OK, you’re all set up with your paid ad. You’re showing up in Google search results or LinkedIn timelines. Time to let the leads roll in.
But wait. … What do you have planned for your audience next? Did you invite them to the party, but forget the directions to your off-the-beaten-path house?
The purpose of paying for ads online is to get relevant prospects on your website. All too often, marketers and their bosses forget about what should happen after a potential lead clicks on their ad.
Just like your paid ad should be highly targeted and goal-oriented, so should the place you send people who click them. This is why we often recommend dedicated PPC (pay-per-click) landing pages for your paid advertising campaigns.
If you’re already doing or considering PPC advertising, good news: Setting up destination pages for your ad promotion isn’t terribly hard. Below we’ll explain what a PPC landing page is, and the many benefits of including them in your campaign:
‘What Is PPC?’
If PPC is easy-peasy to you by now, skip to the next section.
Just to make sure we’re all on the same page (pun not intended): PPC is a marketing model in which you pay a fee each time a user clicks your ad. Essentially, you’re “buying” traffic for your website by paying a search engine (i.e. Google) or social media site (i.e. Facebook) to show your ad.
In the case of, say, Google, your ad would appear when a visitor searches for a term relevant to what your ad offers (like “metal manufacturing services”). Meanwhile, on LinkedIn, the ad a user sees is based on their publicly available information, like their name, employer, and other profile details.
Paid social and Google ads are effective for B2Bs of all sizes with immediate needs for traffic growth.
How PPC Works in Google
Let’s start with search advertising. In this area of PPC, you get your page in front of the audience of your choice by bidding on search keywords relevant to your page and your company’s products/services/solutions.
Google only charges you when someone clicks your ad. The cost-per-click you pay is ever-shifting and dependent on:
- Keyword bid: Your initial bid number
- Keyword competition: are you bidding on a broad term like “machining,” or something more attainable like “precision machining services?”
- Quality Score: the quality and relevance of your target keywords and your ad
How It Works on Social Media
There’s no universal pricing model for paid social ads, so you’ll have to check your platform of choice. Even on a single platform, there are often several bidding options -- check LinkedIn’s, for example:
- Cost-per-click: Pay each time someone clicks
- Cost-per-thousand-impressions: Pay for every 1,000 people that see your ad
- Cost-per-send: Pay every time you send an email via Sponsored Messaging
- Cost-per-open: Pay each time someone opens your sponsored email
‘What Is a Landing Page?’
A landing page is a page on your website that visitors “land” on when they click a link call-to-action in your marketing materials.
What makes a landing page different from other pages on your website is that they include a valuable, but often free, offer, typically gated behind a submission form. Common offers include:
- Webinar signups
- Newsletter subscriptions
- Trials & samples
- Demos & consultations
The trick is that rather than just handing visitors over the free goody and waving goodbye, you’re capturing their contact information as collateral. Then you can enroll them in marketing emails, monitor their movement throughout your website (if you use a CRM like HubSpot), and so on.
You can promote your landing page in a variety of locations:
- Paid social media advertising
- Google (paid) -- PPC search results that display an entry for your landing page
- Google (free) -- organically earned search results that display an entry for your page
- Other website pages
- Marketing emails
‘OK, So What Is a PPC Landing Page?’
Now let’s put the two concepts together.
What makes a PPC landing page different from an organic (non-paid) landing page? It’s easy to see if you re-examine the bullet list of promotional locations above. The first two -- social media and paid Google ads -- involve the use of paid landing pages . The others are examples of organic landing pages -- extremely valuable, but not what we’re here to discuss today.
A paid-search landing page is only accessible by clicking a paid ad in search engine results or on social media. The page should have a specific goal in mind, supported by a submission form for lead capturing.
That’s a surface-level answer, though. The difference in application is that paid-search landing pages typically -- but not always -- target users closer to the “ready to purchase” stage. Also, in search engines they provide more immediate results than standard landing pages because they don’t depend on ranking organically to appear on users’ screens.
Typical uses for PPC landing pages include:
- Promoting a product or service
- Offering a demo, trial, or sample
- Offering a whitepaper or case study
- Promoting your webinar or conference
Paid-search landing pages are unique and specific. Don’t just send folks to your homepage. Do send audiences to different landing pages based on what you know about them. (Example: If your machining shop loves working with aerospace and medical customers, consider building PPC pages around keywords like “aerospace machining” and “medical device machining.”)
Other key features of a paid-advertising landing page:
- A headline and subheadline that “hooks” the reader and aligns with the ad’s promise
- Quick-hitting copy that touches on a pain point or opportunity
- Clear next steps, including a submission form
- Any video, testimonial, or other evidence that supports your proposition
‘Why Does My Website Need PPC Landing Pages?’
There are plenty of obvious and less-obvious reasons to create dedicated landing pages for your PPC campaigns. Here are four of the top reasons:
1. Turn Traffic Into Leads
The initial goal of pay-per-click advertising is to increase website traffic. The goal of a landing page is to take that traffic and turn it into a lead.
Distraction-free pages with specific purpose increase the chances of lead conversion. You’ve already paid for the click -- why not make it worth your investment?
2. You Live, You Learn
Every time a lead completes a form on a paid landing page, your marketing and sales teams earn valuable data.
You can then use this information to understand who’s interested in your offer and why. Depending on what information your form requires (don’t overdo it!), you may learn:
- Industries you can serve
- Demand based on geographic location
- What products/services are most popular
- What content topics do and don’t interest them
On the sales side, you’re armed with a baseline idea of a lead rather than reaching out blindly.
3. Easy to Measure Performance
Wiring a paid ad to take clickers to your homepage, or another vague destination, makes that traffic harder to track.
By routing clickers to a dedicated and relevant landing page, you can more easily keep tabs on what’s working and not working. This applies to both your individual ads and to your overall PPC campaign performance -- everything is easier to track.
Just like with other pages, PPC lead-capture pages can be A/B tested to judge the effectiveness of multiple approaches to your messaging.
Don’t Rely Too Much on PPC Landing Pages
As a quick disclaimer: Most B2Bs, regardless of size, are best served using paid strategies in tandem with organic traffic- and lead-boosting activities. PPC stops working the second you stop investing, whereas traffic via organic efforts (i.e. blogging) typically arrives late to the party, but compounds over time.
Inbound marketing best practices are about developing a plan, but also adjusting said plan if there’s a higher-ROI path forward. You can absolutely start gung-ho on PPC and wean off it over the months as your organic efforts take off.
Doing the Work
A pay-per-click landing page is a gateway to a more productive paid-ad campaign. They bring highly relevant traffic to a place on your site designed for -- and only for -- capturing leads.
Running a pay-per-click campaign requires expertise and capacity to frequently fine-tune the message. If you need PPC landing pages set up and don’t have the time or know-how, consider a paid-search agency. Just be sure to ask the right questions of any PPC agency you hire, as some search engine agencies use questionable shortcuts to attempt to provide supposed “quick wins.”
To learn how to successfully mine for high-value keywords for both PPC and organic search rankings (SEO), download this free e-book: