will land them a job they’ll love.

Bottom line: Choose an in-demand topic that your audience has trouble finding reliable information on.

Once you’ve decided on your topic, it’s time to get cracking on step #2…

Step #2: Create Your Social Squeeze Page

Once you have a topic in hand, the next step is to turn your topic into a Social Squeeze Page.

There are 8 components to the Social Squeeze Page.

No worries, they’re all easy :-)

Here’s an infographic that will show you how the 8 elements look on an actual page:

SSP Infographic

(You don’t necessarily need to use all 8 elements on your site. But the more you use, the better your page will convert)

With that, it’s time to break each of these elements down and show you exactly how you can add them to your site.

1. Benefit-Driven Headline

The headline that you use for your Social Squeeze Page is REALLY important.

The good news is, creating your SSP headline is straightforward.

You just need to state a clear outcome that people will get from your page. That’s it.

For example, the headline in my SSP starts off with, “How to Rank for Any Keyword”:

SSP Headline

It’s hard to write a benefit that’s much clearer than that :-)

2. Open an Information Gap in Your Headline or Subheadline

Unlike a blog post, a benefit-focused headline isn’t enough for a SSP.

Your headline (or subheadline) needs to contain a crystal clear benefit…AND an information gap.

Here’s why this is so important:

When there’s a gap between what we know and what we want to know, it’s called an information gap.

Several scientific studies have shown that people hate information gaps…and will do almost anything to close them.

Buzzfeed and other “viral news sites” are grand masters of information gaps, as you can see with this headline:

viralnova headline

Bottom line: information gaps draw people into your Social Squeeze Page, which makes them more likely to watch your video and join your email list.

On my page, I created a powerful information gap with the second part of my headline:

(This is The Exact 1-2 Punch I Used to Rank #5 for “Backlinks”)

Note how I mention — but don’t elaborate on — the 1-2 punch:

Subheadline

When someone reads about a mysterious “1-2 punch”, it opens up a mile-wide information gap that compels them to learn more.

But sometimes, visitors need a little extra push.

Which brings us to the next step…

3. Clear Call to Action

Now that you’ve hooked your visitor with a benefit and information gap, it’s time to hold their hand and tell them exactly what they need to do next.

In other words, a call to action.

On my page, I have a fluff-free call to action that says, “Click the play button to see the EXACT step-by-step process”

CT!

Look at how specific that CTA is.

It says “click the play button”…

…NOT the much more vague “watch the video”.

Direct response marketers have known this for years:

The more specific your CTA, the more likely someone will follow it. So don’t be shy about telling people the EXACT next step you want them to take.

To give you another example of how specific your CTA needs to be, take a look at the CTA Optimizely uses on their homepage:

Optimizely Homepage

Note that they don’t say wishy-washy things “sign up for a free trial” or “get started”.

It literally says “Type in a URL”.

That’s how specific your CTA needs to be.

4. Add an Awesome Video

There’s no other way for me to put this:

For your Social Squeeze Page to work it needs to add as much — if not more — value than a blog post.

And the best way to do that?

A 3-10 minute video.

Why 3-10 minutes?

A 1 to 2 minute video looks like a hard-sell squeeze page video. With a 10+ minute video, people will get bored and close your page.

At around 9 minutes and 30 seconds, my video is a bit on the long side:

SSP Video

But my #1 goal is to provide so much value that people can’t help but move their mouse cursor to my signup form and type in their email.

In other words, you don’t need to fixate on your video’s length. Your #1 priority is to make an awesome video.

The way I see it, the type of person that stops watching a video packed with INSANE amounts of value because it’s a few minutes “too long” isn’t in my target audience anyway.

A longer video gives me the opportunity to drop more value…which brings in more conversions from people that actually care about my message.

And as you can see from my video’s retention stats (courtesy of Wistia), the video has a huge drop off of in the first minute…

…but stays remarkably stable after that initial drop.

Wistia Stats

In fact, even at the 6-minute mark my retention rate is more than 50%…which is head and shoulders above most online videos.

Video Retention

You might be thinking to yourself:

“That’s nice for you Brian, but how can I create a video that people not only watch…but gets them to opt-in?”

Well, my video happens to be case study.

I probably don’t need to tell you that real-life case studies work REALLY well in every niche.

So I recommend making your SSP video a case study where you show people an outcome you (or a customer) achieved…and how you did it.

If you don’t have a case study to show people, no worries. You can use the next best thing: a step-by-step tutorial.

Make a tutorial that shows people how to install WordPress, how to plant a tomato garden or how to do a bench press.

For example, I recently made this video tutorial that teaches people how to execute 5 untapped keyword research strategies:

Because it’s a step-by-step tutorial, that video could EASILY be used on a Social Squeeze Page.

