You set up your AdWords account. You made a couple campaigns with a couple of ad groups. Your keywords are tightly themed in each keyword and you have two different ads running in each. Now you can just sit back and watch the traffic (and sales) come 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. Right?
Where Is The Traffic Going?
So far you’ve done a great job. However, there is an important factor you MUST consider if you want AdWords traffic to perform at the highest level and that means landing pages. A landing page is any page where you are sending traffic from an outside source. Your home page might be a landing page (though I don’t recommend this) or you may have specially designed a page for your PPC clicks (I do recommend this, actually I recommend more than one specially designed landing page).
The most important exercise in marketing is to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and think like they would think. Let’s say you are a beef rancher in Idaho looking to sell your grass-finished Idaho beef. Here is what your potential customer might be thinking:
- Grass-fed beef sure is expensive at Whole Foods. I wonder if it would be cheaper online? [They search grass-fed beef in Google]
- Hey, this guy says his farm is just a few miles from here and he sells direct. [Since they are within the geographic area where our rancher has ads running, they see an ad for just what they want. And it’s from a local guy to boot]
- These prices are way lower than Whole Foods. I’m going to call these guys and buy some beef. [Customer picks up the phone and calls]
What the customer doesn’t realize is that the PPC ad sent them directly to the pricing page (here), not the home page (here). Because you bid on keywords, you have a good idea what the user is looking for and your objective should be to deliver a web page that meets that expectation. This customer was looking for grass-fed beef and clicked an ad about grass-fed beef. Therefore, we go to step 2 in their thought process, which is likely the question “How much does it cost?” Different industries have different customers with different thought processes, but you need to make sure that you do one thing with your landing pages:
Give them the right information, right away, and make it obvious what the next step is (call to action).
Custom PPC Landing Pages
Initially you’ll probably do what our rancher did and simply use a specific sub-page as your landing page (ie pricing page, contact page, etc.) but as you get the hang of things you’ll realize that you can do better. The pricing page may not have a clear call to action. The contact page, though it has a contact form or phone number, doesn’t tell them about the product or service you provide. Now you should consider a custom landing page that combines those elements.
The simplest way to do this is to look at your existing site structure (likely a two-column or three-column layout) and see what space you have to work with. Keep in mind that users look at web pages left to right, top to bottom. The most important information should be below the navigation along the left side of the page (with the best stuff in the first couple paragraphs). Then I would put a call to action on the right of this content or just below this content. Then test this simple landing page. In most situations a simple landing page with only a small amount of quality content and a clear call to action will outperform any current page of your website.
Have you tried different landing pages already? What worked best for you? Leave your experiences in the comments.