We are all busy these days, but are we so busy that we should drive traffic to landing pages that will definitely not convert? Take a step back before launching a new campaign and put yourself in the shoes of the user. Imagine the disappointment a user might experience when he or she is highly motivated to make a purchase only to be taken to an unorganized, ugly, or confusing landing page.
Search is becoming ever so popular, as we have seen a great migration from tradition media to internet search. The numbers are in and people have shifted their buying habits and research to the online medium in droves. There are an abundance of websites to choose from when conducting a search. Yes, we’ve said it many times, it is very important to have your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy and your Search Engine Marketing (SEM) strategy in place to make sure you show up, but, if that’s all you do, you’ve only gotten your customer to your doorstep. What are you doing in order to get a prospect to then come in, take a look around, and feel excited and comfortable enough to actually buy something, or want more information about your product or service?
If you haven’t given thought to what prospects do once they get to your website, or if you are using analytics and aren’t sure why your bounce rate is so high, I would look at the obvious question… what pages are you sending your prospects to? I would then most certainly conduct testing of the landing pages your prospects arrive at on your site (or your doorstep). You want to make sure that your landing pages are attractive and give your prospects a clear call to action so that you aren’t missing your chance to show them what you have to offer!
Google AdWords has a very nice feature, called Website Optimizer and through this tool, you can very conveniently conduct a controlled test of your landing page’s effectiveness. Google Analytics has a great reporting functionality that works in conjunction with the Optimizer tool in order to run reporting and analyze which pages are performing better. What good is a test without analysis? You may be pleasantly surprised what you perceive is effective and what your prospects are actually reacting to! Since they are the ones that buy your product, let them help you determine what they want from you when they visit your site.
There are various approaches to testing landing pages, whether you decide to conduct an A/B comparison, or if you want to conduct a multivariate test in which you test various layouts of the same page. Whatever type of test you decide, do your research first. There are a multitude of articles that you can find that give advice. Make sure you plan ahead, test out pages that are popular enough to be visited (or your test will take an unreasonably long time to conduct), run the test long enough to capture adequate data, and of course, make necessary changes to the website.
Like anything else in marketing, conduct tests often, because buying habits and trends come and go. Conducting a test once satisfactorily doesn’t mean it will continue to be effective in the future.
It’s no secret that effective ads and landing pages are crucial to the success of your search engine marketing efforts. Perhaps you’ve already created compelling copy relevant to your keywords, achieved top positions on the search results pages, and optimized the design and usability of your landing pages. All of this may have increased your site’s traffic and conversions, but do you still want more? Try offering an incentive.
Appealing incentives are proven to persuade searchers to not only click on your ads but also convert once they arrive at your landing page. Depending on the nature of your business, you can offer a free white paper or book, discount, web special, complementary product or accessory, gift, or free shipping to boost conversions. According to an article in Practical eCommerce, 84% of online shoppers surveyed during last year’s holiday season said they were most influenced by free shipping offers, while 77% cited sales and specials as their strongest motivators.
However, when it comes to determining the ideal incentive for your site, it’s best to test. Remember that while an incentive is a value-add for your customers, it’s also an incremental cost to you. That’s why it’s important to consider how it affects your bottom line. A recent study in Marketing Experiments Journal confirms that conversion rate alone cannot indicate which incentive has the most positive impact on net profit. Instead, the journal recommends using Return-On-Incentive, or ROIc, to measure this. Simply stated, the ROIc is the net cost of the incentive subtracted from its net profit. For instance, a free shipping offer might result in more conversions, but a free gift might be a better incentive because it yields a higher ROIc. Check out the study to learn more about calculating ROIc and using it to test two or more incentives.
Are you utilizing incentives to your advantage today?