Landing In the Right Place For Maximum PPC Effectiveness

Earlier this week, the world celebrated the 40th anniversary of the first man on the moon.  We all know that this was “one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”  But what would the moon landing have been like if they didn’t land the lunar module in the right place?

It may not have been disastrous, but it probably wouldn’t have gone as smoothly as it did.  Landing in the right place is critical to a mission’s success.

Likewise, if you want to achieve maximum success from your PPC lead generation campaigns, it’s critical to land PPC visitors in the right place.

Clue #1:  The right place is probably not your home page.

Many site owners place all their focus on the home page of their website.  They proudly show it to their friends and colleagues.  And they think this is the only door to their website.  Not so.  The home page is rarely an optimal PPC landing page.  It’s too general, and forces people to look around.  I’ve heard clients and CEOs say, “but, I want them to look around so I can upsell them on my other products and services.”  That may be fine for a bricks and mortar store, but if someone is searching online, they’re essentially telling you what they’re looking for.  Don’t make them search again when they get to your site.

Clue #2:  Find the most relevant page for the search term, and tell the searcher what you want them to do when they get there.

If you’re an e-commerce site, it’s best to land searchers on the page that matches the product for which they searched.  If the search term is “red Nike shoes,” you want to send them to a page where they can buy red Nike shoes right then and there.  If your goal is lead generation or email signups, your best landing page bet is your “contact us” page, or a page with a contact form prominently featured above the fold.

See a pattern here?  Give the searcher what they want.  Don’t make them think.  (In fact, if you’re doing online marketing or have a website at all, you need to read Steve Krug’s book, Don’t Make Me Think.  It’s a quick read full of actionable tips.)  Search engines give searchers a lot of options, and even young children know how to use the back button.  Don’t let them.  Give them a clear path to conversion.

I often hear clients say that they think this approach is too forward; or they worry that their contact page doesn’t have enough information for a searcher to make a decision to sign up.

Clue #3:  Test it and find out.

My mantra is always “test, test, and test again.”  If your goal is generating email signups, I’m always going to recommend that you land PPC visitors on your contact page – because that’s what works for our clients 99% of the time, no matter what the vertical.  However, testing never hurts.  Run a landing page test:  send half the visitors to the contact page, and half to an informational page.  See what happens.

It doesn’t hurt to compromise, either.  Put a contact form on your informational page – a short form for name and email address is sufficient.  Or add an informational paragraph to your contact page.  And keep the page navigation.  I’ve heard some experts recommend removing all possible “outs” on a PPC landing page, including page nav – but I don’t agree with this.  That’s like walking up to a customer in your store and only giving them one option, preventing them from seeing any others.  It’s too easy to hit the back button.  If people do want more info, let them browse – just make sure you have a prominent link to your contact form in the nav and on key pages, so they can find it when they’re ready.

For a successful landing, make it very, very clear what you want people to do when they get to your site.  It’s the best way to take a giant leap forward with lead generation from your PPC campaigns.

Melissa Mackey is the Online Marketing Manager at A veteran PPC marketer, she helps clients get maximum ROI from paid search. She’s also mom to boy/girl twins and an avid Michigan State Spartan alum and fan. See more posts from Melissa at