Probably the most common question I get through emails and IMs all regard landing pages. People ask if they should direct link, use a landing page, what their landing page should look like, things they should use, how to get a good landing page quality score, etc. Hopefully I’ll get some good information across about building landing pages here and just make a good conversation about it. So let’s start off with the question:
Do I direct link an offer, or use a landing page?
Couple points about this question :
1) I DO know people making decent money from just direct linking. This saves you a lot of time as it’s easy as hell to get an offer running.
2) I personally have never had that much luck with it. I’ve had a couple offers that did well here and there for a couple weeks, and then tanked out. My recommendation is to use a landing page. That’s not the only way to do it, but it’s the way I do it.
Now that we have that aside, we know that we’re going to be building a landing page of some sort. The next big big point I want to make about landing pages is :
Landing pages are all DIFFERENT for unique offers/industries.
I know you’re bored to death from people (like me) saying, “Well it really all depends on a bunch of factors.” Well in this case it’s true. Different offers target different audiences, and you have to be aware of your biggest audience and try to target them. For example chances are somebody searching for ringtones is a 17 year old punk kid looking for a ringtone of his favorite band. Somebody searching for dental insurance is going to be a COMPLETELY different person. Flashing glitter and retarded looking crap will work great for your ringtone seeker, but you never really see pink flashing glitter text saying “Get Your Dental Insurance Now!”, now do you? So while it’s going to be tough to write an “end all” landing page article, I’ll try to give as much advice as I can.
Communicate with your user.
These are people clicking on your ads you know, and they clicked them to search for something. You’re supposed to be the solution to that something. By just pasting a button in the center of the page flashing “Click here to continue!”, you’re not really giving them any valuable solution. In certain industries this may work, but not all my friends. In some cases, by adding more content to your page you can actually increase both CTR and conversion rates, as you’ll have convinced the person that the offer you’re going to send them to will be the solution to their “something”.
The entire universe isn’t on Web 2.0 yet.
A lot of people tend to believe that more flashy “Web 2.0” graphics with gradients and shadows and reflections will lead to a much better looking page, therefore higher CTR and conversion. I have made some of the UGLIEST looking pages alive, and they’ve had really good CTR. I tested dental insurance like two or three months ago and I remember I made this terrible looking page. The graphics weren’t smooth, all the images weren’t aligned properly – but the CTR was around 80%. Why? Because I communicated with my user. I told them a little about saving on dental insurance, and then told them how easy it was to search and sign up for a new dental plan. My graphics weren’t amazing and web 2.0 style, but they got what they were looking for. Again this somewhat depends on the industry. Someone looking for dental insurance is probably a middle aged person who looks at their computer once a day to check their emails on AOL and maybe Google about how to get rid of cold sores. They’re not web developers or the next generation of internet whiz kids. So when they search for dental insurance, all they want is a reliable, affordable plan.
Mix the offer’s brand into your page.
I’ve noticed higher conversion rates when I do this. Instead of saying “Welcome to MyDentalCare.com, here you will find a bunch of insurance offers”, and then sending them to DentalPlans.com, say “Welcome to MyDentalCare.com, we’ll show you the top insurance plans from DentalPlans.com, and you can pick out the best matching plan.” I’ll say it again – it may depend on the offer. But I’ve noticed on my own pages, if I mention the offer I’m going to be sending them too, they’ll be more prepared for the page change after they click through.
Landing page quality score.
Now this area of my post will be more of a contradicting one – in the way that I’m going to be contradicting myself a little. A very long time ago around the birth of this blog, I posted How I Do Quality Score. Those tips are true and will help Google see your page as a more relevant one. But do you really need to have all that? Good question.
I think in the future, you will need to have all of those things in line – so it’s certainly not a bad decision to implement all those steps. But in my experience with more recent tests, as long as you demonstrate that you ad is in excellent standing (good relevancy, good CTR), your pages won’t really get slapped. My last two offers that I’ve run have had pretty basic pages. I’ve had some articles written on them and linked to other articles deeper in the page, but for the most part I haven’t changed them at all in a couple months. They haven’t been slapped at all yet, my minimum bids are still around $0.02 and they’re running great. Why is this? I couldn’t tell you, but I’m just sharing my experience in hopes that maybe you’ll benefit from it.
Your visitors want trust.
Linking to another old post of mine, about a month back I posted Landing Page Tips for Increased Visitor Trust. I won’t write much more about it here, because I cover most of it in that article. The more your users trust your page/offer, the more likely they are to take action in completing whatever form you want them to complete.
Review pages are good.
Here’s a tip…why do you think there’s so many review-style landing pages out there? Umm…because they work! Coupled with the right offer, review style landing pages can work great. They come off to the user as pretty much being a bridge page to help them find the solution to their “something”. It cuts out all confusion when the page changes, as you’ll be sending them right to the offer that they want. Here’s a couple tips for making review style landing pages :
1) Test out how many reviews/offers you have up. I had a review page I tested 5 offers on and it was profiting pretty well. I switched it down to just two offers and my CTR SHOT up and I was making around 25% more profit. But I’ve had other offers where 4 reviews work better.
2) Don’t rate them all 5 stars. Put your best converting offers at the top and make them 5 stars, but the bottom of the review list should only be 3 stars at most. This will make the user feel like these are all more honest reviews and also make them more likely to pick the highest rated offer (which you can put as your best offer with highest payout, etc).
3) Highlight the main points of the offer, and then write a personal review under it. So you’re going to want to point out that it takes 2 minutes, is free, and only requires payment for shipping – something like that. Then you’ll have “our review” or something and write a little bit about why users rated this site being the best for “something”.
Iframing the offer can work.
Now I’m not talking about just iframing the offer on the main page – that’s ALWAYS worked terrible for me. I don’t know why, but that’s just the way it’s been with me. But you can iframe after the person clicks through. Once again this will work for some offers and will suck for others. I’ll use ringtones as an example, because it works for it. You’d have your carrier page, and then if the person clicks on Verizon, you send them to www.YourRingtones.com/go/verizon or something like that. By doing this, you have a bit more control. When it comes to ringtones, it doesn’t really matter if the user thinks they’re getting them from your site. You control the page title now so you can have “Download Verizon Ringtones – Step 1”, and then maybe a header that says the same. Now on a review style page, this wouldn’t really work.
If you see where your users are looking/clicking most, you can make changes that will improve CTR quite a bit. If there’s a hot-spot and all that’s there is blank text, work the page so you have your “continue” button there and watch more clicks come in. I recommend CrazyEgg.
Test, test, test, test, test.
When it comes to landing pages, test everything. Over and over again. Colors, number of reviews, header text, content, images, placement, offers, everything. You can inch by inch keep increasing your CTR more and more, which in the long run will make you a lot more money. Unless you’re completely happy and want to just move to the Bahamas, keep testing that sucker.
Well that’s all I can really think of for now. Perhaps in the future I’ll reveal some of my old landing pages, and reveal that dental insurance once since I don’t use it anymore. Hopefully this is what you guys were looking for, it’s hard to write an article about something extremely dynamic.