PPC Landing Pages Not Converting? 10 Ways to Optimize

My Post - 2019-11-12T142941.242.pngLanding pages form the backbone of any PPC campaign.

All the keywords, ad copy, and targeting in your PPC account are instrumental in getting visitors to your landing page, but are you keeping visitors engaged? Are they taking the action you want them to take?

If you find yourself struggling with low conversion rates and high bounce rates—even though clickthrough rates are soaring—chances are your PPC landing page is the problem. There are a few best practices to follow when creating your landing page, and after that, it’s a constant cycle of testing and more testing until you find that winning combination that makes your conversion rates soar.

PPC Landing Page Best Practices

1. Establish Landing Page Goals

Consider this before launching your landing page: What action do you want people to take when they visit your landing page? Depending on your industry, the answer could be to watch a demo, sign up for a free trial, sign up for a newsletter, or schedule a call.

Once you’ve established the goal of your landing page, everything else—content and offers—should center around that goal.

Ideally, you’d want your landing page to focus on one specific goal in order to keep page visitors focused on one action.

2. Consider Your Target Audience

When building your landing page, the first thing to consider is who your target audience is and what they are looking for. The copy, hero image, call to action, and lead form should be geared toward capturing user attention.

Understand the search intent of your audience by putting yourself in their shoes. Someone searching for a small business CRM has a significantly different intent than someone searching for a CRM for lawyers. By gearing your landing page to your audience’s search intent, you gain their trust because you’re offering them exactly what they’re looking for.

3. Capture User Information

You’re directing visitors to a landing page because you want their information. At the very least, you want their name, phone number, and email address. This is the information that people find the most difficult to part with because it’s personal. When they provide you with this information, it’s because they find your landing page meaningful.

Keep your lead forms short and focus on the information that you need, not the information you want. If a name and email address fulfills your purpose, don’t ask them to fill out 10 different form fields.

4. Use a Clear CTA

Consider this: You visit a beautiful, intuitive website that doesn’t have a call to action. You can appreciate the design, but what is your next step? Lacking a clear CTA impacts your bounce rates and is one of the most common reasons behind PPC landing pages not converting.

Always have a clear CTA above the fold. For paid traffic, this not only serves as a reminder for why they are on your landing page, but it also reinforces the action you want them to take. – Read more

 

How to Use a Landing Page to Test a New Idea

My Post - 2019-10-31T165528.705.pngEvery successful business starts with an idea, a simple “what if” question that unlocks a world of new possibilities.

If you’re like most content creators, coming up with new ideas isn’t the problem.

It only becomes an issue when you aren’t sure which idea you should pursue.

How do you know which idea to keep and which ones should be thrown out?

It starts with validating your idea.

As a content creator, you don’t want to waste your time developing a complicated website or an online brand based on ideas that turn out to be total duds.

You want to find a way to weed out the ideas that won’t go anywhere as quickly as possible, which you can accomplish by testing your idea with a simple idea validation landing page.

Reasons why you should test your idea with a landing page

By using a landing page for idea validation, you’ll be able to focus every element of the page on determining if you should move forward with the idea.

This means everything from the call-to-action (CTA) button to the headline should be optimized with the primary goal of understanding what your audience really thinks of your idea. We’ll talk more about this in a bit, but for now, let’s talk about a few more reasons why you’ll want to use a landing page to test ideas.

You can confidently launch your idea once it’s validated

Imagine if you created a full-blown, multiple-page website based around an idea that doesn’t pan out once you launch it into the world. You poured countless hours into writing the website copy and designing it with your visual branding in mind. What should you do now?

You might think about scrapping the website altogether, causing you to be more hesitant to pursue another idea you’re passionate about later on.

Luckily, there is a way around this! When you use a simple landing page to gauge interest in a product or service idea before you spend hours creating it, you’ll save time and feel more confident when it comes time to launch your validated idea.

