When it comes to online marketing and sales, there are few things more coveted than a prospect's email address. No matter what modifications happen to Facebook or Google's algorithm, a person's email address typically will not change. You can then use this email list to retarget prospects and build up trust in hopes subscribers will eventually become paying customers.

Whether you're looking to build up your email list or drive a different form of conversion, one of the most effective ways to do it is by building a squeeze page. Defined, a squeeze page is a web page designed to capture opt-in email addresses from potential subscribers. Yet, as anyone who has made their way around the internet knows, most squeeze pages don't do a good job of convincing visitors to opt-in, and instead are spammy and cluttered.

If you're looking to optimize your marketing efforts and create squeeze pages that actually drive conversions for your business, start with these seven steps.

1. Take advantage of third party tools.

When it comes to squeeze pages, there are two ways you can go about creating them: using third party tools that do it for you, or creating them yourself. 

If you're planning on choosing the former option, consider Instapages or Leadpages. Both have a number of templates proven to drive conversions for a variety of different campaign goals and call-to-actions. If you're planning on designing the squeeze pages yourself, all the tips below apply to you.

2. Create compelling headlines.

In a world where the human attention span has officially become shorter than that of a goldfish, capturing a visitor's attention the instant they click on the page is more crucial to marketing success than ever before. That being said, from numerous conversations with clients and readers, far too many people believe headline writing is a skill someone is born with, which couldn't be further from the truth. 

To acquire this skill and take your headline writing to the next level, I recommend visiting a blog like Copyhackers or Copyblogger. 

3. Narrow your focus and shorten your copy.

One of the most common mistakes I see on squeeze pages is giving the visitor too much information to digest all at once. On your squeeze page, focus only on one call-to-action, whether that's signing up for an upcoming webinar, downloading an ebook or subscribing to a weekly newsletter. 

Being succinct can, and should, also apply to your body copy. Huge blocks of text will overwhelm your prospects and give them one more reason to exit out of your squeeze page. Instead, make your copy short and sweet, pointed and straightforward.

Your form fields, where users input their information, should also be minimal. As a best practice, don't ask for anything more than you need to. If a prospect is on the fence about downloading an ebook and they have to fill out an obscene amount of information to download it, chances are high you'll lose them at this stage of the funnel.

4. Provide an incentive for those who sign up.

Offering an incentive in return for signing up is one of the simplest ways to increase your conversion rate on your squeeze pages. Whether it's 20 percent off your product or service, a free ebook or consulting session, offering a gift in exchange for a user's information will make the decision that much easier for them to make.

5. Leverage social proofing.

People trust other people, which is why we all consult Yelp or Google Reviews before going to a bar or restaurant. If you have the space on your squeeze page to do so, include some sort of social proofing of your own business. Whether that's with testimonials or logos of the brands you've worked with or something else, this will position your company as trustworthy and credible.

6. Include a short video.

Including a short video on your squeeze page is a great way to give visitors more information on your offer without the need for excessive amounts of text. According to a case study at Backlinko, including a  three minute video on their squeeze page helped increase conversions by 21 percent. 

You can take it a step further by trying including a tool like Wistia Turnstile in your videos, which seamlessly gathers emails from the most engaged viewers without being too distracting.

7. Create scarcity.

Creating scarcity on your squeeze page will give your visitors a sense of urgency in terms of deciding whether or not to opt-in. An easy way to create scarcity is including a countdown timer. To add a timer, search through Wordpress plugins or use a platform like Instapages.

Just be sure your offer is actually time-sensitive, otherwise you'll come off as inauthentic.

The difference between a crappy squeeze page and an effective one truly could mean the difference between stacking up cash or scraping up pennies. To get started with creating squeeze pages that actually convert viewers to subscribers or customers, begin by using the tips laid out in this article. Best of luck.