Starting an online relationship with a low-risk transaction

Requesting an email address in exchange for permission to send additional offers

Dedicated landing pages are hardcore, direct response pages. Their only goal is to get the user to complete a transaction.

Dedicated landing pages are designed to receive targeted website traffic and convert users into buyers or subscribers. They can coincidentally attract organic traffic, but are designed primarily to convert traffic, regardless of the source.

Generally, traffic arrives at dedicated landing pages via links from sources the publisher controls, such as PPC (pay-per-click), affiliate advertising, or paid advertising.

The sole strategic intent of a dedicated landing page is to get an order. Therefore, the e-commerce conversion architecture for dedicated landing pages is overt and aggressive. Text links, order buttons and order forms enable the user to initiate direct response transactions on dedicated landing pages.Rapid conversion landing pages are used to entice a user to enter into a low-risk (low-friction) transaction. Also known as name squeeze pages, they are used both when there is no cost to the user (a free offer) and when payment is delayed or optional (a bill-me-later offer).

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Rapid conversion landing pages initiate an online relationship. They always request an email address from the user in exchange for permission to send additional offers.

One master of rapid conversion landing pages is Craig Better, managing editor of Golf Vacation Insider. His site publishes dozens of webpages that offer free downloadable reports and a free email newsletter in exchange for the user’s email address.

This rapid conversion landing page on the site is an understated “free with free” offer. It simply asks the user to enter his email address and get a free copy of a Golf Vacation Insider special report. The report is a downloadable PDF file that is identical to an actual 40-page, paperback book that sells for $27.95 on Amazon.

The report is free when the user agrees to receive the free Golf Vacation Insider tips each week (containing valuable advice on visiting the world’s best golf courses, resorts and destinations, from the editors of Golf Odyssey newsletter). However, this condition is not spelled out on the rapid conversion landing page, which is an online advertisement solely devoted to selling the free report.

There is no mention of the free email “tips” until the second page of the order flow. The free email newsletter (“tips”), which is sent to subscribers three times a week, contains so much useful content that it could easily be a paid subscription product. But it’s not. The publisher gives valuable information away in order to begin a relationship with the user, establish credibility and earn trust.

Note that even though the free report is a PDF download, the site’s graphic designer has wisely added an illustration of the printed report, complete with an attractive photograph. That makes the report more tangible, regardless of the delivery method. The website photos of the Golf Vacation Insider managing editor (Craig Better) and publisher (David Baum) add credibility, as well.

Once it has the user’s email address and his implicit permission, Golf Vacation Insider then upsells a variety of products including books, guides and a paid, luxury golf travel newsletter, published monthly.

GVI’s rapid conversion landing pages have some of the best conversion rates we’ve seen, and GVI is a Mequoda best practice example.

Full disclosure: Golf Vacation Insider is a Mequoda consulting client.


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