Bait and Switch is Bad! But Bait and Sweetly Suggest Works!
Portent Staff Mar 20 2008
Portent recently won an award for something I initially thought sounded very counter-intuitive,
maybe even a little shady. But it turned out to be one of our most successful email opt-in campaigns to date. Below are the marketing insights I believe
made all the difference.
The idea was to add an email subscription page between the free printables offer and the actual free printables download on a client’s site. My fear
was, once people got in the free printables mindset, they would not appreciate being derailed by a page popping up and asking for their email address
to receive a newsletter. But as it turned out, people actually did like it. A lot.
By adding this new sign-up page, Portent was able to increase this client’s subscriber list by 6,626 subscribers, an average of 828 per month since
the campaign started last May.
Obviously adding just any page isn’t going to guarantee this sort of success, and including unnecessary steps or diversions can often result
in high bail-out rates. That said, there are a few ways to make the bait-and-sweetly suggest marketing technique work for you:
- Meets the same overall marketing objective. People may be clicking through the site to download the free printable, but that is
not their overall goal. Their goal is to learn more about the product with minimal commitment. While the newsletter and the download printable differ
in content, they both move the customer towards this overall goal. For this reason, offering a newsletter sign-up before the free download page isn’t
spammy. It’s helpful! Case in point: The email subscription page is the equivalent of the waitress giving you the specials of the day at a restaurant.
While it does momentarily deter you from your initial goal of opening the menu and ordering, it can propel you to your real goal (eating) in an appealing
way you might not have thought of. So, when deciding whether to bait-and-sweetly-suggest, figure out your customer’s overall goal and make sure whatever
ad or offer you include caters to that goal.
- Makes eyes happy. When creating this page, we added one of our prettiest, nicest email newsletters to the page to reassure viewers
that they wouldn’t be on the receiving end of some red-bulleted, free free free, frightening missive once they signed on the subscriber line. An attractive
visual example comes across as genuine and enticing. Most importantly, it negates any suspicion that accompanies being diverted from one’s initial online
- Make it a choice, not a condition. A page like this is about providing an option, not holding a customer hostage until you have
all their personal details. Forcing people to register and receive your emails for life in exchange for a one-time printable is definitely below-the-belt,and
will ensure many customers bail from your site-especially if the initial ad they clicked through makes no mention of this registration. By making it
totally clear that they can click right past this option and go to the printables, customers view this email page sign-up as a thoughtful offer, not
a nose-wrinkling prerequisite.