One of the biggest mistakes advertisers make is not creating custom landing pages for their paid search campaigns, especially when they’re aiming to generate more leads.
The sad truth about this is that, if you’re still sending people to your homepage, you’re losing out on conversions, and as a result you’re paying more per lead than you need to pay.
The problem with sending people to your homepage is that there are too many distractions, which includes navigation across the top and multiple calls to action, all of which make the website cluttered and your calls to action and messaging less obvious and explicit than it needs to be.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. Let’s take a look at a case study where one of our clients lost £800K by not using custom PPC landing pages.
Custom Landing Page Case Study
One of our clients at Clicteq, the agency where I work, was using their main website as their landing page, and they were very apprehensive about moving to custom landing pages because they were worried it would hurt the overall user experience. They thought it would be best if visitors could explore the whole website first before inquiring.
This fear seemed to be proven when we built a landing page that removed the navigation and other distractions that were on the main website. The bounce rate on the custom landing page was considerably higher at 84.5%, compared to the main website where the bounce rate was considerably lower at 49.5%.
However, what was more important than the bounce rate was the new conversion rate for the landing page and the number of leads that were generated. Here’s what those numbers looked like:
Main Website Data
- Main website cost per lead: £9.74
- Main website conversion rate: 3.96%
- Main website total leads: 135
Custom Landing Page Data
- Custom landing page cost per lead: £5.96
- Custom landing page conversion rate: 9.43%
- Custom landing page total leads: 346
As you can see from this data, even though the bounce rate increased significantly and users were not browsing around the website, the overall conversion rate increased, along with the total number of conversions.
The point of these examples is that you really need to start using custom landing page for your paid search campaigns, especially if you’re running lead gen campaigns. And when you do, here are six best practices for creating custom PPC landing pages.
6 Best Practices for Creating Custom PPC Landing Pages
#1: Keep the landing page simple and only provide the minimum amount of information required to complete the conversion.
Wordstream does this really well and only provides users the information they need to complete a conversion. By removing any and all irrelevant information they keep the page uncluttered, streamlined, and focused.
By keeping the design simple, the calls to action stand out and the messaging comes through loud and clear.
Note: You can get design ideas for simple, clear, and focused lead-gen landing pages by visiting iSpionage’s PPC landing page gallery.
#2: Remove navigation from the page.
Navigation menus give your prospects too many options and act as a distraction. By removing these from custom landing pages, we’ve found that this consistently increases conversion rates.
The only drawback of this tactic is that it will prevent users from browsing your website and will increase the bounce rate, which I mentioned before. However, the overall number of conversions and profit should increase which outweighs the increased bounce rate.
#4: Keep the number of form fields to a minimum.
This is a mistake that almost all advertisers make. Generally speaking, the more information that you ask users to provide, the fewer number of users will complete your form. The reason for this is simple—people are inherently lazy which means you need to make it easy for them and only ask for information that is absolutely necessary.
Marketo did a case study about different form lengths and came up with the data seen below.
As you see from the numbers above, by reducing the number of fields from 9 to 5, Marketo increased their conversion rate by 34% and reduced their cost per lead by $10.66.
#4: Provide social proof and use trust symbols.
Another factor that increased our clients conversion rate was including independently verified reviews from customers. You can do the same by signing up to a 3rd party review site such as Reevoo or Trustpilot.
Another way to show social proof is to display the logos of respected websites that you have been featured on, like iSpionage does in the screenshot below. You can see they display the logos of Entrepreneur, Forbes and a few other sites that are very well respected within the search marketing industry.
#5: Make it mobile friendly.
In 2015, Google officially announced that more searches were now being made on mobile devices than on desktop devices so its now more important than ever to ensure that your website is mobile responsive.
You can see from the image above that with an unresponsive website, its very difficult to get the message across because the text is too small, and the form is difficult to find, let alone fill out.
In contrast, the form on the responsive design is clearly visible, along with the phone number to call to make an inquiry. Furthermore the messaging is much clearer, making it a much better landing page overall.
#6: Keep your key information and forms above the page fold.
80% of the time visitors focus on areas of your website above the fold, so make sure that your call to action and your form shows up there. If not, you’re going to see a huge conversion drop off.
Today Is the Day to Change
If you’re still sending users to your main website and not a custom landing page, then today is the day to change that. By creating custom landing pages and ensuring that they comply with the above PPC landing page best practices, then you’ll be well on your way to generating more conversions at a fraction of the cost that you’re paying now.
Our client waited to change their landing pages for over 12 months because they were apprehensive of what might happen if they did use a dedicated landing page instead of directing traffic to their homepage. In those 12 months, they lost 2,532 leads and nearly £800,000 in revenue.
So I would urge you, if you’re sitting on the fence about trying custom landing pages, you definitely need to give them a try. Otherwise, you might miss out on £800,000 in revenue!
About the Author
Wesley is a an expert paid search marketer with over five years of experience. He regularly contributes to the Clicteq blog, and is available to manage paid search campaigns. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.