When it comes to any form of marketing over the Internet PPC is one of those things that give you an immediate indication of whether you’re doing things right or not.

The sole fact that almost any amount of traffic can be bought within a short span of time gives you tremendous possibilities of testing your marketing messages, offers, and sales material.

The only downside is that you can lose a lot of money really quickly if you’re not careful with campaign settings, or your landing page simply doesn’t convert well.

So how to create a high-converting landing page for PPC campaigns? For instance, you can start by following these 8 guidelines:

1. Headline

The headline is where 70% of your work time should be spent. Headlines are often overlooked, when in fact it’s the most crucial element for every campaign.

We’re not only talking online marketing campaigns. Headlines are what sells a newspaper. Headlines are what gets news on TV watched. And, of course, headlines are what gets AdWords ads clicked.

Headline writing is more art than science, as many people like to say it, but there are frameworks you can follow when coming up with the actual headlines for your PPC landing pages:

  • Outrageous (e.g. “Announcing The Chocolate Pie Diet”)
  • List style (e.g. “10 Ways To Lose Extra Weight And Keep It Off!”)
  • Secrets revealed (e.g. “What Credit Card Companies Don’t Tell You”)
  • Challenging visitors (e.g. “My Chickens Eat Better Than You Do”)
  • Arousing curiosity (e.g. “They Laughed When I Sat Down at The Piano. They Stopped When I Picked It Up”)
  • Personal approach (e.g. “Thinking About Starting Your Own Business…?”)
  • How-to (e.g. “How To Win Friends And Influence People”)
  • Social proof (e.g. “The Place Where Truckers Come To Get Washed For The Long Haul”)

Once you have the headline ready make sure to place it in a visible spot, preferably at the top of your landing page. Use big font size and bright colors. Changing the font to bold is a good idea too.

No matter what design you’re using you should always make your headline to stand out and be the most visible element on the page.

2. Simplicity and Clarity

Simple landing pages are the only ones that get visitors to perform the desired actions. You message needs to be clear and understandable at all times, and there’s no place for clutter.

Simplicity has a twofold nature when it comes to landing pages. First of all, the copy. If your message is too complicated and visitors can’t get a grasp of it immediately then they surely won’t take any action on it.

When crafting your landing page copy make sure to answer the questions of: what? why? how? and what for? Use the minimal amount of words required to convey your message. And above all else, focus on explaining the benefits of getting whatever you’re promoting.

The second nature of simplicity is the design itself. Landing pages can’t be too flashy with too many graphical elements. Try to make the theme you’re using as minimalist as possible – good premium themes give you much freedom when it comes to customizations.

Minimalist designs include only a handful of elements, there are no distractions for visitors, so they can focus on something more important than the design itself. Something like your marketing message, for example.

3. Relevance

No matter what you want to promote your landing page and its copy need to be relevant to the source of traffic you’re using.

In essence, this means congruence with specific ads and banners.

For instance, if your ad talks about the possibility of downloading a free {something} then you better display a visible download link on your landing page. If you’re pitching a sale that’s 60% off then make sure you place an additional badge on the landing page with something like “-60%.”

In the end, this is all about making your visitors sure that they’re in the right place. When someone visits a new page there’s always a small element of doubt because they’re not quite sure that it’s what they’re looking for. By making your PPC landing pages congruent with the source of traffic you’re making it much more likely that the visitors will stay.

4. Compelling and Riskless Offer

People simply don’t like to take risk. And it touches upon almost every aspect of life, not only when they’re buying something.

Every marketer should focus on making their landing pages to seem riskless and ultra compelling. For instance, depending on your offer, people can be afraid that they might either don’t like the product that much, or that it might break down. These are very valid concerns.

To make your prospective buyers feel comfortable and safe you should display something like a “money back guarantee” badge, or a “free support” message. Every offer has its own “risk points” and it’s your job to identify them and tackle them hard. The solutions you create should find their place on your landing page. Preferably, in a visible spot.

5. Scarcity

Scarcity is one of the oldest tricks in the book. The main principle is that people want what other people already have. Or better yet, people want what other people can’t have.

This all comes down to a known fact that if there’s not much of something available people tend to want it even more.

This can be used pretty easily on any kind of landing page. If you’re promoting a physical product you can use messages like: “only five left in the warehouse.” For digital products you can go with: “our bandwidth allows only five more people on board.”

Of course, whatever you do, don’t lie. Scarcity works best when it’s real, not fabricated out of thin air.

What you do is find the point of scarcity in the offer you’re promoting and then show it on your landing page. The best place for scarcity is somewhere near the call to action button. This way, scarcity works as the final impulse for taking the desired action.

6. Social Proof

This works on a similar principle to scarcity – people want what other people already have.

Using social proof is simply about displaying honest information about the people who already have the product. The most common way of making it happen is through testimonials.

Testimonials work great if they’re from real people, actual customers, and not just manufactured by a marketer for the sole purpose of creating some social proof.

If you don’t have access to any testimonials you can search for things like: reviews, ratings, tweets, blog comments, forum posts. In essence, for anything that praises the product you’re promoting.

That being said, testimonials shouldn’t be the central element of a landing page. They are only there for additional help. The best place for them is somewhere at the bottom, just to make your offer seem more complete.

7. Trust Elements

This is where you use authority of other people or companies to boost your own.

The most common approach is to use the header of your landing page to display various “as seen on” blocks.

Only remember not to make it ridiculous. For instance, saying “as seen on Google, Facebook, Twitter” is indeed ridiculous. You need to use actual brands that are hard to get mentioned at. For example: “as seen on CNN, PBS, New York Times” – these are great.

The only difficulty, of course, is to get some actual coverage in such places. But since you’re an affiliate that’s not your job, and good products already have some coverage in the traditional media. Your merchant should provide this sort of information for you to use.

8. Call to Action

Last but not least. As a matter of fact, this is the most important element of any landing page. The main principle here is that if you won’t tell people what to do they will end up doing nothing.

Call to action is simply a short message telling people exactly what to do. The simplest example: “add to cart,” or “click here to download the e-book.”

A good call to action needs to be simple, short, and understandable, and giving a direct indication on what a visitor should do next.

The best place for a call to action is the actual button itself. For example, if you’re promoting a downloadable product place the call to action on the download button. For an email newsletter use the signup button, and so on.

Landing pages are a topic that can be tackled from many different angles. Web designers are sure to focus on different aspects of landing pages than internet marketers. No matter what your take is we’re positive that this set of 8 guidelines should improve the quality of your landing pages significantly.

Do you have any insights of your own? Is there a specific tactic that’s been working great for your landing pages?


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