PPC Landing Pages
(Note: We recommend reading our lesson about Quality Score and the Google Slap, which provides some background information to this lesson)
In this lesson, we examine how to create effective PPC Landing Pages - those pages that your visitor arrives at after clicking on your AdWords ad. With the way AdWords is structured, it's possible to serve different landing pages for each ad you have running.
While it's not important that your landing pages are indexed by the search engines or search engine optimized, they do require a different kind of optimization: they need to be optimized to ensure the highest conversions possible. If you're spending $100 a day on getting visitors to your site, you at least want to be making $150 back.
There are a number of different tried and tested landing page models that work well for getting maximum conversions. We're going to look at four affiliate favorites.
The Single Product Review Landing Page
This style of landing page contains a review of one product, and nothing more, such as in this example from WoWBlackBook.
This type of landing page works particularly well for products with high brand recognition — for example, 'Toshiba laptop' or a popular Clickbank product such as 'Forex Autopilot'.
High brand recognition means that quite a number of people will be familiar enough with the brand name to search for it specifically.
Because people searching for a review of a specific product tend to be quite interested in buying already, this type of landing page usually converts well.
One thing you'll notice about this example is that it's quite short. This example gets rid of a few reservations that people might have about the product, lists the contents of Joanas's guide, finishes off by saying what a great product it is and provides a link to "learn more".
What it doesn't do is reveal too much - somewhat counter intuitively, the more comprehensive the review, the less likely it is the reader will click through and buy.
The reason for this is that in a longer review it's possible that you might unintentionally say something that puts the customer off. For example, you may mention that the product comes in red or white, but the visitor thinks: "Oh, but I wanted the yellow one I saw so and so with!" and clicks away. Whoops!
However, if you keep the review short and omit mentioning details like (for example) color, visitors are still likely to click through, and so the product owner may have been able to convince them that red is actually better (for example, by saying that the yellow version is actually an outdated model)
In general, a single product review should aim to be tantalizing, but not comprehensive. Leave it up to the product sales page to do the actual selling.
Multiple Product Review (Table)
The multiple product review is another winning landing page style, but for different reasons than the single product review; the table form review landing page works well for people who aren't sure what brand or version of a particular product they should be buying. This also makes the table view optimal for an affiliate who wants to sell a variety of similar products.
The table-form review doesn't require a great deal of detail; a price, list of stand-out features and a rating will usually suffice. Additionally, because you can compare a number of features quite easily in a table, this style of review works especially well for electronics and software.
The site Best DVD Burning Software Reviews is a good example of a table-style review. Note that the site owner has used a tick to indicate whether a product contains a particular feature, and a blank space to indicate that it doesn't.
One more small tip: blanks are better than crosses, which can unintentionally give a negative impression.
Multiple Product Review (Short Descriptions)
The short description style of landing page provides ratings and feature comparisons just like the table review. However, usually only 3 or 4 products are compared rather than up to 10.
This is a good style of landing page to use if there are a smaller number of products available on the market, or if the product doesn't really contain a lot of similar features that can be easily compared.
Once again, these reviews are usually very short - often less than 100 words. They provide a bit of information — enough to intrigue — but they don't reveal everything; the aim of this style of review is to make the visitor keen to find out more and click through to the merchant site to continue reading.
Weight-loss-books.no1reviews.com is an example of one way of setting out this type of landing page. This site also gives visitors the option of clicking through to read the full review, which is a good way of increasing the quality of your website with more content. On the downside, giving your user two options could potentially lower your conversions.
One other tip — and this applies to all types of review-style landing pages — make sure your first review is above the fold (ie it's visible on your page without having to scroll). We see so many people who make the mistake of writing a long introduction so that the first review doesn't appear until below the fold - it's not a smart thing to do because many people don't even bother to scroll. If you have to, you should even make the header of your website narrower to that you can fit more text into that first section.
The Squeeze-Style Landing Page
Unlike review pages, the squeeze-style landing page isn't only about sending traffic on to the merchant site. Instead it's more about the longer-term sales. The aim of the squeeze page is to get visitors to join your mailing list so that you can continue to sell to them down the track.
Squeeze pages are typically very short. They offer the visitor a free 6-part course or an instant eBook download on the subject of their interest, in return for entering their name and email address.
More recently, some affiliates have experimented successfully with offering videos as the incentive. They usually let people watch one straight away, and then ask them to enter their email address to watch the second one. Apparently, video squeeze pages work even better than regular ones. Although less people enter their email addresses overall, the ones that do are more qualified, and thus overall conversion rates are higher.
In another example — howtospeakspanish.net — the affiliate has styled the squeeze page similar to a sales letter, with a compelling headline, followed by a personal audio message, followed by some customer testimonials, and finally, the all-important squeeze box.
If done well, a squeeze page will earn you much more in the long run than a review-style landing page. When you build a list of emails, you are essentially creating an asset. Your list is extremely valuable because you can continue to market to these people down the track without further cost! Whereas, with a review-style page you are paying for each visitor, and if they don't buy, there's no second chance.
All this sounds like a pretty compelling reason to create a squeeze page, but it needs to be done well.
Unfortunately a lot of affiliates create squeeze pages and newsletter lists and then either bombard their list with spammy sales pitches (which ensure that people quickly unsubscribe), or they insult the intelligence of their list with poorly written, uninteresting emails, which is also a fast-track to making readers unsubscribe.
If you're going to build a squeeze page then, you must ensure that you're able to deliver top quality, valuable content to your readers that will keep them opening emails and paying attention to what you're saying - after all, you can't expose your readers to marketing messages if they're not even opening your emails!
If you are going to use a squeeze page, you need to be prepared to commit the necessary time and money to create a good quality newsletter series with punch. Fortunately, you don't necessarily need to write the emails yourself - Mark Ling recommends hiring local university students to write your articles for you; they're usually good at researching and writing and so quality tends to be higher than Elance (which, we've found, can be a bit hit-and-miss), plus they are reasonably cheap compared with professional writers.
The Right Landing Page for your Market
At this point you could be thinking: well that's great that there are several different landing pages to choose from — but how do I know which one I should choose?
In general, we prefer the review-style page because it lets you know a lot faster (and without forking out much cash), whether your campaign is working or not.
On the other hand, squeeze pages give you a better return in the long run, but they take quite a while to set up. All in all it could be 2 to 3 months before you start getting results.
But apart from time and cost factors, you also need to think about what's right for your market.
For instance, not every market suits a mailing list - in one Affilorama interview we did a while back, we discussed the amusing proposition of writing a newsletter series about mattresses. It's hard to see that there would be many takers! Reviews would clearly be much more appropriate for this market.
That said, it's possible to combine the review and the squeeze successfully. Some affiliates put their reviews at the top of the page and add a squeeze box below. Then if people don't click through on the reviews, they might decide to sign up for the newsletter.
In this lesson we took a look at creating effective landing pages for your PPC campaigns. We've looked at three main types including:
- Single Product Reviews
- Multiple product review laid out in a grid
- Multiple short product reviews
- Using a squeeze page
Remember, not every page is suitable for every market, so evaluate the time and cost of setting up the page against the potential return from the market, as well as whether the actual page is appropriate to the market.