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Is Your PPC Or Adwords Campaign Crashing On The Landing Page?

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By John Krycek

What is a good landing page? The crucial half of a PPC campaign most people don't know about.

Google Adwords, Yahoo (formerly called Overture Sponsored listings) and other Pay Per Click (PPC) companies give you the chance to get your ad or search listing at the top of the pack, right up front and perfectly matched to the searcher's query. With a clever and catchy, attention grabbing ad or headline you can win the viewer in that critical split second he has to decide to click.

He clicks, you score! Right? WRONG! If you can get that click on a focused, targeted keyphrase and ad headline, you should feel very good. You're halfway there. But, where does he land? On your home page? On the specific product page if you have an online store?

The page where the viewer lands is called a "landing page" or "destination page." It is equally as important as your ad headline and copy, if not more. Most sales, conversions, or leads that cost hard cash to Adwords or Yahoo are often lost because of poor, or non existent landing pages.

Why can't I just send my adword clicks to my Home page?

You can. But what if you walked into a five-story department store with no sales people-- You're looking for a very specific sweatshirt with a Penn State Logo that you saw at a football game. You know the sports shop out in the mall will have it, but you've got a store credit card so you'd like to get it here. You're also holding onto two toddlers who are losing their cuteness very quickly because they want the Happy Meals you promised on the way home.

So there you are in an endless sea of perfume counters. You want a sweatshirt. Maybe it's in the men's section...but where is that? Or maybe it's in Active wear... would that be with the men's stuff? And where are the escalators?!

"Forget it," you think, and walk out to the sports shop in the mall, buy your sweatshirt and are on your way to Micky D's in less than 10 minutes.

Your homepage is the department store. It doesn't matter if you're selling a product, service, or giving away free information. You have sections and categories which are probably very well marked and labeled.

However, your Google Ad or Sponsored listing was specific. It advertised a precise thing in about 70 characters or less. People don't care about your home page. They expect to see what they were searching for as soon as they click. Don't you?

So let's say your ads lead to specific destination pages of your site. What's on those pages?

Destination Page Overview

For Pay Per Click, your destination pages are absolutely critical. They are the second half of the sales pitch. Just having the adword or PPC land on the product page is not enough. First, you have to get someone to your site.

Remember the number of hits you get on a PPC or Google Adword is an ever-increasing expense if you don't turn that click into a sale and the only sales person you have is the page at the end of that click.

You've got to convince someone quickly, "at a glance quickly," why they should buy from you and not the ad above or below you. Think of your own web searches. You have seconds to entice that viewer to read more, or lose them.

Build the page around a SINGLE goal incorporating:

• Well written content describing in clear detail what you are offering

• Organization to make a fast read or "scan" of the page convey as much information to the viewer as possible. Use bullet points and straightforward language to make reading as easy as possible

• Show the benefits to the potential customer. Details that the viewer can relate to on a personal, even emotional level are what makes this page have a much better chance of getting a lead, conversion or sale. It must show all the properties that make you better than the rest. Don't be arrogant, but make the reader feel they will be secure, better and confident if they buy, fill out a form, or perform the action you're after.

• KISS- "Keep it simple, stupid" applies here too. If you don't need a country and a phone number in your form, keep them off. Make it easy and simple for your viewer.

Remember, when you land on a page, you ask "WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME?"

Destination Page Construct

• The first step is to provide the viewer with what he's looking for immediately. Next, show him the features of the product.

• Most importantly, what is the benefit to the potential customer? Why should he buy from you? What will he gain by buying from you?

• If you're selling a product that is very similar to other competing products, you need to focus your sales message on what makes your product unique. What are the unique benefits for your customer?

• Anything that can steal focus from your objective risks losing a conversion. This includes other products, details not related to the main idea, and even the navigation system you use throughout your site. Don't give the viewer the option to go anywhere else but to a form, buy button or call to action.

• Each destination page should have a single, obvious goal that gently tells the customer what to do. Don't try to cross sell or sign up for a newsletter and send an e-card. Stick to one goal.

• Some people might be looking for the specific product and buy from you. But for those that are questioning and/or first time buyers, don't give them a chance to question your credibility.

•The phone number and email address should appear (not obnoxiously)enough times that they're always visible when the page is scrolled. It's a proven fact, if someone has to search for how to contact you, you lose some potentials.

Destination Pages and the Unique Selling Proposition

A concept developed in 1961 still holds merit today and is a great check for the underlying tone of your landing page. That is the "Unique Selling Proposition" by Rosser Reeves. The concept explains how every company should strive to show how it differs and surpasses its competition.

It consists of three concepts that should be applied to your advertisement (or adword) and your destination page.

1. Tell the consumer what benefits you will be giving him. ? "Buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit."

2. The benefits have to be unique to your product. Something that separates you from what the competition has to offer. If your products are sold by competitors too, find something that distinguishes YOUR company.

3. The proposition must be so strong and convincing that it can move the millions (attract new customers).

To be successful, you'll need to research and build a campaign, then watch and modify, test and retest different changes, words, prices, etc. I want to stress the importance of this.

The same testing, observing, tracking and revising apply to landing pages as they do to ads and headlines themselves. It can save you a lot of money. If you're not careful you can run up thousands of dollars in PPC and adwords with insignificant sales or leads.

About The Author: John Krycek is a creative director at theMouseworks.ca Toronto Web and Full Service Internet Marketing Studio. Learn about search engine optimization and internet marketing, in easy, non-technical, up front English at www.themouseworks.ca