Winning The Conversion: Creating “Can’t Say No” Paid Search Landing Pages

Winning The Conversion: Creating “Can’t Say No” Paid Search Landing Pages

15th May 2012

Running a paid search campaign isn’t just about getting your campaign optimised and driving traffic to your site, more importantly the landing pages need to convert otherwise you will not be getting the ROI you are looking for.

In this session at SMX London 2012, four great speakers take to the stage to share their tips on how to create effective landing pages that people just can’t say no to.


1) Malcolm Graham, CEO, LimeTree
2) Guy Levine, CEO, Return On Digital
3) Brian Lewis, CEO, Solutions-insight Interactive
4) Stephen Pavlovich, CEO, Conversion Factory


Let’s get started!

Malcolm Graham, CEO, LimeTree

This session is all about layouts of a landing page. The first tip given by Malcolm was if something looks too much like a blatant advertisement, it won’t convert very often (although low cost products and services may be able to get away with it).

The classic layout for a page is to include the logo in the top left corner with a clear call to action. You then need to work out what customers want before deciding how to layout your page. Malcolm used Mail Chimp as a very good example for good landing pages, fun and easy to use and understand.

Simple and low cost products can have a much more simple and easy to use design. Don’t make it to complicated.

Complex or expensive products need to have more informative content on the landing page. Visitors want to see much more information in order to pursuade them to convert. The Overseas Guides Company is a property site and the landing pages that were working best for them contain a stack load of information. When you first look at the page you wouldn’t expect them to convert but testing has proven differently.

The cost benefit of having a good landing page = Increasing your website conversion rate from 2% – 3% can increase revenue by 50%.

Guy Levine, CEO, Return On Digital

Guy is sharing some examples of testing that Return on Digital have done for small SMEs that don’t always have a huge budget to spend on testing.

Biggest challenge this year for every CRO person is the Cookie Law. It poses an interesting problem and it will be interesting to see how different sites decide to show the message on their landing pages.

Key Points

– Home page is not a great place to send PPC traffic
– Every landing page should have a purpose and define most required response
– Think above the fold
– Repeat your messages but change the way you are saying it slightly
– Restrict the navigation, you want the visitor to remain on the landing page rather than go off to other pages
– Build trust. Return on Digital have seen that video is changing CRO massively so worth a try
– Use convincers, trade memebership logos, partnerships or press mentions
– Not everyone is in buy mode – use information and a 2 step sell (email, re-marketing)
– Use forms scientifically – short increase fill, long improves quality
– Dont just think about keywords and landing pages, think people and persona’s
– PPC testing comes on the back of good campaign set up
– Treat converting PPC keywords with respect and split them out into separate ad groups
– You must track conversions
– AB testing vs. Multivariate testing. If you only have a small amount of traffic stick with AB testing
– If you use Google Website Optimiser, remember that you can’t segment traffic sources

When you start testing, choose an experiment, don’t just guess. Come up with your reasoning before starting a test, don’t just listen to what people advise to test at conferences as it will be different for all sites.

CRO isn’t going to get you to win the best design award but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that the site converts.

There are three things that every website landing page needs:

1) We are experts (testimonials, convincers)
2) This is what you should buy (big order buttons, product descriptions)
3) Please buy it from us (call to action buttons)

Brian Lewis, CEO, Solutions-insight Interactive

The subject of Brian’s presentation is the ‘3 most common landing page mistakes and how to avoid making them’. The first point that we all should take away is just how quickly it takes to form a first impression on a landing page. It is around two tenths of a second and that first impression is carried throughout the rest of the visit so you need to get it right first time.

There are three types of visitors to a website:

1) People who are ready to buy
2) People who are contemplating buying
3) People with no intention to buy

Types 1 and 2 are the customers you want to appease and your landing pages need to address their every need right from the start. The three mistakes Brian talks about are detailed below.

Mistake 1 – Visual Bullying 

– Trying to squeeze that funnel and use overly aggressive messages like BUY NOW!!!
– Using too many fonts and font sizes, keep it simple
– Distracting rotating banners confuse people and take them away from the key goal of the page
– Too much content on a page that is not broken up, you need white space
– Overuse of colours and contrast, people are drawn to colours but keep them consistent

Mistake 2 – Ignoring Context

– Understand why visitors are at at your site
– Look into the roles and tasks of your visitors, this is detailed a little more below:


1) Who are they?
2) Whats important to them
3) What is their level of knowledge
4) Where are they are in the research cycle
5) Where have your visitors come from
6) What are their motivations – habitual, impulse and research


1) Pre Research on product or service
2) Early research
3) Research on company’s advantage
4) Browsing
5) Detailed research
6) Price comparison
7) Ready to buy

Take each of these roles and tasks and put them together for use cases. Go back to your site to see whether you are helping them achieve their goal. If you can’t say yes straight away, you don’t have this right and it needs to be looked at.

Mistake 4 – Establishing Trust

There are 4 types of trust and credibility and they need to be addressed on your landing page
– Presumed credibility
– Visual credibility
– Industry
– Social

Stephen Pavlovich, CEO, Conversion Factory

Stephen is giving away the five steps in landing page optimisation that everyone should be following to ensure you get killer conversion rates. Remember, all these points need to be followed, don’t skip any out.

1) Relevance

Landing page optimisation doesn’t start on the landing page, it starts with what the visitor sees immediately before they hit the landing page. The search phrase needs to match the PPC advert, which also needs to match the landing page and display the same message. For example, if your PPC ad shows a discount or offer, that also needs to be on the landing page.

2) Attention

As soon as someone has landed on the page you need to get their attention. Have a targeted headline, clear call to action and include the credibility and trust symbols. On top of all this you need to show an example of the product or service you are selling to keep the attention on the page.

3) Motivation

“Show don’t tell” – think of the best possible proof of your product and show that on your landing page rather than adding lots of text about the product.

Make your appeal sticky. This idea was taken from a book ‘Made to Stick’ by Chip Heath and Dan Heath and includes:
– Simple (no marketing bulls**t)
– Unexpected (will it get my attention)
– Concrete (is it grounded in facts)
– Credible ( is it beleivable)
– EmotionaI (is it relevant)
– Stories (d0es it tell a story)

4) Orientation

When you have a visitor reach a landing page and you have got their attention, they need to know what to do next to avoid confusion. If you don’t orientate your visitor they will leave and go elsewhere. Campaign Monitor have great landing pages that instantly guide you through what you need to do.

5) Action

A great example of a landing page that pushes the visitor to convert is Spotify. It ticks all the 5 landing page tips and it is impossible to miss the call to action on the page.

Tools to Use

Throughout all the presentations in this session, various tools were discussed. Here is a quick reference list to those tools

Survey Gizmo – –

KISSinsights –

SurveyMonkey –

CrazyEgg –

Evernote –

Click Tale –

ResponseTap –

Google Website Optimiser –


Written By
Samantha Noble is the founder of Biddable Moments and a former editor and contributor to State of Digital.
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