In my last post, I discussed the topic of Conversion Rate Reinvestment, and how this technique can give you an unfair advantage in SEM.

I now want to discuss a couple of ways you can increase the conversion rate of your SEM landing pages, so that you can start applying this technique.

I won’t talk about the usual stuff, like creating a strong headline, making your offer compelling, or easy-to-complete forms. Of course these elements are critical, but I think we are all a bit tired of seeing these repeated over and over among the gurus.

What I want to give you right now, are two elements that are proven converters, but which I seldom see in landing pages.

1. FAQs

Go through 50 SEM landing pages and you probably won’t find more than 5 of them featuring FAQs.

Odd, isn’t it.

In real life, if a prospect had just been referred to you, would you try to close them on the spot without answering their questions or objections? Of course not. In fact doing so would either ruin the sales opportunity, or cause the prospect to politely say “I’ll think about it” and then run off to your competitors for comparison purposes. The latter scenario is especially common online, where comparison shopping is so easy.

Now I do understand that FAQs strike fear in the hearts of many landing page designers. FAQs are usually long-winded and boring, and these qualities are never good for conversion.

So how do you incorporate FAQs without compromising conversion rate?

A tactic that my agency, First Rate, often uses is called ‘Frontline FAQs’. We will sift through our clients’ customer service folders, or interview their customer service staff, to determine which questions and objections seem to occur at the highest frequency. Once we have worked out the top concerns (usually three to four), we then work with our clients to create short, interesting answers that satisfy each concern.

The idea is simple: by effectively answering their most common questions and objections, you will make your visitors feel that you “get” them. This will keep your visitors on your landing page longer (i.e. reduce your bounce rate), and make them feel a lot better about taking the next step (i.e. increase your conversion rate).

Call it, Landing Page Aikido.

2. Trust Credentials

As surprised as I am at the lack of FAQs in SEM landing pages, I am even more surprised when I don’t see a company’s trust credentials.

Trust credentials are pieces of evidence that make a visitor to a landing page believe that the company behind the landing page is real, unique, and will deliver on its claims.  These trust credentials are necessary to secure trust, and therefore propel the visitor to proceed (convert).

Here are some key trust credentials you can adopt to increase your landing page’s conversion rate:

  • PR Mentions – If you have received positive PR online, make sure you include links to every mention, and code each link with an exciting statement (Tip: make the links pop-up into separate windows, to keep your visitors on your landing page).
  • Awards – Include images and links to all public awards your company or product has won.
  • Social Media Comments – If you have a Facebook or Twitter page, display them in your landing page. You can either provide your visitors with links to these pages, or stream your Facebook and Twitter comments into your landing page. (Tip: you can also answer certain FAQs by linking to social media posts made on your fan pages).
  • Factoids (Did you know?) – You can use factoids to demonstrate several trust credentials; e.g. how many staff and/or offices you have, how long you have been in business, products your company has pioneered, your unique product preparation process, etc.
  • Comparison Tables – If your product has features that your competitors’ products lack, then comparison tables can be a very powerful demonstration of your trust credentials. This tactic reduces your visitors’ need to compare other products and increases time spent reviewing your landing page.  Please note however – this tactic can backfire, if your unique features are not highly valued by the market.

Use conversion rate to dominate SEM

As mentioned in my last post, if you can steadily and progressively increase your landing page’s conversion rate, you can steadily and progressively increase your CPC bids.

Over time, your ability to increase your CPC bids (while offsetting this with your higher conversion rate), means you can outbid your competitors, increase your ad position, and dominate paid search in your category.

All of this while maintaining your cost per sale.