PPC Landing Pages: Building, Managing, & Testing

This week Luke Alley (@LukeAlley) is once again hosting PPCChat in place of Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) with another great question set titled “PPC Landing Pages: Building, Managing, & Testing.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: Are landing pages essential to Lead Generation PPC? Is it the same for Ecommerce?

  • Essential? No. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED? YES! Are you sending users to a pricing page, quote page, versus page, etc. – Gil Hong (@_GilHong)
  • Definitely crucial. Set different tones depending on where a user is in the buying funnel. – Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
  • I think Landing Pages are important for everything: PPC, SEO, Website Navigation, E-Commerce. – Terry Porter (@TPorter2)
  • No as it depends on the type of leads your generating. Call only ads work great for loan debt, tow trucks, rentals, etc. – Steve Seeley (@SteveSeeley)
  • TAs should differ for a user who is looking to “buy now” vs. the user who’s looking for “info about.” – Joe Martinez
  • GOOD landing pages are essential to lead gen. They get your audience from prospects to leads if deisgned well & offer value. – Tanner Schroeder (@TannerSchroeder)
  • I get caught up on the word “essential”, but for most part, yes. Esp if terrible primary website. Depends on offering/funnel/etc and yes, def more essential for lead gen then Ecom. Though, ecom category or brand pages can be treated like Landing pages. – Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
  • Landing pages are big for everyone, but its nice that with call and message extensions, there’s more offline conversion paths. – Mark Irvine (@MarkIrvine89)
  • We include a landing page as part of the setup as default, tho there are exceptions. They tend to do better than a typical site. – Luke Alley
  • You bet! Someone ready to buy needs a diff lp than someone learning. Customize your lp experience based on the purchase funnel. – Erika Schmidt (@erikapdx)
  • Lead Gen LPs that have specific offers for DL behind a gate can be important. Track which offer/whitepaper performs better. – Maria Corcoran (@mariacorcoran)
  • It is essential to at least try a dedicated landing page to see how it performs compared to other options. – Kyle Crocker (@kacrocker)
  • For ads going to an LP for tracking purposes, unique landing pages are essential. – Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
  • Anyone ever test a dedicated landing page for top, high-selling products in ecom? Curious to see what results were. – Joe Martinez
    • Definitely tested different combinations of products/categories for cross-selling ops. – Gil Hong
    • Tried it last year during holidays, but didn’t get definitive results. Looked promising for the right KWs. – Kyle Crocker
    • Def – based on conversion tier IE Research tier – prod detail pages, comparison page, purch plan page. – Maria Corcoran
  • It’s essential to take advantage of all angles in strategy and a LP is usually part of that equation. – Dallas Stevens (@DDP_PPC)
  • You need consistent messaging from KW to Ads to LP. Having a good LP with great messaging will get you conversions.
    – Travis Johnson (@PPCSuperSaiyan)
  • I will even have clients clone an existing page if that is what they want to try for an LP. Sometimes it’s process to get clients to true LPs. If want to try existing pg, at least have diff version. – Julie Bacchini
  • Even if you work with call ads, you need a suitable landing page (e.g. mobile). It’s a must for any business. – Esperanza Arriagada (@esperanza_scl)
  • Another good example: locksmiths, anything emergency real-time. – Peter Thistle (@PeterThistle)
  • Essential for many lead gen scenarios. In some cases well-optimized inner pages work too. – Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
  • Landing pages are definitely the best solution for lead gen, as long as they are as targeted and specific as the traffic. – Jacob Baadsgaard (@jakebaadsgaard)
  • LPs can help with both lead gen and ecom by being able to test new ideas faster and help drive higher conversion rates. – Duane Brown (@duanebrown)

Q2: Do you use a platform for creating LPs (Unbounce, Lead Pages, etc)? Or do you build static pages into the site?

