Optimising Landing Pages for AdWords Conversions
It is all well and good having a professionally constructed and managed AdWords campaign, but if your landing pages are poor then the campaign becomes as effective (or defective in this case) as the landing pages themselves. You could have the best campaign in an industry but it does not necessarily mean that you will generate any conversions if your landing pages don't perform well. So what is the sense in paying for traffic if your website isn't 100% ready to sell and produce conversions?
To help prepare your landing pages as best as possible I have formed a list of important points to consider when creating / optimising landing pages based on the knowledge of contributors from this forum who had a discussion on this topic in the past:
One of the most important points which I see overlooked too often. Advertisers will sometimes try to add all the bells and whistles to their website in an attempt to impress their visitors, the problem is that this can distract a potential customer from completing the conversion process and even drive them away from the website entirely. Keep the payment / sign up process as simple as possible and within as few clicks as possible; each additional click required to complete the process reduces the likelihood of getting a conversion as the customer begins to get frustrated, confused and / or distracted.
While keeping things simple for the visitor to navigate with ease you still don't want your landing page to be too basic. The average online shopper is impatient these days so it's important that you grab their attention as quickly as possible and by this I mean within the first three seconds. This doesn't necessarily need to be done with flashing lights and bright colours however; if the customer can quickly identify and relate to what they are looking for then it is likely that they are going to stay on your landing page for longer and hopefully complete a conversion. On the flip side, if it takes too long to find what the ad description originally mentioned then they will exit rather promptly.
If you are going to pay for advertising then there is no point in using a website which isn't going to justify your business or your campaign. Take some time analysing your competitors' websites and make sure that your landing pages have the ability to compete with regards to design and professionalism. The days of ugly and unorganised websites are passing by and are something that businesses can't get away with anymore.
Landing pages should be relevant to the particular product or service that you are advertising. If you have multiple products or services to offer then it is a good idea to create individual landing pages dedicated to each product or service while also keeping the ad group, keywords and ad text relevant to the landing page. If a potential customer is looking for a particular model tennis racket and is directed to a landing page with a number of different models then he or she won't have as good of an experience if they had been directed to a landing page dedicated to the particular model they were wanting to purchase. It is important to make the stream and relevancy between search term, ad description and landing page content as smooth as possible.
If call to action phrases haven't already been stressed enough to you when it comes to creating efficient ad descriptions then it is time to consider them for landing page content. If you want to direct your visitors into completing a particular action on your website, whether it be signing up to a form or making a sale, then make sure you tell them! Using effective phrases such as "Buy Now" or "Sign Up" on your landing pages will give visitors an idea of what they can do on that page and encourage them further to do so. Don't forget that if you are providing a special offer or discount then make it well known to your visitors, there is no point having the special deal at all otherwise.
If you have testimonials and other forms of positive customer feedback then be sure to display it to your visitors to instil confidence in them that your product or service is the one to buy or use. The online purchasing culture these days relies heavily on reviews and evidence that an online business is safe and reliable to use, you can eliminate all fear and doubts by showing that others have had good experiences with your service. There are even instances where people will be willing to pay more for a service if they know it will be hassle free. It can also be a great influential factor to make your unique selling points known, these will help you stand out from the competitors and secure a decision in a purchaser's own mind.
There will always be visitors who will want to call you no matter how easy your website is to navigate. To satisfy these customers make sure that your contact details are easily visible so that they don't have to go in search of your phone number and potentially give up. Displaying a telephone number in a prominent place gives confidence to your visitors (whether they call you or not) as they know they are dealing with humans rather than an automated online service.
Test & Analyse
To get the best out of your landing pages you need to monitor their performance. Using Google Analytics will give you valuable data such as the average time spent on page, number of page views, exit and bounce rates, goals and conversions, etc. Analysing this data will give you an idea of how well visitors are interacting with your website and which areas need to be improved upon. If you have the ability to create different variations of landing pages (Content Experiements are great for this) then it is a great practice to split test them and then use this data to identify which is giving your visitors the best user experience and therefore most likely to convert the most sales and leads for your business.
Remove Clutter & Friction
If you are hesitant to whether a feature on your landing page may be driving visitors away then remove, fix or change it. Reverting to simplicity is a better option than potentially losing conversions for the sake of a cool widget on your page; a pop up asking for feedback for example is not going to assist in a conversion so if you find after testing that it has a negative impact on sales then remove it.
Fast loading landing pages are not just factors of quality score but can also have an impact on your visitors' experience. You can test the speed of your pages using various extensions, if you realise that some are slowed than they should be then optimise graphics, CSS, scripts and anything else that might be influencing the load time of your page.
Every little bit of optimisation on a landing page can ultimately improve your total number of conversions in the future so it should be a good motivator to spend a little time on your website. If you have the time to continually split test landing pages and keep them up to date then I highly recommend you do so, it is always important to keep your potential customers happy and stay ahead of the game.
I would like to give a special mention to the following community members as a lot of this knowledge originally came from them -
I have been managing AdWords accounts for over 8 years now at an international marketing agency level and also as a freelancer. I am very passionate about Google's PPC platform and pretty much anything else that is Google related. My theory in life is to learn something new every day and this community is definitely a good place to do so; I would recommend anyone reading this to stick around as it's an excellent source of information with great people contributing to it.
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