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Shalmie PPC Blog
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You’ll get expert advice on topics to help grow your business today.
PPC campaigns are built to make money. At the very least, they’re built to drive an action – whether it’s an impression, a click, or a micro-conversion that will eventually lead to a conversion a certain percentage of the time. In the end, PPC is ultimately a numbers game.
For the PPC campaigns that strive to drive users to a landing page, the landing page should be optimized to impel the user to convert. If your PPC landing page is not optimized to do such, you’re missing out on low-hanging fruit to make money. You’re also working against the ultimate goal and the reason why you started the PPC campaign in the first place. In order to accomplish your PPC goals, it is absolutely mandatory to optimize your landing page.
If you’re running a PPC campaign, a lot of time you’re thinking about the front-loaded work, like the goals of the campaign, the targeted audience, the messaging, the budget, the cost-per-acquisition (CPA) or return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) goals, etc.
For sure, all of these components are important. In addition, the typical final step of a PPC campaign is the landing page that gets users to perform a certain action.
A good landing page agency knows that this is just as crucial as all of the other components that have been meticulously planned out long before the PPC team has gotten to the landing page development phase.
Even though the landing page comes last, it plays an important role in continuing the conversation with a specified targeted audience, reiterating the call-to-action of the ad copy, and building on the messaging to persuade the prospect to take action.
Indeed, connecting ad copy to landing page messaging is one of the most important PPC landing page concepts.
If a PPC campaign’s goal is a conversion, it is usually performed on a landing page. What are some examples of PPC conversions?
You really need to determine the conversion you’re seeking at the beginning of the PPC campaign creation process – and put all your effort into maximizing the chances of getting that conversion along the way. It may seem pretty basic, but it is a crucial first step in PPC campaign creation.
Landing pages are standalone with a single purpose. A typical web page attracts users at a broad level and encourages them to browse. The purpose of web pages is to foster engagement, rather than focus on a single purpose. Web pages cast a wide net to an audience that will include users from many segments within the business’ targeted audience list.
Web pages also tend to be heavily optimized for SEO and organic traffic that includes a broad selection of audience members in various stages of the sales funnel with the potential to be a customer for multiple product or service offerings. And web pages can have multiple CTAs (not to be confused with multiple CTA buttons).
Landing pages are usually the destination of specific campaigns – whether it be a Google Ads campaign, a Twitter campaign, or an email marketing campaign.
Also known as pre-cart landing pages in Ecommerce land, landing pages tend to be bottom-of-funnel (BOFU) and closer to the sale. However, unlike Ecommerce, PPC landing pages generally don’t have to be BOFU. As long as there’s a conversion at the end, a PPC landing page is usually relevant.
Each landing page serves a single function. You can almost see a single landing page as a unique touchpoint. Each user represents a specific prospect at a specific stage in the customer sales funnel or the customer journey.
Each user, then, is being targeted for a specific action. This action is based on where they are within the buyer journey.
Via Ervin & Smith
Here’s another way to look at the buyer journey in sales funnel terms.
Via Business 2 Community
Thus, each touchpoint can be defined as a conversion point tailored specifically for a certain audience at a particular time that they’re meant to see that touchpoint.
While PPC tends to focus on bottom-of-funnel actions, they can also be speaking to top-of-funnel actions with a focus on a micro-conversion, like a newsletter sign-up.
Long story short, PPC landing pages focus on only one of these stages, touchpoints, or buyer’s journey areas. Through this hyper-focus, PPC landing pages have a better shot at producing a conversion.
In order to help focus users on the conversion at hand when they arrive at your PPC landing page, you’ll need to eliminate distractions. One distraction that many businesses fail to eliminate is their site navigation. Below is a good example of a page that did away with site navigation.
The counter to the removing distractions school of thought is that as long as links still provide the user another way to engage with your brand, it is okay for users to leave the landing page.
However, this mindset is detrimental to accomplishing the one goal we previously discussed. The one goal you decided when creating the PPC campaign has a distinct monetary value, a step towards making money. As you can see from the example from Doodly, the best way to impel a conversion is to remove other choices for the user.
The usefulness of removing distractions doesn’t stop at just removing other choices. Removing choices, other forms of action, and distractions also helps us better understand the performance of a landing page when you review statistics and perform analysis.
When you create an ad to bring a user to your site to make a conversion, you want your user to convert or not convert. This sounds simple at first, but leaving site navigation on the site also leads to confounding variables.
Say a user decides not to convert, but decides to browse your website some more. When you’re measuring the success of that user converting for a specific PPC campaign, you’ve added another option for which you cannot account in terms of metrics by leaving site navigation on the PPC landing page.
Leaving the landing page and exploring other pages is still valuable to your business. And it could potentially lead to monetary value, but how valuable is that browsing caused by the site navigation?
Does browsing your website from the site navigation count as a half or a quarter conversion, or something in between? Any credit assigned would be a subjective and arbitrary value unless you really analyzed each visit individually. Additionally, we have no idea what the user actually did, unless we dig into the analytics of the user’s session (good luck performing that analysis for each of your campaign’s visitors).