But if you’re serious about converting video viewers into subscribers, there is one extra step that I highly recommend you take…

(Optional) Use Wistia Turnstile

This might sound crazy, but here it goes:

Despite all of the strategically placed opt-in forms on my Social Squeeze Page (more on that later), more than half of my SSP’s conversions come from within the video itself.

You see, when people reach the halfway point of my video, the video stops and they see this message:

Wistia Turnstile

That’s a live Aweber form. And when people enter they’re email, they’re added to my email list and the video continues to play.

It’s a feature of Wistia video hosting called Turnstile.

That form currently converts at an insane 29% for me. Crazy, right?

And the Turnstile is super-easy to set up. Just choose when you want the turnstile to appear, add some text, and you’re good to go:

turnstile

Pro Tip: Your turnstile message should mention that you’re going to send them something via email. Otherwise people will put in a fake email just to watch the rest of the video.

When I added “I’ll also email you part 2 of the case study” to my turnstile page…

Turnstile Highlight

…the number of fake emails dropped to almost zero.

It goes without saying, but you should actually send people what you promised them :-)

5. Add Opt-in Boxes Below Video

A you just saw, you’re Turnstile will attract emails like a magnet…

…but it’s not enough.

To extract the most value out of your SSP, you need to add an opt-in form right below your video, like this:

SSP Optin Form

The reason for putting an opt-in form below your video is simple:

When people watch videos online, their eyes don’t stick to the video the entire time…they drift around the page.

And when you put massive opt-in form below your video, that’s what they’ll see when their eyes drift away from your video.

As you can see from my Crazy Egg eye-tracking heatmap, people’s eyes naturally gravitate to my opt-in form. CrazyEgg HeatmapNot surprisingly, that form all pulls in a fair amount of emails.

I also recommend adding at least one more opt-in form to your page.

I recently added another form to the very bottom of my Social Squeeze Page (right above the comment form)…

Opt-In-Form

…and it bumped up conversions by around .5%. Not amazing, but every little bit helps.

6. Add Social Sharing Buttons and Encourage Comments

Here’s the “social” element of the Social Squeeze Page.

When visitors see your sharing buttons and comments, they’ll think to themselves: “wow, this must be an awesome page”.

In other words, your page WON’T give people that slimy feeling that they get from traditional squeeze pages.

For example, I include prominent social sharing buttons at the top of my SSP:

Social Buttons

I also encourage comments by replying to every single comment that comes in.

Blog Comments

You should do the same.

Step #3: Promote your Social Squeeze page

Here’s where things get sticky…

Like any piece of content, if you want people to see and share your SSP, you need to hustle and promote it.

Because your SSP contains awesome video content, it has the potential to generate serious traffic.

In fact, my page has brought in almost 6,000 unique visitors:

Landing Page

Obviously, like any traffic that hits your SSP, traffic from social media, forums and blogs will convert really well for you.

But there’s another reason to put some muscle behind your page’s promo: the more people that share your page, the more social proof it accumulates.

Think about it this way:

When someone lands on a page with dozens of Tweets, Facebook Likes and comments, they instinctively view the page as high-value.

Social Proof

That means they they’re less likely to bounce and more likely to watch your video.

In other words, the more social proof you generate, the better your page will convert.

Here are 3 simple ways to get more eyeballs (and social proof) on your Social Squeeze Page…

1. Announce The Page to Your Email List

Remember:

Because your SSP’s video is overflowing with valuable content, your existing email subscribers will want to check it out.

Subscribers already like your content (or else they wouldn’t have subscribed in the first place). That means that they’re MUCH more likely than the average visitor to share and comment on your page.

As you just learned, that type of activity on your page boosts social proof and conversions.

Here’s what my email looked like:

Email Broadcast

As you can see, I pitched the page as just another piece of high-quality content (which it was).

Comments, Tweets and Google+’s started pouring in a few minutes after sending this email out to my list.

2. Share the Page on Social Media

I also shared the page on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Video Tweet

Which got shares by some big names, like Sujan Patel:

Tweet Screenshot

3. Add a Prominent Sidebar Banner

Now that you’ve generated some social proof, it’s time to funnel blog traffic to your SSP.

The easiest way to do that?

Add a banner in your blog’s sidebar that links to your SSP, like this:

Sidebar Banner

That way, people see that banner from every single page on your website.

Pro Tip: Include a video play button on your banner.

As you can see from this heatmap, people’s cursors are attracted to the play button like a moth to a flame:

Play Button

Once you’ve added your sidebar banner, you’re set. Nice work :-D

So, here’s what I want you to do…

If you’re ready to turn more of your blog’s traffic into email subscribers, then you need to create your very own Social Squeeze Page today.

To make the process easy, I put together a free step-by-step checklist for you. This checklist will show you EXACTLY how to create a Social Squeeze Page on your blog.

