This is Dale (okay, it’s actually Corey, our Director of Campaign Strategy), but we’ll call him Dale for the sake of this post). Dale is the Manager of Paid Media at a local digital marketing agency.
Look at Dale’s face and tell me you don’t see yourself 👀.
Dale is an AdWords wizard, so much so that he’s optimized his clients’ accounts to the point where he can no longer get a notable conversion lift.
He’s tried everything: changing bids, testing ads, adding negative keywords, sitelinks, geography targeting — but no matter what he tweaks, he’s unable to push beyond the dreaded conversion plateau.
Dale is stuck between a rock and a hard place; he can either ask his clients for more money to send more traffic to their not-so-specific site (rock), or he can keep banging his head against his desk (hard place, literally).
But wait, Dale! There’s another way — one that doesn’t result in head trauma. One that has the potential to supercharge your client’s ad spend and help you retain more clients (not to mention make you the hero of your agency and the envy of your co-workers — ooh la la).
That “other way” is to focus on the post-click experience.
Before we define the post-click experience, we need to dissect what goes into a conversion rate.
A conversion rate is the result of three very important components coming together:
- Your client’s offering (the thing or service they’re actually selling)
- Your client’s industry
- The surrounding marketing strategy (this is where you can have the biggest impact as an agency marketer)
The marketing strategy can further be broken down into pre- and post-click strategy. The pre-click experience is whatever happens before your client’s prospect clicks through on an ad — it’s what you’re already spending 80% of your day optimizing deep in the trenches of AdWords, Bing, Facebook, Twitter and Google Analytics. It’s all about getting people to the next stage in the funnel.
The post-click experience, on the other hand, includes whatever happens after your client’s prospect clicks through — everything from how accurately the landing page copy matches the ad’s promise to how well the page conveys the offer to how much the page asks of your visitors and whether the ask is aligned with the visitor’s current buyer stage.
You might be thinking, Cool, but this falls outside my job description. And you’d be right.
But let’s face it, if your agency is only focused on improving the ad experience, you’re drastically limiting the impact you can have on your client’s on-page conversion rates. Convincing your team to allocate time and resources to optimizing the post-click experience will result in converting more of those clicks you work so hard to get.
The image on the left represents the visitors that drop off after they click through your ad. However, allocating resources to the post-click experience via landing page optimization can help you drastically impact on-page conversion rates without increasing ad spend — more like the image on the right.
Focusing on the post-click experience (or where people land after an ad) won’t just increase on-page conversion rates. It can impact other metrics you’re trying to impact while optimizing in AdWords.
Here’s what I mean…
Let’s say your client is a Canada-wide alternative health clinic. Right now you’re running ads for each of its 18 locations, but your client has provided you with a generic, catch-all page on their website, to send all this ad traffic to. This generic website page lacks a clear call to action, and the copy doesn’t match the ads, which are hyper-targeted based on location and service.
Example of a generic, catch-all webpage, with your ad’s offer circled in red.
You know that a more targeted page would perform better, so you convince your agency to create several targeted landing pages instead. You create unique pages for each service this client offers (like massage therapy, homeopathy, and acupuncture )and drive very specific ads to these corresponding pages. You can even go as far as to use Dynamic Text Replacement to ensure the search intent is reflected from ad to landing page.
Example of a targeted landing page, with a single call to action and a headline which matches the ad copy.
In this case, by focusing on the post-click experience with dedicated landing pages, you’re indicating to the visitor they’ve made a “good click.” Your agency starts to notice an increase in on-page conversions, which results in lower cost per lead; you’re doing more with the same ad spend. But here’s the clincher: Your client’s AdWords Quality Score improves, thereby — wait for it — lowering CPC. (Insert mind-blown gif here.)
Virginia-based digital agency Workshop Digital did it. They were able to test their way up to 20-22% conversion rates — four times the leads their client was getting prior — without driving more traffic, but instead by allocating resources to the post-click experience.
The simplest and most impactful way to improve the post-click experience is to introduce landing page design and optimization as a service your agency provides.
The first step is to build dedicated landing pages for your client’s campaigns using best practices and insights about your client’s industry from the Conversion Benchmark Report. (This will take some collaboration with your client to determine which offers to roll out.)
The second step is to optimize your client’s pages to increase the conversion rate over time, like Workshop Digital did:
“We started testing everything from images to backgrounds, slideshows, videos, copy, headline placement, form placement, button placement. At first we just played around with what we thought would work. And we started slowly seeing improvements. Every landing page iteration we tested would get incrementally better.”
Working landing pages and optimization into your agency’s offering doesn’t have to be a mammoth task (we promise!).
We get it, there are a ton of people that need to buy into landing pages and optimization before your team can start running with it.
They’re like you; they need evidence that what you’re proposing will actually help the business, the bottom line or even just make their lives easier. Lucky for you, here are four reasons you can provide your team:
- Build long-term relationships with your clients by launching and optimizing specific, targeted campaigns versus one-off, generic campaigns.
- Unlock a new revenue stream for your agency (Montreal-based digital agency Webistry saw a 23% increase in revenue by offering landing pages and a 50% increase in average retainer fees by offering optimization services).
- Get ahead of (or at least on par with) your competition, who might already be offering landing page and optimization services.
- Improve your client’s AdWord’s Quality Score and break through the conversion plateau… basically impress the heck out of your client.
Working landing pages and optimization into your pricing can be tricky, and what works for one agency may not work for the next.
Is landing page design a staple service of yours? Will you offer follow up, maintenance and optimization services? Or are landing pages simply an add-on that you’ll teach clients to maintain themselves? Here’s how a few successful agencies already do it:
- Include landing pages in your retainer fee, like Utah-based Disruptive Advertising. They include landing pages in their pricing, whether their client uses it or not. (And guess what? 95% of their clients do use it.)
- Charge your client for landing pages directly, like digital marketing agency Third Wunder, who establishes a flat fee and then makes additions based on the client’s needs, or Titan PPC, who charges a flat fee of around $500-$700 for a custom landing page.
Getting your client on board is slightly different from getting your agency on board, although the premise is the same: Show them how it will improve their business. Here are a few points that might stick.
- Sending ad traffic to your catch-all page with a high attention ratio is a waste of money. Dedicated landing pages, on the other hand, have an attention ratio of 1:1, and therefore a higher chance of conversion.
- Landing pages increase ROI thanks to a principle called message match, whereby your ad copy matches your landing page copy.
- You can keep upping your ad spend… or you can optimize what you’ve got. Landing pages compound PPC efforts so you can convert the traffic you’ve already got, versus paying for more traffic.
And for future clients, consider doing what Webistry does and don’t give clients the option. Landing pages and optimization are an essential part their offering, and help them get the best results for their clients.
As a paid media manager, you may never have focused on the post-click experience… but it could make your job optimizing a ton easier.
Armed with the tools required to build and optimize your client’s ad-to-landing-page experience, your team will amplify your PPC efforts, impact the metrics that matter and, ultimately, impress and retain the people who matter the most: your clients.