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Google Adwords Landing Pages—Is Yours Up to Scratch?

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This post is part of a series called Google Adwords for Small Business.
How to Write a Click-Grabbing Adwords Ad

You can spend hours choosing the right keywords for your Adwords campaign. Then weeks crafting and refining your ad's headline and copy. You'll likely see some results, and potentially even get a return on your investment.

But unless your Adwords campaign landing page is up to scratch, there's a very good chance that your ad isn't converting as powerfully as it should be.

In other words, you can have a fantastic click through rate on your ads, but if that's not leading to conversions, then you're wasting money.

In this tutorial, we'll look at how you can craft effective landing pages for your Adwords campaign. That includes learning what a landing page is all about, looking at what you need to know to write a landing page, and giving an overview of copywriting techniques you can use to write attention grabbing copy.

Let's start with getting to grips with what a landing page is.

What is a Google Adwords Landing Page?

In simple terms, a landing page is any page on your website where visitors "land" after clicking a promoted link to your website. That link may have been promoted through an email, or as the case of Google Adwords, ad advert.

There's one small problem with that definition, as Corey Eridon of Hubspot explains in answer to the question "What is a landing page?"

Let's answer that by first establishing what a landing page is not. That's important because there are a lot of different definitions floating around out there. (The other definitions aren't better or worse — they're just different.) The biggest difference I often see is the term "landing page" being used to refer to any ol' page on a website. You know, they're all pages on which one might "land."

So, in Eridon's view, a landing page isn't any page on your website, although technically you could choose any page for visitors to "land" on when they click your link.

What's the missing ingredient in the definition we've covered so far?

As well as being a place where visitors "land", a landing page also encourages them to take action. This action could be:

  • filling out an enquiry form
  • making a purchase
  • signing up to an email list

When you're running an ad campaign, you'll only see a return on your investment if you get people who click to take action towards becoming a customer.

Step 1: Know Your Customers

Effective copywriting is fundamentally about people. When you know who it is you're trying to connect with through your copy, you'll do a better of communicating with them.

In other words, people find copy compelling because it resonates with them. They feel like you're talking directly to their situation. Which of course, you are, because you know your ideal customer and the situation they face.

The more you know about your ideal customer, the better copy you'll write. That means you need to know:

  • how old they are
  • where they live
  • what they do for a living
  • their hopes, dreams and fears
  • the problems that they face
  • what they enjoy doing in their spare time
  • who they like to hang out
  • what they look like

When you've put together a profile of your ideal customer, picture them in your mind. Even better, find a picture in a magazine or using Google images search that represents your ideal customer. In a later step, we'll show you how to use this image.

Another way you can get to know your ideal customers is by spending time with them. That doesn't mean you've got to patrol the streets of your city, looking for people to chat with. Instead, go to the online forums where your customers hang out. Here you'll find out all about them, and you'll discover the language they use, which is really helpful when it comes to writing your copy.

Step 2: Know How You Help

Having completed Step 1, you know all about your potential customers. Great job!

Your next step is to think about the products or services you provide. How do you help your customers? The following questions can help you in thinking about this:

  • What specific problem do you solve (or need do you meet)?
  • How do you solve it?
  • How have you helped others with the same problem in the past?

It may be that you have a range of products or services, and that you solve more than one problem. If that's the case, choose one product or service to focus on—the one that you're promoting through your Adwords campaign. This will make more sense in the next step. If you've got other products or services you'd like to promote, then your best bet is to run a separate ad campaign for them.

This step is a good opportunity to collect evidence of how you help your customers. Three really useful types of evidence you can collect are:

  • Testimonials. To collect testimonials, you ask your current or past customers to explain how you've helped them. If you've never done this before, collecting testimonials can provide a helpful insight into the amount of value you provide for your customers.
  • Case studies. These take an in-depth look on work you've done for past customers. You're unlikely to use a full case study as part of a sales page, but you can use elements of case studies to help drive sales. Case studies don't have to be complicated. For an example of how simple they can be, check out our case study on typography.
  • Metrics on how you improve things for your customers. Obviously, this isn't always possible, but if you can collect numerical data that shows how much you help people, you'll have a powerful sales tool.