You can target your messaging to your intended audience

Maybe you already have a website built for your company but you want to test a new product idea that introduces you to a new audience segment.

Instead of feeling like you need to update all of your website messaging to fit the new audience that may or may not be interested in what you offer (that’s what the test is for!), you’ll be able to create a landing page that will be directed toward them. You also won’t have to declare a niche yet, which can come in handy if you are still discovering how you want to position your brand.  – Read more

What is Conversion Rate Optimisation?

My Post - 2019-10-29T154315.044.pngConversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is the process of optimising web pages and/or page elements to increase conversion rates.

This normally involves running A/B tests or split tests with two different versions of a page competing against each other. Traffic is divided equally between the two variants to see which version achieves the highest conversion rate, once statistical significance is reached.

That last point about statistical significance is important and it relates to the biggest mistake brands make with conversion rate optimisation.

Conversion rate optimisation is a data-driven strategy

Conversion rate optimisation is a data-driven strategy which means you need good data going into your tests and good data coming out of them.

Before you dive into testing, make sure you have the following in place:

  • In-depth conversion data: Conversion rates alone won’t help you to pinpoint what needs testing. You need in-depth data for the actions users are (or aren’t taking) on your site. Use heatmaps, events measurements in Google Analytics and tools like form analytics to pinpoint issues getting in the way of conversions.
  • Trends: With the right data coming in, you’ll start to see patterns that reveal opportunities for testing – for example, only 60% of users who start filling out your forms complete them successfully.
  • Hypotheses: For each trend, you need to come up with a hypothesis to explain what’s happening. Try not to guess; dig deeper into your data and aim to diagnose what’s causing the issue.
  • Test goals: Before you run your test, define what your goal is and pinpoint which KPI measures success – eg: increase form completion rate to 90+%.

Too many brands and marketers jump into conversion optimisation without having the right data processes in place – and this is setting yourself up for failure. Poor data delivers unreliable results and potential false negatives that could cause more harm than good to your conversion rates.

Read more

4 Essential Landing Page Elements

My Post - 2019-10-25T144847.172.pngEvery marketer seems to be talking about the importance of building an email list, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start.

For us, it’s pretty simple- the easiest way to start growing your list is to offer a valuable lead magnet or a free incentive that is given to subscribers in exchange for their email address.

As you determine what lead magnet to offer, you’ll want to think about how you are going to get your lead magnet in front of more people. And when you’re ready to launch your lead magnet, it’s best to create a dedicated landing page where you can highlight its benefits and give more information.

Why use landing pages

Utilizing landing pages for your business will make it easier to:

Increase your email list

Your email list is one of the only platforms you own, meaning that you have full creative freedom and control over what content you send, when you send it, and to whom. You don’t have to deal with algorithm changes or the fear of certain social media platforms dissolving.

Instead, you can convert your social followers into email subscribers so you always have a direct line of communication to them.

If you want to start growing your email list today, sign up for a free trial of ConvertKit!

Sell more digital products

If you are an online educator, content creator, or influencer, you may already be thinking about how you can use email marketing to boost your digital product sales on autopilot. The great thing about digital products like online courses and ebooks is that once they’ve been created, you can put more of your energy into promoting your offers through various lead magnet-focused landing pages.

With a landing page, you can create messaging that is directed to one niche audience. And when your lead magnet is delivered through ConvertKit, it will also trigger an automated email sequence with a series of emails where you can further educate and sell your digital products. You can easily build this with our Visual Automations tool.

Attract more leads for your services

As a freelancer or service provider, you are probably in search of ways you can generate more quality leads without it taking over your schedule. You’d rather work with clients than spend all of your time trying to market yourself, so connecting your email marketing strategy with landing pages is one of the best ways to simplify your lead generation process. – Read more

9 Simple & Fast Ways to Elevate Your Content

My Post - 2019-10-23T130955.710.pngSuperb content is the driving force behind every winning marketing campaign.

