Landing Pages that Land Customers – CPC Part 3

Challenge: Visitors to your website are nice, but how do you turn them into buyers?
Lesson: Put yourself in your prospects shoes when reviewing your landing page? Does it sell the product or materials in a clear and compelling way? Would you fill out the form or complete the sale?

Challenge: Visitors to your website are nice, but how do you turn them into buyers?

OK – so you now have your ad groups, key words and offers working well for you.  You should see your click thru rate (CTR) increasing nicely.  Are your prospects converting on your website?  Can you get them to fill out a form and opt-in to communicating with your company? Can you get them to convert to a sale on your website?  Here is where landing page optimization comes into play.

When your prospect clicks on an ad, where will you take them?  Best practice dictates a landing page that encourages a sale or conversion, not your home page.  In some cases this may involve a two step process to qualify and then convert, but most frequently you will want to ask them for the sale or the form registration on that first landing page.  How to structure this page? There are several key elements to consider.

The first step to is your headline – or the large words listed on the landing page.  These need to reinforce the value proposition from the keywords the prospect used and your ad text. Inclusion of the keyword in this headline is a best practice, but can only be implemented if your ad groups are tightly organized for relevancy (see the entry on account structure). 

Next you want to consider a large image of the offer for this page.  What will the prospect get if they register or buy from you on this page?  Show them a large image of what they will receive – either the product, the whitepaper, the video demonstration, etc.  This large image is effectively your advertisement to encourage them to register – with supporting text.

Certainly the landing page copy needs to be well written text giving a description of the asset or product and what the prospect will learn or receive from registering.  I prefer brief text that supports both the ad that the prospect just clicked on and also supports the image on the page.  This tight linkage should confirm that they have arrived at the right location to learn more or purchase the product.  My bias from past campaigns has been for driving new leads for the sales team.  It is important to note that you may have a sales process where you need more education before a registration or purchase.  In this case you may need a landing pages focused on education versus lead generation. 

Finally, you need to have a simple and clear form for the prospect to complete.  Typically the landing page text will be on the left with the form on the right. This layout is common because people read web pages from top to botton and from left to right.  Ideally we hope that they will first read the text on the left and then fill out the form on the right.  Combining this with a clear call to action and a button draws the eye toward your objective and will help move more visitors from prospects to leads.

Here is a good example:

Here are a few links that do a nice job of describing landing page optimization:

Lesson:  Put yourself in your prospects shoes when reviewing your landing page?  Does it sell the product or materials in a clear and compelling way?  Would you fill out the form or complete the sale?

Special thanks to Lindsey Walsh for her assistance with this post.  You can contact Lindsey at: contact@searchengineppc.com.

Ad Groups, Ad Text, Offers, OH MY! – CPC Part 2

Challenge: My cost per lead is too high to support my sales objectives.
Lesson: Optimizing ad groups, key words, ad text and offers is an ongoing exercise which may take months and years to truly perfect – and even then requires constant attention and management.

Challenge:  My cost per lead is too high to support my sales objectives.

Now you have an account structure you like and is designed around your prospective customers.  Let the optimization begin!  No matter how well thought out your account, it can ALWAYS be optimized.  While campaign optimization could fill many books, here are a few common starting points to review to ensure you have covered the basics.

First you need to put all the wood behind one arrow – more succinctly, you need a tight linkage between your ad group, adwords in that ad group and ad text.  The more closely you can align the search terms your potential customers are using with the ad text you provide, the better your chance for success.  The implication?  You may need to divide your ad groups far further than you planned to achieve better results.  Most commonly, as you optimize your program you will be subdividing your ad groups to make them even more focused over time.  While this will increase your ongoing management effort, it will improve your overall results.

