Search Engine Watch
SEO News

Go Back   Search Engine Watch Forums > Search Engine Marketing Strategies > Search Engine Marketing
FAQ Members List Calendar Forum Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 04-02-2006   #1
stevesny
Newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 4
stevesny is on a distinguished road
Landing Page Paradox?

I've read two conflicting "schools of thought" with respect to a particular landing page variable. This post relates to PPC, but may apply to landing pages in general.

One school of thought is to avoid navigational alternatives to the landing page's main goal, so as not to distract the viewer from that goal, such as a product or service purchase.

Another, is to always include a "fallback" option, such as a free newsletter subscription, so as to be able to follow up and build a relationship.

This, of course, requires a link or a sign-up form, which would seem to be a major distraction.

Any advice on this, and links to examples of good landing pages with both, would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,

stevesny
stevesny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2006   #2
fathom
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Posts: 475
fathom is a jewel in the roughfathom is a jewel in the roughfathom is a jewel in the rough
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevesny
I've read two conflicting "schools of thought" with respect to a particular landing page variable. This post relates to PPC, but may apply to landing pages in general.

One school of thought is to avoid navigational alternatives to the landing page's main goal, so as not to distract the viewer from that goal, such as a product or service purchase.

Another, is to always include a "fallback" option, such as a free newsletter subscription, so as to be able to follow up and build a relationship.

This, of course, requires a link or a sign-up form, which would seem to be a major distraction.

Any advice on this, and links to examples of good landing pages with both, would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,

stevesny
I'm of the thought "have both" schools of thought but divided by the entrance [landing page].

PPC often implies "selling only" - thus "buying only" - it would be rare to find a person looking for information only or researching via PPC as results tend to be bias to the "buy & sell" persona.

Thus is that case - I would "copy a complete version of the crawlable website" fully enclosed in a sub directory, remove all detractions from the "buy & sell" persona. [e.g. articles, directory, blog, forum, newsletter, etc.], prevent crawling and keep on point.

In the primary crawlable versions the "added value" of the extras aid to ranked exposures and informative/researching visitors.

Note: on the PPC version - remember that anyone coming back to your website [short of the PPC click again or perhaps a bookmark] will end at the more "information robust version" thus you haven't lost "fallback" option, such as a free newsletter subscription, so as to be able to follow up and build a relationship... and anyone that purchases - well you can send that info to them anyway "after-the-fact".
fathom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2006   #3
stevesny
Newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 4
stevesny is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by fathom
I'm of the thought "have both" schools of thought but divided by the entrance [landing page].

PPC often implies "selling only" - thus "buying only" - it would be rare to find a person looking for information only or researching via PPC as results tend to be bias to the "buy & sell" persona.

Thus is that case - I would "copy a complete version of the crawlable website" fully enclosed in a sub directory, remove all detractions from the "buy & sell" persona. [e.g. articles, directory, blog, forum, newsletter, etc.], prevent crawling and keep on point.

In the primary crawlable versions the "added value" of the extras aid to ranked exposures and informative/researching visitors.

Note: on the PPC version - remember that anyone coming back to your website [short of the PPC click again or perhaps a bookmark] will end at the more "information robust version" thus you haven't lost "fallback" option, such as a free newsletter subscription, so as to be able to follow up and build a relationship... and anyone that purchases - well you can send that info to them anyway "after-the-fact".
Fathom,

Thanks very much for the reply. I don't exactly understand what you mean, though. It sounds like you may be suggesting that I replicate the entire site, home page and all, within a subdirectory, but without any "buy" options, and include an autoresponder sign up form there, which surfers might reach via organic search? But I think I'm missing something.

What I currently have is a site with a home page, navigation menu, and a number of subordinate pages, also with navigation menus. The home page also contains a "product features link", and a "buy" link, and is largely a marketing page.

I also have landing pages targeted specifically to the search terms from a PPC campaign. No outbound links point to the landing pages, which have no navigation, except a "Home" link at the bottom, which I may or may not remove.

When a person clicks on a PPC ad, I assume they have at least _some_ interst, (unless they're just a "tire kicker") or have more than just some interest, and I pay for that click.

One school of thought is to make the best of that click, by providing a means to keep in contact if they choose not purchase at that time, and thus begin a relationship building process with a "clicker" who has shown some interest (i.e. a secondary landing page goal). But, as I originally mentioned, this seems to conflict with the notion of not distracting the user from the primary goal of the page (a purchase).

In addition to advice on this, I'd also be interested in seeing landing pages that do this (have a secondary goal), to get some ideas.

