So you’ve reviewed your online marketing strategy, and you’ve decided that pay-per-click (PPC) is a good option for you. Great – we love PPC because it gets fast results, and is an effective testing bed for marketing messaging that informs other marketing channels.
What is your first step, then? Opening an Adwords account? Picking keywords? Thinking of ad copy ideas?
Your first step, once you’ve identified your business goals, should be landing page optimization.
Why landing page optimization (LPO), you may ask? Isn’t that the last step in the process?
Think of the landing page as your salesperson. It’s all well and good to run an ad campaign to drive people to your brick-and-mortar store, but if your salespeople can’t sell, you won’t get the results you want. In the online world, the landing page welcomes visitors to your site and encourages them to take action – just like a salesperson does in real life.
Here are 5 reasons why your PPC campaign should begin with LPO.
Reason #1: More conversions: leads, sales, or contacts.
As you may have guessed, the number one goal of a landing page is to generate a conversion, whatever that may be for your business. If you want to generate leads, the landing page should feature an online lead form. If you want to sell products, there should be an obvious “Add to Cart” or “Buy” button.
Remember, you’re paying for every visitor you get from PPC. Would you pay someone to come to your store and let them walk out without buying anything? Of course not. Online, you want to make it very clear what you want the visitor to do, which in turn will generate more conversions for you.
Reason #2: Better Quality Score.
Both Google Adwords and Microsoft adCenter assign a Quality Score to PPC accounts, campaigns, and keywords. In a nutshell, a higher Quality Score (QS) earns a better ad position and a lower cost per click. While keyword and ad copy relevance, along with click-through rate, are the biggest drivers of QS, landing page relevance and quality is also a factor. Landing pages that are all graphics, or that contain no content relevant to the search query, will hurt campaign quality scores. And it’s difficult to overcome poor QS once a campaign has started. It’s better to start out with a good landing page and a good QS, as this offers the best opportunity for good ROI.
Reason #3: Good ROI.
You’ve probably heard that PPC is one of the best advertising values for your money, because it’s easily measured and adjusted to meet your ROI goals. Remember, though – you pay for every click on your ad, so it’s easy to imagine that a less-than-optimal landing page may result in few conversions. Few conversions from visits you paid for equals less-than-optimal ROI.
Going back to the retail store example, you wouldn’t hide your merchandise behind 3 or 4 doors, and then throw it in a jumble with no price tags. Don’t do that with your landing page, either. Make sure the merchandise or service is clear on the landing page, along with the price and a clear call to action. Your bottom line will thank you.
Reason #4: Better SEO.
Wait, SEO? I thought this was a PPC post. It is – but the two are joined at the hip. A well-designed landing page not only generates great ROI from PPC, but is likely also very relevant from a search engine optimization standpoint. It’s not unusual for a page that ranks well in organic search to also get great landing page quality scores in PPC. The reverse is also true: a well-optimized PPC landing page also stands a good chance of ranking well organically and attracting those much-coveted free clicks from organic search.
Reason #5: Informative data for other channels.
At Fluency Media, we often use PPC not only to directly generate conversions, but as a test bed for other marketing channels . Because PPC campaign data is available so quickly, it’s a great way to test keywords and ad copy to find out what resonates best with your audience. Remember, the jargon you use in your business every day may not be the same words your target audience uses to describe your service. It’s more important to speak their language than to speak yours – and PPC can help you figure out what language they speak.
What’s great about all this is that the knowledge gleaned from PPC can then be utilized in other online and offline channels, such as SEO, Email, social media, and even print and TV. Spending a bit of time and money researching keywords and ad copy in PPC can help you avoid big missteps in other media, making all your advertising efforts more profitable.
Melissa Mackey is the Online Marketing Manager at Fluency Media. A veteran PPC marketer, she helps clients get maximum ROI from paid search. She’s also mom to boy/girl twins and an avid Michigan State Spartan alum and fan. Check back often to see more posts from Melissa at fluencymedia.com/blog