Optimizing Landing Pages for Greater Conversions
The landing page (also known as the "lead capture page") is where visitors land after clicking on an online advertisement or link. The landing page is the first impression visitors have of your website and what you have to offer. It is thus very important that your landing page is optimized for exceptional usability and conversion orientation.
When it comes to ecommerce Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, landing page optimization demands constant testing. It is only through split testing where we able to determine which design concepts and page layouts are working, and which are not. The optimization and testing of landing pages is not rocket science, however having the right resources and experience is key.
In addition to analyzing data for testing (typically via Google Analytics,) other skill-sets that accompany landing page optimization are copywriting, web design, and usability. Before we dive into the fundamentals of optimizing landing pages, we must underscore the importance of landing page dedication. That is, it's best to get as specified and targeted as possible with landing pages.
In most cases, especially for ecommerce sites, this will call for the design of dedicated landing pages per advertisement (or ad group from a Google AdWords perspective.) Having dedicated landing pages can not only increase the consumer relevancy and conversion potential of your advertising efforts, but having highly focused landing pages can also increase your AdWords quality scores (which can help to reduce cost per click.)
Understanding Consumer Behavior
The purpose of the landing page testing and optimization is to determine the best ways to influence buyers’ behavior. Understanding the human nature of consumers is a key consideration. A framework that describes stages of customer behavior and interests was pioneered by Elias St. Elmo Lewis back in 1898, and the same concepts are still used today. These four stages, commonly referred to as AIDA, may sound like marketing 101; however each emphasize a stage of customer behavior and can offer insights for development of landing pages.
- Awareness: The first stage is the realization by the customer that there are several possibilities/actions available.
- Interest: The consumer shows preference and selects one of the possibilities/courses of action.
- Desire: The enthusiasm of the customer grows in the course of action chosen.
- Action: The customer acts and begins to enjoy the benefits of the option/course of action chosen. There should be flow and continuity in the landing page decision making model so that the progression of the visitor is properly supported through all the steps. In essence, you want to get to know you target market as best as possible to determine how they proceed through each step. For that reason, the stages of AIDA must be aligned with certain visitor types.
Know the Nature of Visitors
The different visitor types are:
- Browsers: These are people with unmet needs, but are not quite certain what they truly want.
- Evaluators: These are people who are searching for more detailed supporting info and who know enough to compare different options.
- Customers: These are people who have completed transactions in the past and whose satisfaction level has to be maintained until they come for another transaction.
- Transactors: These are people who have already decided what they want to buy and who are now in the process of making the transaction.
The marriage of AIDA and visitor type can also apply to different time frames and scales of tasks. A potential customer may interact with a site several times before making the final decision. On the other end of the spectrum are is short-duration decisions or micro tasks that take a few seconds only.
Fortunately, Google AdWords now enables marketers to see and assess such data to determine the various touch points that may contribute to sales. In summary, visitors should be given what they want when they reach a landing page.
Define key visitor types of you target market and define the most important conversion tasks (or desired action) for each type. Ideally, you'll want to dedicate conversion oriented landing pages to the ads at hand (as well as consumers.) As a result, your ecommerce PPC efforts can flourish.