You put all kinds of work into creating a great pay-per-click ad, filling it with exactly the right keywords to catch the attention of your target market and drive them through to your sales copy. And then what? Well, if they simply go through to your homepage, you risk losing that sale.
Instead, deliver those click-through visitors to a custom-built landing page that focuses on the exact problem your customer is trying to solve when they click through your ad!
If your potential customers arrive at your landing page and see the search phrase they were looking for, they will stay longer on your site, which means a greater chance of becoming a customer, lead or opt-in.
Always remember that your visitors are looking for instant gratification. If they can't answer, "What's in it for me?" within the first eight seconds of their visit, you will likely lose the sale.
And as PPC advertising prices climb higher and higher, you need to make the best use of each click-through to increase your ROI.
So how do you create a landing page that sells?
1. Create keyword groups for each landing page.
The first thing you need to do is some keyword research. You can do this in your PPC search engine of choice, or using a tool like Wordtracker.
Make a list of your best keywords for your subject--the keywords that your target market is searching for.
Then, group your keywords by similarity, making sure that each group solves a particular problem for your audience. You'll want to use each group of keywords to create a separate landing page.
Let's say, for example, that you sell an e-book on dog training. You do your keyword research and come up with a list of dog training keywords.
The next step is to go through this list and organize your keywords into groups that focus on specific dog training problems. For example, you might decide to focus on keyword phrases like this:
How to Train Dog
Leash Training for Show Dogs
House Train Dog
Then, all you need to do is create one landing page for each keyword phrase. Of course, these keywords should also be the keywords you are bidding on in the PPC search engines.
Always make sure the content of your landing pages reflects exactly what your visitors will be looking for. If they click through an ad about puppy training and arrive at a landing page about training show dogs, they are likely to leave right away.
2. Build your landing page with a specific action in mind.
When you are building your landing page, you want to focus all of your energy on getting your visitor to take one action.
Do you want them to sign up for your newsletter? Or buy your product? Or enter a contest? Or give you feedback?
Whatever you do, don't complicate your page by attempting to do too much at once. Focus on the desired action, and use everything on the page to drive your visitor to take that action.
Make sure your navigation is not distracting or overpowering. Keep the process simple, and remove all clutter that distracts from your focus.
Imagine that your potential customer is standing behind you, reading your landing page copy over your shoulder and saying, "So what? What's in it for me?"
Every step of your landing page should drive this potential customer toward the desired action. That means including plenty of benefits, and always including a call to action that tells your visitor what to do next.
3. Optimize your landing page for the search engines.
The first thing your customers should see when they get to your landing page is your main keyword phrase as part of the headline. Of course, this is beneficial for search engine optimization, but try to make it as compelling as possible, too.
The key is to couple your keyword phrase with the biggest benefit your site has to offer. For example, if your main keyword phrase is "how to train a dog," your headline could be:
How To Train A Dog to Do Anything
-- In the Next 48 Hours!
You'll want to focus on your main keyword phrase ("how to train a dog") in your copy, too, but try to work in some of the other keyword phrases in your group. That means you'll want to use "why train your dog" and "how to train your dog" throughout your sales copy as well.
Here are some more tips for optimizing your landing page for the search engines:
Use your main keyword phrase to name the page location. For example, the page could be uploaded to: www.mysite.com/howtotrainadog.
Include your keyword phrases in your title tag and your meta description. You'll find these at the top of your HTML code, and the search engines generally use these tags to create the listings that show up in the search results.
Include some fun images, but don't distract your visitors from the desired action. And use your keyword phrases to name your images. Use the same phrase in your alt text as well.
Use formatting to emphasize your keywords. Use bold, italics, and highlighting to feature your keywords. This will help improve your SEO, but don't forget to emphasize the benefits for your readers, too!
Use your keyword phrase in your call to action. For example, your call to action could say: Click here now to order "How to Train a Dog to Do Anything You Want"!
So now that you know what you should include in your effective landing pages, let's have a look at what you need to avoid.
There are a few simple mistakes that people often make on their landing pages, and they pay for them dearly. If you can avoid these four mistakes, your landing pages will be far more effective at converting your click-throughs into sales.
Mistake 1: Don't make users have to register to see more information. Google AdWords frowns upon this practice and will usually either disallow your keyword or raise your cost per click on that keyword.
Mistake 2: Don't use duplicate content on your landing pages! Make sure all the information on your landing page is unique--not content given to you from affiliate sites or manufacturer descriptions. Duplicate content can severely damage your search engine rankings.
Mistake 3: Don't forget to have an opt-in offer to collect e-mail addresses on your landing page. Offer your visitors an incentive, like a newsletter, e-book, whitepaper or e-mail course so you can collect their e-mail addresses and market to them again and again after they leave your site!
Mistake 4: Don't forget to test your landing page. Testing is the key to the success of any online endeavor, and with PPC advertising and landing pages, it's absolutely crucial. Test different headlines, keyword groups, sales copy and different offers until you get the desired results.
Make landing pages part of your PPC campaign and watch your conversions fly!
Derek Gehl is Entrepreneur.com's e-business columnist and the CEO of the Internet Marketing Center. He has just released the completely updated 2008 edition of his comprehensive internet marketing guide, The Insider Secrets to Marketing Your Business on the Internet.
This story, "Convert Customers With a Perfect Landing Page " was originally published by Entrepreneur.com.