The importance of landing pages to a paid search campaign

The secret to a successful PPC campaign is a combination of compelling ads that help to attract and drive traffic to a well designed PPC landing page, which is ultimately what converts that traffic into sales.

Having got your visitors to spot you within the kaleidoscope of competitor’s ads, it is now up to the person that looks after your PPC campaign to whet the appetite of the searcher. They can do this by providing a call to action statement that makes the user want to stay on your website, hopefully converting into a sale, rather than immediately going back to the search. You could argue that at this stage the hard work has only just begun.

Here we will look at a few do’s and don’ts of landing page optimization designed to keep your site busy and the customers converting.

1. Multiple Calls To Action
Whilst the sole purpose of a PPC landing page is to direct a customer to a call to action point, asking them to complete multiple calls to action will only lead to confusion and the loss of a lead. When designing your landing page make sure you have a clear goal in mind and design the focus of the page around that desired end result. For example, if the purpose of the PPC advert is to complete an online form, then the form is the call to action and should take priority on your landing page. Even asking for too much information on the form can lead to usability issues so only ask for as much as is absolutely necessary for you to process the lead.

2. Incorrectly Targeted Landing Pages
When a potential customer clicks on your superbly crafted ad they expect to see what the ad promised, not to have to search around frantically within the bowels of your site to find what they are really looking for. This mistake has led to countless numbers of companies losing a lot of money with people clicking on their ads only to leave their site and go to a competitor instead. If you are running an ad for a special offer then take the user straight to that offer, not to your beautifully designed, yet generic, home page.
A good idea is to have separate bespoke landing pages for each of your different campaigns.

3. Keep Things Simple
Many PPC campaign managers often feel the urge to fill the landing page with as many offers and bits of information on other products as possible to try and stimulate the user into other purchases they may not have considered otherwise. This again will only confuse the customer and disguise the real purpose of what it is they were searching for in the first place. Remember, they have already told you what they are looking for with their search term, so give it to them. A short review of the product will also be helpful, as will being clear with the price and other important facts about the target of the landing page. If they are happy with the results they find they are much more likely to use your site to search for other things in the future.

4. Split Testing
Despite spending hours in creating a landing page to rival all others it is still important to test it against other versions as you may be surprised by the results. Pay per click marketing is not always straight forward and many companies have found that by taking the time to test different call to action points, copy length and headlines they have created a more successful paid search campaign. Of course it goes without saying that you should make sure you have tracking code on each of your landing pages in order to monitor conversion rates and determine which is the most effective.

5. Use of Unnecessary ‘Plug-Ins’ on landing pages
Keep PPC landing pages as simple and clean as possible by avoiding the use of plug-ins and fancy flash images, as these can take a long time to load. When you consider you only have a few seconds to capture your visitor, leaving them waiting for a plug-in can ultimately drive them to your competitor’s site.

6. Freebies
Consumers love free giveaways so why not use your PPC landing page to giveaway free material such as educational whitepapers or reports. Whilst these are more relevant for service industries they can be very effective for lead generation purposes and for getting more people to interact with your website.

7. Don’t forget SEO
Whether you are running a comprehensive search engine optimisation campaign alongside your paid search or not, optimising your PPC landing pages for your main keywords can do no harm at all. When creating copy for a landing page try to insert your primary keywords or phrases a few times as this may help your organic listings too!

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