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Advanced Email Marketing: Landing Page Monetization, Part 2

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In the previous post I pointed out that there were three landing pages on everyone's web site that are typically ignored or forgotten about from a monetization perspective. They are the landing pages that appear in an email list's dual opt-in transaction cycle:
  • The "Check your inbox now" landing page;
  • The "Thank you for joining the list" landing page; and
  • The "You have been unsubscribed" landing page.
What, then, can you do with these pages to help boost earnings without messing up each page's core purpose, which is to guide / reassure the subscriber through the relevant step of the email opt-in and opt-out processes?

Don't Bury the Lead

Well, the first thing you should not do is build a salesy squeeze page that distracts or detracts or confuses the subscriber. Each landing page has a core mission. So make sure that the basic message of each page - check your inbox, congrats you're in, sorry to see you go - is front and center for each. You need to make sure that the messaging of each page matches the visitor's expectations. Don't hide that core message with flashy bling, confusing text or a barrage of popups.

That said, once your main headline and opening sentence get the relevant point across, you can work on leveraging the engaged reader into something more revenue-positive.

The "Check Your Inbox Now" Page

When the visitor reaches this page, they're about half-way through the dual opt-in process. They completed the form, filled in any squiggly letters in your CAPTCHA, and the activation email is on its way.

The first thing this page has to do is to reassure them of this, and to remind them that they should check their inbox to activate their subscription. What you don't want to do is have them not finish the play, so you do need to encourage them to check their inbox ... eventually.

But since they're here, now, on this page, you have their attention. As they haven't yet fully signed up, it isn't time to ask them to refer your site to their friends; save that for the successful activation landing page later on.

If you're offering an incentive for new subscribers, this page is a great place to remind them of it. Let them know that they will be rewarded somehow when they finish up. Perhaps a 10-30 second video from you would work too.

You can also use this page to promote further activity on your site. A variation on the "sneeze page" theme, this can be a "while you're here, check out our most popular posts" message. It can be two or three of your greatest hits, or a more comprehensive list if your site has enough quality content. It's also entirely appropriate to use ads and affiliate links on this page, provided that they don't distract the reader from figuring out quickly that a confirmation is required. If you have ebooks to sell, or some other service that helps build your earnings, you could provide a prefilled order form. You get the idea...

Finally, if you have partner sites where you earn referral fees, you can offer your nearly-subscriber a set of "we recommend" links or a form that invites them to do whatever your partner site needs. You can't force them into it - permission is required - but it is a way to get paid for leads if the visitor converts on the partner site's page.

When you're done defining the page, just make sure it isn't over done. If there's too much choice you'll end up confusing the visitor and they're more likely to do less, not more. Take time to edit.

Mission Accomplished - Welcome!

The visitor has activated their subscription. Thank or welcome them on this page, of course, and (if you can) set their expectations about how often they will be mailed.

If you offered some kind of reward for new subscribers, this is when it should be fulfilled. If the reward is they are part of a sweepstakes, say, instead of having access to a tangible deliverable, tell them that they've been entered (or whatever is appropriate). Let them know they've succeeded. If you are delivering an incentive, it's also a great idea to use an autoresponder here to deliver it as well as using the landing page.

Now, by getting to this point, the subscriber has completed the multi-step dual opt-in process. That's an achievement! They're pretty pumped. So NOW go ahead: Ask them for a referral. This is the perfect time to ask them to share your site or their new subscription with their social networks. Put big friendly sharing buttons on this page for that purpose, and place a good call to action around them. (FeedBlitz does this for the default landing page we serve, see this blog post).

Moreover, if you have a multiple list strategy in place at your blog, this activation page is a great place to offer additional subscriptions to your site. If most of your readers are joining your main list, then offering niche, category or other lists here is a great idea to bind the new subscriber deeper to you and your site. The deeper in with you they are, the more you can potentially earn. MoneySavingMom.com does this - when you activate a subscription, you're taken to her list of store-specific coupon mailings.

Finally, pretty much all of the ideas I mentioned for the "check your inbox" page will work here too. A little repetition won't hurt. Encouraging exploration - more time on site, more ads to be seen, more offers to view - will also boost your income.

Oh no! You're leaving.

Sooner or later, a subscriber is going to unsubscribe. Don't stand in their way.

But on the page that tells them they've been removed, what you can do is offer them alternative ways to reach you. Perhaps email isn't the way they want to follow you now. You can and should offer the ability to keep up via your favorite social networks on this page - you may lose a subscriber, but gain a Facebook Fan.

If you have multiple lists, perhaps the subscriber is unsubscribing because the list they were on is no longer working for them. Well, offer them your other ones - perhaps there's a better fit there that will keep them in the fold. Remember, people unsubscribe for a variety of reasons, so if all it is that they'd prefer to have a weekly wrap up and not a daily deluge, offer the weekly version here. You never know!

Wrapping It All Up

Next post will conclude this short series, along with a "how-to" implementation guide for FeedBlitz publishers.

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