Your landing page is the first impression people get of your business when they click on an AdWords ad, so stick to the best practices.
For anyone who has ever looked into running an AdWords campaign, it is no secret that Google tries very hard to filter out the “bad eggs” by forcing users to adhere to certain guidelines. That extends to landing pages. But even if your ad and landing page are approved, you still need to ensure that you have stuck to some landing page best practices in order to drive conversions with your campaign.
Your Homepage is Not a Landing Page
Technically, your homepage is a page on which visitors can land, but that does not make it a suitable landing page.
You should not be directing people to your homepage. Generally, people click on an AdWords ad because it relates to their search. You are advertising a product, service or bit of information about something relevant to the person searching on Google. Send them to the page that is most relevant to that search’s keywords.
If you expect people to start searching through your website after you have directed them to your homepage, you’re wrong. You’ll see a much higher bounce rate and lower time on site and pages viewed if you place the burden of finding relevant information on the visitor.
Include a Clear Call-to-Action
It might seem sales-y, but if you do not provide people with a clear means of getting in touch with you or letting you know that they want to take the next step, they won’t.
The process needs to be made as simple as possible. Show them a clear space designated for their email address, name, phone number or any other bit of information you want to collect. Again, make it as easy as possible for visitors to take the next step will result in a much greater likelihood that they do.
Give Plenty of Information
People hate being confused. There is a reason why Google best practices for ads does not let advertisers create ambiguous ads with lots of flash. (For example, an ad that reads, “Do you want to make money NOW?!?!” will certainly be rejected.) The same concept applies to your landing page.
Put yourself in the shoes of the visitor. You see an ad that looks enticing. You click on it. You arrive at a page with lots of big text and flashy images, but everything is cryptic in nature. Sentences like, “Looking for the next big thing?” and “You could retire when YOU want!” will scare people off. They scream scam.
Focus on providing people with as much information in the simplest format possible. They clicked on your ad because it appealed to what they were looking for. When they get to your landing page, it should tell them what you are offering and give them a chance to find out more. (See the CTA best practice above.)
Test Your Landing Pages
You should always test different landing pages to see what strategies work best. Little things like the placement of your call-to-action can make a big difference in your conversion rates.
Let each page remain active for enough time in order to determine what is working and what is not, then take what you have learned into account when creating a new campaign or landing page.
Allow for Social Sharing
When you include social sharing buttons on your landing page, you give your audience the opportunity to do some of your work for you.
If you are running a cost-per-click or cost-per-acquisition campaign, your costs can start to pile up. If you give your audience a chance to share your content to social networks, or invite their friends to sign up for your service, you are both cutting your AdWords costs down and creating brand advocates to create awareness for your new product or service.
Follow these landing page best practices in order to get the most out of your AdWords campaigns. The ad is just the first part of the process!
What other best practices can you think of when it comes to running a Google AdWords campaign? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter!