SEM Strategy Landing Pages

- July 24, 2008

Want your SEM program to perform better?  Your website’s landing pages should be built in the mindset of the searcher.

In working with many websites that have an SEM strategy, I consistently find that most have similar core limitations. Here,  I will focus on the landing page limitations I find most often.  However unique to the website itself, I find most sites have very few landing pages and they are much too generic to garner strong conversion rates.

Companies participate in SEM for several reasons, whether it is lead generation, e-commerce, B2B, or B2C. Regardless of the business you have, your website is your online store.  I find it interesting that companies spend countless amounts of dollars creating experiences for brick and mortar stores to be appealing to various demographics. They will spend countless more dollars designing the layout of the store to be intuitive to a shopper, so that the in-store shopping experience is inviting and begs the shopper to come back and tell everyone else they know about it.  So, why is it that so many companies don’t apply this same degree of scrutiny to their website?

An online shopper is looking for a product specific to their needs, so you should investigate and learn who those shoppers are. Then, just as you would build your actual store, you should build your website’s landing pages to be attractive and speak to their individual needs/applications.  These pages are your store displays; they should be intuitive for the searcher to understand how your products or services are relevant to them.

Great, so how does one go about doing this?  To help you understand how your landing pages should be built, I will give an example.  A company, I shall name Acme, sells a software product and targets specific industries: construction, accounting, and manufacturing.  A representative in each of these industries goes to Acme’s website to find out how this product is going to help them in their specific application.  Each one of these searchers is looking for information about the software and specifics for how the product can be utilized in their application.  Each searcher clicks on the ad it found for Acme and is directed to Acme’s request more information generic form page.  The form has some content that gives a little blurb about Acme and its software product, however the information is generic.  Oh, and then there is a form to fill out.  Hmmm…the searcher is wondering “how is this software going to work for me?  I don’t understand” So, now the searcher is a little worried that this may not be what they are looking for, because there wasn’t any information specific to their needs.  They are thinking about doing some further searches before giving out their contact information when it may be irrelevant. And, poof, the searcher leaves your website; opportunity lost.

Landing page limitations can critically affect your conversions. To remedy this problem involves a very simple strategy!  This searcher would have much rather been directed to a landing page that speaks to their needs and gives information about how this software product can help them in their own specific application.  After reading a more relevant summary of how the product works for them, the form has become more relevant, and thus, the searcher is much more likely to fill it out.

This same concept should be applied to the rest of your website!  You should find out who you customers are, and why they are interested in your product or service.   Then, apply this knowledge by creating multiple landing pages, each that speak to the different needs of your customers and the keywords that they are utilizing.  The more the searcher can understand how your product or service works for them, the more willing they will be to convert.  Now… get to work… you have a quite a few landing pages to create.

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