If you find yourself frequenting the business section of your local Barnes & Noble or the Business section of Amazon’s Book category, you’ve probably heard of or have already read Stephen R. Covey’s book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. If you don’t find yourself among this group, you would probably still agree with the second habit Stephen Covey recommends: Begin with the end in mind. So, how does this habit relate to increasing your Adwords PPC conversions through targeted landing pages? The correlation is simple. Perfectly crafted ads and high click-through rates are meaningless if your landing pages don’t convert.
What is a Landing Page?
There is no complicated answer to this question. A landing page is simply the first page your site visitors are directed to (the page they land on) after clicking through your ad. It’s fair to say, if the primary landing page for your ads is your home page, you are kissing valuable conversions goodbye.
For example, if you invited friends over for a pool party – would you ask your guests to come in through the front door, travel through your bedroom, travel through your kitchen, travel downstairs and then outside to the pool. No – you let them know you’ll be in the backyard and ask them to come in through the pool gate. (Unless you felt like aggravating your guests and making a mess of your house in the process.) The truth is, visitors to your website are just like your pool party guests. Why waste time roaming around your house when they could dive right in?
Why Landing Page Optimization is Important to Adwords PPC Success
1. Targeted Landing Pages Improve your Ad Position and Decrease your Cost Per Click.
Google AdWords uses Quality Score as a key factor in determining your ads position. Your Quality Score is determined predominantly by how relevant your keywords, ad copy and landing pages are to user search queries. The more relevant your keywords, ads and landing pages are, the higher your quality score. The higher your quality score, the higher your ad placement will be, and the less you’ll pay per click. Watch the following video to learn more about what Google Adwords Quality Score is, why it’s important, and how landing pages play into the equation.
2. Targeted Landing Pages Decrease your Bounce Rate
When you design your landing page for your target audience, your bounce rate (percentage of visitors to your site who leave after viewing only one page) significantly decreases. Fine-tuning keyword research and writing “perfect ad copy” only to neglect creating a landing page that speaks to what your target audience is searching for is a very costly mistake. You get more clicks (spend more money) for less conversions. Ouch.
Let’s use a Google search for “Affordable Running Shoes” as an example. Your search results return an ad that says “Get 90% off Running Shoes. All the Best Running Shoes at Closeout Prices”. You think, “Awesome, just what I’m looking for”, and you click on the ad. You click through the ad only to find the main store home page, currently featuring snow boots with no view of the 90% off running shoes in sight. You quickly think, “Ugh, this isn’t what I was looking for”. Then, rather than hunting and pecking around, you bounce out of the site, (somewhat annoyed) go back to your main search results, and click on the other ad you saw, “Running Shoes on Sale” (and click and repeat until you “land on” what you were searching for.)
5 Landing Page Optimization Tips to Increase Conversions
1. Make your Landing Pages Specific
By being specific, I mean, make sure your landing page content directly correlates with your marketing campaign ads and keywords. Take the screen captures below for example. I conducted a quick search for “lightweight laptop”. Apple’s landing page speaks directly to my need. “Thin and light. Yet rock solid.” Whereas the Intel landing page is focused on a different product feature altogether. In all honesty, I don’t know which product is lighter in comparison – I just know that between these two landing pages – I have to do less digging around to find out about the weight of the laptop on Apple’s landing page.
The bottom line is: You already did the hard work of getting visitors to your site, now don’t blow it by showing them messaging that distracts them from their specific need.
2. Pull your Readers in with a Compelling Headline
Visitors to your site have clicked through because they have been compelled to do so by your ad. (Great job!) When they arrive at your page, they are expecting to see a headline that speaks to them like your original ad did. Your headline should be benefit oriented and incorporate keywords they have searched for in some form in your headline. Keeping your messaging consistent is a key factor in converting traffic. In my previous print mail days, I was an editor for our quarterly catalog that was mailed to 400,000+ annually. My boss used to say “You have from the mailbox to the trashcan to grab their attention.” With your landing page headline, the same holds true only your “trash can” is a few second click of the mouse.
3. Play-up Trust Factors to Build Visitor Confidence
People are more likely to order from you when they know that you are a reputable brand and trust that you’ll fulfill your brand promise. If you are just starting out in business or feel that you are a small fish in a big pond, don’t fret, there are many ways to build trust and confidence beyond sharing the number of clients you have (although if thousands have tried your product – that’s an awesome tool in your toolbox).
Trust factors to consider highlighting (choose the one that sets you apart the most):
- Associations you are a member of will build credibility. (A+ Rating with BBB)
- Certifications will show your expertise.
- Customer Testimonials and Reviews will provide peace-of-mind.
- Displaying Exemplary Renewal Rates will show brand loyalty. (Hey, if 99% of your customers are renewing every year – that’s something to brag about.)
- Photo Gallery of Previous Work or Case Studies
4. Make your Page Easy to Navigate
Because your content is specifically targeted to your campaign, the cardinal sin is making it difficult for visitors to find what they need. Keep your navigation simple and focused. Hold yourself back from “showing them everything you’ve got”. Focus on closing this sale. It’s easier and cheaper to up-sell an existing customer than it is to acquire a brand new one. You’ve already got them on the hook, so make sure the navigation is just focused on reeling them in. Avoid pop-ups, and make it easy for visitors to learn more.
5. Close the Sale with a Clear Call-to-Action
The call-to-action is what will compel your site visitors to act. When designing your landing page, you should start with this end goal in mind. Do you want your visitors to place an order, to request a quote, or fill out a contact form? It is important that your call to action is prominent on your landing page, and that you ask your visitors for what you want. For example, “Order Now and Save” or “Contact Us Today for a Free Quote”. Your call-to-action should be brief, concise and action oriented.
Contact us Today to make these Landing Page Tips a Reality on your Existing and Future Landing Pages
Google Adwords revisits landing pages regularly. This means changes you make today can effect your Quality Score in a week or a day’s time – so don’t delay! If you don’t feel confident or don’t have the skill-set to design landing pages on your own, contact us today. There is nothing more rewarding than helping a client set and attain their conversion goals.