Landing pages are vital to having a successful pay per click campaign. You can have the best ad copy in the world, but if your landing page isn't setup for success, then you are up the creek without a paddle. There are a few great tools out there if you need a good foundation for landing pages and one of those tools I recommend is Unbounce. If you are sending specifically targeted traffic to your website homepage, or having trouble converting, then keep reading!
When someone clicks on your ad, they are showing interest in what you just advertised to them. When they arrive on the page they don’t want to see your about page, blogs or other products. A landing page needs to solidify the reason why they clicked the ad in the first place. Whenever you include a navigation, you might as well light a bucket of money on fire. Psychological studies have shown that people make quicker choices when they have fewer options. Imagine if you were driving down the interstate and then all of a sudden came to a fork in the road with 10 options. You would probably come to a complete stop and think you were lost. Here you can see Zoho using a normal page from their site with the navigation exposed.
Check out this landing page by FreshSales done right with no navigation.
Checkout the Google Trend for UX Design since 2004 - Present.
The number one goal in digital is to earn trust. I will go over the key ingredient later in this blog post. The first key ingredient is your copy. As soon as you throw buzz words and marketing jargon you lose trust. Think about the step that your visitor has taken to reach your landing page. They have clicked on an ad and expect to see relevant information. When they land on your page you have about 3 seconds before they make up their mind. Learn the language by listening to your customers. The more you talk “shop” with customers the better you’ll become at speaking their language. UX (user experience) teams for products spend countless hours interviewing and speaking with users and marketing teams need to take note. The words, phrases, analogies and metaphors and stories that you share must mirror and resonate with your customers to earn their trust.
SugarCRM here is promising a 3-minute demo on the ad but the landing page clearly shows you will have to hand over some information first. Unsurprisingly, visitors want to see the same information on the landing page that was in the ad they just clicked on. If you include the ad headline as your top H1 tag on your landing page, your quality score will increase but most importantly, your visitors won’t feel cheated or confused. Here is a pro-tip" You can dynamically swap out the H1 tag to match your ad using query strings. At KIT, we use CraftCMS for all of our landing pages. Craft is perfect for PPC and Social Media ad campaigns because it does not dictate how you should build or design your landing pages. This flexibility allows us to dynamically add or swap out any text on the page depending on the query string we pass through from the ads.
Clearly, SugarCRM didn't want their main hero image to be some guy's elbow for mobile (or maybe they did?), and chances are, most of your traffic is now on mobile devices. Your industry might still be 50/50 with desktop and mobile traffic, but it's best practice to develop the pages with a mobile first methodology for faster performance and better user experience. If your analytics show that over 60% of your traffic is on mobile don't build and design your landing page desktop first. If you don’t know what desktop vs. mobile first approach is, it simply means you build and design the page or website specifically for one or the other. A mobile-first approach would take the analytics data and then design and optimize for mobile devices. This usually means that the intended experience is tailored more for mobile traffic. In a desktop first approach, layout and performance are not as big of a factor than in mobile first.
“The experience you offer affects your AdRank and therefore your CPC and position in the ad auction”. Those are Google’s words, not mine. UX or user experience is a term that is loosely thrown around. Believe it or not, it’s not just about wireframes, UI design, and post notes. You can read more about UX here. The speed of your landing page plays an important part in not just UX but also your PPC Performance. If your landing page takes more than 3 seconds to load, you risk visitors leaving which hurts your AdRank. A pro tip: Have your developers use the network throttling settings when previewing your landing page locally. You can see how internet speeds affect what gets loaded first, which is what visitors would see in a similar scenario.
SEO isn’t just for blogs. Google is scanning your landing page to determine how relevant it is when compared to your ads. What this means, is that Google sees your page as code. If you ignore best on-site SEO practices, it’s just less information that Google sees. This is a great opportunity to show Google which elements and or keywords are being emphasized. So do include descriptive alt tags on images and use h1, h2, h3, etc appropriately.
Open graph allows you as a marketer to control the messaging and branding of your content when it gets shared on social media channels. This is a great opportunity for PPC Campaigns to take advantage of. If your visitors love what you are selling so much they want to share it with their network, you will be ready to help shape that message. It also helps feed the hungry Google crawler always looking for meta tag information. We use CraftCMS and dynamically insert and swap out meta content depending on the landing page and ad combination.
McDonald's takes the crown when it comes to upselling. Upselling simply means offering more after a visitor has already purchased or opted-in. Your visitors that have purchased or opted-in are more likely to say “yes” a second time since you have won their trust. It's easier for B2C industries to include accessories as an upsell, but B2B companies can join in on the action by adding a lead magnet or incentive for referrals. Don't be afraid to ask for more!
This is the key ingredient to a successful landing page. Good Design will increase trust. We are visual by nature. The law of attraction is at play here. If we removed your logo from your website or landing page, would we know who it belonged to? Would we be able to tell it apart from all your other competitors? When we branded KIT, we wanted to be a premium PPC management agency. When you look at our competitors, it’s embarrassing to see the cliche that agencies suck at marketing themselves. Take a look at these two examples. Recognize a brand? Do you trust one more than the other?
Most PPC Management shops don't have a design portfolio, in fact, I can only think of one. We take great pride in using the best talent for landing page design and development. We even have our own Dribbble Page to post some of our favorite work. Design is everything in a digital world with so much noise, that's why I appreciate brands that care about user experience and dedicate resources towards great design. I remember when I first visited Harry's, I actually purchased a shaving set on the spot because as a designer I appreciated the time and effort that went to their website. If a company can invest that much into their online presence then I can trust they put that much more into their product.
It’s scary to still see highly targeted ads going to the homepage. If you forget everything else in this post, please just don’t forget this one. Unless you are targeting your brand name, you should never send ad traffic to your homepage. This is probably the biggest PPC sin ever. According to MarketingSherpa's Landing Page Handbook (2nd edition), 44% of clicks for B2B companies are directed to the business' homepage, not a special landing page. There is so much missed opportunity here it's not even funny. The beauty of pay per click advertising is that you KNOW what a visitor is looking for, so why send them to a general homepage? It just shows you're not listening. Landing pages are the secret sauce to any PPC campaign. I hope you see that and invest some more time, money and resources in doing it right.