Don’t Send Them Home: Send Traffic to a Landing Page

Don't send them homeIn my last post about optimizing landing pages for PPC, one of our awesome readers asked a great question that deserved a good follow-up post.

The Question by Sean

Why do marketers recommend having your PPC ad go straight to the landing page as opposed to the homepage? I would have figured that the consumer needs the rest of the website to understand and trust the brand before jumping [into] the purchase. Why are conversion rates higher for ads that just go straight to selling?

That is a very important question, and it is often a difficult concept for many general marketers and people who are new to online marketing. There is a notion that the consumer needs to know and trust the brand first in order to feel confident about eventually buying the product. Sean’s question above is a prime example of this.

The Issue with the Home Page

If I may be so bold, I believe that a company can more easily build its brand and reputation by providing a solution to the visitor’s problem. Directing the potential visitors to a specific landing page with the answers they need is a key component to doing that.

Let’s go through a little role-play to create an example. Let’s say you are on Google searching for a netbook and the first result is Dell. Okay, so pop quiz hot shot: Would you, the visitor, prefer to go to Dell’s homepage and search through the website until you find the page about netbooks, or would you be more satisfied just going to the actual netbooks page and finding an immediate solution to your query? The answer is obvious, and that is why in the search results you’ll see the netbooks’ page in the results. Looking at the screen shots below, as a consumer which one interests you more when searching for “netbooks?”

SERPs:

Dell netbooks - SERP
dell.com - Google SERP

Why You Want a Landing Page

Sure, Dell is a recognized and trusted brand, but it is even more important for a smaller company to send people to the right page. When you are a well-known brand such as Dell, you have the luxury of knowing that if a visitor lands on the home page, they know that Dell offers netbooks and will likely take the time to find the page they need on their own. A smaller company, though, that is not as well-known to a visitor will not be so lucky. If a visitor does not find the solution to their search query when they land on the home page they will most likely turn around and try a different website.

Give the visitors the answers to their problems, and then if they need to be reassured about the brand or company they are buying from, they still have access to the rest of the website to do the necessary research.

This is the main reason you’ll see higher conversion rates for PPC and SEO landing pages than when people are directed straight to the home page.

If you have other questions or points to make about this subject, please feel free to make a comment.

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3 Comments

  1. Sean McVey says

    First of all, thank you very much David for answering my question in such detail. I understand the concept much better now. You just earned a new loyal reader.

    Second, I have follow up question! Does this rule apply to service companies as well? For example, a consultant. Let’s say I am offering various services and targeting small businesses that need marketing. If someone types in ‘marketing company new york,’ am I going to have a link leading to a specific landing page? It would seem in that case you would want the person to read through your services and buy into your value. Obviously I don’t know though so I just wanted to get your take.

    Thanks again, you guys have a lot of great articles on here.

  2. Drew Dayton says

    Great article, I don’t know if this directly applies to the point you are trying to make but it made my think of internet ads. I click on an internet ad here and there when something catches my eye, and I realized today how poor most internet ads are because they don’t lead you directly to what the ad is, but instead take you to the homepage. For example, I clicked on a VZ ad for their MiFi hotspot, something I have been interested in getting. However, when I clicked on the MiFi ad instead of taking me to a landing page with the info on it, it took me to a page that had numerous “internet” cards for computers. So I had to first search for the MiFi, then once I found it, it was so difficult to find a price for it and find the monthly charge for the service, I was turned off of the product and no longer was interested because I had to spend that time just to find out basic info about the product. I will admit that internet ads are sometimes annoying but when I do click on one I don’t want to be taken to the homepage, send me to the product I saw in the ad and make it easy for me to find info about it and to buy it. I think the landing page is perfect solution for the problem.

  3. Mark says

    Completely agree. The reality is that the HOME page is becoming less relevant while your services or products pages are increasing in value. You have to treat every page in your site as a potential landing page – that single page that a potential customer might see based on a search. And assume they will use that single page to evaluate your company.

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