As I’ve written before, good landing pages are essential to a well-run pay per click marketing campaign. When it comes to highly targeted paid search traffic, your website homepage usually isn’t going to be as effective as effective as a single-purpose landing page.
The reason is, your website is catering to all kinds of users: existing customers, potential customers, people looking for support, job-hunters, Google robots, and more. That means lots of content and interlinked pages for various purposes.
A PPC landing page, on the other hand, should be focused on a specific kind of visitor, usually prospective customers, with the purpose of generating conversions. Read this post for more about the difference between your web site and landing pages. I’ll wait!
So, since you know landing pages are important and want to use them for your PPC accounts like Google AdWords and Bing Ads, the question is: What’s the best way to create good landing pages?
Well, if you’re working with a PPC agency, your agency should be taking the lead on landing page design and production.
Building Landing Pages In-House = Lots of Resources
If you’re running a company or a marketing department, chances are you’ve got a lot on your plate. Designing and building even simple landing pages on a standard website platform can be a huge task that consumes developer resources and requires a lot of coordination with other parts of the company.
And that’s just the technical and logistical challenge. You also need landing pages that are beautiful and conversion-focused.
Some companies assign landing pages to a design team, but this isn’t always the best solution either. Most designers are not up-to-date on how to design an effective and high converting page and the intricacies of A/B testing and statistical analysis are well outside their expertise.
As much as my design sensibilities protest, there are design rules that have to be broken in order to maximize conversions. For more on this, Unbounce has a great post on how designers have to be trained on CRO before they’re effective landing page builders.
This is why we put a lot of time and effort into making sure the design team at Disruptive is well-versed in conversion rate optimization best practices. It makes a huge difference for our clients!
Once you’ve created your landing page, you also need to implement a program of A/B testing for proper conversion rate optimization. After all, what are the odds you created the perfect page the first time? You should be testing variants upon variants under the watchful eye of someone who understands how to analyze that kind of data, which also consumes a lot of resources.
Bringing in Yet Another Company Isn’t the Answer
All these challenges we’ve discussed are why it’s extremely helpful to work with a company that has expertise in building landing pages. However, bringing in a landing page specialist can create its own unique problems when you’re trying to coordinate between them and other vendors like your PPC Agency.
Testing Clashes: If your PPC company is doing their job right, they’re constantly testing new ad copy, keywords and strategies. However, changes like this can affect how traffic converts on your landing page. If your PPC company is doing a test while your landing page agency is testing something else, and then you get negative results, you have no idea what’s to blame.
That mystery is not awesome. You need to be coordinating tests, which is difficult when you’re working with two different companies.
Message Mismatch: This is an even worse problem to have. Message match is the coordination of words and visual elements between your ads and your landing page. Strong message match reassures the visitor that they’re in the right place and reduces bounce rates, while poor message match is jarring and disorienting.
Here’s an example from Oli Gardner of terrible message match.
Lenovo decided to jump in the Gmail Sponsored Promotion train and promote a specific laptop. Unfortunately, the landing page went here…
Not only did they plop you on a page with five different laptops, they’re not even showing the laptop listed in their Gmail text ad!
Now, I don’t know if this happened because of separate agencies or departments handling ads and landing pages, but this kind of situation is common when trying to coordinate between agencies. Small tweaks can create disparities, like an ad mentioning a 20% off deal that doesn’t apear on the landing page. The result is high bounce rates and few conversions.
The Solution: A PPC Agency That Does CRO
You want every part of your online marketing campaigns to be seamless, so I recommend working with an agency that combines PPC and CRO.
For example, at Disruptive Advertising we offer custom landing pages as an option with all our PPC management packages. From the very first PPC audit to when we take control of an account, we’re thinking about landing pages and conversion rate optimization as much as we are about PPC account management.
When we kick off a new client, we often include a CRO designer in the meeting to get a feel for a client’s branding, goals and previous marketing efforts. Then, as we’re building our PPC campaigns we’re also creating custom landing pages that align closely with them from day 1.
Our Account Strategists also trained to do regular A/B tests for headlines, form headers, call to action buttons, content, and more. That means that the same person who’s working on your AdWords account every day also has the ability to create and edit landing pages.
For us, handling landing pages as well as PPC account management is more than a sales pitch, it’s a fundamental part of how we approach effective Paid Search marketing. Being able to control everything from keywords to ad copy to landing pages means we can ensure the closest possible message match. We can test new variants carefully and consistently in a way that’s just not possible when you’re trying to communicate across companies or agencies.
The truth is, you could have the best agency in the world at managing AdWords; but, without the ability to carry out true conversion rate optimization, they’re operating with a hand tied behind their backs. Similarly, the best landing page in the world won’t help if it’s not closely aligned with your PPC strategy.
Hopefully, you now understand why it’s essential that your PPC agency has a strong background in Conversion Rate Optimization. If you’re not getting the results you’re looking for from your current agency or in-house efforts, send us a message and we’ll do a free PPC and CRO audit on your accounts to determine how exactly we can help you.
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