By John Eberhard

In my last article I covered the importance of conversions in pay per click advertising, and how to figure out what your correct cost per conversion should be.

Now I’ll talk about how to increase conversions.

Most articles and blog posts I’ve read about conversions indicate that the national average on conversions for pay per click advertising is 3%. So if you’re getting 3% or higher, that is pretty good. If you’re getting less than 3%, you need to try some things to increase it.

First of all, it is important to realize that when you are talking about conversions, that is defined as the percentage of people who land on your site from a pay per click ad, who do the desired action. Your desired action is usually either filling out a form and becoming a lead (in a lead generation campaign), or buying something directly online.

Next, it is vital to realize that if you want to improve your conversions, you make changes to your landing page. You do not tinker with your text ads that appear on Google or your bids or your keyword list or anything else. The landing page is what is responsible for the conversions numbers and percentages. Once the person lands on your site, it is the job of that landing page to convince him to take the appropriate action.

So what are the elements on that landing page that help convince him to take action?

  1. First of all the landing page has to work and the form has to work. Don’t laugh. This is the first thing you check for if you’re not getting any responses. Always test the forms on your landing pages regularly, especially if you’re getting no response.
  2. You have to have well written sales text (copy) on the landing page. This is probably the most important element. If you are not a good writer, hire one. You will have to experiment with longer or shorter copy and see which one gets you the best conversions.
  3. The page has to be attractive and well designed, though many landing pages, especially those for “sales letter” type web sites, are downright primitive looking. I still say the landing page has to look professional, have nice looking graphics, and have a few pictures that depict what you’re talking about.
  4. Audio clips: I have had excellent success adding audio clips to the landing page. Make these 30-60 seconds max, and include a Flash player that plays the audio as soon as the page is loaded, but allows the visitor to turn it off if he wants.
  5. Video: I have also had excellent success with video on landing pages. You can even have a video that says the same things as your sales copy. But having it in a video format makes it easier for many people to consume.
  6. Form: I almost always make it a point to have a form for the person to fill out right on the landing page. Don’t make him have to click through to some other page to become a lead or sale.
  7. Landing page is not the home page: With very few exceptions I have found that it is best not to have the person land on your home page. Create a separate page that is just for your pay per click campaign.
  8. Navigation or no navigation? I used to have a rule not to ever have navigation buttons on a pay per click landing page, because I wanted the person to just view my offer and fill out the form, not wander all over my site and leave. In the last year or two I have sometimes (rarely) found it works better to have people land on a page with navigation. Test it both ways to see which one works best for you. In most cases you will find it works better NOT to have navigation, and to have the form right there on the landing page.
  9. Free Offer: On a lead generation campaign, it can make the difference between success or failure to have a good offer. Offer something free, like a free report or “white paper” (fancy name for a free report), preferably something that can be delivered to the person without costing you any money. If your conversion rate is poor for a lead generation campaign and you are just offering “more information on our products” then you need to brainstorm some new offers. In creating a free report, make it on a topic directly related to your product or service, so that theoretically everyone reaching for it will be a prospect.
  10. Conversion code: Google allows you to put a piece of invisible code on the page that the person comes to after they fill out your form to become a lead or sale (called the “thank you” page). This code is called the conversion code. This sends a message back to the Google interface telling it that a conversion has occurred, and it also tracks it back to which campaign of yours they responded to, which ad they clicked on, and which keyword they typed in. This gives you a wealth of great information to use in managing your account. For instance, let’s say you have 20 keywords for your campaign. By using the conversion code, you might find out that only two of those keywords are producing conversions. And you’re spending lots of money on the others but they are producing no conversions. In that case you can either reduce the bids on those non-converting keywords, or pause or delete them. Or, you might find that one of your text ads, if you are running multiple ads, is producing more conversions than the others. Once again you can take appropriate action. Google’s conversion code allows you to move your management of your campaign up a notch, get more conversions and at a lower cost.