If there’s anything you pick up from this section, it should be this: remove all other clickable elements aside from the conversion button. The reason is because your PPC campaign was created to measure the success of that conversion button being clicked. Any other actions available not only distract the user from converting, but also present problems with measuring the success of the campaign.
The goal of the headline is to grab the audience’s attention and transition from your ad to emphasize your product or service’s benefit. The headline can also be used to allude to or reference the CTA. A concise headline is best; it is preferable to use 10-20 words and no more.
Looking at awesome headlines is less useful when thinking in terms of PPC landing pages. The reason is that the headline depends largely on your targeted audience, the stage your audience is in in the buyer journey, the ad copy, and the offer.
You ideally want your landing page headline to summarize your offering and impel action by speaking to an audience’s pain points in as concise a manner as possible. These ideas – the offering, your audience’s pain points, your product or service’s features and benefits which solve said pain points – all come from the information gathered prior to the creation of the PPC campaign. Thus, this information should be readily available to translate into a high-performing landing page.
Additionally, the landing page should be playing off what you’ve already presented in the ad copy.
The subheadline provides additional information that the headline can’t provide, because the headline is focused on capturing the audience’s short attention span.
Here’s a chance to describe more features and benefits of your product or service. You may have even alluded to some of these features or benefits in the ad copy. Now is your chance to really sell them to your audience. (But don’t get too carried away by not being concise!)
If you have to choose between features and benefits, you definitely want to focus on benefits. When talking about the benefits of your product or service, it is important to empathize with your prospect. Put yourself into their shoes, and view their pain points or concerns through their eyes. Now, what are they looking for in a solution? Capture this feeling in your subheader.
I say feelings because the benefits can be subjective depending on the user, even though the features remain the same. Is it time you’re saving? Ease of use?
Because of our well-documented short attention spans, there are tricks to convey your message effectively – while competing with your user’s focus and their tendency to scan as opposed to read.
By listing or bullet-pointing your main ideas, you make it easier for the user to absorb the ideas you’re trying to convey.
Via Neil Patel
Being a PPC digital marketer also means being a product expert, because you can’t really persuade someone to convert or make an action that brings them closer to purchasing a service or product if you don’t know the value of the product.
Various surveys pinpoint price, shipping costs/speed, and discount offers as crucial factors users take into account when deciding to purchase on Ecommerce sites. Each industry is different, and you’ll want to really know the factors that contribute to your targeted audiences’ purchasing or converting behavior. Digital marketers can gather this information through customer surveys or interviews.
When you start to understand the most important factors in a prospect’s decision-making process, you can better speak to them on the values and benefits. Information is power, so don’t stop researching!
One of the key aspects to excellent PPC ad copy is closing with a clear and obvious CTA. Ad copy is basically transitioning responsibility to the PPC landing page by announcing the CTA.
The landing page finishes what the ad copy started with the closing CTA copy. Whether the call-to-action is:
The important idea is that the entire focus of the landing page should be the CTA, which is essentially the conversion. The idea cannot be reiterated enough that the whole point of a PPC campaign is centered on driving an action that has value. PPC campaigns are highly structured around carefully measuring costs and successes or revenue to optimize towards the most efficient outcomes possible.
Therefore, if a PPC landing page is not focused on the CTA, it is not doing its job – instead, it is costing the campaign money.
While multiple CTAs can distract a user from converting, this does not rule out the possibility of having multiple CTA buttons that correspond to the same CTA.
PPC is a numbers game, and in order to continually improve the performance of campaigns, you need the numbers to show whether certain aspects have improved or worsened performance.
Conversion tracking is an essential part of PPC campaigns. For PPC to work, measures of success are necessary to help digital marketers find ways of improving performance. Certain landing page components can help with that, such as destination URLs that track different aspects of a campaign.
By tracking keywords or certain audiences, PPC strategists can understand better which audiences or keywords perform better for which offers or landing pages. Similarly, tracking components can suss out which ad copy correlates better to certain landing pages in their relationship with conversion rates. While certain ad copy might have higher click-through-rates (CTR), they might not necessarily convert at the rate of other ads with a lower CTR.
By keeping track of all these data points, PPC managers gain insight and can improve different aspects to help all the components work together better. Standalone PPC landing pages help with this effort because their URLs represent a specific campaign with set variables that can label all the different factors for future reference.
Without a doubt, having reviews and testimonials can improve trust and credibility. These are two important factors that need to be overcome before users give important personal information, like their contact information or their credit card number.
Via Crazy Egg
Even negative reviews can help conversion rates because they signal authentic feedback, which can bolster the credibility of positive feedback.
However, as with every aspect of digital marketing strategy, each business is unique, and sometimes removing all reviews can help improve conversion rates. This is why you need to always be testing.
Many digital marketers use images just to use images. While not disastrous, this mindset breeds complacency in producing landing pages. Landing page design to maximize PPC performance is proactive, with each detail measured and thoughtful in how it contributes to the conversion.