  • Both! We tend to work with the client is most comfortable with and make suggestions based off of expected timelines/results. – Gil Hong
  • I use Unbounce. Haven’t tried others bc (1) I’ve been happy with UB and (2) I don’t have time to try others since I’m happy.- Kirk Williams
  • Disclosure I work for Adobe. We use AdobeTarget or AdobeExpMgr for most of our LP testing & creation. – Maria Corcoran
  • Some clients have the development team in house. But for the sake of time I’d prefer working on my own w/ Unbounce or Leadpages. – Joe Martinez
  • Frequently use WP templates. – Timothy Jensen
  • Depends on client’s site capabilities, simplicity of creation in site, budget, scale of LPs needed, etc. I like Unbounce. – Julie Bacchini
  • Generally setup a template or two on the CMS for landing pages and test from there. – Kyle Crocker
  • I love Unbounce. We think we know what to change, but sometimes we are wrong. its easy to make quick changes with Unbounce. – Travis Johnson
  • In past lives I have used Unbounce and like it a lot as well. – Maria Corcoran
  • The built in variant testing in the LP platforms is nice too. – Julie Bacchini
  • Unbounce is great, but sometimes more than often, we’re working with static pages. – Mark Irvine
  • Unbounce is a great solution for majority of our clients, and intuitive/fast for design employees. Larger enterprise clients usually need handcoded pages. More time spent building for tests, but better tracking. – Jacob Baadsgaard
  • I use Unbounce too. Love it! I haven’t tried the other ones though. We have quiet a few clients where we build static LPs. – Erika Schmidt
  • We default to Unbounce even though we have an in-house dev team. Easier to launch and test. Can avoid delays w/ hosting, etc. – Luke Alley
  • Static website landing pages. – Terry Porter
  • Creating LPs depends a LOT on the client. Some clients want to keep w/ their site’s design. Others don’t want to pay extra. – Erika Schmidt
  • Both but it depends on what the client is comfortable with. – Jonathan Ng (@ThankYouJon)
  • Building your pages from scratch gives more flexibility for fast split testing. I use Boostrap to throw something together. – Josiah Colt (@_kingjosiah_)
  • Use Unbounce of course as I work there and our platform does rock. Though I’ve seen startup do it in-house to start. – Duane Brown
  • Depends on time/money buget, type of campaign – for higher volume B2C short buy cycle, something like Unbounce works awesome. – Peter Thistle
  • We love Visual Website Optimizer (VWO) or u can run an A/B test test with javascript & google experiments which is sikk. – Josiah Colt

Q3: How do you create content for the page? Do you create it? Does the client? Combo?

  • For us, client remains responsible for content, tho we have strong opinions on what it should include. – Glenn Schmelzle (@heyglenns)
  • When possible, get someone with SEO chops involved here. If you’re just doing a quick job though, write it yourself and move on. – Mark Irvine
  • Client input is a must. You can guide them on marketing best practices, but they (should) know their business better than you. – Joe Martinez
  • We make recommendations, but ultimately the client signs off on the final decision. – Gil Hong
  • Preference is to create pgs, w/ content & input from client. Focused “through lines” (as I call them) make for best conv. – Julie Bacchini
  • If you want some quality content we love Contently and Fractlagency. Not cheap but they do baller work. – Josiah Colt
  • If the client is willing to pay for it, otherwise the client should create it as its part of the business. – Esperanza Arrigada
  • Are most people here from agencies? I am just handling this in-house. – Terry Porter
  • Initial Content creation is a client, PPC expert and designer collaboration. As ad copy improves, LP content should follow suit. – Jacob Baadsgaard
  • Side Q – if client is fully responsible for LPs, what % of responsibility do/should they retain for PPC campaign success/failure? – Julie Bacchini
    • I’d make the recommendation based on historical stats and base any changes on a testing framework. – Gil Hong
    • Exactly why WE take responsibility for it. We even go beyond that to track/improve quality of leads. If we don’t and the blame is on the client, it won’t matter because results aren’t there and client leaves. – Luke Alley
    • They gotta know PPC spend and their LP are like PB&J. They are of equal importance to optimize. – Josiah Colt
  • We go deep on the content. Start with Q&A w/ client. – Luke Alley
  • Depends on the client. For times’ sake, it’s better for you to do it rather than the endless back & forth email chains & meets. – Erika Schmidt
  • Consult with the client and collaborate together. Also have in-house content experts and tools specific to the task. – Dallas Stevens
  • Primarily created in-house but will utilize brand partner assets to keep consistent branding in market even for lead gen. – Rachel King (@rackelking237)
  • Agencies should be responsible for quality content, especially since message match between landing page & ad copy is essential. – Jacob Baadsgaard
  • When I worked at an agency we created an ideal LP from our POV and worked with clients to refine it over time. – Duane Brown

