A Case Study

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In my last post on landing pages, I talked about the importance of getting your ad copy and landing page copy matched as well as you can.  But what if the page your ad leads to doesn’t fit the bill at all?  Today, we’re going to have a look at an example of what not to do.

You probably know first-hand that ad clicks are not cheap.  Every tap of the mouse button on one of your ad links rips money out of your pocket, regardless of whether you can convert the visitor or not.

So you want to make that first room beyond the “door” that your ad is a memorable one.  A landing page worthy of your visitor’s time, attention and more.

You wouldn’t naively assume that a customer click-through represents an “I’m ready to buy/sign-up, just give me the details!” kind of customer.  So you if you had a product (maybe a SaaS product at that), you would send them to a page carefully constructed to achieve a page goal, like buying a product, watching a demo, or signing up for a free trial.  Some of the persuasion tools you’d use might include amplifying potential problems that your target demographic have shown to be important to them, showing how your solution can fix them, echoing value propositions that past customers have reported, and showing features that many other customers especially love.

But not everybody thinks like that.

Here’s a Google ad for a cloud-based CRM solution.

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And here’s the page the primary link sends you to.

insightly pricing landingpage

Have you spotted one big problem yet?

Aside from the fact the ad takes visitors to a pricing page, and not a customised landing page whose messaging is well-matched with the ad – is the fact that it GOES TO THE PRICING PAGE!

I’m not sure there would be many who would be sufficiently convinced by 3 or 4 lines of Google ad copy in the to click-through to start a free trial.  Let’s forget about the part where they hope you might shell out cash for it sight unseen.

To be fair, there are a few features and an FAQ underneath the “Compare Plans” chart.  I’m not sure why – most people who get smacked in the face with “buy me now!” aren’t going to hang around long enough scroll down a page.

While the Google ad copy mentions a free account, taking them straight to the Pricing page seems to fly in the face of this.  Prospects with a low to medium intent might be interested in signing up and trialling the product, but are they ready to even think about forking over cash?  Those ready to buy are high intent prospects, who might already be past the trial stage.

So the direction to the pricing page appears to be a hedge of sorts: it’s covering less interested prospects who might want a trial (but not ready to buy), along with more eager prospects ready to investigate how much it’s going to cost.

Needless to say, using one page to lump copy and design for prospects of different intents together, no matter how expedient and cost-effective it may seem on the surface.  These pages should be broken up, with different ads appropriately worded and linked to each page:

  • A “look how cool Insightly is, start a free trial now” page for those that haven’t heard much about it or are at a lower stage of awareness or intent
  • A “you know how cool Insightly is, buy it today” page for those that know about the product and are keen to pick it up (and no, using the pricing page for this group is still not recommended)

Note: A pricing page can still have a “Free Trial” element to it, but should be primarily designed to show either how price-effective it is, what a buyer gets for their money or anything else designed to persuade prospects who are ready (or almost) ready to buy

Insightly looks to be high-quality software, with some great reviews.  It’s a shame the strategy for their Google Adwords and landing pages hasn’t been implemented as well as it could be.

Simply put, if you want to avoid wasting cold, hard cash for ads that land on a page with all the impact of a fish slapping wetly against your face:

  1. DON’T send all your ad traffic to a home or product page if it can be avoided – a tailored landing page will usually be more effective converting.
  2. DON’T assume everyone clicking through an ad is at the same state of intent (e.g. ready to buy, or ready to trial, or even just ready for a sign-up to an email list)
  3. DO assess the states of intent people are visiting your pages (tip – use surveys to identify those groups) and build customised pages for each of the major groups
  4. DON’T forget to tailor your landing page and ad copy specifically for the intent of the group you’re trying to target – i.e. don’t replicate landing pages with only tiny tweaks, as the differences between groups can be pronounced.