3 ways to maximize PPC and Landing Page Optimization

7 02 2008

New URL testingblog.widemile.com

Quality PPC and LPO campaigns are key to great conversion rates. If either of them are optimized, you might get good results, but with both of them optimized, your gains are exponential. There are a few pitfalls in optimizing them both though, even with good intentions you may end up confusing your results rather than getting results.

PPC and Landing Page Optimization

Here are 3 methods to effectively optimize your PPC and landing pages:

  1. Do one at a time: Test out your new PPC strategy, but wait until your landing page testing is done. Changing your PPC means you’re changing the audience, both in demographics and expectations. This will impact your landing page testing. Once you find a winning PPC campaign, test the same messaging on your landing page. This is the easiest way to optimize both, but the next two are better ways to go.
  2. Do them simultaneously: If you are testing 2 PPC strategies, create 2 separate landing page tests to match the respective campaigns and drive traffic solely to the matching test. This avoids biasing the PPC that better matches your landing page.
  3. Segment all the way through: For segments you know you’re going to have, make them go to different landing pages. Test your pages and separately track how each segment performs. Sometimes all your segments respond best to the same landing page, but often times your segments want something different and it’ll show in your testing results. Also, if you’re doing #2 and realize that the ROI is good enough for both campaigns, break it out and optimize them separately.

These are basic, but very effective methods to maximize testing both your PPC and landing pages. If you want to get actual and sustainable results, you have to control as many variables as possible. Only when you can trust your data, will it perform how you expect. Follow any of these methods and you’ll be on your way to higher conversions.


Doubling conversion rates: MarketingSherpa case study

23 01 2008
MarketingSherpa Logo

MarketingSherpa is giving us a lot of love recently with The Weather Channel case study and now one on Smartsheet. If you were too shy to sign up for our case study on the Widemile website, then please check out the one at MarketingSherpa.

I especially like the last 4 points in the story:

#1. Don’t sit pat on your conversion rates. Colacurcio didn’t know that her original 5%-7% was above the industry average going in and is glad she didn’t. “If I would have said, ‘My conversion rate is pretty good’ and done nothing, I would have totally missed the opportunity to double it.”

#2. Conducting just a few multivariate test and applying them to a greater number of landing pages works. Simply put, you don’t have to test each landing page individually. “Sometimes it seems overwhelming when you think of multivariate testing, but you can cut corners. There are a lot of things that are low-hanging fruit — things that can be applied across landing pages.”

#3. Redesigning shouldn’t stop with your team’s new ideas. “You really have to get your organization into the mindset: ‘We are testing. We are not just going to spit out the next five Web pages.’ ”

#4. Even if your higher-ups are impressed with the initial results, Colacurcio says, marketers should expect to face organizational barriers when they start their second round of testing.

Don’t forget to check out the before and after in the creative samples.

If none of that catches your eye, Janet Meiners at MarketingPilgrim wrote a great summary on the case study.  She also makes a great point that, “I’ve been in heated debates about the best course of action but testing works best – assuming you’re humble enough to go with the data over your ego.

Trust your data and watch your numbers build your ego.

Test nothing and get results

18 01 2008
Test Nothing

Now this is a blog about testing right? So why test nothing? Because nothing is powerful.

I don’t mean don’t test at all, I mean test having less on your page. Those awesome sub headlines your copywriter created? Or those testimonials? Your audience might not care or even look at them.

Best practices say to use trust logos, reviews, awards and a whole lot of other content, but you never know if it really helps. In fact, one of the biggest lifts ever at Widemile, came from removing everything but the core material on the page. One hero shot, one headline, one description and one button.

It was plain and simple.

To me and everyone else, it was an empty page filled with white space, but it converted at an extremely high rate compared to the previous page. Everyone at my office and at our client’s couldn’t believe it was the optimal page, but we couldn’t argue with the data.

While this might be an extreme example, it also is an example of the opportunities you may be missing if you don’t test turning off (hiding) elements on your page. So don’t just test something, test nothing too.

How multivariate testing can change your whole business

15 01 2008
New URL testingblog.widemile.com
Test Tube

My boss, Frans Keylard, taught me one lesson that exponentially increased my respect for the power of multivariate testing.

While on the outside multivariate testing is about finding the best version of a page, once you know how to test, it can do a whole lot more than that. The information you glean from multivariate testing can shift the whole direction for your product, service and business in general.

Multivariate testing does help you find good headlines, the right images and other content, but it also acts as a survey about your product/service that your visitors don’t even know they are taking.

For example, my company deals with a lot of companies selling to both business and home users. Traditionally, to figure out what was more popular, they would survey people asking, “Would you buy this product for your home or for your business?” They then would count up the responses, the highest being the best one to go with.

At Widemile, I accomplish the same thing using a multivariate test. I serve some visitors business messaging and others home messaging and they respond by buying or not buying. If the page with business messaging has more conversions, then that is the way to go, otherwise go with the home messaging.

(Better yet, if they are both significant in size, find ways to segment them and do more testing.)

In both situations, you’re asking a question and getting an answer. While multivariate testing asks the question less directly, it gets the most direct answer possible, a conversion, from the most direct audience possible, live traffic. This deals with the weakness inherent in surveys; people’s answers and actions don’t always match up.

I’m not saying multivariate testing replaces surveys in all situations, but you get real valuable and actionable information from testing.

It is like killing two birds with one stone, with one small bird (your landing page) and then a huge bird (your overall marketing and business plan.)

Some marketers already do this with their PPC and banner ads, seeing what people respond to and adjusting their overall marketing strategy to what works best. Multivariate testing is an extension of this, but it requires an actual conversion by the visitor.

Start taking surveys of your audience using multivariate testing. All you have to do is key in on a few messages that you think might work, try them out. You’ll learn how to improve your web pages and your business at the same time.

Questions? Comments? This is my favorite topic, so I encourage you to leave a note for me.