A Tool is Neither Good Nor Bad, Only Thinking Makes It So

Filed under: Marketing; Author: Les Bain; Posted: May 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm;

Or – Don’t Throw a Great Idea Under the Bus Just Because a Few Idiots Are Mis-using it

by Karen Frank

OK, I am mad! I recently heard a “Networking Guru” talk and what this person said was outrageous.

This person basically said that Squeeze Pages are bad and never to use them – and further implied that anyone who does is dishonest and trying to cheat people out of money by selling garbage products with no value.

Well, thanks very much. I am enjoying my view here under the bus.

For those of you who don’t  know what a squeeze page is, it is a one or two page website designed to capture leads.  Most of us use this to get a person’s name and email address in exchange for information, usually at no cost.  For example, many of you gave your email address in exchange for the 7 Deadly Sins of Networking.

In my humble opinion, this “guru” is confusing a squeeze page and a long form sales letter, and further insinuating they have no place in an ethical, social networking driven business.

Wrong, wrong wrong.

Ok – This deserves a better explanation.

A typical “Squeeze Page” is fairly short and offers the “Squeezee” two and only two choices – Yes or no.  Part with your email address in exchange for information – or not. The reason it’s called squeeze page is not to “squeeze” money out of people, but to “squeeze” an email address and hopefully a first name out of someone who has an interest in more information about a product of service. This is also called a lead capture page or a lead generator page.

AFTER the prospect has opted in (agreed that they want the product or service and provided and email address and first name) on the “Squeeze Page,” they will sometimes be taken to another web page or website with a  “Long Form Sales Letter” on it. As the name implies this page is quite long and is promoting something. The more expensive the item, usually the longer the letter. In the case of 7 Deadly Sins of Networking, you aren’t taken to a long form sales letter. You have probably opted in to some of the “big names” newsletters or teleclasses and been taken to a page like this.

The long form sales letter exists because it is automating the work of a sales person. It’s job is to provide the prospect with all of the information they need to make a yes or no buying decision. That’s why the are so long. If they fail to adequately describe the benefits of having the product or service and build trust, the sale is lost.

The next time you see a long form sales letter, you’ll notice alot of colors bolding and headlines. This isn’t to shout at people, it’s because some people scan only headlines to make a decision and some read every single word.  You will notice that the headlines make sense all by themselves and they integrate with the rest of the copy too.

A great deal of market research has gone into those letters, and usually they are being market tested, meaning sometimes if you go back to that page, the letter will look slightly different.  This is called “split testing.” The marketing person is testing to see which letter gets the highest response rate. They may be using different colors, different testimonials or different copy.

Writing a great long form sales letter (as you might imagine) is an art and not just anyone is capable of doing a good job. That’s why copywriters are hired at outrageous prices to create compelling copy that sells.

I submit that, just like going to a real store, if you don’t know like and trust the sales person (the sales letter) the product, and completely buy into the value of what you’re about to invest, only spend as much as you are willing to lose.

So here’s the deal (and why I am still steaming as I write this)  It’s not the long form sales letter that is the problem, nor is it the squeeze page – it’s the person who uses them to sell junk instead of something of real value.

Many of the people in the audience of the conference I attended use squeeze pages and long form sales letter ethically. They are promoting fantastic products and services that will change the lives of their potential clients.  I am looking forward to checking out ALL of their websites to see what I need to buy next – so look for me on your list! You do have a list – ? ! ?

When you take away the squeeze page and the long form sales letter you take away an important tool that works.  The big names wouldn’t use them if they didn’t work. And remember – it’s always a good idea to  model successful people who have the results you want to have.

So, I steam as I think of that presentation because by making the blanket statement that these things are bad, or used unethically, the audience was basically thrown “under the bus.”

We are not evil if we use those tools and the tools are not evil.  I for one, get incredibly positive comments about the 7 Deadly Sins of Networking.  They are grateful that I choose to share some of my best information at no cost to help them make more money.

I know I am doing good in the world and that my squeeze page is helping me do that.  So, until my squeeze page and long form sales letters stop working, I’ll continue to use them – proudly and profitably.

Networking Expert, Karen Frank publishes Networking News, a semi-monthly newsletter devoted to helping you avoid marketing disasters and networking faux pas.  Get the home study course “The Seven Deadly Sins of Networking and How to Avoid them” Free when you sign up for Networking News at www.7deadlysinsofnetworking.com

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