If you’re like most marketers, you spend hours, days, sometimes weeks assembling an ad campaign. Before you run it:
- How many targeting details do you study?
- How many headlines do you write before picking a winner?
- How many images do you pore over before choosing the right composition?
- How many variations of body copy do you come up with?
And if you’re like many marketers, you might be undoing all that hard work by directing your prospects to a page on your website over a personalized landing page.
What’s wrong with sending prospects to my website from an ad?
It sounds like the opposite of everything you’ve been taught, right? Experts say: Get your prospects off of Facebook or the Washington Post, or wherever your ad’s published, and get them onto your website.
It turns out, though, that advice is a little misleading.
Your website is where prospects can learn more about you, but it’s not designed optimally to convert, drive sales, downloads, subscriptions, etc.
Your website is your business’s storefront online. Even if you don’t have a physical storefront, let’s run with the assumption you do for this analogy.
A hypothetical example
Imagine I, your prospect, see a bench ad for a sale you’re having on multicolored light bulbs. Knowing they’d create the perfect ambience for a party I’m throwing, I drive to your store to pick some up.
Now imagine that I arrive and see no mention of the sale on your doors or windows, or even in-store. I wander the aisles for 20 minutes, scouring for bulbs, frustration growing by the second because I don’t have time to hunt for what I need.
After 30 minutes, when I can’t find the bulbs or anyone to direct me to the right aisle, I leave annoyed to find another party bulb provider.
Translate that experience to the online world, and that’s almost exactly what happens to your prospects when you send them to a general website page through a targeted advertisement.
Personalized landing pages: Why you need them more than you think.
Surely, right now, there are a fair number of you shaking your head, going: “Nope, not relevant. Not at all. I am not an ecommerce business selling light bulbs. I don’t even have a product. I have a service. This is not something my business would do.”
For you, let’s strip down the light bulb example even further beyond ecommerce, beyond product or service to simply one word: offer.
Every business has something to offer — whether it’s a service like marketing automation or just a resource like a martech ebook or marketing audit.
When your prospect sees an ad for whatever that offer is: shoes, software, tip sheets, state of the industry reports — they expect an ad to deliver them to a page where they can evaluate it — not your homepage.
And unlike the offline hypothetical scenario, in which I have to leave your building, get back into my car, and drive to another department store, finding another way to get what I need is way easier online; not to mention, I could abandon the search altogether to watch amusing videos on YouTube.
What it comes down to is this: Personalization isn’t the marketing cherry on top it used to be. Today, your prospects expect it. Consider these statistics:
- 81% of consumers want brands to understand when and how to advertise to them.
- 74% of customers feel frustrated when content is not personalized.
- 79% of businesses that exceed revenue goals have a documented personalization strategy.
- Over 78% of consumers will only evaluate offers if they’re personalized.
The data is clear: If you want to keep prospects interested and engaged — if you want to generate customers — your pre-click and post-click experience need to be personalized. And while most marketers spend a great deal of time perfecting the pre-click experience, many fewer optimize the post-click.
The pre-click and post-click experience
Before we get into what a great post-click experience entails. First, some definitions:
- Pre-click experience: This is before the user clicks through your advertisement. An optimal pre-click experience results in the user clicking your ad.
- Post-click experience: This is everything that happens once the user clicks your ad. Things like: page load time, landing page design, usability, your offer, brand equity, etc, all affect the post-click experience. An optimal post-click experience results in the user claiming your offer.
ABM: When a suboptimal post-click experience won’t cut it
Some marketers cast a wide net for small fish, but for many businesses with fewer, bigger clients, whaling makes more sense. In business, this approach is known as account-based marketing.
Research has shown that when account-based marketing has been in place for over a year, 60% of practitioners see a revenue increase of at least 10%, and 19% see a revenue impact of 30% or greater.
With colossal chunks of revenue on the line, there’s no room for error in designing the post-click experience. Here’s what your accounts expect from you after they click your ad:
Quick load times
It’s likely that key decision-makers at your prospective accounts have less time than most. They’ve got meetings to run, reports to read, and campaigns to direct by the end of the day. So even a few seconds can have a major impact on whether they stick around to evaluate your offer. And research backs this up.
Google has shown that on mobile devices, users have patience that lasts around one second. As page load time exceeds one second, so does bounce rate.
To keep as many visitors as you can, think minimalism:
- Reduce the number of elements on your landing page.
- Minimize redirects.
- Compress text and visuals when they’re necessary.
According to Google, simply compressing images can can save most web pages 250KB, and some as many as 1MB in size. When page weight (size in data) is the biggest slower of mobile web pages, and every second counts, every marketer should give their images a second look to ensure they really are central to converting prospects.
No navigation links
It’s another design detail that seems to contradict basic marketing knowledge. Navigation helps visitors get around your site, so why exclude it?
