How to Create the Best Landing Pages for Your Google AdWords Account
Creating Quality PPC Landing Pages
You can have an SEM account with hundreds of thousands of keywords that each have fantastic click-through rates (CTR) but without quality landing pages, you will never fully optimize your CPA and never reach your true money-making potential.
Landing Page Layout via Unbounce
I have put together some guidelines to help you create the best PPC landing pages for your AdWords account.
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1. Establish your goals.
The first step in creating quality landing pages is to establish your marketing goals to decide what you are trying to accomplish. Do you want sales, form fills, mailing list registrations, sign ups, etc.?
Once you have established what you are trying to accomplish with your campaigns and ad-groups, do some competitive research. Check out your competitors’ landing pages and look up some templates to see how you can design your pages.
2. Consider your target market …
Think about who is coming to your landing page. Consider their demographics, location, interests, etc.
3. … And how they got there.
You should not use the same message to target viewers from PPC that you would use if they came from social media or email nurturing campaigns. Considering how your viewers got to your page should influence and change the messaging you use to close them.
4. Create dedicated landing pages for each ad group (if possible).
In a perfect world each ad group would have its own dedicated landing page. However not all of us have the time or resources to do this. My advice is to do your best.
Start with one landing page per campaign. As you have the time to build a new page, add it in and slowly convert your ad groups to all have specific targeted landing pages.
5. Don’t lead traffic to your home page.
People are inherently lazy. The more hoops you force them to jump through the less likely they will convert. That means less leads, less sign-ups, less sales, less $$$$. Instead of leading people to your homepage, test out driving traffic to a more targeted, conversion-optimized landing page (see below).
6. Optimize your landing pages for conversions.
- Keep the page clean and easy to read. Don’t overload your visitors with all the information in the world. Keep it short and sweet and give them exactly what they are looking for.
- Make it easy for your traffic to convert and give them multiple ways to do it. The goal of a landing page is to build trust and have your traffic convert.
- You don’t need your visitors’ entire biography. Instead try asking only for the information you need most. This will appear as less risk to your visitors and will lead to higher conversion rates.
- Use clear calls to action along with arrows and catchy text while avoiding a “scammy” look. Depending on your marketing goals you should consider putting your phone number at the top of the page, adding a form directly to the page, or allowing a purchase to be made directly from that page.
- Use persuasive copywriting techniques and "power words" that inspire visitors to take action.
7. Always Be Testing – “Coffee is for closers”
If you have ever been in sales or seen the movie Glen Gary Glen Ross you will surely remember the acronym “A.B.C. – Always-Be-Closing” and the Alec Baldwin quote, “Coffee is for closers.”
Take these two sales terms to heart. Your landing page is your last chance to close the sale. But unlike traditional sales you do not have the flexibility to try different angles like any good salesman would.
Your solution: “A.B.T. – Always-Be-Testing”. In the same fashion you would test out ad text, A/B test landing pages using Google Experiments (the tool formally known as Website Optimizer). This will allow you to change and test single variables such as headlines, imagery, body text, and calls to action evenly over time.
8. Avoid Common mistakes during testing.
The biggest mistakes I see made in regards to testing are not allowing your tests to run for significant amounts of time and stopping after one test.
Stay patient and pull in as much data as possible before declaring a winner, then use that data to set up ongoing tests against the winner to find and display the best possible advertisements and effective landing pages you can.
9. Allow visitors to share.
Finally, you are not in this alone. The strongest messages will not come from you; they will come from your customers. Make it easy for them to brag about their purchase and share their experiences by adding links to all types of social media. The most successful companies in the world do it, why shouldn’t you?
Creating excellent PPC landing pages can be tough. If you follow my best practices above you will lower your CPA and increase your cash flow.
Every industry is different which makes it difficult to put together the perfect guide. So I ask you, what is the best landing page you have seen? What has worked for you? Join the conversation by sharing your experiences below!
Ben Cohen is a Customer Success Specialist at WordStream and supports WordStream’s managed services team on numerous accounts. That means his days are full of training and consulting clients on their PPC accounts. Born and raised in Boston, Ben has not wandered far from home, having studied Marketing and Management at the University of Maine, Orono. Ben is also a diehard Boston sports fan. When he is not out hiking New England, you can find him at America’s most beloved Fenway Park. Go Sox!