Friday, April 18, 2008

Maximize Conversions with Improved Landing Page Design

Landing pages are critical to a pay-per-click campaign. They play a key role in network assigned quality scores, so they have to be highly relevant to your keywords. Making sure the keyword appears at least twice on the landing page is a good start.

They’re also your first (and possibly last) chance to make a good impression on someone who clicked through your ad, so they have to be informative, easy-to-read attention grabbers. Place key information at the top of the page or above-the-fold at the bottom of the screen since that’s where most eyes will gravitate.

Most importantly, if you have conversion goals, your landing page has to guide your new-found audience to buy that widget, sign up for that newsletter, and/or take whatever action it is you want them to take. So how do you get visitors from Point A, clicking the ad, to Point B, completing the conversion?

1. Don’t make them hunt for what they came for.
If it’s possible, make sure they can take the action from your landing page. If your landing page is a product information page, have a “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart” button. If it’s not possible to take the action from the landing page, then your conversion page should be no more than one click away, and it should be obvious how to get to it. For example, you may not want to land on a newsletter sign up form, but your landing page should have a clearly visible “Sign Up for Our Free Newsletter” link that takes someone to the form.

2. Deliver on your promises.
It’s also critical that if you’ve advertised a promotion of some kind (coupon, discount, free gift, etc.) it should be prominently reiterated on the landing page. Land on a “Special Offers” page if you need to. If someone clicks on an ad because of a promotion or special offer, then doesn’t see that information when they get to your page, they’re likely to leave without converting.

3. When in doubt, test it out!
Remember that the major search engines allow you to run multiple ad copy variations. Use this to test different ad copy, promotions, and landing pages. Run a “10% off” ad that lands on a special offer page against a “low price” ad that lands on the product information. See which has a better click-through rate and which has a better conversion rate. Try the Google Website Optimizer to test different landing page concepts- text, images, calls-to-action, page layout, etc. Small tweaks can make a big difference in your results. Google’s free tool can give you great insight into what concepts your customers respond to. You can then use all that information to create a more relevant and effective user experience from ad to landing page to conversion.

To learn more about creating a high quality landing page, including information on how page loading time affects your AdWords Quality Score, visit the Google AdWords Help Center.

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