Bad bad landing pages.
Why your spend on Adwords is high, and yet your conversions low.
If you are running an online ad, you need to have a landing page. That is the first thing any digital marketer would be able to tell you. A landing page is a page on your website the person clicking the ad is directed to, by Google, Facebook etc. The biggest mistake you could be making when running online campaigns is not having a landing page whatsoever. If a visitor clicks on your ads and is directed to the homepage of your website, there is an extremely high probability that you would not see a conversion. That is the biggest mistake, though not the only mistake you could be making.
The last 48 hours I have been doing some research on one of the hot segments in the Indian startup ecosystem, and to understand what different players have been doing, I was running a bunch of search queries on Google and checking out the ongoing ad campaigns different businesses have, and the landing pages they direct to. What I was discovering in the process was not always encouraging.
FIRST, WHY CAN’T YOUR LANDING PAGE BE YOUR MAIN HOMEPAGE?
If your landing page and your homepage are the same, then either you haven’t designed your homepage well, or you haven’t put much thought in what your landing page needs to have.
You would ideally want your homepage to give a bird’s eye view of what your business does, what value it is offering to the customers, and give them some sense of why they should choose to transact with you. It is broader by design. Put in place to cater to a wider base of audience, answer their questions, address their concerns, and help them move along to an advanced stage of decision making. A landing page, on the other hand, is designed with a very specific intent, talking about a very specific facet of your business, solving a very very specific and localized pain point for a very targeted segment of your overall audience base. A landing page is surgical in nature. It targets a very specific area for very precise action — keeping any and all distractions at bay.
SO…HOW DO YOU MAKE BETTER LANDING PAGES?
By remembering the surgical nature of landing pages! Target a specific area, with the intent to drive a very particular and precise action.
Let us take an example to illustrate it better.
Assume you are a business that helps people with their investments — mutual funds and the likes of it. Consider a scenario where you know a large percentage of your target audience would be looking for places to invest their money in to cut down on the taxes they owe for the current financial year. What do you do?
One option would be to run an ad copy that simply talks about “making your tax-saving investments”, and redirecting consumers to a page where the different options are available to them. The problem with that approach is that you are leaving the hard work to your consumers. You are just presenting them with an array of solutions available to them. You may give the consumers the platform via which they can make the said investments, or you could simply ask them to provide them with their contact details so that you can reach out to them later. While this will result in conversions for your business, the results would be sub-par. Why? Because in all likelihood, you would end up directing the potential consumer’s attention to the need to do some extensive research on the different options you just presented them with. To sum it up, you just extended the decision-making process for the consumer. Now. He may end up doing the research, or he may end up delaying it to a point in time where taking action is critical and he will end up choosing one option — either with you, or with someone else that comes up in his mind, or pops up first during a research done at that moment. In all, you are facing a real risk of ‘loss of business’.
So. What would be a better landing page here?
Something that directs his attention to a particular financial instrument, gives him reasons to be comfortable in choosing that instrument and helps him close that transaction — without the need of further intervention by people he would turn to for research/advice, be it Google, friends and/or family.
A quick search on Google presented this image, so let me use this image to illustrate my point.
Say, you want to make a landing page that will help more customers invest into ELSS. A variation of this image would be a good starting point (you will need to build up on this image to make your case, but the following points will help):
- You tell him that ELSS is an instrument option available to him.
- You tell him that historically, ELSS is the instrument that has been preferred by most taxpayers out there. (You could even narrow it down further to “86% consumers invested in ELSS — sample size: men between the age of 22–30, living in metros”) → This provides social proof/validation
- You would then tell him of some historical data to show how ELSS investments help grow his invested capital → help him visualize wealth creation.
- You would show them why YOU are a preferred medium for him to make this investment → value of assets managed by your company, number of people who have chosen to invest via you, % growth your business has witnessed in terms of number of consumers and/or size of assets managed
- You showcase your credibility by citing media coverages and/or customer testimonials → remember, you are someone the prospect customer has probably little information on, but he would trust a brand that has received positive feedback, especially by media houses. Don’t just link to stories, highlight segments of the stories that will help underscore that trust and credibility.
- And finally, give them a way to make that transaction — either there itself or by connecting with someone from your team.
What do you not do?
- You do not talk about all the other things your business can do for him. You know there is something on his mind at the moment, and you should try your best to leverage that attention to help him convert to a transacting customer. Upselling can wait.
- You do not leave him hanging. You do not ask him to do all the hard work of research etc on his own and then come to you and hand you their money. You need to make sure you are doing the heavy lifting for him.
- You do not ask him to transact before you have addressed his concerns and questions he may be having. I have come across landing pages that ask for your contact details in the first fold itself. Don’t do that. You are simply wasting precious real estate. Why would a customer who is not yet sold on a concept make an action? I actually have come across a landing page that was an actual “sign-in” form. Really??
SO. WHAT IS THE FLOW?
A. Start with the right set of questions. What do you want your customers to do? Who are the target customers for this landing page? This will decide not just with the landing page design, but will also help you with the ad copy, ad targeting etc.
B. Focus on the customers now. What kind of questions would they be having when they come to this page? What concerns will they have? What information would help them the most, and in what order?
C. What action do you want the visitors to make after having gone through the ad, and the landing page. Did the landing page have enough information to help them make that decision? Was the information presented in the right manner and with the right flow and intensity to help drive that decision?
IT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU THINK
The conversion rate of your ads, the amount of money you will be spending on acquiring each customer, how well your ads would perform, how RoI positive your campaigns would be — it will all be linked to a well-designed landing page.
And if you play your cards right, your ads would rank higher even after bidding lesser than your competitors. ;-) But that is a long and separate topic of discussion altogether. So let’s talk about it some other time.