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Why You Need a Stellar Landing Page to Convert Prospects

Why You Need a Stellar Landing Page to Convert Prospects
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In Ultimate Guide to Local Business Marketing, Google AdWords expert Perry Marshall and lead generation expert Talor Zamir introduce you to the basic framework behind a successful local marketing campaign. In this edited excerpt, Perry and Zamir explain why your landing page is key to ad conversions.

Especially when you're paying per click for your Google ads, the conversion on your landing page is the most important part of the process. Why?

Because if you’re only paying when someone clicks on one of your ads and goes to your landing page, it’s the landing page that’s going to make or break your campaign (we’re assuming here that your keywords and ads aren’t completely out of whack). So you better be darn sure your landing page(s) effectively and efficiently convert visitors into quality leads for your business.

Any pay-per-click (PPC) manager can do keyword research and get a bunch of ads set up. But many of them don’t pay any attention to the most important piece of the puzzle: the landing page.

Need more convincing why landing pages are so important? If you can create a landing page that doubles your conversion rate, then you'll get twice as many leads for the exact same ad spend. And the fact that most of the competition you’re up against in a local market doesn’t pay attention to their landing pages (or even know what one is) means you should be converting much higher than they do.

That gives you a huge competitive advantage in your market because not only will you be able to get more leads than they do for the same money spent, but you’ll be paying less per lead than they are.

The fact is, a well-designed landing page could be the difference between someone who spends a few thousand dollars on Google ads and decides “Yeah, this isn’t working for me” and someone else who’s getting leads for half or one-third the cost because their great landing page is able to scale up and add millions of dollars in revenue to their business.

Now you may be thinking, “But I already paid a really awesome web designer to create a beautiful website for me. Everyone tells me how much they love it. Why can’t I just send the Google ads traffic to an existing page on my site? Why do I need to create special landing pages?”

Good questions. Here's why you shouldn't use your current website:

First, maybe you hired a designer who created a truly beautiful site for you, but most web designers aren't schooled in the science of conversion. So while your website may have beautiful images and make great use of color, that doesn't mean it’s going to convert well. In fact, most of the “pretty” sites we encounter don't convert well at all because they typically don't have most of the components that a landing page needs to do the most important job a landing page needs to do: generate leads for your business!

The other reason you don't want to use your current website comes down to psychology. Sheena Iyengar is a psycho-economist at Columbia Business School. In November 2011, she gave a TED Talk titled “How to Make Choosing Easier” that's been viewed more than 1.6 million times. In her talk, she shares the results of an experiment she did as a Stanford grad student at a local grocery store. This grocery had no shortage of options for consumers. Iyengar loved going to the store but noticed that she never bought anything and wondered if having too many choices had something to do with it. So she got the store manager to let her do an experiment with jam (of which the store had 348 varieties to choose from).

She set up a tasting booth near the front of the store and tested what happened when they had 24 different flavors of jam to sample versus just six varieties. What she found was that more people stopped at the tasting booth when there were 24 different kinds of jam. However, just 3 percent ended up buying jam. But when there were just six kinds of jam on the table, 30 percent of the people who stopped ended up buying a jar. Doing the math, people were six times more likely to buy when they had six jars to choose from versus 24.

People have what we call “online ADD” Basically, if you give them too many options, they get overwhelmed and won’t make a decision. Your job (and the job of your landing page) is to keep them focused on the action you want them to take. And for most local businesses, that action is to pick up the phone and call you (or, as a backup if they're not able to call, enter their information into a contact form on your landing page) for a free consultation.

The whole premise here is that for local businesses, the best first step to get people into their sales funnel is to give a free consultation (lawyers), free quote (mortgage brokers), free estimate (home contractors), free initial evaluation (chiropractor), etc. So if your goal is for people to contact you for a free consultation, then you want to stick to what I call “one decision marketing.”

That means your landing page shouldn't have any links at the top or down the side of the page. In fact, if it were up to us, there'd be no links on the landing page, but we need to include some to keep Google happy. The point is, you don't want any distractions on that page. Your goal on the landing page is to put your best foot forward, give the biggest benefits you offer, and keep visitors completely focused on why and how they should contact you.

This is also why you don't want to give away too much information on your landing page. You want to strike a balance where the page isn't too short but also not too long. Too short, and you risk not having enough content on it to keep Google happy and/or not giving people enough information to make the decision to contact you.

Too long hurts you, too. We once created a landing page for a personal injury lawyer, who insisted we include a Q&A from the attorney, which answers a lot of the common questions potential clients have. Even though we had a proven and highly successful landing page template for personal injury attorneys, this attorney felt our template didn't give people enough information. Adding this Q&A made the landing page twice as long.

When the campaign launched, the attorney wasn't happy about the amount of leads he was getting for the money he was spending. We convinced him to let us do a test where we got rid of the Q&A section and just stuck with the shorter, proven template. Once the Q&A was gone, conversions on the page dramatically increased, and he got a lot more leads for the money spent. The issue with the long Q&A is that it answered everybody’s questions so they didn’t need to call anymore!

The Goal of Your Landing Page

Your landing page’s job isn't to answer all the questions a potential prospect may have. Its job is to give prospects the biggest benefit(s) as to why they should contact you. Here's what you're shooting for: Within one minute of hitting that landing page, your prospects are easily able to consume all the information they need to make a decision to contact you or not, which means you need it to focus on your best benefits (which should be in your headline, sub-headline, and bullet points).

You may be thinking, “Wait a minute. I need the option to let people know everything we can offer them and sell more to them. A short landing page with no navigation at the top or side won’t let me do that.”

That’s great, but we're talking about AdWords and lead generation. The goal of your local business's landing page isn't to make the sale. We don't recommend mentioning price or trying to sell people into a service from your landing page. Let your staff handle all the cross-sells and upsells once they get a prospect on the phone or preferably in your office.

Give them the big benefits. Put your best foot forward. Let them know why and how to get in touch with you. That is what your landing page needs to do. No more. No less.