PPC landing pages: How to craft a winning post-click experience

Ads get you traffic. Landing pages get you customers.

The post-click experience remains underrated in the grand scheme of PPC marketing.

Many advertisers focus so extensively on ad campaigns that they neglect the experience on their website or landing page – which is where a sale is made or a lead generated – and all the other touchpoints that follow.

To win new business and retain that hard-earned revenue, you must expand your scope to include what happens after ad clicks.

In this article, I’ll walk you through:

  • My own tried-and-tested landing page philosophy.
  • How to improve the lead-gen post-conversion experience.
  • How to improve the ecommerce post-conversion experience.
  • Why you should take the post-click experience seriously.

Best practices to build and optimize landing pages

Most advertisers and agencies typically specialize in either ecommerce or lead-gen campaigns, but there’s a generous amount of knowledge crossover between the two.

At my agency, we were doing landing pages for ecommerce clients long before they became commonplace, as they are today. Because of my experience with lead-gen campaigns and seeing how impactful landers could be, we were able to learn from one discipline and apply it to the other.

That mentality is critical in today’s paid media landscape.

Here’s what I’ve learned about landing pages for both ecommerce and lead gen.

Keep designs responsive across devices

Smartphones accounted for 78% of B2C ecommerce traffic and 66% of orders as of Q4 2023. So before you do anything else with your landing pages, make sure they’re responsive across devices, with particular emphasis on mobile.

  • Page elements should load quickly and be in the space you’ve assigned them. The longer a visitor has to wait, the more likely they are to leave.
  • Copy, visuals, forms and other elements should render and work as intended. Buttons should be easy to press and spaced enough so that visitors don’t accidentally tap another element.
  • Design and layout should look and feel natural to the smartphone form factor. Present all the key and primary information above the fold, including your call to action.
  • Keep your navigation simple. A logo going to your website is fine, but no other links. The goal is to reduce clutter. Ask yourself if each element is truly needed.

Test and iterate your most impactful elements

There are a handful of elements I like to focus on when building, testing or optimizing our landing pages:

  • Headline and copy: Pick clear over clever every day of the week. State in very plain language what you do and for whom and match both your ad and keyword intent.
  • Social proof: Display credibility above the fold. Customer reviews, links to review sites and media or industry accreditations build trust with visitors.
  • Offer, form and call to action: Make forms prominent, easy to fill and only as many fields as needed. For call conversions, a clear CTA is a must with tracking.

You can (and should) include content below the fold so that as people scroll, they can learn more about the business, what it does, the solution and its benefits. Intersperse that with CTAs between sections.

While you might see incremental gains by testing those elements lower in the page, if your budget is limited or you have other constraints, you might probably achieve more by:

  • Highlighting new pain points with your messaging.
  • Testing different styles of images or visuals.
  • Using clear social proof that calls out value immediately.
  • Trying a new offer or positioning the same offer differently.
  • Writing calls to action that make readers feel confident.

Approach copy and design with the right mindset

When the text and visual elements of your landing page work together harmoniously, this typically reflects in campaign performance.

Clicking on an ad that interests you, being met with a visually exciting page, discovering that the product is what you wanted, reading through an offer that makes you feel understood as a customer – it’s tough to walk away from that if you have a genuine need for what’s being sold.

But if your team has to prioritize one skill over the other, pick copywriting.

Landing pages succeed all the time with simple yet functional design and outstanding messaging, but they rarely perform to satisfaction when they look stunning without much substance in the offer and message.

Just don’t neglect design, especially mobile responsiveness.

Deliver what the ad promised

“What you see is what you get.” This should be your mantra when it comes to landing pages so that what people see in the ad is what they see on the landing page.

If you advertise for pest control but your landing page talks about repairing foundational damage from termites, it won’t convert well. Even though pest control is technically part of your offer, it doesn’t match the reason someone would click on the ad.

This is amplified in paid search, where your ad is shown mostly to people who are actively searching for what you’re selling or for related terms.

And as a customer, few things are as frustrating as clicking on an enticing ad, only to find out that what they wanted:

  • Is out of stock.
  • Costs more than advertised.
  • Isn’t authentic or real.
  • Will take too long for fulfillment.
  • Doesn’t match what your page is selling.

