In 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?"
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.