Q4: What’s your process for setting up landing pages? i.e. determining content, layout, offer, fields, images, approval, etc.

  • Look at campaign, compare to available site pages, identify needed landing pages. – Kyle Crocker
  • We try to make it as seamless as possible. Get 95% of information up front using a questionnaire. Do 1-2 revisions later. – Luke Alley
  • Each step is approved before the next step. 1) Define the LP goal 2) Offer 3) Wireframe 4) Content 5) Images 6) BOOM! Done. – Erika Schmidt
  • Identify audience, goal (trial? lead for sales funnel? immediate sale?), existing resources, data on what content has worked. – Timothy Jensen
  • Establishing goals is first and foremost. From there we extract most valuable content from clients, and establish buyer persona. – Jacob Baadsgaard
  • If from scratch, we have process in place to get all info. If some LPs exist, dig into performance & go from there. – Julie Bacchini
  • Intent research, funnel mapping, keywords driving traffic, offer positioning, CTA position & repetition inform content/design. – Rachel King
  • Buyer personas and client goals are key for building targeted LPs. From there our designers/conversion experts run with it. – Jacob Baadsgaard
  • We start with “What LP copy/images will convert best to a broad demo. Then personalize to kw and demo as visitor data builds. – Josiah Colt
  • Build my content first and get all the assets I need then I start working on building the page. Approval is at the end always. – Duane Brown
  • Make sure have your analytics/tracking crystal clear. i.e. Tracking js events for all traffic srcs tied to form submit/call etc. – Josiah Colt

Q5: What elements are essential to your landing page?

  • A strong hero image! – Josiah Colt
  • Value/trust messages with loads of proof points. Odds are people know what you do, but do they know WHY they should choose you? – Joe Martinez
  • There are many but I think quality social proof is often neglected. Quality social proof =/= just testimonials and news logos – Jacob Baadsgaard
  • Two main elements: proof the answer/solution is here, and super easy safe way to get it. – Peter Thistle
  • LP either needs to organically continue the conversation of the ad, hopefully driving toward conversion. – Mark Irvine
  • Clear method to contact you and brief explanation of what differentiates your brand. – Timothy Jensen
  • Click to Call functionality is #1. Consumers rarely manually dial. Clear, strong CTA and friction-free message with clear funnel. – Rachel King
  • That which best supports your search terms + ad copy line of inquiry/thinking. Finish strong what you started. – Julie Bacchini
  • Tracking! Get those heatmaps & click tracking in place so we know what’s working on the LP. Analyze & continuously improve. – Erika Schmidt
  • The more types of trustworthy social proof on a LP, the more likely users will pay attention to the rest of your content. – Jacob Baadsgaard
  • No more keyword-stuffed, wikipedia-sounding content. Prove why there is no reason to keep shopping around. – Joe Martinez
  • Fundamentals: Reinforce search term & USPs from ad and overall. CTA and Place to act on CTA (you’d be suprised…). – Doug Thomas (@ferkungamaboobo)

Q7: Do you look at what your competitors are doing when creating a LP? If so, what do you take into consideration?

