There is one element of pay per click that is constantly overlooked in a campaign and which is often the main reason a campaign fails. I constantly hear from new clients that they are ready to give up on pay per click because they're not seeing results and blame the system. Yet, no amount of traffic to a page will convert if the page they land on doesn't engage them.

Google AdWords puts a lot of emphasis on landing pages, even though they’ve already made their money from the click on an ad. A good landing page is one of the criteria for Quality Score, their formula which helps determines the cost of a click. In their guidelines they advise to create pages that includes relevant, original content; easy to use navigation; and portray a company's trustworthiness.

Sample of a poor landng page
An overcrowded landing page

A landing page is often a visitor's first encounter with your business. It is your opportunity to sell them on your service or products. If they're not convinced, they'll simply hit the back button and leave. You most likely won't get a second chance to convince them. And you're out the cost of their click.

Here are some reasons your landing page is failing your campaign.

1)    You don’t have one. This is the most common problem with advertisers. They don’t have a dedicated landing page and instead send them to a home page or an interior page that might relate to the product or the service.  This seldom works. A home page is usually designed for a variety of visitors while an interior page is designed to focus on a service or product and not the business providing them.

2)    The page doesn’t relate to the ad. An ad promises a visitors something, either that they'll find a product they're looking for or that a service provider can solve a problem they have. If they don't find that promise is kept on the landing page they'll simply leave. For example, if they're looking for a particular television and reach a page that simply has a number of models, but not the one they're looking for they'll leave.

3)    Having too much on the page.  Most landing pages created by a business person have too much copy on them. They try to do everything with the page when in fact, they need to do just enough to get the prospect to perform some sort of action (make a call, fill out a form, purchase a product). Go through a page and start eliminating copy. Then go through it again and cut some more. In very few circumstances do people read a lot of text. They scan.  So use bullet points, bolded text, and subheads to draw prospects in. If they need more information, then other pages of your site can provide this for them.

4)    Forgetting to sell the company as well as the products or services.  You can be selling a product at one tenth of the cost of your competitors, but if your visitors don't believe you’re legitimate they won’t believe in your offer. Incorporate a testimonial and any other social proof such as Facebook likes, customer reviews, or endorsements from third party sites such as the Better Business Bureau.  

5)    The graphics look like everyone else’s graphics. Think about how many websites that you’ve visited where you see the staff as a group of smiling beautiful people of diverse ethnic origins. You know these aren't the actual staff. Or that handsome plumber holding a wrench over his shoulder isn't the plumber who'll fix your sink. Take photographs of your employees or products. Even those taken with a cell phone will work. Prospects will respond more to the legitimacy of your photographs and not worry about its aesthetic appeal.