This article was first published February 20, 2008 on the Tatum Marketing blog
Web analytics show us that most people arrive at a website by clicking on a link somewhere – usually from a search engine – and not by typing in the URL. This is important for a couple of reasons:
1. It means that most visitors enter your site at some point other than your home page.
2. It presents an opportunity to improve conversion rates by paying attention to the “intent of the click” and optimizing the page to give visitors what they want.
It’s the second reason that I’m going to talk about in this article.
One of the best ways to waste a lot of money in marketing is to run a pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaign – or any online ad for that matter – and direct people straight to your home page. This is almost guaranteed to break your visitors’ thought process and either confuse or distract them into NOT doing what you want them to do.
Let me put it another way.
When someone clicks a link on a search engine, they have a very specific reason for doing it. Something in your ad or listing interested them. If the next page they see captures and continues that interest, they will do what you want them to do – whether it’s to download a whitepaper, subscribe to a newsletter or order your product.
On the other hand, if the next page the visitors see doesn’t show them exactly what they’re looking for they’re likely to go away.
Have you ever been looking for a specific product such as a new camera for example (because I recently did this)? You google “Canon PowerShot SD850 IS” and see a bunch of ads that say “Canon PowerShot Lowest Price” or the equivalent. You click on one, it takes you to the retailer’s home page listing every electronic product known to man and you would have to first find cameras and then find Canon and then find the PowerShot SD850.
Forget it. If you have anything like limited attention span of a normal human being, you’re going to hit the back arrow and go to the next site. This time you are taken directly to a Canon PowerShot SD850 IS page with a big BUY NOW button on it. Retailer #1 just paid for a useless click while retailer #2 got a sale.
The same thing happens with software, services and any other business-to-business product. Give them what they’re looking for and they’ll stick with you. Make it hard for them and you lose them.
Fortunately for us marketers it’s exquisitely easy to understand where the buyer is coming from and what he or she expects to see on the next page. You know what your ad says. It doesn’t take decades of marketing experience to figure out what the buyer wants to see next.
This is why it amazes me to that so many companies waste so much money sending potential buyers to irrelevant web pages.
If you’re running an online ad campaign, take a look at where your visitors are being directed. Changes are very good you can make a better connection.