Even the most brilliant strategy supported by the most advanced marketing technology will fall short of achieving your goals if your content isn’t optimized for conversions.

Yet, all too often, content marketers fail to differentiate between content created for the sake of filling a page and purposeful content designed to increase conversion rates.

A central challenge to effective content creation is that content quality is inherently subjective, and therefore notoriously difficult to measure.

How can we tell with any degree of certainty which words, colloquialisms, turns of phrase, or contentions are the most compelling and will have the most impact on your target audience?

In the absence of precise measurement tools, marketers might be tempted to assume that all content – as long as it’s relatively well-written and on topic – is created equal.

Unfortunately, this complacency leads to less than optimal content marketing decisions that stifle conversion rates.

To help you navigate the world of content marketing, here are nine tips that will elevate your conversion-boosting content.

1. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is a prerequisite to every marketing campaign.

And maybe because this immutable marketing law has been ingrained in the marketer’s mind for so long, too many content marketers take it for granted.

Others fail to appreciate that different target audience segments respond to different content differently.

Let’s say you sell professional baking tools, and your target audience consists of two primary segments: baking enthusiasts and professional bakers.

You might be tempted to write the same article touting the benefits of your baking tools for both segments. But then you wouldn’t be writing content optimized for conversions.

  • The amateur baker will likely want to hear more about how reliable and easy-to-use your baking products are.
  • Whereas the experienced professional baker might be more interested in technical features that speak to how advanced or versatile your products are compared to the competition.

The area of expertise is another good criterion for content segmentation.

  • If you’re selling software to hospitals, you may want to create content emphasizing the product’s finance features when targeting hospital administrators, CFOs, and other C-suite professionals.
  • But when targeting marketing and customer service professionals, you can focus on the CRM component of your software.

Both audience segments are interested in the same product, but your content should be tailored to each group’s unique needs, interests, or goals.

2. Follow Online & Offline Trends

The best way to get your content seen by as many people as possible is to ride whatever big trend is popular – as long as it’s relevant.

Many companies boost their social media presence by commenting on current events, especially on Twitter, but you can take it even further and integrate the trend in an article or post.

Take every opportunity to make your brand part of the conversation, but make sure to avoid tackling any controversial topics or messages that would come across as tone-deaf.

Most consumers think companies’ sole goal is to make money, so adopting an overly preachy tone (e.g., Gilette’s “We Believe” ad) might attract ridicule.

3. Focus on Titles

The title is the most important element of your content when it comes to catching readers’ attention.

Not only should the title be catchy and intriguing, but it should also accurately reflect the article’s central theme in a way that optimizes click-through rates.

It’s no wonder many writers spend a significant amount of time poring over different title versions.

So how do you write a CTR boosting title? Here are some quick tips:

  • Use numbers and statistics whenever possible.
  • Inform the reader, but don’t give away everything.
    • (e.g., “Ever Wondered How Many People Actually Read Marketing Emails?” instead of “20% of People Actually Read Marketing Emails”)
  • Use a headline analyzer like CoSchedule to check how your title fares in terms of length, word choice, and other key variables.
  • Resist the temptation of clickbait – it may garner a large number of clicks, but it will only damage your credibility; you need to find the right balance between intriguing and obnoxious.
    • (e.g., “Ever Wondered How Many People Actually Read Marketing Emails?” is fine; however, “You’ll Never Guess How Many People Actually Read Emails – The Figure Will Shock You” is tacky and counterproductive.)

4. Don’t Focus on Selling All the Time

Nothing takes you out of an insightful read like a sales pitch or excessive promotional links. When users come to your site, they want value, not ads.

Granted, there’s nothing wrong with mentioning your products or services if they are relevant to the topic – even independent influencers sprinkle affiliate links in their posts.

But keep in mind that consumers might find affiliate links off-putting. – Read more

Finding The Hottest Keywords For Your Business: 15 Effective Strategies

My Post - 2019-10-18T173306.131.pngKeywords are among the most used and least understood parts of marketing.

