Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Think back to the last time you grilled steaks. Did you make an effort to cook those stakes to the liking of each of your guests? Of course you did. Good hosts always make an effort to know the preferences of their invited guests and strive to meet their expectations. Suzy likes her steak medium rare; Joe only eats his charred. No hoofed meat for Amy, but finned is ok.
The search traffic you deliver to landing pages are a lot like dinner guests — they each have preferences and will be happiest if you meet their expectations once they click through to your landing page or microsite. Search engine marketing professionals should think like a great dinner party host: invite choice guests, know their preferences and serve their steak exactly how they like it.
With the latest advances in landing page testing and optimization, knowing your traffic's preferences and satisfying its needs is as easy as firing up the Weber. First, be sure you are working with a landing page optimization provider or using a toolset that is capable of providing baseline, A/B split, and advanced multivariate testing. Confirm you can do detailed audience segment testing. Don't settle for just part of the solution — you'll need all the tools to do it right and deliver the optimal experience.
Secondly, study the landing pages where your traffic arrives after clicking on your text ad “invitations.” Does your company use a one-size-fits-all approach — serving everyone their steak well-done and dry regardless of preference?
With landing page testing and optimization you learn what your audience prefers by quickly testing many different page configurations with a variety of copy and images. You can also test what different audience segments prefer, and serve exactly the experience that is most likely to elicit the response you want.
Unlike your dinner guests, you don't need to ask in advance for dietary preferences. With a Web audience many preferences are broadcast along with search actions. Leverage knowledge about what keyword was typed and which text ad was clicked to tailor the landing page and sales funnel experience for higher conversion rates and improved returns on ad spend.
Keep your dinner guests and Web audience happy and craving a return visit by knowing preferences and satisfying expectations. Cook those $15 Niman Ranch rib-eyes just how your guests prefer and make sure each landing page is tested and optimized for the traffic you generate. Everyone will be pleased and most will return for seconds.
Robert Bergquist is CEO of Widemile. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.