When customers see your ad on the search engine page and click on it, where will they go?
Bringing them to the front page of your Web site is a waste of that valuable click. Send them instead to a landing page: a page especially created to follow through on the promise of your ad.
For every search ad or group of related ads, known as a campaign, you should create or designate at least one landing page. Keep this page as simple, clean, and pointed as you can. Think of the landing page as an expanded form of your ad. You have one goal: to make sure the visitor does whatever it was your ad promised them. If your search ad related to the keywords "bumper puller," your landing page should have all the info they need to convince themselves that they just must buy this bumper puller right now.
Your landing page might be something as straightforward as an order form, or it might provide more information on the product or service you advertised. As with any ad, you should explain the product's features and benefits, and provide a call to action, such as "click to buy now." It's a good idea, if possible, to include the sales department telephone number for customers who prefer dealing with a live person. Your goal is to help the customer convert with as few clicks as possible.
Make sure to test every landing page to make sure it works correctly. See if you can actually place an order, and be sure the order process isn't so long and tedious that potential customers don't abandon it. Have several other people try the form, as well, to make sure you haven't been too kind to yourself.
Search advertising is a form of direct marketing, and it's as testable as other forms. You can test multiple versions of your landing pages to see which performs better. Remember that keyword ads set up expectations with only a few words of text, so those clicking might have surprising ideas of what they think the ad is offering. Trying out variations in the landing page can unmask such disconnections.
The major search advertising providers offer free tools to help you analyze which keywords and ads are performing best; there are also other analytics services that are especially useful when you begin to manage large numbers of keywords.
Writing effect copy for search ads and landing pages are aspects of direct marketing that benefit from some expertise. If your advertising budget is larger, you might consider hiring a search engine marketing company to manage your campaigns.
By Mac McCarthy