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PPC without a Landing Page Is a Waste of Money

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PPC Tips and Techniques

We manage a lot of PPC campaigns, and one thing we always insist on recommend is a custom landing page for the ad to point to. For reasons unknown — budget, incomplete strategy, etc. — firms frequently run PPC ads that point to their website’s home page, a registration page, a product detail page, or a product order page.

This is a big mistake. Landing pages do a much better job of converting than regular web pages. Reason being, web pages are shotguns with many objectives: to inform, to impress, to engage, to encourage exploration, to sell. In contrast, landing pages are laser guns with one objective: to turn clicks into customers.

Characteristics of a Landing Page

Landing page design is a marketing sub-specialty that many firms don’t even know exists. At the end I’ve linked to posts that delve into it for people who are curious to learn more about it. In brief, a well-designed landing page will:

  • Be 100% relevant to the text of the PPC ad.
  • Include one or two powerful images that capture attention
  • Provide enough information for the prospect to be confident about taking the next step.
  • Display a primary call to action that is clear and compelling.
  • Display a secondary call to action that is clear, compelling, and always easy to say yes to.
  • Organize the information in a way that makes it super easy for the prospect to scan and understand.

Sometimes landing pages contain additional elements, such as testimonials, customer logos or certification emblems, to establish credibility and trust. Sometimes landing pages use long copy, which is useful when the item being sold is unfamiliar or complex. Other times landing pages use short copy, which usually works better when the item being sold is familiar or simple to grasp.

What landing pages typically do not contain:

  • Links to external pages (they take prospects away from the pitch)
  • Detailed information about the company (it blunts the focus of the pitch)

These last two things sometimes trip companies up, as they have a tendency to want to throw as much information at visitors as they possibly can. Companies must avoid this temptation in order to maximize PPC results.

The Immense Value of Split Testing Landing Pages

A well managed PPC campaign not only uses landing pages, it systematically split tests landing pages in order to continuously improve conversion rates. It is much easier to test landing pages than standard web pages: a landing page has a singular purpose and traffic comes to the page for the same reason, making it much more of a controlled environment. Many elements of a landing page are routinely tested, including –

  • Testing different offers
  • Testing different images
  • Testing different positioning of calls to action
  • Testing different form fields
  • Testing different call to action buttons and colors

The challenge (and fun) of testing is trying figure out human behavior. What will make more people say yes to the offer? In our own testing, we are sometimes surprised that changes we expect to have a big impact on conversion have very little, and offhand ideas often produce incredible improvement. The unpredictability of behavior is why testing needs to be ongoing and systematic; otherwise you are just crossing your fingers, which is not a good strategy for an advertising spend!

Learn More about Landing Page Design

Here are six articles that provide great insight on and examples of winning landing pages.

  1. 22 Creative Landing Page Designs
  2. 20+ Examples of Perfect Landing Page Design
  3. Beginner’s Guide to Landing Pages
  4. 7 Quick Wins for High Converting PPC Landing Pages
  5. Landing Pages for PPC
  6. Your Landing Page Sucks! Here Are 10 Examples that Don’t

Example of a Landing Page Template

PPC Landing Page Template (designed by Straight North)

This template uses tabs for extended messaging. Visitors who click on the ad will come to the main tab, which is text-light and image-heavy. This is just one of many design options at your disposal for creating an effective landing page.

Related Straight North Posts:
Why PPC Campaigns Fall Short When Landing Pages are Poorly Designed
The Number One Reason Pay Per Click Beats Print Advertising
Writing Pay-Per-Click Ads – Strategy, Tips, and Resources

 

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2 Responses to PPC without a Landing Page Is a Waste of Money

  1. Excellent post Brad (and thanks for the Unbounce link). I really like your landing page example at the end. Curious, is it one of your own designs or something you found?

    • Straight North

      Hi Oli, Thanks for your comment – Unbounce is a source of inspiration from me. The landing page sample is one of our own designs – I’m going to update the caption.

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