Use the first post-conversion moment to set expectations

Once a click moves from your ad to your landing page, the last thing you want is to bombard them with popups and offers that interfere with their experience. It might be a paid funnel, but it should still feel organic.

What happens immediately after your visitor converts – either through a purchase or exchange of information – sets the tone for how they perceive your business. In many cases, it can have a strong correlation with lifetime value.

Many businesses opt for a simple confirmation message or neglect it outright. This is where you can stand out and create a positive experience.

Compare a simple experience:

  • Purchase completed.
  • Simple popup shows confirming order.
  • SMS update when order is shipped.

With something richer and more crafted:

  • Purchase completed.
  • Redirected to a new page about the brand’s values (e.g., committed to sustainability).
  • Email with confirmation, order details and thank you message.
  • SMS updates as the order is dispatched, shipped, out for delivery, etc.

Building a better post-conversion experience for lead gen

Lead gen advertisers get the short end of the stick when it comes to paid media because a “conversion” in the ad account still needs to be nurtured and converted by a sales or growth team.

However, this also means more touchpoints and more time to earn their trust and confidence. Here’s my advice for a smooth lead-gen funnel to follow an online conversion.

Make sure sales and marketing are aligned

The handshake between marketing and sales determines how well your prospects feel taken care of and considerably impacts conversion rates. No one wants to have the same conversation with a business repeatedly, even if they speak to several teams or reps.

Some signs that your go-to-market strategy might be fragmented include:

  • Marketing using the same messaging with all leads from all campaigns.
  • Sales taking days or weeks to follow up with new leads.
  • Lack of agreement on how to define marketing-qualified or sales-qualified leads.

I’ve spoken to many business owners whose marketers and sales reps invest large budgets in paid media, call their leads once, don’t get through to anybody and then move on. You’ve got to try harder than that to succeed.

I’m always surprised that they’re happy to pay $150 to get the phone number of someone who wants what they’re offering, but they stop at the first hurdle.

SaaS companies tend to be a bit more savvy about revenue alignment, but the bulk of lead gen advertisers on Google and Meta are service businesses that focus almost exclusively on their area of expertise.

As an agency, it’s a wonderful opportunity to influence that post-conversion process and position yourself as a true growth partner.

Address your customers’ objections proactively

Half the battle in lead-gen is knowing what your leads will have a problem with and equipping your sales team to proactively break down those objections. This might look like:

  • Landscaping services → effect of chemicals on lawn and soil.
  • Enterprise software → data security or onboarding.
  • Electricians → availability and experience level.

Advertising can help speed up this process. Overcoming objections is a critical function of any good landing page. It also benefits marketing and sales teams.

By generating a higher proportion of qualified leads who are already aware that you can address their needs and concerns, their work is cut out for them, and they can focus on attaining a higher close rate.

Use marketing automation to improve lead quality

Marketing automation and CRM tools can be game-changers when it comes to lead qualification and engagement.

For many of our clients, we set up the free version of HubSpot so that they can get more value out of the leads we help generate:

  • Understand which leads are qualified buyers vs. still exploring.
  • Set up automated email sequences to nurture or re-engage leads.
  • Send lead value by pipeline stage back to Google Ads to improve quality of future leads.

Up to the point where we start collaborating with them, these businesses source their leads whenever they happen to land in their inbox or their phone rings.

Many of them don’t know that there are levels to the quality of their leads or that they can actively influence that and I believe it’s part of the agency’s role to educate them how.

Respect the sales cycle

Let’s say I decided to buy some audio equipment, but I’m not an expert on this subject.

I click on an exciting ad about custom home theaters and download their guide on how to build my own setup, giving them my name, number and email during the process.

One of three things will typically happen:

  • I never hear from that business again.
  • I hear from them once, but it’s an aggressive sales push that makes me second-guess my decision.
  • I receive a series of thoughtful emails explaining the difference between 5.1 and 7.1 setups, which rig is right for which settings, how to evaluate manufacturers, etc. Each email contains a link to book time with an expert whenever I’m ready. When I speak to the rep, they first ask me where and how I plan to use the setup, not whether I’m ready to place an order.

The first business never had a chance, and the second one made me feel pressured to buy before I was ready, but the third one won my confidence over the course of a few weeks – and eventually, my order.

