If you’re a professional in the field of SEM, there’s no doubt that you’ve experienced competition on Google AdWords and Bing Ads. It’s becoming more and more difficult to maintain the same position, and your CPCs are likely under pressure from competitors.
There’s a ton of stuff you can do to combat this trend, including ad copy testing, smart bid management, exploration of ad extensions, smart adoption of match types, casting a wide net (the Wide Tail as coined by David Rodnitzky), and more. However, let’s say you’ve done all of the above and still need more leverage. This is where smart landing pages come into play. In my opinion, landing page testing is the secret weapon of PPC professionals in 2013 and beyond. Following are some tips to get the most out of your landing page testing!
Tip #1: Always Test New Landing Pages
You can never stop! Even if you are ahead of the game, you will quickly fall behind if you ever stop testing. Just as with ad copy, make sure to constantly test new landing pages. Have a great system in place to evaluate success. Get ready for many failures. Have smart safety checks in place so you do not place your business at risk.
Tip #2: Consider a Landing Page Testing Platform
Do you build and test landing pages in-house? Do you have sufficient resources? Are you making quick process, with great measurement? If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” you may want to consider an outside platform. Landing page testing platforms put you in the driver’s seat and offer serious leverage. Some of them can even offer agency services to help you design and build new tests!
Tip #3: Measure The Entire Funnel
When testing ads on Google AdWords, I recommend measuring success from impression to conversion on your site. If you just look at CTR, you are missing half the picture. A high-CTR ad may have a seriously low conversion rate on your site. Similarly, you need to measure landing page tests all the way from the initial page view to a conversion on your site. If you landing page is the first in a long flow, you want to understand its impact on the entire funnel.
Tip #4: Make Your Pages Dynamic
Consider some really neat dynamic tests. For example, maybe you can show a real-time feed of transactions happening on your site. Or, you can have the number-of-customers tally increment in real time as transactions are happening. The UPS page below highlights the states/territories closest to the user:
Maybe you decide to take a more simplistic route where you detect IP and present a geo-specific experience. Whatever you test, it’s all about being relevant to the customer at hand and also making the landing page experience evoke customer confidence. Dynamic elements, such as the ones mentioned here can help with that.
Tip #5: Consider Incorporating Social Media Elements
I’m a big fan of social media incorporation on landing pages for two reasons. First, you may inspire a higher conversion rate by adding credibility. Second, you may drive more +1s and fans. The key here is to measure carefully and make sure you are not implementing social media in a way that could distract prospective customers from making a purchase. Check the top of this page for unobtrusive ways to share:
Tip #6: Focus On Credibility
How long have you been in business? How many customers have transacted on your site? How good is the security on your site? Make sure to include trust seals and also marketing statements that prove your credibility. Nobody wants to make a purchase from a site they do not fully trust.
Tip #7: Consider a Minisite Landing Page Experience
Landing pages should be targeted with minimal distractions. However, many consumers want to drill down on a more specific topic. How do you get more information across without lowering your conversion rate (and hopefully increasing your conversion rate)? I recommend testing minisite landing page experiences that consist of multiple pages. These work especially well with Google AdWords and Bing Ads sitelinks. Consider having each sitelink direct to a specific page within the minisite.
Tip #8: Don’t Forgot The Basics
I hope these tips help out. Best of luck with your landing page testing in 2013 and beyond!