Archive for December, 2008

I came across a very simple opt-in landing page where  I couldn’t resist signing up. The headline was simple. “Free! Buy these stocks before Obama takes office.”

This optin landing page does an excellent job of combining curiosity with urgency to attract signups. I came to the page on December 26, 2008 from a text ad with the headline “3 stocks you need to get into before Obama takes office.” The date is obviously important because it is just a few weeks before Barack Obama’s inauguration. Urgency is explicit in the timing.

It’s worth taking a look at why it is so effective
The headline is to the point and compelling to investors (I like the headline of the text ad even better because of its specificity). The design of the landing page is clear and spare. You see the headline then “Enter Your email” and just one field to fill out – your email address. It sits there in the middle of  the screen surrounded mostly by white space – like a tempting piece of candy to someone with a sweet tooth. Hard to resist. See screenshot below:

 There are many examples of spare opt-in pages. But this is about as spare as it gets, depending on the strength of the headline and the simplicity of the layout for its power.

A small logo in the  upper left corner tells you it’s from the Motley Fool, a brand name in the investment newsletter field. It’s all that’s needed to tell you this is coming from an authoritative source.  

What happened after signing up
It’s also interesting to see what they did post-signup. Once I signed up I came to a detailed 3 page article/report. It goes into the historical relationship of stock movements and presidential administrations. 

It then transitions into talking about the sectors that should benefit from Obama’s policies. The report then revealed all 3 stock picks. There is certainly good marketing reasons to give away this information.

1) It follows the give-away free information model on the Internet. The idea is to get people thinking: if I get all this for free, imagine what I’ll get with their paid product.”

2) Theory of Reciprocity – one of the principles developed by noted social psychologist Robert Cialdini. The premise is that when you give people a gift (e.g. valuable Free Report), people feel obligated (and may pay for your newsletter).

Still, I wonder  . . .

The text ad and landing page headline were exceptionally compelling.
I believe the power of the curiosity and the urgency generated here would immediately stimulate a  good conversion rate to a paid membership. In that model, you would not  give away all 3 stocks (remove the word Free from the headline), and reserve this valuable information for those who buy the newsletter (preferably a Free Trial).

There is the risk people would resent that you teased them again. But I believe it’s worth a test. I’d experiment with a shorter article or report  that gives away some of the prized information, possibly 1 or 2 of the picks. Then lead them to the Free trial to find out the rest.

In any case, in the model they applied here, they still have time  to convert me. After all, they now have my email.

Whether you go for the conversion right after signup, or later during email followups, combining curiosity and urgency is one of the top combinations for getting results.

For another powerful opt-in technique, go to squeeze page advice.
For copy and marketing consulting, go to

Big 3 automakers CEOs got a spanking a little while ago when they took their private jets to D.C. Now they’re scrambling to defend themselves and patch up their poor PR. So theyre turning to the web big time to make their case. Working?
You be the judge.

Ford CEO presents plan
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Chrysler created a channel on Youtube

Enter bailout or ford bailout in google and you get an adwords ad leading you to Ford’s business plan on scribd


GM puts up a minisite to defend itself. Reads quite a bit like one of those advocacy advertorials in the NY Times. Not gonna work


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To get this keyword density tool, go to:

Keyword density sounds like one of those geeky Internet concepts. But it’s actually quite simple, and can make a big difference in your bottom line. And contrary to what some people think, it’s become even more important.

One of the reasons for its growing importance is Google’s landing page quality score. It’s almost impossible to make money on a Google pay per click campaign without a good landing page quality score. With a low score, your cost per click will be jacked up – sometimes many times over.

One of the ingredients of a good landing page quality score is having the right number of your targeted keywords on the web page, in the right places, e.g. the headline. If this sounds a lot like SEO – it is. Many of the same principles that make for good search engine optimization make for a good landing page quality score.

So what’s the right keyword density (number of words on a page divided by the keyword or phrase you’re targeting). The ratio has shifted somewhat. Today, it’s pretty much accepted that 2-4% is good. I would opt for closer to 2%, and it could be even lower if your keyword is in your headline and the beginning of the title of your page.

Usually, when the keyword density gets to be over 2% your score may be good, but the page reads awkwardly. And in the end your page must engage the reader.

Here’s the way I recommend getting the right keyword density. Have the keyword you’re targeting in mind when you’re writing the page. Try putting the word in the headline. Then write as best you can for the reader. And put in the keyword in the places where it makes sense.

When done, copy and paste the text into Article Analyzer, a handy keyword density tool. Instantly it tells you what your keyword density is. If it’s close to 2%, let’s say 1.8%   leave it. If it’s way short, say, 1%, go over the page, and see where you can put in the keyword without disrupting the flow of the page.

Then check the density again. By now your ratio should be close enough. If not, go back and add your keyword until you approach an acceptable ratio.

Keyword density is not one of those things to obsess over. All you need is just enough. And if you’re getting most of the people to your page  by email, it’s not an issue. But if you’re driving people to your page through pay per click or natural search, getting the right keyword density will be a big help.

To get Article Analyzer, the keyword density tool, just go to