Posts in "Online Marketing"

Landing Pages for Dummies – 2 Minute Version

Landing Pages for DummiesThere are a few things that can be your best friend or biggest nemesis in about 3.8 seconds and one of those thingamajigs is… well, landing pages.

Welcome to my quick 2 minute version of “Landing Pages for Dummies.”

Landing pages play a huge role in the success of your online marketing efforts. Specifically your paid search campaigns.

I’ve had several clients or business owners seeking advice on whether they should close down their paid search accounts because their campaigns aren’t performing.

My first question is usually:

What’s your current conversion rate?

The answer back is usually:

“I don’t know”.

Whether your spending money via paid search or putting in hours of time writing quality content to get traffic to your site, you should know this simple metric. Rather than investing more money into your paid search budget, why not invest in your landing page instead?

Let’s start off by having me show you the “world’s greatest landing page”. Anyone want to take a guess? Well if you cheated and looked, which I’m sure you did, it’s Google.

Google's Landing Page

All joking aside, Googles landing page is fantastic. It’s straight to the point, clean and it’s gotten the job done for the past 10+ years.

What’s makes a landing page convert?

When you ask it that way there are so many elements that come into play. Here are just a few to consider:

  • Design – Is your site design user-friendly?
  • Copy – Does your copy do a good job of promoting your offer to your visitors?
  • Layout – When I get to your landing page is the layout clean and concise?
  • CTA (Call to Action) – Are you telling your visitors what to do?
  • Leaks – Do you have extra links that will leak out your visitors?

If you have a current landing page, are you covering these areas? If so, where do you see improvement?

TIP: Rather than guessing what areas to improve on or to test, use your site analytics to determine where the bottlenecks are.

In my opinion, it’s not JUST having the sexiest design or the most persuasive copy. Remember to tie every element together. Also, having consistency from your paid search ad to your even your thank you page will never leave a bad taste in your customers mouth.

How hard is your current landing page working for you?

Ultimately, it also depends on what the goal of your landing page is.

  • Are generating leads or selling a products?
  • Is your lead gen page a simple lead form or do you require a credit card?
  • If you’re selling products, do you have a low price point or high price point?

When you consider these types of things, you begin to understand your potential customer. Put yourself in their shoes. Would you fill out your lead form? What differentiates yourself from your competitors?

My Formula to Highly Converting Landing Page

Here’s a quick landing page “check list” of things you should consider with your landing page.

1. Competitive Analysis — Research your competition. See if there are any gaps currently not being filled. Find out what they’re offering.  Bottom line though, research your competitors BUT don’t let your competition dictate what you do.

2. What’s your Offer? — From FREE Trials, FREE Shipping to Buy 1 Get 1 FREE, know what your offer is and stick to it. Don’t have a landing page that has multiple offers. It’s just straight up confusing.

3. Design/Creative — Let’s face it, we’re all not as talented as we’d like to think when it comes to pushing pixels. Just accept it and hire a freelancer to do it. Or if you have your in-house creative team let them tell you what looks best. There are 101 different landing page layouts. Avoid the design by committee and let the designer lay it out with what they think looks best. After you start collecting enough data you can test new layouts.

4. Development — Keep it simple stupid… for the user of course. Quick example, if you’re selling a product, be clear & concise. Your product should be displayed professionally with high-res images, wth a clear description and smooth checkout process.

5. Testing — Yes of course test your page for any bugs, but the testing I’m referring to is conversion testing. Consistent testing is crucial. From an entirely different layout to the color of your call to action button, testing will help you achieve a highr converting page.

[download]I want to put an emphasis on testing because I feel like conversion testing is just an after-thought to most. It’s completely under-utilized by most companies. C’mon people this is 2010 (close enough) and with all of the conversion testing tools at our fingertips, what are you doing?[/download]

6. Consistency — From start to finish. Same message. Same look and feel. Same offer. You get the point.

7. Miscellaneous Items — Here’s a few other random things in no particular order.

  • Privacy Policy: You’d be surprised how many landing pages don’t let their visitors know what they do with their information and if it’s safe.
  • Phone Number: I understand this can sometimes be a leak or you don’t have the luxury of a phone number but this allows your visitors the option of filling out your form or picking up the phone.
  • Guarantee: 30 Day or Money-Back. Can you give your visitors a guarantee with your offer?

So there you have it. Short and sweet. If you’ve read this far I’m hoping it was valuable. If you have any additional ways to improve landings or anything worthy I can add to this post, let me know by leaving a comment.

As always, be sure to Subscribe to my RSS Feed or Follow @jrfarr on Twitter and I’ll catch you on the flip side.

Compelling Paid Search Ad Copy from Start to Finish

Paid Search Ad Copy from Start to Finish

Today I want to talk about writing compelling ad copy that will not only increase your CTR% (click through rate) but also lift your overall conversion rate. It’s easy to blame a poor conversion rate on your landing page but when your paid search campaigns aren’t “top notch”, that could be where the bottleneck is happening.

Obviously your shooting to have your ad copy “catch” the users attention BUT remember to also keep that compelling component go all the way through to the landing page.

C’mon, let me show you what I’m talking about.