Well, a navigation-less page is less about your menu and the links in your footer, and more about the content of the landing page. Your page should have no menu on it because it should include everything your visitor needs to make a decision about your offer.
Prospects shouldn’t need to visit your ‘about’ page. They shouldn’t need to click the ‘testimonials’ link. You should have all that on your landing page for them to look over.
There should be only one visible place to click on your landing page, and it should be your CTA button. This focused design keeps visitors on-task by forcing them to make a decision: convert or leave.
Here’s a great example from 180fusion of a landing page without navigation:
You know you’re trustworthy, but your prospects don’t. Many elements and techniques fall under the category of “trust indicator” on a landing page. Here are a few of the most important to account-based marketers:
- Message match: The advertisement is what connects the pre- and post-click experience. It’s your prospects’ first impression of your offer. To foster trust, your landing page should use the same colors, language, even images that your advertisement did. This technique will ensure your prospects don’t land on your landing page and say “Am I in the right place…?” If your prospects searches for “lead nurturing software” and your AdWords ad mentions “lead nurturing software,” your landing page should do the same.
Here’s a great example of message match from Optimizely:
- Relevant statistics: Numbers always speak louder than words. For approval, the average marketer needs buy-in from multiple decision-makers. It’s easy for teams to debate generic phrases like “We have experience managing big budgets,” but not numbers like, “We manage $10 million in PPC budget.”
Here’s a great example of using a relevant statistic to convey that Directive Consulting pays individualized attention to each client:
Here’s another great example of using statistics from Act Bold:
- Detailed testimonials: Telling your prospects that your software is intuitive and powerful is nowhere near as persuasive as letting a happy customer do it for you. Why? Because your customer has nothing to gain.
When customers brag on your behalf, it’s not because they want to earn your business, it’s because they’re genuinely pleased with your product or service. If the decision-makers you’re targeting at an account are web developers, then display a testimonial from a happy web developer. If they’re content strategists, get one from a content strategist. The more detailed (name, position, company) those testimonials are, the better. Here’s a great example from a Freshdesk landing page:
- Badges: These are so subtle you probably don’t even notice them half the time. Badges that indicate a website is secure will make a visitor comfortable with inputting sensitive information. Other badges, like authority indicators that display your accolades will help position you as a pillar of knowledge in your field. Here’s another great example from the same Freshdesk landing page:
- Unparalleled personalization: As a company that goes after a few big fish instead of many small ones, you have the advantage of knowing exactly who’s going to see your landing page. While it’s probably too creepy to start your copy with “Dear (insert name of decision-maker you’ve cookied),” targeting your content to the department that’ll be reviewing it is more than a good idea, it’s the least you can do.
For example, it’s common knowledge that we trust people we know more than those we don’t. So if you’re trying to land a client like AdRoll, and you work with Alexa or St. John’s University (two companies that use AdRoll), then a testimonial from a contact at Alexa or St. John’s U. would likely be more persuasive than one from another random business.
Tailor your images specifically to your account. What problems does this potential client face? Specific details like these will not only speak to your prospect, but they’ll prove you did your homework and that you’re willing to go above and beyond.
This personalization goes for both the pre-click and post-click experience. Here is an example of how AdRoll personalized their ads (using RollWorks) based on the tech stack their prospects are using. For instance, if they detected that a prospect was already using HubSpot, they would show ads that specifically called out AdRoll’s HubSpot connector:
Optimize the whole experience
In 2018, the majority of internet users expect personalization. Most are even willing to divulge personal information in exchange for more relevant advertising.
Top marketers are quickly recognizing the importance of personalization and revamping their programs accordingly. One of the best things about the personalization revolution is that it’s incredibly easy to implement.
Using RollWorks, for instance, you can easily set up segments, upload a target account list, or even connect your SalesForce, HubSpot, or Marketo platforms to create personalized ads from your existing data. And, because RollWorks has the largest opt-in data co-op on the market, you can be sure that your ads will reach the exact people you’re after.
As we clearly saw though, getting that click is only the first step to making a sale. Using a personalized and optimized landing page is incredibly important to converting a lead into a sale. If you haven’t optimized your post-click experience, then you might be letting perfectly good customers walk out the door.
Remember: your ad is the gateway to your landing page, and your landing page is the gateway to the conversion.
Want to see more examples of great ABM ads and landing pages? Check out our Big Book of ABM Campaigns where you can read about 5 real ABM campaigns that our partners have run.
The Big Book of ABM Campaigns was co-written with Bizible, Datanyze, LiveRamp, and Radius and includes 4 more ABM campaigns that each company actually ran, along with pictures and lessons learned.
About the author
Ted Vrountas is a freelance writer at Instapage who hates most marketing content. As a human among marketers, his goal is to write words people actually want to read. You can find him on LinkedIn here.