Landing Page Optimization Techniques Lower Acquisition Costs
by Matthew Roche
Any marketer that has been involved in search engine marketing
and search engine optimization understands the never-ending quest
to attract customers at a reasonable cost. With acquisition
costs that can rise to $60 to $100 per customer or more, there
is a constant demand for better word lists, better bidding, and
better ad copy to compel click-throughs on the meatiest words.
The reality is that there often simply is not enough highly
affordable traffic to sustain business growth unless the marketer
optimizes the landing page offer as well as the search terms and
makes them work as a team!
Search Engine Marketing works -- provided you are selling a
product that has some demand, that is priced reasonably, and
that you are able to satisfy the basics of security and
fulfillment. We can buy product names, brand names, and other
hot terms that are very specific to a product we specialize in,
and qualified customers will find us.
The Vicious Cycle of SEM
The problem with search engine marketing is when you need to
increase revenue and profitability. I cannot count the number
of times I have heard of marketers who have developed a list of
2,000 to 20,000 words and phrases to garner traffic. This number
is inevitably reduced, sometimes to 100-150 high-performing
terms, when the cost per customer acquired soars beyond
Growing a list definitely grows traffic, but it can often be
“bad traffic.” This traffic consists of words that are cheap,
but have a .01 or even lower conversion rate during visits as
well as words that have a 3% or more conversion rate, but end
up costing $80-100 per acquired customer because of competition
from other sellers.
For example, “ecommerce” is a high-traffic term, and results in
a lot of clicks for online advertisers because the searchers are
usually looking for at least information if not an actual product
or service. Unfortunately, this traffic is so unqualified that
actually converting a visitor into a buyer of a commerce
platform, consulting service, or marketing service is very
Alternatively, the names of brand name electronics equipment
like Olympus C-460 can be high-conversion search terms, but
even when they result in a purchase the yield on the sale does
not merit the cost paid for the click. In our experience, you
have to buy both product terms and category terms like these to
maximize the volume of traffic of your online segment.
Optimize your Landing Pages
To make such a traffic purchase affordable, you need to optimize
your “Landing Page” or the page that the PPC search term ad links
to, on your site. Effective landing page optimization strategies
1. Assortment Optimization - Develop the ability to continually
optimize assortment to make certain that you find the right
offer for “category” words. A key/supporting product scheme
can work, provided you have the technology to rotate and test
what product to present as the leading offer and what other
products to provide in the assortment.
2. Accessory Optimization - Deploy an aggressive accessory
strategy to maximize AOV (average order value, or the total
dollar value of merchandise that the average customer buys).
3. Substitution Optimization – With high-cost, highly specific
terms, it can be advantageous to recommend higher-margin
substitutes on your landing page. A slight increase in
average margin can make better search positioning affordable.
4. Promotion Optimization - Test and optimize promotions
including free shipping to encourage increased purchases
during a qualified visit without needlessly sacrificing
New software tools like Offermatica (available at
http://www.Offermatica.com) are focused on providing merchants
or direct marketers with these types of optimizations.
For example, one company sold games for children and adults
online and generated traffic around search terms largely selected
by the brand names of the games they sold. This strategy was
effective, but the words were competitive and they wanted more
revenue per purchase. Using Offermatica, they providing an
automated list of top-selling products on the pages where the
target products were displayed, the company increased their
AOV by 20% against a control group.
In another case, a company represents travel products that have
radically different gross margins. The company should continue
to drive traffic from external and internal search to the
low-margin properties, but could also begin to purposefully
display higher-margin alternatives in the same region and price
range to increase the profitability of their acquired customers.
Finally, a consumer products retailer that generated much of
their traffic around a limited range of brand-name products
tested a gift-with-purchase strategy to try to increase
conversion rates on expensive brand-based terms.
None of these marketing approaches are earth-shattering. They
reflect well-trodden paths lain down by traditional retailers,
catalog retailers, and even the late-night infomercials. They
are also very effective.
Any retailer can drive traffic if they pay enough, and anyone
can refine the traffic to pay relatively little for relatively
low traffic. The search engine future, however, belongs to
those who can sell enough to pay enough for a large, growing
base of online customers.
Matthew Roche, CEO, Offermatica, http://www.Offermatica.com
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