Improving Lead Quality from PPC Advertising: Landing Page Basics

By Janet Driscoll Miller | May 29, 2008
More Articles by Janet


So after yesterday’s post, hopefully you’ve now got your CRM software in place and you’re ready to move to the next step toward improving the quality of leads from your PPC program. The next step: implementing landing pages. Today we’ll cover some basic best practices and rules to create landing pages that help draw quality leads, and tomorrow, we’ll get into more advanced landing page techniques.

First, if you’re not already using landing pages for your PPC campaigns, shame on you! Landing pages have been proven to be a key factor in PPC conversion, so they’re truly a MUST if you want to see higher conversion rates and lower cost per conversion. I highly recommend the Marketing Sherpa Landing Page Handbook to help you get started. It’s full of great case studies and research. While the $497 price tag may seem a bit much, I will tell you that my firm considers it the Bible on landing pages. So buy it. :)

Why do landing pages work better than most website pages at converting PPC respondents? Simply put, when designed well, a good landing page puts the main call to action directly on the landing page itself. Most websites, because of the very nature of how site visitors look for information on a website, are designed for visitors to browse several pages to find desired information. A website is communicated a lot of information, and so it must be organized into categories, thus often causing the visitor to have to search around for a call to action. A landing page, however, takes the old three-click rule in mind and incorporates the call to action directly on the page itself — minimizing the number of clicks required to reach the call to action and thereby reducing the possibility of abandonment.

Key Elements to a Good Landing Page
The first question to ask yourself is “What is my main call to action?”. As a B2B company, your goal is likely lead generation; thus the call to action will likely be for a PPC ad respondent to fill out a form, providing lead data that is then stored in your CRM system for your salesforce to follow up on.

  1. Include your call to action on the page itself. Byincluding your call to action directly on the page, the respondent has less clicks to take to find the call to action. Thus, there’s a greater chance that the respondent will take that call to action.
  2. Only ask for necessary information and require as little as possible. Studies show us that the fewer the form fields AND the fewer form fields required to complete a form, the more likely a respondent will fill out the form. So keep form fields to a minimum if you can.

  3. Use the search query keyword in the headline of your page. This point is also resonated by the Marketing Sherpa Landing Page Handbook. Studies have shown us that when the keyword that the ad respondent searched on appears in the headline, he/she is more likely to convert.
  4. Consider removing the navigation. You’ll want to test this for yourself, but our findings show that removing the navigation from the landing page allows the respondent to focus on the main goal of the page — the call to action — and not get distracted by other choices, leading to increased conversion rates.
  5. Pass information you already know about the ad respondent through hidden fields into the CRM record. There’s certain information you’ll already know about each ad respondent — don’t ask them again! You’d also be surprised how often the information is incorrect that respondents provide. Information you likely know about each respondent may include: keyword, campaign, search engine he/she came from, interest area, etc. Using variables in your destination URLs, you can pass this information to the landing page and then submit it in the form via hidden fields, giving you accurate information and reducing form fields required for the respondent to fill out.
  6. Remember: Less is often more. Tad read a great book a while back called The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz (not the same guy you may know as RustyBrick). Schwartz concludes that we are bombarded by choice today, and all that choice makes it tougher to focus on making a decision. This concept is similar to that proposed by Seth Godin in The Big Red Fez, where he discusses using a big “banana” on a web page — the singular call to action. So don’t overcrowd your page with too much information or choices.
  7. Always be testing. What works for one company may not work as well for another. Testing also allows you to capitalize on what you learn and further improve conversion rates by trying new layouts and options. We’ll cover A/B and multivariate page testing more in tomorrow’s post.

Case Study: Clovis Group
Clovis Group is a recruiting firm in the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. Originally, when they began their PPC advertising campaigns to attract businesses interested in recruiting services, they were landing PPC respondents on the home page of their website. Using the home page as the campaign landing page, Clovis was only realizing a conversion rate of 1.17%.

Clovis Group Home Page

Because Clovis offers specialized recruiting in several areas, including IT, Sales and Accounting, the home page did not serve as the best choice for a landing page because there were too many options on this page. One thing we already knew about PPC ad responders from Clovis — based on what campaign, ad group or keyword they responded to, we already knew each individual ad respondent’s area of interest: IT, sales or accounting recruiting services.

To provide more targeted information to the ad respondents, Clovis then changed the landing page to a website page that better corresponded to each of these services, based on the interest of the respondent. So for instance, if a PPC ad respondent had searched on a “sales recruiting” related term, he/she then landed on the sales recruiting page of the website:

Clovis Sales Website Page

By making this simple change to land ad respondents on a landing page more targeted to their original search query, the conversion rate doubled to 2.40%.

But we knew a landing page could increase the conversion rate even further. By creating a landing page targeted to the respondent’s interest AND adding our call to action (in this case a sign up form) to the landing page itself, how much could we increase conversion rate?

Clovis Sales Landing Page

By incorporating the key information about sales recruiting and the sign up form directly on the landing page, the conversion rate skyrocketed to 12.5%.

Coming up tomorrow…
Tomorrow we’ll cover some more advanced approaches to landing pages, including how A/B or multivariate testing can help you further measure and improve lead quality. Stay tuned!

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