You may think your PPC ad copy has to do all the heavy lifting. After all, it needs to stand out from among competing ads, grab the prospect’s attention, and get that coveted click. That’s an awful lot of work for a few simple lines of text!
But the real work starts after the click. You know what I’m talking about—the PPC landing page.
How Can Your PPC Landing Page Improve Your Conversion Rate?
Your PPC landing page is the make-or-break moment when the prospect decides, “Is this what I was looking for?” After all, it’s in Google’s best interest to be as relevant as possible. More relevancy equals a better Quality Score, and better Quality Scores mean your ads show up more and cost less. Everyone wins.
So what strategies can you use that will help boost all these factors?
#1: Make a Seamless Transition from Ad to Landing Page
It may seem obvious, but many ads will promise one thing, and then dump you off on a page that’s not even close to what you clicked on. Worse yet, they’ll leave you stranded on the home page or serve up a piping hot slice of 404: Not Found.
Look at this example from WordStream, advertising their landing page grader:
Clicking on the ad takes you to the landing page below. Notice how the headline directly reflects many of the main keywords (Landing Page Grader / PPC Landing Pages / FREE) shown in the ad.
To the prospect, this is push-button-simple: just three easy steps and they’ll see exactly how their landing page is performing!
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg…
You see, there’s no guarantee that a prospect will ultimately take you up on your offer when they get to your landing page. They might get cold feet–wondering what happens when they click Continue. Will they be pitched to? Upsold? Nagged by “customer service”?
A simple walkthrough video (less than 1 minute) explains the process itself, while the page explains how your data will be used and shares a solid testimonial. Further down, reputable media mentions help bolster that foundation.
All in all, it’s a great example of PPC ad to landing page continuity that gives visitors exactly what they clicked to find in the first place.
#2: Distill and Remove Distractions
A PPC landing page is not the place to drone on and on about your offer. Nor is it the place for things like your navigation menu or a place to “learn more” about your product. As tempting as it is to add those ingredients to the mix, things like a navigation menu or a “more info” page only serve to distract the user away from completing the original goal–whether it’s downloading, subscribing or otherwise taking some small step.
Another common distraction? Coupons.
Now, before you bring out your torches and pitchforks, hear me out. If you have a place for a coupon or special offer code on your landing page, but don’t actually show the code on that page, it gives your prospect another reason to go offsite and search for coupons. Even if they ultimately plan on coming back to complete the offer, it’s possible they’ll get distracted and not go through with it at the precise moment when they’re primed and ready to act.
#3: Don’t Be Boring
You would think that big companies with big budgets would know how to launch a formidable PPC campaign with smart landing pages that get results, but you’d be surprised. Take a look at car rental company Budget:
It’s easy to count the number of landing page pitfalls on this page–the navigation menu, info about car rentals and delayed flights (which is important, but hidden among all the other clutter), and a bland, boring headline to name a few. These types of pages don’t answer the core question the customer has when they get to the page:
- How long is the sign up process going to take?
- How can I be sure the car I want is available? What happens if it isn’t?
- I see a coupon code, but will it carry over to the form or do I have to go back and copy/paste it?
You can see that every step of the user’s thought process throws up some kind of barrier, and it doesn’t take much to make them want to give up and go elsewhere.
Smart landing pages make every step easy and every form a breeze to fill out.
#4: Try Your Landing Page from the Perspective of a User
Want to know how people really react to and interact with your landing page? Do a few user tests.
When creating landing pages and tying them to your PPC account, it’s incredibly easy to assume that you know what your customer wants. This happens with free giveaways too. Apple made this mistake with the release of a full U2 album which it then gleefully installed on every iTunes user’s device without their permission. Millions of users in over 100 countries demanded to know how to get rid of the tepid album.
Photo Credit: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web
What’s more, it sent mixed messages to the company’s most fervent fans–what was meant to be a throwback to the classic rock’n’roll rebel just angered a lot of fresh-faced young followers that looked at Apple as only the tech behemoth they’d always known and identified with.
The bottom line here: position your offer carefully. Do some split testing and user testing to see what it is that people really want. If you’ve been working hard to rebrand your company and shift your image to fit with more modern times or more emergent technology, the last thing you want to do is embrace an old-fashioned business model or push the wrong message or value proposition.
#5: And Finally, the Icing on the PPC Conversion Cake…CTA Copy
Is your call-to-action button plagued by submit-itis? What about its close relatives “download now” or “subscribe”?
You’d be surprised how many sites go through painstaking detail to get their offer and their copy just right, and then throw a submit button on at the last minute, thinking it doesn’t matter.
Even the once-heralded kings of call-to-action buttons “Download” and “Learn More” are being overshadowed by their better-performing counterparts. Remember, a plain old submit button or a non-descriptive call-to-action serves as just another reason in the prospect’s mind NOT to take action. They’re asking:
- What happens when I click that button?
- How will my information be used? Is it safe?
- How soon will I get my freebie?
To help fix these issues immediately, you could:
- Make your call-to-action more relevant by remembering that “Submit” tells visitors nothing about what they’re getting. “Get Instant Access to Your Free Business Blueprint” says everything.
- Tell people what happens after they click and how soon they can get started with your offer. Can they download the report or use their account right away, or do they have to verify their email or take other steps first?
Send them a welcome email introducing yourself and the role you play in your company, and more importantly, how you’ll be helping them and in what capacity. Nothing says “we could care less” like a canned message from “Sales.”
And Don’t Forget…
No one knows what will work for your specific PPC campaigns or your specific landing pages. The bulk of that depends on your knowledge of your customer and what stage they’re in of the buying process (you DO have landing pages for each stage of that process, don’t you?). That’s why taking the time to split test your pages is so crucial.
And I don’t mean “just” little changes like changing the color or font. If you really want to make an impact, and you’re running on a limited PPC budget with limited traffic, don’t be afraid to make big changes and see what really resonates with your audience. You may be surprised at the results!
How Are Your PPC Ads Performing?
Are you landing pages looking a little lackluster? Are your ads creating a disconnect between what customers think they’ll get and where they actually go? Is your copy lukewarm and unexciting? Share your thoughts and comments with us below.
And remember, improving your PPC conversion rate through your content and landing pages is an ongoing process. You can’t just call it a day after you’ve created a few landing pages and hope for the best. Always be forging relationships with your customers, whether they’re learning about you for the first time, or they’re loyal buyers who won’t hesitate to recommend you on social media. It’s these kinds of things that no landing page or ad campaign can duplicate.
Gary Victory is the go to business analyst at Elite Group Marketing. He works with both startups and multi-national brands focused on business marketing strategies and technology. He’s a contributing writer to KISSmetrics, Crazy Egg, Social Media Examiner, Elite Group Marketing Blog, and others. Follow him on Twitter @GaryVictoryLDN.