The success of paid search marketing campaigns – and really all online advertising – is directly related to the first page a viewer sees after clicking on your ad. This first page is called a landing page. It can your home page (but usually shouldn’t be), another page on your site (great for most ecommerce sites), a facebook page, or a page that you’ve created specifically for that ad (ideal for lead generation and other campaigns requiring a specific action). The right look, layout, copy, and sign-up or purchase options are all keys to optimizing landing page results and increasing conversion rates.
Your First Impression
Landing pages serve as the introduction to your organization and provide the first information they see about you, the products or services you offer, and why they should proceed to the next step by calling, purchasing, asking for more information, or viewing more pages on your site. You need to quickly show signs of credibility and allay concerns for that to happen.
Landing Page Conversions
The goal of the landing page is determined by what you would like the visitor to do. If you have ecommerce capabilities, your primary conversion would be the sale, although there are any number of other conversions you could measure such as the addition of a product into your shopping cart, which will help you look into how you can decrease shopping cart abandonment rates.
For example, let’s say you sell respirators that offer swine flu protection. You’re wanting an order, preferably on the first site visit, meaning your conversion is the sale itself. Hence, your primary landing page conversion rate would be the number of purchases divided by the number of visits to the landing page or unique visitors. This can also be segmented down to the campaign type itself, meaning you can look at conversion rates from natural traffic from SEO campaigns vs. email newsletters vs. banner buys vs. any other campaign type.
Second example – maybe your business sells a larger ticket item or a service. Car dealers would rather have their sales staff talk to a prospective client (you try selling 4- to 6-digit cars online and yes, we know people that actually have brokered their own online and there are some pretty neat customization options out there these days). A landing page conversion for them might be someone signing up for a free brochure or requesting to be contacted, making their landing page conversion rate the number of requests for information divided by the number of landing page views.
Landing pages can also be optimized for offline events such as phone calls and making an in-store purchase. Many different tracing mechanisms are available from unique phone numbers (including those that are randomly generated to give an advertiser data all the way down to the keyword level for pay per click campaigns) to coupon tracking codes.
Whatever your goal, be aware that the effectiveness of the landing page can be measured, allowing you to better allocate where you spend your advertising dollars.
Increase Landing Page Conversion Rates
So you’ve chosen your keywords, created your paid search campaigns, and are driving visitors to your landing pages, but they aren’t converting. You’re paying for their traffic, but not getting leads and/or sales out of it. How do you increase your site’s landing page conversion rates?
Test. Lather, rinse, repeat. We cannot strongly enough state how important this testing is. Design, layout, copy, and page elements are all extremely important for landing page optimization. A few changes we test to increase landing page conversion rates include:
- the addition or removal of pictures (and which ones – pictures of persons particularly can have huge negative or positive effects on conversion rates)
- testimonials and symbols of credibility
- calls to action
- long copy vs. short copy
- sign up / purchase buttons
- personal or professional styles
- color schemes
- relevant copy and messaging by source type
- and many more landing page optimization elements
A Quick Note about Quality Scores
When goto.com began offering the first pay per click campaigns about a decade ago, the amount of money an advertiser paid for any particular click was determined by only two factors: their bid and the bid of the next lowest competitor. If you bid $0.70 for a keyword and the next person bid $0.30, you’d pay $0.31.
Today, the search engines all rely on a more complex formula that calculates a number of factors, which Google AdWords refers to as a Quality Score. The factors look at the historical performance of the keyword, including the click through rates of associated ads. It also looks at the associated landing page and some of the same factors it measures for the PageRank it uses to determine organic rankings (note that the PageRank Google will provide externally is not the same as what it uses internally).
By optimizing the landing page in some ways similar to how you would for an SEO campaign, you can improve Quality Scores to receive better ad positions and lower costs per click.
Learn More about Landing Pages
To learn how we can help you create and test landing pages for your paid search and other online campaigns, call 800.979.3177 today or request a free consultation.