Review your keywords and don’t forget the power of negative keywords in these ad groups.  As you review the actual search terms, you may find they have meaning to search for other products.  You may want customers for web conference software – but clearly the word ‘conference’ could be used to search for a face to face event or venue.  You need to both clearly use keywords based on exact match or phrase match instead of the default broad match as well as add negative keywords.  Examples of negative keywords vary by industry, though most B2B companies could benefit from adding the following negatives to their accounts: home, consumer, personal, free, shareware, freeware, job, salary, position, and consultant.   For more information on using negative keywords, see this post by Lindsey Walsh.

Next, review your offers – are they really relevant to the keywords searched?  Is this offer something the potential customer would be interested in seeing or reading?  Is the offer too much of a lead – such as asking for a face to face meeting when the prospect is only just learning about the product or solution?

Another area that many people miss is the traffic distribution settings which declare whether your ads are shown only on a search results page for a relevant search or if they are also shown on the Content Network for web pages which mention your keywords.  While the Content Network can be an excellent source of traffic and leads, it needs to be managed in separate campaigns to allow for different bidding strategies.  If you didn’t make this choice specifically, Google opted you into the Content Network when you first set up your campaign.  Simply change your network settings and create a new campaign for the Content Network if you still want to pursue that traffic – but beware that your results may be very different than the search results.  More information on the Google Content Network is posted on the AdWords blog.

Lesson: Optimizing ad groups, key words, ad text and offers is an ongoing exercise which may take months and years to truly perfect – and even then requires constant attention and management.

Special thanks to Lindsey Walsh for her assistance with this post.  You can contact Lindsey at: contact@searchengineppc.com.

Even the House Google Built Needs a Good Foundation – CPC Part 1

Challenge: How do I get started with AdWords?
Lesson: Review the structure of your account to make sure you have aligned to the needs of your target audience.

Challenge:  How do I get started with AdWords?

If you are just getting started or looking at optimizing your ad words campaign, the first step is to review the structure of your account.  Pay per click advertising is built upon relevance.  The reason that Google achieved dominance as a search engine is because their results were more frequently relevant than the competition. This emphasis on relevance carries through to the structure of your ad words campaign.  Your ads need to show up on searches that are directly relevant for your search offering.  The first step in achieving relevance starts with the structure of your account.

Campaigns set the boundaries within your account.  Budgets, geography & language settings, and traffic distribution all are set on the campaign level.  Within a campaign, you can create one or more ad groups, which are used to segment out groups of keywords and ads.  Each ad group should be a focus area for relevancy so that ad text can be linked to the keywords within an ad group.  Bidding happens on the ad group and keyword level, allowing you to group keywords that might be more or less expensive for easier tracking.  Negative keywords and sites can be added at either the campaign or ad group level depending on the amount of fine tuning you’d like to provide.  Any tracking URLs can be placed within ads, thus targeting the ad group level, or on individual keywords. 

So what do you place at the campaign versus the ad group level.  Google has a great posting that explains these tradeoffs. While it is difficult to later make structural shifts between ad groups and campaigns, it is not impossible – so don’t stress out.  But do think about what tests you may want to run or budgets you may want to set to help guide your decision.  There is also a graphical depiction of this structure .  As a final thought, you may also want to consider using different campaigns to manage Google’s Content Network (discussed in another post) compared to traditional Google search results.

Lesson: Review the structure of your account to make sure you have aligned to the needs of your target audience.

Special thanks to Lindsey Walsh for her assistance with this post.  You can contact Lindsey at: contact@searchengineppc.com.

The Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating

Challenge: Turning Prospects into Active Buyers

Lesson: Online demonstrations qualify your prospects and excite them to take further sales actions making the entire sales process more efficient.

Challenge: Turning Prospects into Active Buyers

Your prospects buy your solution to solve a problem. Nothing better demonstrates your solution’s key attributes and its ability to solve that problem than an actual demonstration. Think about late night infomercials. These programs show products being used and how they’ll enhance the lives of potential buyers. They quickly get to the point with a dramatic demonstration – the absorption power of some new patented cloths, the ease with which new mops pick up dirt and liquid, or the rapid pace at which one can lose weight using the diet pill or exercise program being pitched.