Starting Point – The Ad

Let’s say for example I’m looking to purchase a new SLR camera lens for my Nikon D60. So I head over to Google and search for “Nikon D60 Lenses”. Seems like a logical keyword phrase to search right?

Well maybe… here are the top 3 results:

ppc-results
TIP: Out of the top 3 results, none of them are geared specifically for my keyword phrase.

I clicked on the 2nd ad and was directed to this landing page.

ppc-example

No way — Are you serious? Was my search that specific that you couldn’t point me in the right direction?

First of all with these being the top 3 results I was hoping for a little more specific ad copy. Gee I don’t know, how about a more targeted ad like this:

Nikon D60 Lenses (Solid keyword headline)
Wide Selection of Nikon Lenses. (A feature or benefit when visiting our website.)
Buy Today & Get Free Shipping! (Call to Action)
DigitalCameraInfo.com/Nikon-Lenses (Reinforcing the category or product once more.)

Dude Where’s my Car? errr… My Lens?

Sure out of the 3 ads, we’d expect that Amazon would take me to the right place but what’s with that ad copy? “Lens Nikon at Amazon“. What does that even mean? No, just because you put your brand name in your headline doesn’t mean I’m going to click on your ad. Sorry, but you have to try harder than that.

After clicking on the 2nd ad, I was not directed to the Nikon Lens page. This immediately made me want to click the back button.Why make the user dig through your site to find what they’re looking for?

Now, we’ll go into this later but the reason this ad was displayed when I searched this is because he’s buying the term Nikon D60 as a “broad match” term.

Broad Matching Terms: Allows your ad to show on similar phrases and relevant variations

This mistake goes back to my last article about the importance of paid search account structure. When you create tightly, crafted campaigns with 10-15 keywords you can avoid this costly mistake.

Wrap it Up with Common Sense

Do you necessarily need to make a Nikon D60 Lens ad group & a Nikon D40 Lens Campaign and so on? No, but if you want a better CTR and maximize your money, do it the right way and stop being lazy. If you’re not taking the time to setup these campaigns very specific, then you’re just throwing your money away.

Lastly, keep in mind that it’s not just your ad copy that’s saying something to your users… You’re landing page is part of the “pre-sale” process as well. Ensuring that your ad copy and landing page copy all mesh well together is key. My point to all of this is to make it easy, precise and to the point 😉

Now go make sure you’re ad copy makes sense from start to finish.

Was this helpful? Let me know if I didn’t touch on something or you need more clarification. In the meantime be sure to Subscribe to my RSS Feed or Follow @jrfarr on Twitter for the next Rockstar PPC installment.

The Importance of your Paid Search Account Strucutre

Importance of Paid Search Account Structure
This is Rockstar PPC 101: I’m starting out with the basics as I write these first few posts. We’ll  work towards getting  into much more advanced techniques as we move forward.

Alright, so now that you’ve gone through my “Define.Research. Deploy.” process, you’re ready to start setting up your paid search campaigns. Within that process you should’ve completed the following items:

  • Define your Niche
  • Research your competition within your niche using Keyword Research Tools
  • Solidify your Objective
  • Creating a compelling CTA (Call to Action)

With those items behind you, it’s time to talk about the setting up your paid search campaigns. What I mean by that, is how are you going to be organizing your account structure?

Why is Account Structure Important?

The last thing you want to do is start creating a bunch of random campaigns with no real direction. You’ll end up overlapping campaigns, have an un-organized account and will most likely cause you more work.

Back in the day, your campaigns would be stuffed with thousands of keywords with just a few ad groups. Now, I don’t ever have more than 10-15 keywords within an ad group.

Essentially, with a structured account, you’ll be able to pin-point any item you want in your account which allow for better management. No matter how granular you want to manage your account (e.g. down to the keyword level) you’ll know exactly where everything is within your account.

Paid Search Account Structure & How it Effects your Quality Score

I can’t emphasize enough how important your account structure is. This is one of the biggest factors when talking about Google’s Quality Score. In case you’re not familiar with the quality score, you need to definitely understand it before you setup a Google Adwords account. In short the Google Quality Score is:

The AdWords system calculates a ‘Quality Score’ for each of your keywords. It looks at a variety of factors to measure how relevant your keyword is to your ad text and to a user’s search query. A keyword’s Quality Score updates frequently and is closely related to its performance. In general, a high Quality Score means that your keyword will trigger ads in a higher position and at a lower cost-per-click (CPC).

Back in October of 2008 I did a post on “How to Help your Google Adwords Quality Score“. All of it is still relevant and will play a huge role in building up your quality score.

Inside Google Adwords (and Yahoo! & MSN, etc.) your account is laid out like this.

  • Campaigns (e.g. Mens Nike Shoes)
    • Ad Groups (e.g. Nike Shox, Nike Air Max, Nike
    • Ad Copy
    • Keywords

TIP: The more specific you layout your campaigns the more specific your ad copy & keywords will be. Thus, resulting in better ROI and conversion rate.

Solid Account Structure = Extreme Relevance & Google Love

Google’s main goal with their search results is to be as relevant as possible. If you’re campaigns as relevant as possible, Google will reward you for your hard work & effort.

