If you're like many marketing professionals today, you're using Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising to drive targeted prospects to your company's website, with hope of converting them to a sales lead through an offer or call to action. Unfortunately, many marketers mistakenly send visitors to their corporate website's home page. Why is this a problem? Because most B2B home pages have a large number of possible paths that a visitor can take…only a few of which will convert them into a lead. Even advertisers who are savvy enough to send PPC visitors to a page directly relevant to the search query can still take steps to greatly increase conversions, by following some simple suggestions.

Build Specialized Landing Pages

Many of the highest quality websites still have one fatal flaw for optimal PPC lead conversion. Visitors are given too many possible paths to follow and the more choices they have, the less likely they are to take one that allows you to capture their contact information. With careful keyword research, you will know with precision why the prospect is visiting your website. To optimize lead generation, all prospects must be sent to landing pages that map exactly to their targeted terms. Your website's product or service pages may already have good content that can be used on a specialized landing page. But if it contains navigation menus that allow your prospects to easily move onto other parts of your site before they respond to your offer, your conversion ratios will suffer. Don't make it too easy for visitors to exit …delete website menus and other links that will allow visitors to escape conversion. If they really want to see the rest of your website, they can manually manipulate the URL in their browser.

The Illusion of Choice

Having said that, optimum PPC landing pages need not offer only one path for the visitor. Giving them the perception of choice will aid conversion because the visitor will less likely feel they are being herded in a direction they don't wish to go. But all choices offered should be "conversion" choices. On a typical PPC landing page, you can still offer a visitor several options: a couple of downloads (signup required), a newsletter opt-in form, entry into a free drawing, and a link to the "Contact us" page that has similarly been stripped of unnecessary navigation. It doesn't matter what path the visitor chooses -- because all paths lead to conversion.

Subtle Changes Lead To High ROI

One of our clients recently implemented specialized landing pages for a PPC campaign, and greatly increased conversion rates. The pages were launched in the middle of October which coincided with Google's "Jagger" update. Despite losing a great deal of natural search traffic in Google during the update period (traffic now since regained) and without increasing the PPC budget, the campaign's lead conversions increased 435% during this period.

PPC offers almost total control over the visitor experience. If you use landing pages appropriately, you can quickly and easily boost your conversion rates, and improve your marketing ROI.

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December 23, 2005

Todd Mintz is the Director of Internet Marketing & Information Systems for S.R. Clarke Inc., a Real Estate Development and Residential / Commercial Construction Executive Search / Recruiting Firm headquartered in Fairfax, VA with offices nationwide. He is also a Director & Founding Member of SEMpdx: Portland, Oregon's Search Engine Marketing Association.

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