Most marketers know the reason we use keywords, but finding out which specific ones are ideal for a business may not be their forte.

Intent-based keywords, or keywords that drive the user to take the desired action, are suitable for including in a website that wants to drive traffic and capture conversions. Defining those intent-based keywords will differ from business to business. As each audience is different, the keywords that trigger their interest and the need to act will change, as well.

Fifteen members of Forbes Communications Council look at strategies for identifying the most effective keywords for their business, and how to include them usefully within their content to achieve their goals.

1. Conduct Keyword Research 

Conducting keyword research can help brands know how to strategically implement keywords into new or existing content. A Google search of relevant topics or industries can also help determine what phrases people are using to search for your business or services. However, implement keywords naturally. Don’t force them, as Google recognizes this and it can harm your brand instead of helping it. – G’Nai Blakemore, Mattress Firm

2. Run Competitor Keyword Analyses 

Knowing what keywords your competition is using can be a great place to start, especially if you do competitor keyword analysis on some of the bigger brands in your industry and/or niche. Your biggest competitors have already spent time doing R&D on keywords for you. Use them to your advantage by placing them in H1 headers, above-the-fold paragraph text and in title tags and meta descriptions. – Stephen Seifert, Seifert Media

3. Use Your Website Search Bar 

You should use a variety of tools to get keyword level data. However, one of the most overlooked is the website’s search bar. When a website visitor uses your search bar they are giving you exactly what they want. Use that to create new content and products. Connect your search bar to Google Analytics to get this keyword data. You can use your competitors’ search bar in the same way. – Lavall Chichester, JumpCrew

4. Leverage The Power Of AI 

There are sophisticated AI-driven tools on the market today that use intent data to discover new, relevant keywords that might be less expensive and competitive, resulting in improved SEM efficiency. Additionally, these intent-driven keywords align digital channels with the demonstrated intent of target accounts, maximizing content marketing and SEO strategies. – Peter Isaacson, Demandbase

5. Think Like Your Customer 

Put yourself in the shoes of your customer. What do you think they’d be searching for to find your product? There are hundreds of possibilities. Once you have some ideas, use free keyword tools like Keywords Everywhere or SEMrush to see how often these words are searched and start using the most searched words on your website. To execute well, you should hire an SEO and content strategist. – Kyle Mears, Seek Business Capital – Read more

Small accounts and Responsive Search Ads – Adopt or not?

My Post - 2019-10-02T173647.749.pngThere can be a wide range of benefits to small accounts adopting RSAs if done properly.

With Microsoft Ads recently opening a responsive search ad (RSA) beta to their advertisers, it’s clear that the automated Text Ad format is here to stay. The push towards automation continues and with it comes the pressure from platform reps to adopt. While larger accounts have the luxury, in terms of additional budget, to take their time and test these additions, those running smaller budgets often have to make a decision outright: adopt or not?

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I have historically been a fan of the “not.” There are a lot of arguments against RSAs and few in their favor. For example, you can’t use ad customizers in the text, which limits its abilities. There’s also anecdotal evidence from across the PPC community that, while RSAs are getting better click-through-rates and driving more traffic, they’re less effective than extended text ads (ETAs) in driving conversions. However, the biggest complaint, and perhaps widest-reaching one, is that there is no insight into the data regarding which combinations are being shown and in what ways they outperform one another. You can see how many impressions each combination receives, but that’s it. In essence, you’re setting a variety of ad headlines and descriptions and crossing your fingers. For smaller accounts with less budget per day, ‘crossing your fingers’ is a terrifying proposition.

That being said, RSAs can be beneficial. Although we don’t get insight into the data, Google can quickly test tens of thousands of headline and ad description combinations, which is something that I am unable to do with ETAs. With small, low volume accounts, part of the appeal of RSAs is being able to test thousands of ad copy combinations in one go. While it would be nice to have more insight into performance, after some experimenting myself, I think it’s a mistake to write off RSAs completely – especially with the signals we’re getting from the platforms saying that they’re here to stay.