Click the image below to access the free checklist:

social squeeze page download image

{ 157 comments }
  • SialThuong

    Hi Brian,
    I know you put a lot effort to write this guide for us.
    Thank you very much,
    Cheer!

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Hey Sial. That’s very true. I spend almost 20-hours on every post that I publish.

      Reply
      • Grant

        Slacker :) That would take me 20-30. But I’d have to find the info. As I don’t have it to start my post. +10 hours!

        Epic post.

        Reply
      • John

        And Every time you do great work Brian, Thanks for such a great post in attract new subscribers, very helpful case study Thanks Brian :)

        Reply
        • Brian Dean

          Thanks John.

          Reply
    • dave

      So much effort as usual Brian! This is fantastic and 22% is freakin awesome if I may say so myself! The sidebar banner is clutch and I have adopted that on my own blog, thanks for the tips!

      Reply
      • Brian Dean

        Thanks Dave. Definitely put the little video icon in your sidebar banner. Works like a charm :-)

        Reply
  • Irfan

    Thank you very much for post. I was searching this information, but now I am excited that you created the post on increasing conversion rate.

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      You’re welcome, Irfan. Let me know how the SSP helps with your conversions.

      Reply
  • Matthew

    Brian, WOW! What a superb post, truly.

    I am big fan of your work and going to have to put some thought into how to make this work for my SEO clients most of them are medical practices. Thanks for sharing so much detail. I will share this with all my clients this week for sure.

    Take care,

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Matthew. Appreciate it. Depending on their specialty, I’d create a SSP that offers health information. For example, if you had a client that was a podiatrist, you could create an SSP about foot health.

      Reply
  • Shaleen Sharma

    What I liked about your article is that you talk about a clear benefit + an information gap in a heading. I’ve seen a lot of people trying to just concentrate on just the latter and messing it up. Just ‘info gap’ works great for viral sites, but informative sites like backlinko or Noha’s website, or anyone who aims to have a site like that in their respective niche, must make sure that they provide a clear benefit to their audience. Phew! That was long :)

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Shaleen. I’m glad you appreciated that. I’ve tested just a benefit, just an information gap and both together. I find that when used together, they absolutely crush it.

      Reply
    • Shaleen Sharma

      *Noah (Sorry)

      Reply
  • Gent

    Awesome article once again, Brian! There’s always a big smile on my face whenever I see Backlinko’s name on my RSS feed. And I honestly can’t help but read it thoroughly… many times, over and over again. Thanks for sharing!

    The conversion rate is definitely one of the first things people need to focus on before moving to the other aspects. More traffic won’t help you if you’re wasting it with a crappy landing page that doesn’t convert.

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Gent. I always try to deliver the goods :-)

      You’re right: conversions are HUGE. As I mentioned in the post, conversions were something I’d been putting on the back burner…and it hurt me. Now that I invest time and effort into conversions that I used to put into more traffic, my email subscribers have significantly increased.

      Reply
  • Mark Samms

    Damn Brian this is so timely I’ve been getting my traffic up on my site but have been so disappointed with my optin rate I was thinking about adding pop up optins, gateway page to content plus a ton of other pattern interrupt stuff that would have the potential to really piss of my visitors, after reading your article I going to add my very own social squeeze page I feel like this will add a lot more value to my users experience and get me a more qualified leads thanks for the article

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      I aim to please, Mark :-)

      Popups and welcome gates definitely work. But I feel like, if you can get conversions without annoying visitors, why wouldn’t you do that instead?

      Reply
  • Anisul

    Brian, Killer article as usual:) One thing I would really appreciate if you can show some live case study (other than IM world) about list building. I didn’t find any such article that goes into details about listing building from scratch. Hope It can be a great idea for your next blog post ! :)

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Anisul. Thanks for the suggestion. I’m hoping that a Backlinko reader shares his or her experience using this list building strategy in a non-IM niche. That would also be an awesome case study to have on the blog.

      Reply
  • Loz James

    Hi Brian
    Very interesting stuff as usual, I love your social squeeze page infographic.
    I’ve managed to get my main homepage signup box converting at 14% using LeadBoxes – but 21% is nuts.
    I think in light of your research, in-video signups can make up the additional conversions. It’s time I looked at video in a more focused way.
    Many thanks :-)
    Loz

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Hey Loz, Thanks for your kind words. Wow, 14% for a homepage is insane. Nice work. That testimonial probably doesn’t hurt, right ;-)

      Reply
  • Nikhil

    Hi Brain,

    Your post is awesome. I read all point mention in this post. I agree with them mostly with Headlines. A Magnetic headline grabs more conversions. Example you can see the income diary website. He mentions that “Do Not Write Another Blog Post Until You Watch This Free Video…”
    This headline looks attractive and catchy. What you think about it. It encourages users to subscribe and watch a free sales video about his product. It’s great.
    And one more example, I like is yours video example subscribe to watch further video its also great, it’s created a curiosity in readers to watch more interesting stuff further.

