Most of us have a convert-or-die mindset when creating landing pages for PPC advertising. Our mantra is—that if the visitor buys, it’s a win if not, something is wrong.
Because of this mindset, everything we put or do not put on the page is geared toward making the visitor buy. If he doesn’t, there’s no alternate route. Most blogs promote this mindset through the following popular tips on landing page creation:
- Don’t put links or navigation.
- Remove distractions.
- Keep the copy short.
- Use only one call-to-action (CTA).
Although this level of zeal has its advantages, it may hinder better conversion rates because that story—where a prospect clicks an ad, visits your page, and buys the item because there are stunning visuals and zero distractions—is only a fairy tale.
Optimizing for reality is not an ideal
It’s time to think more about what real people want and how they behave online instead of what you want them to want—your newest product release—and how you want them to behave online. You can do this by listening to them. One way to do so is through AB testing.
Listening through AB testing
The truth is, a buyer’s journey is not as simple as we imagine it to be. Among the aspects of PPC management services, target market research through AB testing helps you figure out this journey that buyers travel differently.
For example, when a prospect does not click ‘buy,’ it’s not necessarily because he’s convinced that the product is not for him. Sometimes he only:
- Needs more time to think about it
- Needs more information
- Wants to canvass for similar options before choosing the best one
Many PPC landing pages do not provide for these alternate routes which are talked about in more detail here. The idea of a dedicated landing page makes most of us think that it should impose a single route and a take-it-or-leave-it CTA. But does this work in all scenarios? Let’s consider a true-to-life case.
Homepage versus dedicated landing page
A company has new pricing and a new opt-in campaign on its homepage. But they want to gain new customers too, so they launched a paid search ads campaign which leads to new pages on their website rather than their homepage.
However, when the paid ads campaign wasn’t doing well, they thought of split testing the traffic from the ads between the homepage and the new landing pages.
The result: Although the landing pages had higher CTA conversions on the first level, they didn’t carry through to the next level. Many chose to opt-out. The homepage, however, had higher opt-ins at 71 percent.
The logic behind this is that your visitors need to know more about your product and service before committing to it. In this case, the homepage helped provide them with the information needed to convince them to opt in.
Weighing it all out
Making homepages the landing page for an ad campaign is not always advisable, but the lesson to be learned here is that a lot of times, our landing pages can be too rigid or information-deprived. They don’t give those who are not yet ready to opt in an alternate option like learning more about your company.
Therefore, to optimize your landing page for higher conversions, you need to make sure it provides:
- Clear but sufficient information. Brevity is good, but not at the expense of leaving important information out.
- One or more alternate routes for those who will not opt-in. Yes, “no distractions” is good
- advice but don’t miss the opportunity to engage those who may not be ready to buy at that point.
Some of the ways you can engage those who are not ready to opt in are by providing:
- An option to ask questions about the product
- An option to subscribe to an email list where they can get updates about product launches or promotions
- A link to your homepage or products page for those in the canvassing or exploration stage
Optimizing your landing pages this way for conversion and engagement will also lower your cost per click.
An engaging page will increase its Quality Score, a metric used by Google. Google AdWords accounts with scores of 6 or higher will have a 16 to 50 percent lower cost per click. Scoring 4 or lower can increase your cost per click by 25 to 400 percent!
Rethinking your landing page content and design does not mean throwing away the most popular advice you’ve learned. It means rethinking how you interpret those tips.
A single CTA may work for one product while it may not for another. But it’s always wise to consider that we don’t live in a fairy tale where potential customers are hypnotized to follow a linear route.
Thus, always listen to your online visitors and prospective customers, read between the lines, keep refining your strategy, and always aim to provide the best experience to your customers.