  • ALWAYS look – searchers most certainly will. Then make your offers compelling & competitive in the space. – Julie Bacchini
  • Visibility across devices & clear message. – Esperanza Arriagada
  • What’s their offer? Free consult/Download/Trial/ Offer? Then let’s consider if we can offer something similar or better. – Mark Irvine
  • I try to focus not on the design, but what message are they putting out to their users. Are they doing a better job connecting? – Joe Martinez
  • Ppl & showing emotion (smiling) typically boosts conv rate. It’s about showing the “lifestyle” or residual benefits of the CTA. – Josiah Colt
  • I especially focus on their offer. Sometimes clients need ideas on what to offer to drive conversion. – Luke Alley
  • Yes. Are they focused on calls, chat or web CVRs? How do they represent discounted pricing? Use of advanced functionality, nav. – Rachel King
  • Do your own searches b/c clients often don’t know who any or all of their ONLINE competitors really are. – Julie Bacchini
  • In our niche, it’s hard to find something worth stealing. So/too many are doing it so incredibly wrong. – Doug Thomas
  • You can learn a lot from your competitor’s LP’s. Worth a look. – Terry Porter
  • Know what competitors are doing, but don’t trust that they are experts. Competitors provide great ideas for testing. – Jacob Baadsgaard

POLL: Navigation or No-Navigation on PPC Landing Pages (can’t say depends!).

  • Nav vs. No nav – TEST IT. Prefer little or none, as a rule, but that does not always produce best results for specific client. – Julie Bacchini
  • No navigation. They looked for something specific. Create a page that answers all their questions so they don’t need to search. – Joe Martinez
  • I prefer none. Give users one clear goal to convert. Keep “path” open back to main site, but don’t need to make obvious. – Timothy Jensen
  • Navigation should reinforce the main CTA of the LP. ex. an optimized/endearing “About Us” can lead to increased conversions. – Josiah Colt
  • People search for answers. They leave your site when you don’t provide answers. Let links provide answers. Answers > Conversions. – Mark Irvine
    • What if you can answer *just* enough to get them to stay, but not enough so they call/fill out form? What’s balance? – Luke Alley
      • Then they didn’t want a form/call. Offer them something else (text? download? video?) but limit site func cant help them. – Mark Irvine
        • But the biz wants a form/call. I’d argue LPs push them to that action FASTER than a typical site. Valid points tho. – Luke Alley
          • I can agree that if youre targeting people @ the bottom of the funnel, a limited LP w/form does what theyre looking for. – Mark Irvine
      • I find the best LPs dive deep into one area, while giving the essential overview answers to rest. – Jacob Baadsgaard
  • Do you consider where in the funnel the ad is targeting on this decision? – Kyle Crocker
  • If including nav we never link out, incl social profiles. Shallow – core offer, tier/package details, cart. Prev. believed no-nav. – Rachel King
  • Nav is great if you limit the # of pages & pagess are CRO. Longer LP = higher drop off. Be careful answering to many Qs. – Erika Schmidt

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More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.


Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Dallas Stevens (@DDP_PPC)
• Doug Thomas (@ferkungamaboobo)
• Duane Brown (@duanebrown)
• Erika Schmidt (@erikapdx)
• Esperanza Arriagada (@esperanza_scl)
• Gil Hong (@_GilHong)
• Glenn Schmelzle (@heyglenns)
• Jacob Baadsgaard (@jakebaadsgaard)
• Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
• Jonathan Ng (@ThankYouJon)
• Josiah Colt (@_kingjosiah_)
• Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
• Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
• Kyle Crocker (@kacrocker)
• Maria Corcoran (@mariacorcoran)
• Mark Irvine (@MarkIrvine89)
• Peter Thistle (@PeterThistle)
• Rachel King (@rackelking237)
• Steve Seeley (@SteveSeeley)
• Tanner Schroeder (@TannerSchroeder)
• Terry Porter (@TPorter2)
• Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
• Travis Johnson (@PPCSuperSaiyan)

PPCChat Streamcaps: Building, Managing, & Testing

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; works at WebRanking in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Connect with Paul @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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