In our first two posts on landing page best practices we focused on the guidelines for creating your first set of landing pages that convert. But now it’s time to throw out the manual and put everything we’ve learned under the microscope.

Best practices are the ideal place to start, but you can’t let them dictate your landing pages, or any other part of your online brand for that fact. This job is reserved for your target customers only and the art of pleasing the most important people to your brand means you may have to break some best practices along the way.


Best practice #1: Optimise for users with high intent

It’s normally safe to assume the majority of your PPC traffic has high intent and this is why you’ll hear us bang on about consistency, relevancy and focused goals – because ad clickers are typically close to converting.

But hang on a second, because studies show that while 80% of people use their smartphones to browse the web, conversion rates sit at just 0.8%. This is roughly a third of tablet conversions and almost a quarter of desktop rates for 2015; which suggests we need to rethink user intent when the majority of searches are from mobile.


Best practice #2: Only have one, very focused call to action

This leads us on to another best practice that says you should only have one, very focused call to action. But when the way people browse the web and shop online is changing you may find things aren’t so clear cut.

It’s worth running tests with a secondary call to action lower down the page or even weighing up the pros and cons of popups to give undecided users a second option. Your design will still focus around a single call to action, of course, but you may find offering a second option keeps people involved with your brand.

Note: you also have remarketing as an option to target previous visitors.


Best practice #3: Use second person on call to action buttons

This is a small example, but it perfectly highlights the level of detail you need to scrutinise your landing pages and proves that best practices don’t always yield the best results.

It’s a common best practice in all things copywriting to use the second person “you” and speak directly to your audiences. However, Michael Aagaard published findings in 2013 where using first person tense on call to action buttons yielded better results.


Moving beyond best practices

So here we have three very fundamental best practices that aren’t quite so clear cut and you’ll have plenty other to explore yourself. Mobile in particular has changed the search landscape, but 40-44% only use mobile for research and decision making, not making the final purchase.

So your mobile campaigns may perform better if optimised for low-intent users, targeting email signups or using urgency tactics to encourage the sale. The point is, you can’t make any assumptions, and to get the most from PPC you’ll eventually have to move beyond best practices and shift focus on to your target audience.