1. Where did the traffic come from?
This one is key. You’ll definitely want to craft two different landing pages for two different channels. Think about the difference in intent between these two visitors:
Clicked a Display Ad This visitor responded to an advertisement on a website they were visiting. While you have some idea about their interests based on where you placed your ad, you have limited visibility as to who they are or what they want. Additionally, by clicking on your ad they’re showing a degree of interest in your ad’s creative, but your offering may or may not be something they have a pressing and active need for. The lesson here is to be sure to qualify with your display creative (explain who you are and what you’re offering as best you can) and to be sure that your landing page copy speaks specifically to that offer.
Clicked on a Highly Specific PPC Ad This visitor has a specific need or intent; you want to be sure to speak to the pain point or question revealed by their search query in creating your landing page copy.
2. What did the last place look like?
In the event that you’re launching an Email, display, TV, or print campaign, be sure to maintain consistency between the creative and the landing page. If your display ad used your company logo and colors, your landing page should too. If the colors in your magazine ad are subtle and understated, make sure you do the same on the page you send those readers to. This gives people an instant sense that they’re in the right place, and makes them more likely to follow through with the action they intended to take in clicking your ad or typing in the URL you gave them.
3. What was the visitor promised?
What did your campaign say the visitor would get? Was it a white paper? If so, be sure to deliver that offer front and center. This seems intuitive but often landing page designs get cluttered with stock offers, too much emphasis on company logos or the navigation from the rest of your site: your goal here is to get the visitor to the offer he or she expressed interest in as soon as possible.
4. What do they expect?
This is a sort of amalgamation of the last two questions. One of the most important things you can do in designing a landing page is to get into the visitor’s head. What are the visitor’s expectations? What is the environment that they came from? What expectations did your ad create? What is their typical expectation with this type of offer?
5. How can you get them to take action?
This, of course, is the most important question. Sometimes designing the most aesthetically appealing landing page isn’t the most conversion-oriented option, and you may have to sacrifice form for function. Using tools like ClickTale, Crazy Egg, and others you can test, monitor and find out which landing page layouts are working (and which ones aren’t).
By listening to and trying to think like your visitors and potential customers, you’ll start to ask and answer the right questions, which lead to better converting landing page design.
Tom Demers is the Director of Marketing for WordStream, a software manufacturer offering Keyword Management solutions for pay-per click (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO). Tom is a frequent contributor to the WordStream blog where he discusses subjects like creating landing pages that work for both PPC and SEO.