Clients often come to us during the discovery phase saying something like:

“Paid media campaigns just don’t work for us.”

“Our current agency is not managing our paid search accounts well. CPCs are too high and cost per conversion is too high.”

“We can’t put money into paid campaigns because the cost per acquisition is too high.”

But the thing is, the paid media campaign and the click that it produces are really only half of the equation. There’s this other really important piece of the equation, your destination page. You see, it doesn’t really matter how expensive your clicks are – if they result in high quality visits to your landing experience, they just might be worth it. Which brings me to my first point: the page that you drive your paid media campaign clicks to is CRITICAL. Mission critical. Whether our mission as marketers is to drive leads for our sales teams or transactions online, it is critical that we understand the importance of our campaign destination pages. There’s a simple way to look at the inputs needed for an online conversion [conversion is the act of someone completing a desirable act on your webpage, which may be a form completion, making a phone call, or completing a transaction]:

Visit + Site performance = Conversion

If you are only evaluating your campaign based on the number of clicks you are acquiring or how expensive each click is, I can almost guarantee you that your paid media campaigns are underleveraged. Because site performance is such a big factor in how effective your campaigns are in driving business results [measured in terms of conversions], landing pages are a game changer.

What the heck is a landing page, anyways?

A landing page is a web page that typically does not have navigational elements, and has one clear focus: to convince the visitor to take the desired action—convert. Landing pages that are most effective at driving conversions do not allow the user to explore, jump around, and look at numerous pages of content like a typical website would. But just because they keep the user on one page does not mean that landing pages should be a frustrating experience. They still need to be user-centric. Pages convert best when they provide the information that the user needs to make their decision, removing objections and providing social proof, among other factors. There needs to be a balance between pushing the business’ objective and giving the user the information and answers they need. As optimization master Angie Schottmueller says regarding effective landing pages: one page, one purpose. Keep it easy for the visitor to identify and complete the next steps. Any introduction of choice increases friction for the visitor and reduces the chances that they will convert.

But it’s sooooo much easier/cheaper/faster to just drive traffic to a page on our website!

Of course it is. That’s why so many marketers make the choice to do just that. For every $92 marketers spend on digital media, they only invest $1 back into their landing experiences or websites. That’s insane! So, to the client telling us that their current CPC is too high but have yet to put any effort or money into making your landing pages work harder, you are in good company. Not the ‘most profitable of marketers’ company, but company none-the-less.

What’s kind of mystery is why it’s so difficult to convince others to invest in landing page development or optimization. Say you’ve got a set media budget for something like paid search campaigns. The market is going to dictate how much you need to spend per click, so that is really outside of your control. Mostly. More on that here. Within your control is executing onsite optimizations or landing page development to drive short and long term results within your campaigns. Check this out:

Clicks  Cost Conversion Rate Conversions CPA
                           2,500  $            5,000.00 2%                          50  $  100.00
                           2,500  $            5,000.00 2.5%                          63  $    80.00
                           2,500  $            5,000.00 3%                          75  $    66.67
                           2,500  $            5,000.00 3.5%                          88  $    57.14
                           2,500  $            5,000.00 4%                        100  $    50.00


Without spending any additional money on acquiring clicks, and with time and attention to developing and optimizing a proper landing page, you could drive twice as many conversions at half of your current CPA (depending upon your starting point, of course!). So move some of your “working” dollars into “non-working” dollars, and they will still work pretty darn hard for you. Or don’t move the money; put some extra budget into developing a landing page one time and shift a small portion of your time and attention from the media management to landing page optimization each month for a major impact.

Well, I still don’t like landing pages…

Okay. I don’t always love landing pages either. But they work! So whatcha gonna do? Keep spending more than you need to in order to convince a visitor from a paid search ad click to download some super awesome interesting whitepaper on your site? Or create a landing page, help the visitor focus on what’s important and understand the value in the action you are trying to get them to take, and convert?

One of our clients wasn’t convinced either. In fact, when we showed them our new landing page design they were unimpressed and said they hated it. We knew it met landing page best practices and the design fit within the client’s design standards so we held our own and fought to get that page in market. The results speak for themselves:
Landing Page Results

While maintaining the same media budget, we were able to drive twice as many leads at half the cost for this client. Account side, campaign optimizations made a difference in improving the overall performance, but the introduction of the conversion-centric landing page was truly the difference maker.

Yeah, yeah. I’ll do a landing page. Wait, how do I “do” a landing page?

It’s best to have access to professional designers, copywriters, developers, and user experience and conversion rate optimization specialists to help you with or manage the landing page creation process for you. If that’s not a luxury you cannot afford, there are a lot of great tools that help marketers design and launch landing page – without writing a single line of code. Look into tools like Unbounce and Leadpages for out of the box landing pages that you can modify with your brand standards and finishing touches. If you have a design and development team on staff, make sure you hit the following elements within your landing page:

  • Compelling, clear headline
  • True hero image that shows your product or service in use [check out this hero shot scorecard]
  • Benefits-oriented copy that’s easily skimmable
  • Clear, direct, explanatory call-to-action
  • Form with as few fields as possible
  • Social proof – like testimonials and reviews
  • Maintain look and feel that’s similar to your website

And, Go!

So the moral of the story is that your campaigns, even under the careful care of a great paid media specialist, cannot drive the best results in history all alone. You have to take the time to develop the right landing page(s) to make your media dollars work harder for you or you’ll be boxed into a performance constraint. Run some numbers for your own campaigns and see how much payoff the landing page effort could return for you. If it seems like it makes sense, Three Deep would be thrilled to help you make it happen!