I’m a big fan of testing against my assumptions, especially since I know my bias lends itself to having me reject automated ad formats and other automations. I don’t like change as a person, let alone as a PPC professional, and as such I try to lean into it when the opportunity presents itself. My team adopted RSAs across the board in February 2019; here’s what we’ve learned from 4,200 ads running since then: – Read more

3 Unconventional Ways to Use Automated Bidding

My Post - 2019-09-20T112422.208.pngSmart bidding has been around for a good amount of time now which hopefully means you’ve been able to play around with it on your accounts.

Everyone always seems to jump to their largest search campaigns to test it out but there are some really creative ways to use these strategies across the funnel.

As a reminder, there are some recommendations and best practices to keep in mind when deciding to opt into these strategies. For a month in-depth summary, check out a previous post of mine that takes a closer look at smart bidding.

Specifics to Look At:

Automated bidding will not work just because you have to put it in the right environment for success. Some specific things I like to keep in mind when deciding on a strategy are as follows:

  • Have we had at least 15 (but closer to 30) conversions in the last 30 days?
  • What is our impression share and overall goal of the campaign? A low impression share means maximize conversions will likely work better.

Here are some unconventional ways you can start to think about using automated bidding.

Display Remarketing:

Since you’re already filtering things down to a qualified audience, you may have never thought about tapping into Google’s bidding features here. Let’s face it, you’re likely spending a lot less here too than going after new customers too.

Display can be a bit of a tricky area with weird placements, a pretty large variance in CPCs depending on the website, and a whole host of other things. By using either Target CPA or Maximize Conversions, Google should do a lot of the placement work for you and really go after the best customer at the end of the day.

You’ll want to ensure you’re not excluding quality traffic mistakenly but this could be a great option to extract some additional performance out of Display. – Read more

4 Things That May Surprise You About Automated PPC Bidding

My Post - 2019-09-16T122741.084.pngIt’s no surprise that Google, with its massive capabilities in machine learning, is pushing hard to take as much control over PPC bid management as possible.

They believe that by letting the machines handle number-crunching and pattern recognition, advertisers will get better results.

And having more happy advertisers obviously helps the bottom line and makes Google and their investors happy, too.

But when bids are automated, it does not mean that PPC is automated. Good news indeed for those of us worried about our future prospects as PPC rockstars.

There are important things to know about automated bid management and I’m going to share a few here based on conversations with advertisers who expressed surprise when our tools and scripts uncovered some aspect of bid automation they were unaware of.

1. You Can Lose a Huge Impression Share (IS) with Automated Bids

I’m not sure I can explain why, but some advertisers I speak with believe that once they turn on automated bidding from Google, the things they used to worry about in the past will all of a sudden take care of themselves.

Impression Share is a good example.

Advertisers on manual bidding monitor this metric as an indicator of missed opportunity.

After they enable automated bidding, they stop monitoring it, and when their account later goes through a PPC audit, they are surprised to find there is a lot of lost IS.

There can be many reasons for lost IS, but the key point is that automated bidding only works to try and set the appropriate bids based on what it knows about the person doing the query (probability of conversion rate), and the value the advertiser may get from the conversion (predicted value of a click).

Bids may be increased when a competitor’s actions lead to changes in expected conversion rate and value per click, but the bid automation will also try to stay within the bounds determined by the advertiser’s targets for CPA or ROAS.

So if a competitor raises bids there is no guarantee the automation will be able to respond and more impression share may be lost.

Bid Automations Are Bad at Sharing Insights with Advertisers

If conversion rate drops after the launch of a new landing page, bid automation will dial back bids so it can continue to deliver conversions at the desired target, but it will not tell the advertiser that their new landing pages are terrible, and so more impression share may be lost.

