If you don’t know what you are doing, setting up Google AdWords can feel a lot like playing a slot machine in Vegas. You keep paying and paying, and nothing happens. Meanwhile, the experienced retired grandmother in the Wayne Newton t-shirt finds the right machine, slaps in a dollar token, and wins $5000.
Several key steps to improve PPC performance include finding the right keywords, setting up negative keywords, and writing compelling copy. But the ad itself is just half the equation. Another key element is the page the customer lands on after clicking the ad. When considering landing pages, Offermatica CEO Jamie Roche classifies them in three categories:
- Home page-like landing pages:
Sometimes, your best bet is to frame the landing page with the standard home page components. This doesn’t mean that you don’t target the product or offer, or limit options in order to be relevant, but you would want to be heavy on branding, trust statements and imagery that reflect a visitor’s desire to talk to you as a company. Your goal is to get people to self-identify as quickly as possible. On comparison shopping sites, for example, you might try to discover if the visitor is interested in news, reviews, or price comparisons. Visitors arriving from the keywords you designated as “brand” words or relatively broad categories like “loans” could be sent to this type of landing page.
- Offer-based landing pages:
These pages are very offer-specific with a goal of convincing visitors to act on the interest they’ve already expressed by clicking on the original ad. These pages have more limited navigation or off-linking. For a retailer, there is the classic product page, with a product shot, pricing, features, and other elements. For lead generation and direct marketing, this type of page will usually hit the major selling points and get you started on the order form or application. For publishers, this could be an article that has advertising or other links to content. In all cases, reinforce the source of traffic and experiment with the balance between focus on the offer and availability of off-links and branding elements.
- Category landing pages:
When somebody has clearly shown an interest, but the interest is in a relatively unstructured area, such as “loans” or “jeans” or “concerts,” your goal is to funnel them more deeply into your content or offering. You might do this by grouping information in a way that allows them to make choices based on their own preferences for searching — for example, by price, theme, editor’s recommendations, most popular, etc. Visitors from the terms you designated as “category” words would be sent to this type of page.
When looking at your ads and keywords, try to classify each one in one of these categories. This will make it much easier to create effective landing pages.