Demonstrate how your solution will make the lives of your prospective customers better. Remember that there are two slightly different, but related, value propositions. The first is the impact that your product will have on the prospect. How will your solution make their work day easier or better? What problem do you solve for them? The second value proposition is how you assist the prospect’s company overall. This proposition will assist them in making the case to their superiors.

Your demonstration must be delivered at a convenient time and in a suitable venue for your prospect. Most often, this venue is the Internet, and the demonstration is in the form of a web demonstration – live or recorded. The prospect can see the product in action and ask questions. The early stages of your lead development programs (e.g., initial email series) should be designed to drive prospects to these demonstrations. Ideally, these program components should demonstrate how your product will make your prospects’ lives easier and also pay dividends for their company. The combination of these two benefits will help start true sales engagement because now the prospect has personal motivation and a way to ‘sell’ your solution inside the company.

Finally, these demonstrations offer a way to scale your lead qualification efforts as this first step is an important step in driving sales accepted leads. If your lead development reps ensured that all prospects have already seen this introductory demonstration and then further qualified the prospects, imagine how much more productive your sales team will be throughout the rest of the sales process. Prospects will be highly qualified and they will be on a faster sales track, making your sales process more efficient.

Lesson: Online demonstrations qualify your prospects and excite them to take further sales actions making the entire sales process more efficient.

Tradeshows – Opportunity or Black Hole?

Challenge: Tradeshows can be an effective component of a marketing plan, or they can be a black hole for time and money. The challenge comes in determining one from the other.

Lesson: Less is more. Select fewer shows but analyze them completely before attending, and perform a post mortem every time to see if you achieved your objectives.

Challenge: Tradeshows can be an effective component of a marketing plan, or they can be a black hole for time and money. The challenge comes in determining one from the other.

A number of years ago, tradeshows were a place where business deals were struck and sales contracts were signed. Since the dot-com burst and the 9/11 tragedy, there has been a general downturn in tradeshow attendance. There are divergent objectives from every source: attendees, exhibiting vendors, resellers, consultants, job seekers and others. How do you determine if whether or not to attend a show?

The primary benefits of a tradeshow for the exhibitor include a multitude of opportunities, such as: sales leads, reseller recruitment, press/analyst relations, employee recruitment, awards and competitive assessment. There are certainly additional advantages, but these cover the main benefits. Creating a list of all the direct and indirect costs for a show is relatively straight-forward: floor space, travel, booth rental/creation, travel, shipping, demo development, signage, etc. The challenge is quantifying the benefits  before you agree to exhibit. Create a list of measures you will use to evaluate the show before you sign up, such as:

  • Sales Leads/Opportunities:  # leads, # opportunities and revenue
  • Reseller development: # new resellers, training of current resellers, reseller program rollout
  • Employee recruitment: # of interviews, # hires
  • Awards:  specific awards your organization will qualify for and apply for, with a good shot at winning
  • Press/Analysts:  # briefings, # articles,
  • Consultants: # briefings, # sign ups

Once you decide to attend, you’ll need a detailed show plan that takes into account who is attending, their function and what you expect from them. You can’t achieve your goals without specific action plans designed to address each of the show dates.

Also, keep in mind there’s a benefit to continuity—attending the show year after year, that is. Your second attendance at the show will be much better than the first – as long as you take detailed notes and perform a post mortem with input by all involved – from sales, channels, marketing, etc. Generally speaking, I would recommend doing fewer shows and doing them more completely with the analysis above. Year over year, you will have a stable of shows that work very well for the company and can then experiment with a few new shows each year. Sure, some will be duds, but others will turn into long-term successes that will add significant value. At the end of each show, ask yourself – did we get the value we expected? This will guide not only your decision on whether to attend again, but also on which other shows may perform well in the future.

Lesson: Less is more. Select fewer shows but analyze them completely before attending, and perform a post mortem every time to see if you achieved your objectives.