It’s easy to be lazy and throw up a few campaigns and a few ads. Try to avoid that and make it a goal to reach the maximum amount of campaigns within your account.

If you’re not shooting for that, you’re just being lazy.

Let’s look at a few examples

Let me show you a quick example of how a well structured campaign, makes you get more specific & relevant.

In this examples, I’m using the new Nike Shox that just came out, the “Nike Shox NZ id”. You could either setup your own Nike Shox campaigns or just add another ad group to a General Nike Shoes campaign.

If it were me, I would use the more specific example. (See below.)

Campaign Name: Mens Nike Shox
Ad Group:
Nike Shox NZ id
Ad Copy:
Nike Shox NZ id

Customize your NZ’s with Nike ID.
Get 20% Off & Free Shipping Today!
www.JRazzlesShoes.com/Nike-Shox-NZ

When you setup your account strucutre this way, you have no choice but to have a very specific ad, that targets very specific keywords. This does a number of things. Compared to the other ads you’ll be displaying next to, you’re more likely to be clicked on and you’ll be linking to correct product page the consumer is looking for.

Here’s what happens when you don’t have account structure

When I searched for “Nike Shox NZ id” these were the top 3 ads to show up.

figure-1

First thing you’ll notice is out of all 3 results, none of them use the descriptive ad copy to really “sell” the product. It’s unfortunate to see. In my opinion, if the account was structured in a precise manner, they would be much more specific for each product. For the most part, these ads are geared to just the Nike Shox shoe.

But after clicking on each of the ads, it get’s worst.

All of these ads failed to send the me, the visitor, to the appropriate landing page. Out of the 3, Footlocker was the worst, as it sent me to this page:

figure-2

Uh — what is this?

I mean, it’s nice of you to show me your New Balance shoe collection but your ad told me it would take me to your Nike Shox? Seriously, Footlocker out of all sites out there too. I expect more out of a big company to have it more together. To me, this is a classic case of having an un-structured account which ultimately takes away your ability to manage your entire account.

Either way, just remember to keep it relevant. Having a well thought out account/campaign structure will give you the ability to manage your paid search campaigns at an optimal level.

If you’ve already created a few campaigns within your account, that’s ok. Next time you’re begin setting up new campaigns and ad groups, remember the importance of your paid search account structure.

Was this helpful? Let me know if I didn’t touch on something or you need more clarification. In the meantime be sure to Subscribe to my RSS Feed or Follow @jrfarr on Twitter for the next Rockstar PPC installment.

Free Keyword Research Tools from Google

I wanted to put up a few posts about Keyword Research tools. Honestly, maybe a year ago, buying a paid subscription to keyword research tool made sense to me. Now, with the Google “freemium” dealio, it doesn’t make much sense to pour out hundreds of dollars for a paid keyword tool.

I wanted to make a useful list for anyone looking for some FREE keyword research tools. Google has come out with some amazing tools over the past little while. And sure enough, they’re FREE!

Google Adwords Keyword Tool

Google Adwords Keyword Tool – This particular keyword tool offers two ways of generating keywords.

  1. Enter Descritpive Keywords or Phrases. After adding a few descriptive keywords Google can now find a whole list of keywords based off your short description.
  2. Website Content – Enter a URL of a website/your website. Google will search your website for keywords and shoot back relevant keywords.

Google Search Based Keyword Tool

Google Search Based Keyword Tool – If you have an Adwords account it will automatically poplulate the URL’s you use in your account. Select to correct URL and enter a few keywords and phrases and your on your way. If you don’t have a Adwords account just enter a URL and keywords and proceed that way.

Here’s a brief description from Google about their new keyword tool.

The Search-based Keyword Tool provides keyword ideas:

  • Based on actual Google search queries
  • Matched to specific pages of your website with your ad and search share
  • New to your Adwords account (typically excluding keywords matching those already in your account)

Google Insights for Search Keyword Tool

Google Insights for Search – This is another keyword tool launched by Google. The tool is still in Beta but this is one of my favorite keyword tools. You can take a topic and get as granular as you’d like with the keywords.

With the Google Insights tool you can search by:

  • Categories
  • Seasonality
  • Demographic Distribution

This can all be researched by this simple search box.

Let me show you a few examples from Google:

Creating an Advertising Message

Can’t decide what to message to send to your consumers? Use the Google Insights tool. Click on the screen shot above to see how the research from this tool can help create an advertising message.

Researching Seasonallity

One of my favorite parts of the tool. How often do you see a lift in traffic or a dip and traffic and you wonder if it’s seasonality? I know I do all the time. This is a great way to use Google Insights to research seasonality from any date range you’d like.

Creating Brand Associations

Use the category filter to see what other brands will be competing in your space.

Exploring New Markets

How many times a month or week are you researching a new search landscape or industry. Stop flying blind and get sloid numbers to back up your initial thoughts.

Just from the 3 tools from Google look at the complexity, flexibility and insights you can gain from a FREE keyword research tool. I think the days of paid keyword research tools are fading, especially now that Google has made its stamp in the industry.

What FREE keyword research tools are you using?