Thanks again,

stevesny
stevesny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2006   #4
vayapues
10 kinds of people in the world. Those who know binary numbers, and those who don't
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Salt Lake City
Posts: 322
vayapues is just really nicevayapues is just really nicevayapues is just really nicevayapues is just really nice
It is a matter of personal preference, and a matter of industry preference. You need to do some research to determine which works better for your site. Different age groups, genders, socioeconomic classes, etc will respond differently to your landing pages.

Thus, it is difficult to say 'this is the best way'.

On a new site, I like to program an few variations of the landing pages, and track via cookies which version is getting the best results for my audience. I will serve the standard page 9 out of 10 times, but on the 10 time, I will serve an altered page. I will than compare the conversion rates, refine, and run another round of testing.

You hear a lot of people saying this way is better, or that way is better, because it probably is better for their particular niche. You need to find out what works best for your niche.

In all likelihood, what works best for your audience will be a hybrid of the two.
vayapues is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2006   #5
fulton savage
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 145
fulton savage is on a distinguished road
I agree with the last post. My boss says get sales get sales, but I've come to realize that rarely do we make a sale ( 3-400 dollar software + subscription ) before a potential customer downloads our demo version first. My PPC goal is to get clickers to download our demo software (which documents their contact info in a DB for us for follow up).
fulton savage is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2006   #6
fathom
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Posts: 475
fathom is a jewel in the roughfathom is a jewel in the roughfathom is a jewel in the rough
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevesny
In addition to advice on this, I'd also be interested in seeing landing pages that do this (have a secondary goal), to get some ideas.

Thanks again,

stevesny
In the first post merely suggesting that your ad dollars are buying clicks at some fixed amount - presumably for sales. Thus informative resources may not be the best to have easy access to. People tend not to click on PPC because they are looking for information, newsletters, articles, reports, etc. thus all really are distractions.

On your quote above: The "PPC ad" is the start of the buy cycle and while space is limited you can say alot on those ads that are directly associated to unique landing pages - split run different variation and see what sticks.

Added value often is "best use" making people buy for say the same price but getting something extra.
fathom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2006   #7
Jonathan Mendez
Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: NYC
Posts: 42
Jonathan Mendez will become famous soon enough
Relevancy

You need to align the landing page goals with the goals of the user. Forget about your goals...that only gets in the way of a good user experience.

Harsh? Maybe, but users don't care about what they can do for you. They care about what you can do for them. Research shows that most users trying to achieve their goal are very focused on it. They have almost tunnel vision. If you do not present them with relevant messaging quickly and clearly that gets them closer to reaching their goal they are gone.

Of course the best thing to do is test, test, test.

Navigation is a great element to test. I have seen landing pages perform better with headers and top navigation links then without. Clearly this was a persuasive element. I have seen homepages replace landing pages and perform better. One piece of advice is to limit user on-page choices of products. I consistently see is higher conversion rates on landing pages that have a single product vs.landing pages that offer multiple products. I feel if you give a user choices you are actually putting a roadblock to conversion in place by adding a "consideration" phase that many times was not anticipated by the user. This can lead to consfusion or the need for the user to conduct more research leading them away from a conversion event.

If you can't get the conversion or if users are in the early stage of the purchase cycle you want the user to be able to easily find your page again. This raises the importance of your budeget and bids making sure your add is always displayed. Many times users can't recall the site they went to but can recall the kw they searched on and will go back to find the link. Also a bookmark link on the page can be helpful. Don't discount deferred conversions. They can be a large %.

Landing page optimization is one of the most exciting things happening in search today and as we have seen from Google it becomes more and more a factor in your programs. multivariate, targeted content and auto-optimization platforms are providing users with better experiences and increases in conversion rates. In the end it's all about simplicity, relevancy and aligning your messaging with the goals of the users.
Jonathan Mendez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2006   #8
vayapues
10 kinds of people in the world. Those who know binary numbers, and those who don't
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Salt Lake City
Posts: 322
vayapues is just really nicevayapues is just really nicevayapues is just really nicevayapues is just really nice
Quote:
One piece of advice is to limit user on-page choices of products. I consistently see is higher conversion rates on landing pages that have a single product vs.landing pages that offer multiple products. I feel if you give a user choices you are actually putting a roadblock to conversion in place by adding a "consideration" phase that many times was not anticipated by the user. This can lead to confusion or the need for the user to conduct more research leading them away from a conversion event.
This is a great point, though I think it depends on how it is implemented. We are working on a system now that will present users with the option of adding features onto their order, similar to how godaddy lets you add endless features onto your domain at checkout. Ours will be a lot less annoying however, than godaddy. Our shopping cart is entirely flash based, so we can display optional products after an item has been added to the cart with relative ease.

ie, if someone buys shelving, the system knows that they probably also need file folders, and so will offer them to the customer, or if they are buying two items, the system will offer them a better deal if they buy a third, related item.