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Nikhil. Yes, that’s EXACTLY the type of information gap I talked about in the post. Thanks for sharing.

      Reply
  • Rishit Shah

    Great work. Today known about psychology and will surely apply this to my new site!

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Rishit. Let me know how it goes :-)

      Reply
  • Mike Bonds

    This is perfect timing with the squeeze page I am about to launch using Fb ads. Brian, in my case I’m using a free PDF guide to get them on the list…do you think I should still create a video and maybe just highlight some ‘teaser’ benefits of the guide (since i don’t have a case study on hand) with the option to get the guide 1/2 way through the video with the “gate”? Great content as always!

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Happy to help, Mike.

      With Facebook traffic, I actually think a traditional squeeze page may work better. But I’m not sure because I don’t have much experience with Facebook traffic. Definitely something to test and see how it works out.

      Reply
  • Evan

    Cool case study Brian. That Wistia Turnstile plugin is sweet.
    I love the way you cut off that video just as its getting interesting to make people really wanna convert. I’m interested to know what sort of drop off you get when the pop up hits. I sure hate pop ups and have almost become immune to them by exiting as quick as I can without even reading them. At least that Wistia turnstile thing is adblock proof unlike most pop ups.

    Do you know if there is something similar for Youtube?

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Evan. Turnstile is amazing. The dropoff is pretty steep. I’d say that 50% of the people that get to that point of the video opt-in. There’s a tool called LeadPlayer that does something similar for YouTube (although I’ve never used it myself).

      Reply
  • Joe Robison

    Great post again Brian.
    I watched the How to Rank video and when I entered my email in halfway through and hit enter it restarted the video – though you should know. (Chrome has been giving me trouble with Wistia)

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Thanks for the heads up, Joe. That’s not good. Feel free to send me an email using the contact page (http://backlinko.com/contact) and I’ll send you a link to the full video.

      Reply
  • Sourav Saha @ Blogaholic

    Awesome post Brian! Your posts generally are so complete that there are very less things to add in comments other than “great post”. But hats off man really fantabulous post man!

    Along with your tips on SSP, I think we should also take care of the video as well, VERY MUCH, creating a video where one should:
    1. Provide valuable context
    2. Define the problem
    3. Offer a solution
    4. Call to Action

    look forward for some more superb post Brian!

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Sourav. You know you’re doing something right when someone calls your post “fantabulous”. Good points there. The video itself is HUGE.

      Reply
  • Mainak Halder

    Awesome post Brian, and I’ll add a little more, not only “Fantabulous” but the post is Fantastically Fantabulous. You’ve become my SEO master aka teacher right now and I have learned and already implemented many actionable strategies from you. It’s really worked for some of them.

    Now this post on creating squeeze page that helps build a list is another action I need to take in the near future. It so clearly defines the points where we can capture our visitors and how they psychology work when they surf online.

    But like myself, I often don’t want to face the screen talking directly with the visitors, what do you think – does a screenshot video work well in case of squeeze page videos?

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Mainak. I really appreciate that :-)

      To answer your question, I think getting in front of the camera helps…but it’s not necessary. If you look at the top selling products in Clickbank, they’re almost always screencast/explainer style videos. And they convert really well.

      Reply
  • Clarissa Delprat

    Thanks Dean for sharing some ‘GoldenNuggets’ from the layout to the way you show us how to “HOOK” fresh up beat headline to get visitor acquisition. I got value from this.

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      No problem, Clarissa. It’s Brian by the way :-)

      Reply
  • Daz

    Love your posts Brian but i find them a little difficult to read. Just the way you have things spaced out can be a little difficult on the eye. It may just be the way the post formats on my mac. I’d send you a pic as it’d be quicker to explain what i’m banging on about. Appreciate that you test everything and it may convert better.

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Thanks Daz. Definitely send me a pic to let me know what you mean. I take a lot of time to space things out to make the content easy to read. So I’d be interested to see what you’re seeing.

      Reply
  • Adam Roseland

    Brian,
    always awesome. I think the most valuable takeaway here comes from your 1st comment actually. Most people whip together content in an hour or maybe two. 20 hours is a lot of work, and it is why all your content is so great. Well prepared, well researched, and well executed. If your readers spent as much time as you do in prep work, they would find they too would have much more success.

    Reply
    • Brian Dean

      Adam, thanks man. 20-hours sounds like a lot of work (and it is), but it’s the same amount of time as 4 posts. In other words, I spend about the same amount of people on content creation…the only difference is that I put all of that time into a single post.

      Reply

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Brian Dean is the founder of Backlinko, the training hub for digital marketing professionals with over 70,000 monthly readers and a popular email newsletter. Continue reading