You know what you're all about and how you help your customers? Great! Onto the next step...

Step 3: Know What You Want From Your Customers

Landing pages work best when you keep things simple. Effective landing pages ask visitors to take one action, and one action only.

What one action do you want your visitors to take? This is a crucial question. Every decision you make for your landing page, every word of copy you write, even the way you design your landing page, flows out of this decision.

Do you want visitors to:

  • buy a product or service
  • join your email list
  • contact you with more details of their needs

Or something else?

Remember when you wrote the copy for your Adwords ad, you made it relevant to your customers, and showed what was in it for them by clicking through? When they take the action on your landing page, your customers should feel like you've delivered on your promise, and they've got what they wanted.

Note that the action you ask readers to take doesn't have to be making a big purchase. In fact, aiming big can be counterproductive, as it can put people off. Few people will spend a significant amount of money with you unless they've established a relationship.

Rather than going for broke, see this action as the first step in a person's journey to becoming a lifetime customer with your business.

Step 4: Write Your Landing Page

Now the real work begins; it's time to write the first draft of your Adwords landing page. First draft is the key term here. What you create doesn't have to be perfect. After you've written your first draft, you'll have raw materials to work with and edit. That's impossible with a blank page.

When you're writing, you'll use all the work you've done in the previous three steps. Namely, you will:

  1. Show that you understand the problem facing your customers, in their own words. Here, you'll find the research you did in Step 1 really helpful.
  2. Demonstrate that you provide an effective solution to this problem.
  3. Ask the potential customers on your landing page to take a specific action. This action will involve them using your product or service to solve their problem.

What else is important when you're writing an Adwords landing page?

  • Make it flow directly from your ad copy. In your ad, you made a promise to potential customers. You intrigued them enough to win their click. Your landing page copy is where you show them how you can fulfill that promise.
  • Write like a human being. Don't think of yourself as a writer or a business while you're writing. Instead, think of yourself as a person writing to a friend. Your copy will be more direct and to the point. You'll resist the temptation to "write like a writer" and instead just use plain, every day words.
  • Use the language of your audience. You've already spent time hanging out with your customers. You know their vocabulary and turns of phrase. Inject this into your writing.
  • Embrace the word "you". This pulls readers into your copy, and makes it relevant to them.
  • Show why you're the best choice. People don't only make a decision based on price (though if you're the cheapest, say so!). Point out what makes you different from your competitors. This is a good time to make use of the testimonials, case studies and statistics you collected in Step 2.

You can also use the landing page structure we outlined in a previous article, which is:

  • Compelling headline
  • show you understand the problem facing your customers
  • show that your product or service solves this problem
  • paint a picture of what life will be like for your customers once they've solved the problem
  • demonstrate that you're the best choice to help them with the problem
  • finish with a call to action—telling them what they need to do to get your help.

Step 5: Eliminate the Inessential

You've got your first draft, and it's probably looking good. Now it's time to pare it down. That means making sure every sentence, paragraph and word does one of the following:

  • helps readers better understand their problem
  • points to your product or service as a solution
  • explains the action readers need to take to solve their problem (with your help)

Anything extra? Delete it. That includes getting rid of any unnecessary words and phrases. The more direct and to-the-point you can be, the better.

Once your copy is crystal clear, there are two more ways you must eliminate the inessential on your landing page. First, use a crisp, clean design to keep readers focused on your copy. Second, remove any escape routes. Escape routes are any links readers can click which don't involve completing the call to action. People are easily distracted, especially when they're browsing the web, so you want to remove that temptation.

Step 6: Test, Test, Test

If you've followed all the steps in this tutorial, you will have created a great landing page. That said, there's always room for improvement.

It's a good idea to test variations of your landing page to see which converts best. Headlines are the easiest thing to test, and the right headline can deliver. Body copy and images can also make a big difference. For more on testing and optimization, see this article on landing page optimization.

Happy Selling!

Your landing page is complete. Good job! Here's wishing you healthy sales.

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