Today we kick off our mini series looking at the best practices for PPC landing pages and we’ve got five essential guidelines to get you started. We’ll have another five for you in Part 2 of the series before we wrap things up in Part 3 by asking when it’s okay to break best practices.

This is an important question too, when you’re trying to find the balance between meeting user expectations, and still find a way to stand out from the crowd. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though and concentrate on today’s theme – our first five best practices for PPC landing pages.

Rule #1: Have a landing page

This one should be obvious, but a staggering 80% of paid traffic is sent to an existing website page – most commonly the homepage. So rule number one is to have a landing page in the first place, ideally one for each campaign or goal you have.

Rule #2: Make them targeted

Your campaigns should be highly targeted with a specific goal in mind and your landing pages need to follow suit. Let’s say you own a car dealership in Manchester – be specific and run ads for family cars, new drivers, part-exchange or whatever your target customers may be. Run separate campaigns for each target audience and create individual landing pages that appeal to their unique needs.

Rule #3: Be consistent, bold

Your landing pages also needs to be consistent with your ads and the desire that made users click in the first place. Your landing pages should have the same titles as the ads your user clicks so they know they have arrived at the right place in an instant and then you need to follow up with a bold call to action, telling them what to do next.

Rule #4: Start with the trusted formula

Best practices are guidelines, not rules, and this is something we want to explore over the next few posts, but it’s always a good idea to start with the trusted formula and work from there. A good examples is the anatomy of your landing pages and the typical setup looks a little something like this:

Core elements:

  1. A powerful headline (ideally the same as your ad headline)
  2. A tagline that highlights the key benefit(s) of your product or service
  3. A strong visual element
  4. A bold call to action

Secondary elements:

  1. A more detailed list of benefits, (not features) and bullet points are always good
  2. Trust symbols or testimonials
  3. Access to more information (either further down the design or via another page, email, download, etc.)
  4. A closing argument

Items 1-4 are the core elements that should dominate the design of your landing page, while 5-8 should reinforce your message, add further appeal and close your pitch.

Rule #5: Make your visuals count

You can’t afford to underestimate the power of visuals in a landing page designed to convert. Psychology plays a massive role here and there are numerous visual techniques you can use to influence how visitors see your landing page. So get familiar with the powers of cues, other visual tricks and be prepared to invest in quality graphics for your landing pages.

Next up in Inside PPC

In our next post we’ll take a look at another five best practices for landing pages designed to convert and in Part 3 we’ll discuss when it’s okay to break best practices.