AdWords Day 4b: More on Landing Pages

After some correspondence with one of my best clients, who is working on an AdWords campaign, I realized the concept of landing pages could use some more exploration. I spent some time clicking on ads and checking out various landing pages. I realized a few things:

Sometimes a website’s default homepage is a fine landing page

I think this is true when a website’s homepage is very clear and focused anyway, perhaps because the site is only selling one product or service. An example of this is ActiveCollab. Their ad on one online web design magazine, shown at right, clicks through to their default homepage. However, this page satisfies some of the main requirements for an effective landing page, including:

  • Echoing language from the ad (for example “Try free demo”)
  • Having a strong call-to-action (here, mainly free demo button; there are also secondary calls-to-action).

Sometimes a website’s default homepage makes a crappy landing page, but it’s being used as one anyway

This ad references “Branded Flash video players” and a “30-day free trial”, but when clicked on, it just takes me to the homepage. There is a “Start Free Trial” button, but I see no reflection of the content from the ad. In fact, it’s not immediately clear what the site or service is all about.

“Call to action” may sounds like cheesy marketing lingo, but it really is important

The page linked to from this ad is pretty good—it has a nice clear hierarchy, so while it may be a little wordy it’s not too hard to scan. However, once I arrive at the bottom of the page, what should I do next? They have failed to provide any clear next step (a call to action), so the user is left to wander around the site aimlessly. A better approach might have have been to reduce the amount of text content, and include a newsletter sign-up form, or a form to request more information by e-mail or snail mail.

A good landing page is powerful

I came across a couple of examples of really excellent landing pages. One is for CampaignMonitor, an email newsletter service that is targeted at designers. The ad at the right clicks through to this landing page. A few things to notice:

  • The language from the ad, “Email marketing for designers”, is echoed in the text.
  • There is a single, clear call to action: the large green “Get started for free” button.
  • More information is available in easily-digestible chunks “below the fold”
  • If someone does scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, they see a single, bold testimonial.

CampaignMonitor actually did a full write-up about their landing pages which is an interesting read.

Shopify’s ad on the site of a popular web design podcast declares “By designers, For designers”. Accordingly, the landing page for the ad directly addresses that target group. There is a large, green “Sign Up Now” button that provides an obvious next step. All the extra information is provided below this call to action.

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