That’s because lead-gen micro-conversions (like form submissions) are generally equivalent to people asking for help and not always reflect immediate or urgent purchase intent.

If you provide that help and support, people feel reassured and when they’re ready to buy, you’re at the top of their consideration set. And it’s generally when the buyer is ready that a sale happens.

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Building better post-click and post-conversion experiences for ecommerce

The ultimate priorities for ecommerce brands are generating net new revenue and expanding to new audiences and ads are far from the only asset that can influence those figures.

When it comes to post-click experiences for ecommerce, companies like Fermat are at the forefront of what it means to think about the customer’s entire journey.

What happens after they click through, after they make a purchase, how you get them to increase their order size or become repeat customers – it all contributes to the growth and profit of the brand as a whole.

Gamify the shopping experience

Adding a layer of gamification to your ads and landing pages makes the process feel less like a sales pitch (which it always is to some degree) and more like a fun activity. This might manifest in formats such as:

  • Create your own box/bundle.
  • Interactive engagement drivers.
  • Polls, quizzes and games.

Psychologically, the personalization and the time invested in engaging with these types of ads and landing pages can positively impact conversion rates.

If I feel like a product or offer has been custom-made for me, there’s a higher chance I’ll buy it than a more generic offer.

Be proactive with no-stock situations

Sometimes, you send a click to a page for a product that’s out of stock – it happens. But it shouldn’t be the norm and it shouldn’t be the end of the story.

Depending on the product’s popularity, the success of the ad creative and the speed with which you expect to restock, you may decide not to pause or otherwise mess with a working setup.

In that scenario, a temporary banner explaining when the product will be back in stock is a proactive measure that makes customers feel like they haven’t been misled.

You can also collect emails or phone numbers to notify them when the product is available again and optionally direct them to explore products other customers also tend to be interested in.

You should consider pausing ads for non-bestseller products or items where you don’t know when you’ll be back in stock.

Use the first order to get feedback

Once the customer receives their first order, it is a great time to get honest feedback (if you want it). NPS and multiple-choice surveys can uncover important information, such as whether:

  • Your product lived up to the hype
  • Your shipping partner is holding up their end of the deal
  • Your packaging needs improvement

By following up and asking for their input to improve your products or experience, you don’t come across as pushing for more of their money before they’ve had a chance to make up their mind.

Throw in a free gift to cement that extra bit of goodwill!

Use email to cement lifetime value

DTC ecommerce loves its email marketing – and with good reason.

The nature of selling physical products with profit margins means that you don’t always recover acquisition costs with the first order. Subsequent sales – often for larger volumes or more expensive products – are where brands generate profit:

  • Subscriptions.
  • Bundles and packages.
  • Gifting and seasonal hampers.

Email is a great way to deliver follow-up offers tailored to an individual’s preferences and buying habits. You can reach dozens, hundreds and even thousands of similar customers while making each feel like the offer was built just for them.

And the more successful those emails are, the more data you accumulate, so the next round of emails can be even more customized.

Get the timing of your offers right

One of the quickest ways ecommerce brands tank lifetime value is by getting greedy.

Offering a discount coupon right after someone places their first order is a classic example of how not to roll out your offers.

Your customers haven’t had a chance to decide whether they’re happy with the first thing they bought from you, so it comes off as presumptive.

Psychologically, it has the added effect of making a customer feel like you held out on them and, therefore, less likely to do business with you again.

The value of investing in the post-click experience

Ad platform automation isn’t going anywhere. Fortunately for advertisers, it’s getting better too.

That also means that every single one of your competitors has access to the same tech stack and strategies as you do when it comes to what happens in the ad account.

So, where do you create differentiation? Outside the account: your landing pages and everything that comes after it. It’s here that you need to invest time, technology and effort so that you can reap benefits such as:

  • Improving conversion rate.
  • Maximizing customer lifetime value.
  • Inspiring confidence in your brand or business among buyers.
  • Earning the right to upsell after a positive first experience.

Avoiding this process because it will take an additional budget (or divert it from the ads) ignores the long-term consequences of stagnating.

On the other hand, if simply having a post-click experience can be a differentiator, imagine how strong of a moat an excellent one would be.

Dig deeper: 5 tips for creating a high-converting PPC landing page


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