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Landing pages vs. squeeze pages: Are you driving users to the right place?
There are a number of good reasons that call for a custom landing page. Typically, they are tied to a specific marketing campaign you’re running, geared toward the objective and, hopefully, the desired outcome. But not all landing pages are created equal, which presents us with a good opportunity to discuss what a landing page is vs. a squeeze page, and how to create an ideal landing page for your campaign.
What is a squeeze page?
A squeeze page can be defined as a page that you’re driving paid traffic to that has no additional — or very limited — internal site navigation structure. These often are built on sub-domains and through a third party service such as Unbounce, ClickFunnel or HubSpot. What happens with a squeeze page is that an individual lands on the page, and the options are to either convert or leave. As you can imagine, this results in a very high bounce rate.
The biggest challenge with this structure is the user doesn’t get to experience the brand to its fullest extent. Typically, the more expensive or the more time-intensive the purchase is, the more thought and time that goes into the purchase decision. If it’s a brand that someone doesn’t know, and this is that person’s first interaction — off of a paid search ad or display ad — a squeeze page might not be the best place to send them.
When are squeeze pages okay?
On the other hand, a squeeze page might work well for remarketing purposes or targeting people who already are in the mid-to-low stages of the funnel, because they already are familiar with your brand. In this situation, the user clicks on the ad and it’s more appropriate to make the hard ask because that person already has been to your site, experienced the brand and is much more likely to convert.
Defining a landing page
Why would you develop a landing page in the first place? It could be that your existing pages don’t align with the ad groups you’ve developed, or with the audience you’re trying to reach in terms of the language they’re using or their location, for example.
On the landing page side, there is a unique opportunity to build a landing page within your existing site, using the existing site design and navigation — not using a sub-domain. If you operate a WordPress-based site, there's no reason not to create the landing page as a page on your existing site. It especially makes sense if you’re dipping your toes in the water to learn about landing page optimization and don’t want to go deep into A/B testing. In that case, create the landing page, block it from search engines and make sure it’s not included in your sitemap, and use it specifically for PPC, display, or paid social traffic.
An important factor to consider when running Google Ads is quality score. Quality score is a guide for measuring how relevant the keyword searched is to the ad copy and to the content of the landing page. How relevant is all of that together? The score is measured on a scale of 1-10, with a “good” score being right around the 7-plus range.
Typically, when you’re running PPC campaigns and you have a low quality score, odds are you’re going to get limited impressions in search, and you’re going to pay more for those clicks — certainly not a good combination.
Raising your quality score
How can you improve poor quality score? Review how your ads are performing at the keyword level. Run a search term report and try not to focus on just the phrases that are converting. Instead, direct your attention toward impression and click-through data. Somewhere in there you should be able to see a signal that says, “This is what people are searching for, and my current landing page doesn’t communicate that at all.” The ads won’t have a good quality score because those phrases and topics aren’t included in the landing page, and they’re not included in the ad. And no, people are not going to convert if the language doesn’t resonate with them based on what they searched for.
Look at those reports for insights and see if you can use those themes to build out a better landing page while also making it easy for the visitors to convert. While the landing page includes the site’s navigation to be able to look around, include the option to convert right on the landing page; you don’t know where in the funnel a visitor might be.
It’s a hybrid approach, creating a middle ground so visitors aren’t forced to either convert or abandon you.
Native landing pages vs. landing page services
Build the page within your existing framework if you can; it makes the “above the fold” experience consistent with your brand, messaging, visuals, etc. Often when landing pages are built on sub-domains and are of the squeeze page variety, they don’t fit with the brand’s existing digital representation and they may feel disjointed or unrecognizable as the brand. Besides these design issues, if you’re using a landing page service, the pages may not load as quickly as your own site does. In that case, why not build it on your existing platform that you know will perform well?
If you can’t build the pages within your existing site, you might look into a landing page service such as Unbounce. You will need a sub-domain to run these pages on, such as marketing.mysite.com, and this is where you would send all paid traffic. This is especially recommended for bottom of the funnel lead generation.
Build a quality landing page
Include headings that define what you do and what you’re selling. Make sure these are aligned with what people are looking for, via findings from your search term reports.
Make your value clear. What differentiates you from the others? Why should someone buy this product?
Present a clear call to action. What do you want people to do when they land on this page? How should they express interest? Request a quote, buy now, order today, pre-order, etc.
Create an element of urgency. Give it the squeeze page “feel,” if you will. Generate demand through the page’s content.
As with all paid advertising campaigns, you will learn over time what works and what doesn’t for your audience. Success won’t happen overnight; you have to give it time. Watch the ads’ performance over a period of days to gauge how they’re performing. By giving some attention to align with searchers’ queries and create a less constricting landing page, you’re likely to see better results.