All of this happens after the decision to buy has already been made, and action already taken by the end-user.

Quote:
Of course the best thing to do is test, test, test.
This is what it must come down to. I have seen things work great in one segment of the Internet, and completely flop in another. If you can afford it, you should do some good market research upfront, and than take your best stab at it.
Analyze the results, tweak, and take another stab at it. I think we have all probably seen conversion double or triple as we go through this testing process.
vayapues is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2006   #9
stevesny
Newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 4
stevesny is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Mendez
You need to align the landing page goals with the goals of the user. Forget about your goals...that only gets in the way of a good user experience.

Harsh? Maybe, but users don't care about what they can do for you. They care about what you can do for them. Research shows that most users trying to achieve their goal are very focused on it. They have almost tunnel vision. If you do not present them with relevant messaging quickly and clearly that gets them closer to reaching their goal they are gone.
Jonathan,

Thanks to you and all who have answered before and after you.

With respect to user's goals, you clearly make a great point, but I'm not sure how many users have product purchase goals during a search. When I search for info, I may just click on an intriguing ad. (This almost argues against provocative ads).

Say I'm selling literacy software, and my ad mentions a feature and benefit of the software. If the user clicks, and instead I offer sign-up for free, beneficial, professionally written articles (in exchange for an email address), I'm distracting the user from a purchase.

On the other hand, if my ad mentions free literacy information, then it seems I'd be getting less qualified traffic.

Having both seems ideal, except for the distraction factor, which makes it not ideal! (This is the paradox)

Now, since I've read about the "importance" of a fallback goal on a landing page to build a relationship with the majority of users who don't purchase on the first click, but may purchase after a relatioship exists, I'd like to try this, and test it.

Thus, I've looked for examples of how others have done this, but haven't found any on _targeted_ landing pages (I have seen this when the landing page is a home page).

Anyone know of any like this? Or have suggestions about how to do it (without a popunder or exit popup)?

Greatly appreciated,

stevesny
stevesny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2006   #10
Jonathan Mendez
Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: NYC
Posts: 42
Jonathan Mendez will become famous soon enough
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevesny
I'm not sure how many users have product purchase goals during a search.
This is where the importance of your campaign set-up and analytics come into play. Align user goals with your keywords then with the ad creative and then the landing pages. How to know the goal? Analytics, observation and testing are the only ways. If possible do this at the keyword level to maximize effectiveness. Look at kw level metrics like same session conversions vs. deferred converisons and of course conversion rate. Look at the ads and the creative. Are your titles and descriptions speaking to users goals or your goals? Remember good CTR can actually be a bad thing. Use your T&D's to filter out users whose goals you are not speaking (or selling) to.

Example: You may find that a high funnel kw like "literacy" tends to get you lots of traffic but poor conversion rate. Possibly because users with this query are most likely still in the "discovery" goal path. Your product page with a big "buy now" button might not be the best page. A "soft sell" landing page with lots of information on the benefits of your product might convert better here or at least get users to come back to your page when they are further along in the purchase lifecycle. Possibly this is the page you want to grab that email in exchange for free info. Still, there's no way to know other than testing which you've embraced. The beauty of this medium is testing and anlaytics.

As far as fallback goals, I'm not an advocate. It's hard enough to optimize pages for a single goal. .
Jonathan Mendez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2006   #11
stevesny
Newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 4
stevesny is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Mendez
Possibly because users with this query are most likely still in the "discovery" goal path.
You know, over the last few months my main focus has changed from software development to online marketing. I've read and thought quite a bit, but thinking in terms of a progression of psychological stages in a purchase lifecycle, and incorporating that into a campaign, is a whole new level for me.

Thank you!
stevesny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2006   #12
KylePosey
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 5
KylePosey is on a distinguished road
Concerning PPC landing pages, I've always heard that if the visitor is using 1-2 keywords, they are looking. If they are using 3-4 keywords, they are buying.

Using that mantra, I'd definately do a landing page for certain keywords in a PPC campaign. Focus the sites content around what the visitor is searching for, and this should reflect a higher conversion on your site.

However, for ease of use, I would probably code the landing page to dynamically build the content based upon the keywords used in the search. That way I don't have to constantly update my ppc campaigns with different landing pages.
KylePosey is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off