Conversion Optimization 101: Perfectly Persuasive PPC Landing Pages

Last week, in our Conversion Optimization challenge we looked at the following PPC ad:

and the corresponding landing page (image capture below):

How would you optimize the ad and the landing page?

My general guidelines for marketing with landing pages:

Start your marketing with your landing page and ask yourself how it answer your personas’ questions and needs. Then choose an ad or email that would make them want to click and see that page.

7 Steps to Persuasive Landing Pages

Step 1: Take inventory of your potential landing pages.

Step 2: Ask your self what persona/segment does this page address.

Step 3: Determine what question/problem does this page solve for this persona.

Step 4: What stage of the buying process does this resolve? (Early, mid, late, post-purchase or awareness, consideration, preference, purchase, loyalty)

Step 5: What action does your visitor need to take to get to the next stage of their purchase process? How will we measure that?

Step 6: What information do they need in order to move to the next stage?

Step 7: If the current landing page doesn’t do a good job for steps 4-6 you need to create another landing page. If it does, check the anatomy of the current landing page and determine how you can apply the conversion trinity to find ways to optimize it.

Once you have the proper landing page, decide what ad/email/social campaign would attract people to click through and want to see this page. How will you get their attention? How will you make sure they understand the relevance to their needs? How will you express your value?

In our work, we tie “trigger words” and search engine keywords to our personas. This is the only way to determine the intent behind the keyword.

Evaluating the current Keyword/Ad/Landing Page:

Keyword: Mid stage, SEO Tool Power User – This keyword “SEO software management” is likely for “mid stage buyers” or customers who have already determined that they need some kind of software to manage their seo efforts but have not settled on any specifics related to the type of software.

Ad: Late stage, Deciding on Preference – The ad does not give any specific information as to what value Raven Tools provide for those looking for SEO software management. It does provide a call to action for those ready to take a free trial which is pretty late in the buying process.

Landing Page: Late stage, Ready to Take a Committed Step –  The landing page is designed to appeal to those late in the buying process by offering them a free trial. This persona is not ready to commit their time if they haven’t evaluated the alternatives and understood what features fill their need.

As you can see their is a disconnect here between the Persona, the keyword they might use and the ad and landing page combination.

Let’s look how others would tackle this landing page challenge:

Steve Jackson, a long time friend from Finland, matched relatively closely to the Persona in question shared:

I think the main problem is there isn’t enough information here to make a decision. You have to sign-up to get the information you need.

While that in itself might be the purpose of the campaign I would have bounced if it hadn’t been for your question. My company sees offers for tools like this once a week and use other similar brands (SEOmoz, Crazy Frog etc) so this would be a tough sell anyway. They need to make it easier and more tempting in the first impression.

The only thing that interested me was that they are taking data from multiple sources and that is a bit more unusual. Again though I may have missed that if you hadn’t asked the question.

As you can see, Steve took the time to discover some value because I asked readers to evaluate the page. The casual search visitor would have just bounced. That is the kind of value you need to express in both the ad and landing page.

Alhan Keser, thank you for being a first time commentor:

1) I would consider better associating the “30 day free trial” with the form. I first saw the CTA and thought that the goal was to create an account, which sounds like big deal, but then I noticed the “30 day free trial” text at the top right. I would put that phrase within the frame of the form and change the CTA to say “Start My Free Trial” or something along those lines. “Create My Account” says commitment to me (but maybe that is what Raven is going for).

2.) I would bring the highlighted features closer to the top of the page (or use a responsive design) to keep them at least partially visible on smaller screens (I’m on a 13” Macbook Air). Or use some type of directional cue to tell me that there is more down on the page.

3.) Rather than the paragraph at the top, I’d consider bullet points/checkmarks. Reading 5 lines of full sentences is asking a lot of me at this point.

4.) I’m not getting a clear value proposition here, until I read the paragraph. I imagine that the main heading “SEO Management Software” is meant to match up with the keyword being search for Quality Score purposes, but I would propose a heading along the lines of “All Your SEO Tools in One Place” (taken from the paragraph below the heading). Now I have a better idea of why I’d want to use Raven.

BONUS – This goes beyond editing this page and into creating more content: I would think that a video demo would be fitting here. The question is, will the desire to see more of Raven outweigh the benefit of showing more of Raven upfront?

A phenomenal response. First let’s make sure their is ad continuity/scent between the ad and landing page. Let’s clarify the value of the offer and provide relevant information and lastly the design is not conducive to scrolling. Any time you use strong horizontal lines in your design it may appear to the visitor that their is no reason to scroll. Here is the way the landing page looked on my screen when I first landed on the page:

raven tool landing page above the fold

There are no visual clues that there is additional content below the fold.

Mark Garner @ Make Them Click also commented about the landing page design:

Grey type on a grey background??!@#$%^

Aaarrrgh

And tiny reverse type, for the features/benefits (and even that’s grey on grey.)

Where’s my gun, I need to shoot another web page designer.

Oooops, sorry, my inner Raoul Duke took over.

Yes, it’s Friday afternoon again and I get a little creatively crazy, better stop now before the going gets really weird..

Lastly, Bobby Hewitt provided insight to provide a bit of additional momentum by reducing anxiety:

I would test reducing anxiety around not knowing if I need to enter my credit card info on a step 2, that’s created by having a price range on the page “starting at…” Perhaps simply remove the price on the page to start.

Bobby provides a valuable tip especially because Raven Tools is priced favorably in the market place.

Next Steps for Perfectly Persuasive PPC Landing Pages

1. RavenTools told me that they are redesigning their landing page for the new year. They should plan different designs based on the different stages of the buying process. The design should be friendlier on the eyes.

2. Evaluate what that keyphrase means to their Persona: Ask what does “SEO Software Management” mean for our Power Tool User Persona (our Steve Jackson). What is the intent behind his query?

3. How will we answer his questions on our landing page? What is the relevant information he needs to gain confidence to take the next action? How will we demonstrate our value (demo, screenshots, chart, bullet points, etc.)?

4. Determine the appropriate offer & call to action? In this case based on stage of the buying process I might suggest using something like a free ebook download with email capture offering a collection of “what are the tools that other SEO power users are using and why and how they use them.”

5. Determine how to grab his attention with a relevant response (ad) to his query and how will we express our value in the ad.

6. Launch, measure and then optimize.

What is the most perfectly persuasive PPC landing page that you have seen?

 

Please share if you think others would benefit.