But until an alert is triggered, for example using a tool like Optmyzr, or until the advertiser notices a drop in volume, they may have become so disconnected from what’s happening in their account that they find themselves shocked to see that they have lots of lost impression share even when they assumed that bid automation was handling things.

The bottom line is that advertisers should continue to care about details.

They should monitor metrics like conversion rate, IS, etc because these are INPUTS and OUTPUTS of automated bidding but they are not the things that are automated.

2. Bad Targets Are Just as Bad as Bad Bids

The previous point covered how externalities like changes to a landing page, changes in consumer behavior, or changes by competitors can cause problems with automated bidding.

But the reason can also be related to the bids themselves.

Issues arise when targets are set badly. Think about the first campaign you ever managed and how you set the CPC bids for that.

It probably wasn’t scientific or based on expected conversion rates because you were so new to PPC that you’d simply be guessing (or relying on third-party data).

So most of us, when we set our first bid, we probably used the Goldilocks principle and we picked a number that felt good… not too high, but also not too low.

This was OK because the day after, we’d log back into Google Ads to check results. If we saw that we were getting a ton of clicks but very few conversions, we lowered our bid.

Of course, bid automation handles increases and decreases to CPCs, but we are still asked a number at the beginning: what is your target from which the system will then calculate the CPC?

Despite Google’s best efforts to suggest a target based on recent history that is likely to provide continuity in the campaign, many advertisers see automated bidding as a magical system that will help them achieve the results they never could achieve manually before.

They set a target that is too low and then walk away since it’s now automated.

That is a mistake.

Remember that bid automation is fundamentally just about:

  • Predicting conversion rates and value per click.
  • Using those predictions from a machine learning (ML) system to set the CPC bid that the engine uses to rank ads in the auction.

Knowing this, it should be clear that if you set a bad target, it may lead to bids that are suboptimal:

  • If the target is too conservative, you may lose volume.
  • if the target is too aggressive, you may reduce profitability.

As with manual bidding, it actually makes sense to monitor the performance and change the target based on what you see.

For accounts managed in Optmyzr (my company), we use an automation layering methodology to identify when automated bidding is losing impression share for parts of the account that drive conversions.

By simply letting advertisers know that there is upside potential if they are willing to get more aggressive with their targets, they can take the right action, or even simply automate this process. – Read more

Google Ads Introduces Seasonality Adjustments for Smart Bidding

My Post - 2019-08-30T160001.756.pngGoogle Ads is rolling out seasonality adjustments for smart bidding for search and display campaigns.

Smart bidding strategies set bids automatically to help advertisers improve the performance of their Google Ads campaigns.

Smart bidding is already designed to take seasonality into account, but sometimes there are occasions outside of regular seasonality patterns when an advertiser may want to spend more on ads.

For example, the launch of a new product is an occasion where conversion rates could spike. This would be an ideal time to manually apply a seasonality adjustment in order to maximize the performance of the ad campaign.

“Let’s say you’re planning a flash sale for the weekend. Historically, you’ve seen a 50% increase in conversion rates when you’ve run a similar sale. With seasonality adjustments, you can apply a predicted conversion rate adjustment and Smart Bidding will consider that adjustment for the date range selected, while trying to hit your target CPA.”

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Google Ads Introduces Seasonality Adjustments for Smart Bidding

Advertisers can create seasonality adjustments by following the steps below:

  • Sign into your Google Ads account.
  • In the top-right corner, click the Tools icon.
  • From the drop-down menu, select Bid Strategies under “Shared Library”.
  • Under “Bid Strategies”, click Advanced Controls.
  • Select the Seasonality Adjustments option at the top.
  • To create a new seasonality adjustment, click the blue plus symbol.
  • Give your adjustment a name and description, fill in the event’s start and end dates, and choose your scope and devices.
  • Adjust your conversion rate to reflect your estimated conversion rate change.
  • Click Save.

Google recommends using seasonality adjustments only if major changes to conversion rates are expected, because Smart Bidding already manages seasonal events such as holidays. – Read more