The example above is for a high-end camera product. Using high quality photos and an awe-inspiring image of a photographer serves the end purpose of getting the user to purchase the camera product that will serve the converter in the same way (providing the benefit of helping the user produce high quality images of their own). While the images are awesome inherently, they also serve an important purpose – which is the main reason for their use.
The benefits of live chat software seem obvious: users get instant feedback on their questions, and if you can answer these questions satisfactorily, conversions should go up. The popularity of live chat software attests to this premise. But there can be pros and cons to offering live chat, depending on your resources and how you implement it. There are a variety of live chat software options.
Usually, if there are high barriers to converting – or there are lots of objections that need to be addressed – live chat can be a useful solution to keep the user on the landing page while further persuasion tactics are applied (i.e. the answers provided by live chat).
The important question to suss out is: are conversion rates improving by using live chat?
The use of white space can help increase comprehension, create a clean and uncluttered look, and keep the page goal-focused.
With increased white space and comprehension levels comes increased engagement levels – a key SEO ranking factor for Google.
You’ll want to find balance. While too little white space can cause confusion and enhance a feeling of disorganization within the user, too much white space indicates a lack of content.
Usually, though, there is room to immediately start testing different variations that will inevitably lead to stronger conversion rates.
Via Neil Patel
As you can see here, the subtlety at which space is added shows the power whitespace has in uncluttering your landing page copy.
The more salient certain aspects of your landing page, the easier it is for users to recognize where their attention should be – and the easier you can draw said attention and impel a conversion.
Via Online Marketing Institute
In this example, it is simply easier for the user to recognize where they need to click by the use of contrasting colors. While the actual color can vary in performance, the contrasting (or salience) factor is more important in drawing the user’s attention.
Simply put, the shorter the landing page, the better. Human attention spans are short, and the more your make them read or absorb, the greater the chance of them not converting as time passes.
Understandably, not everyone can have short and simple landing pages, because certain products or services can be more technical than others. Indeed, sometimes longer variations work better, as in this example.
Via Crazy Egg
In this example, the longer landing page performed over 50% better than the short landing page. Always. Be. Testing.
When considering landing page design layout, consider how users read content and use tools (like Hotjar) to design layouts based on common user heuristics, like an F pattern for scanning web pages.
F Pattern via Nielsen Norman Group
Z Pattern Via Best Buy
Users have a natural tendency in how they scan web pages, and you want your landing page to make this process as easy as possible – while still allowing your prospect to soak up all the useful information you’ve provided for them. Companies like Hotjar are allowing businesses to have greater insight than ever on how users interact with their landing pages.
It is important to take advantage of these information-gathering tools as much as you can, because the more you understand about the tendencies of your users, the better you’ll be at creating the best landing page to persuade them to take action.
The graph below lists reasons why users tend to not convert, which can be illuminating. While all the reasons hit on important variables to keep in mind for PPC landing pages, the top reason is the most relevant.
Driving a PPC prospect to conversion has a great deal to do with managing expectations. You’ve gone through the trouble of discovering who your targeted audience is and understanding their pain points. You’ve created ad copy to address said pain point with a CTA that motivates them to take action based on solving their problem or issue.
Once the prospect lands on the page, don’t disappoint or add new barriers to your messaging. You want to make it as easy as possible for the user to convert once they arrive to your landing page. Nothing will have them bouncing off your page faster than something they weren’t expecting.
The growing significance of mobile internet traffic is an old story by now. Indeed, mobile traffic exceeds desktop traffic. The bottom line is if you’re not optimizing for the mobile experience, especially when it comes to landing page development, you’re behind – possibly way behind.
Via Brandon Schulman
Site loading speed is crucial, and there’s loads of evidence that anything above 5 seconds loading time is suboptimal. After that, you’re just killing your campaign. This is probably the biggest adjustment to make for mobile landing page optimization.
Use tools like Google’s Page Insights tool to measure how fast your PPC landing pages are loading.
Limiting or compressing your images can help increase loading speed. You want to exaggerate the strategies listed above for mobile (i.e. even simpler and more concise messaging and layouts, especially for your forms).
Finally, always consider the user: be thumb-friendly and legible at arm’s length.
If you haven’t gotten a recurring theme throughout this landing page tutorial yet, it’s this: each business is different, and each situation is different. You won’t know what works best for you and your business until you test it out. A/B testing landing pages is probably the most important part of PPC landing page success.
Just like in life, use trial and error to determine the optimal strategy. Through A/B testing you can come up with infinite hypotheses based on the variables discussed above and see which one works best for your unique audience.
Not all landing pages are created equal. A PPC landing page was created with a specific PPC campaign in mind. As robotic and cold as it sounds, PPC landing pages have one focus: convert the website visitor.
To that end, PPC landing page design needs to be conversion focused from beginning to end. This singular focus is what separates other web pages from PPC landing pages, and as long as you have this mindset, PPC landing page development can be a straightforward and fun discovery process.