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I.e., if the visitor searched for blue widgets, it's better to present him with your blue widget info than to give him a button that says "click here for blue widgets." If the landing page is more generic, then I'd aim for simple choices - perhaps a bit of "hook content" to establish what the site is about and its claim to fame, and a few easy links. I'd definitely avoid a "portal" look with lots of busy content and tons of links. I'm sure some of our PPC pros have more specific advice...
I've seen all types of landing pages - what I'd call "letters" (those long benefit-based things that look like a sales letter), product pages as a continuation of the ad, and others. I'm looking for a good case study or examples of landing pages that "work".
I'd begin by putting yourself in the place of your arriving searchers. You know what they searched for - is it specific enough that you know WHY they searched and WHAT they are looking for? The better you can understand their frame of mind, the better you'll be able to hit them with what they need right away. A few brainstorm-type ideas:
- Do they need product info, or do they already know all the essentials?
- Have they chosen a specific product, or do they need to see a range of models or options?
- Do they need reassurance about the product/service? (If so, consider short, punchy testimonials, endorsements, or guarantees)
- Do the need reassurance about your company?
The people who have long, text-filled landing pages clearly think their visitors need convincing prior to a purchase. The ones who have a big "BUY" button think the sale has already been made. For different searches and sites, both could be right.
I'd recommend some split-run testing. Or, if that technology poses a problem, just try something else for a few days. If your current approach isn't working well, you probably can't make things much worse. :)
(Note, too, that the landing page could be fine - it could be your offer that's the problem. If buyers must navigate additional pages, check your logs to see where they drop out. You can learn a lot from log analysis!)