I may not market myself as an AdWords specialist, but I do know a thing or two about Google's advertising platform.
Especially the ad copy.
But this blog is not specifically about the copy: it's about a more general mistake that a lot of companies are making with their AdWords campaigns.
A simple mistake, but one that can completely destroy their conversions.
The Ads Are OK, But …
Whenever I get into a discussion about why someone's AdWords campaign is not working, there is often very little wrong with the ads themselves. (Sometimes there is, but that's for another blog.)
They follow all the best practices for getting clicks (clear headline, compelling benefits, click-worthy CTA, etc).
Their outreach is good.
They get the right people to click on their ads.
It's what happens after the click that's the problem.
AdWords to Homepage = Fail
Many companies link their ads directly to their home pages – but this is the wrong way to go about setting up your AdWords campaigns.
It's easy to see how it happens (in fact, I ran a woefully disappointing AdWords campaign myself many years ago doing just this, before I discovered I was doing everything wrong).
They write their ads, they get searchers interested enough to click, and then they send them to a generic homepage packed full of different products, links pointing all over the place, etc.
If you are doing this, stop.
What you need to do instead is send your clicks to a landing page.
Why a Landing Page Is a Must
You've gone to all the trouble of launching a new product or setting up a special offer. Perhaps you're running a month's free trial.
Whatever the situation, you have a specific goal in mind – and a home page is too vague to reach that goal.
Your ad should have a specific goal ('Sign up for a free 30-day trial') and your landing page should follow through with it.
The two should be seamless.
So if you promise a one-month free trial in your AdWords ad, make that the focus of your landing page.
This is good message match.
Message match is where you provides a consistent experience for your prospects so they that they are in exactly the right place.
They click on the ad with a certain expectation in mind, and the landing page fulfils that expectation.
Wishpond, which provides a tool for designing landing pages, knows a thing or two about this. Here they highlight the benefit 'Awesome Landing Pages in Minutes' in their AdWords ad:
Click through to the website, and here's the very first thing you see:
It doesn't get much clearer than that!
So make message match the first thing you focus on, Build your landing page and your ads around one specific goal that you are trying to achieve, and make sure they both focus on the same goal.
If you have two different goals, create two different sets of AdGroups and ads, and two different landing pages.
It's more work – but surely it's worth it? After all, you might not have to change much apart from a few lines of copy.
Use a Landing Page to Get More Clicks that Matter
There is so much more that goes into a landing page, but this basic principle is so important that it needs to be highlighted.
When you run an AdWords campaign, send your clicks for a specific ad to a specific landing page, and ensure the ad and the landing page have good message match.
Get this right, and you're off to a very good start.