Monday, October 13, 2008

4 Important Lessons In Landing Page Optimization

For those of you that were unable to make it out to Boston to hear me speak at the MarketingSherpa B2B Lead Gen Summit; here is a segment of my presentation that a lot of people found very valuable, and for those that will be attending the San Fransisco version of the summit, consider this a sneak peak.

4 BIG takeaways/lessons that we learned from our paid search optimization program.

1. More Specific Landing Pages
When we first launched our paid search program we would send users to deep links within the site. This was a problem for many reasons:
  • Hard to convert: A deep link within a site is not geared towards getting a user to convert and therefore is filled with distractions. A user will end up not following the path that you want them to, and ultimately end up leaving the site and not converting at all.
  • Hard to track: Deep links made it difficult for us to accurately know which keywords and landing experiences were driving results.

Because of the challenges that we faced with sending users to deep links within the site we turned to landing pages.

We currently use ion interactive's LiveBall SaaS to easily create, test, & optimize our landing pages.

2. Match the experience to the search.
Now that we are using unique landing pages, we made sure that the pages were VERY relevant to the terms/intentions that the user was searching on. We also were able to keep the pages focused on conversion and distraction free.

3. Self-segmentation after the click
Our landing pages aren't the traditional pages that you may find in the space that have the standard headline, subhead, bullets, and form. We use multi-step landing page experiences that with start with a preconversion question. The question can be as simple as "What is your capacity size?" The user has 2 options to choose from, and based on their choice they are sent to a page that is relevant to their need. This simple question not only helps us provide a more relevant experience to the user, but it also helps us learn more about the user and what they are looking for. Finally it increases our odds of getting that user to convert even more.

Scott Brinker from ion recently posted an excellent article on this topic Why 2 clicks are better than 1.

4. Keep on testing
We were always testing. Monthly we would review the results from previous tests combined stats from google, and our omniture analytics; decide what's was working and what needed improvement. We used A/B tests to test elements like messages, images, and whole experiences to see what would move the needle. Our mantra was "Just Keep Testing."

Bonus: Analytics is key!
If it wasn't for the analytics that came with the LiveBall Software, and our implementation of Omniture SiteCatalyst we would just taking shots in the dark. They allowed us to easily measure the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that were key to moving the needle, and optimizing our campaign.

Just remember you don't need to have high-end analytics to be successful, you just need something that will allow you to measure the important KPIs for your business. If you don't have analytics, start with a solution like google analytics. It's free and easy to implement.

If I had to choose the 2 most important items from this list, I would have to say Testing & Analysis. In today's economy you cannot afford to not test, and optimize your landing pages. Also on the flip side testing without analytics is like taking a shots in the dark.

If you are going to the west coast version of the MarketingSherpa B2B Lead Gen Summit make sure you check out my session titled Optimizing SEM Strategies from Keyword to Conversion. It's on Monday Oct 27 at 11:15am. Hope to see you there!


Michael Kerman said...

Where can I get a copy of the presentation you have at the MarketingSherpa conference?

Gary Ware said...

Hey Michael, I'll email you a copy later today.