12 Pay-Per-Click Landing Page Examples [With Critiques]

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There’s nothing better than landing page examples. Except maybe landing page examples with ice cream and beer. (Image source)

Your landing pages are getting pressure from all angles.

Your CEO wants a lower bounce rate. Your design team wants extra images. Your development team wants more functionality. And your boss wants it to perform under budget.

With all of this going on your poor landing pages can get a little… out of focus.

Remember, at the end of the day it’s all about getting the visitor to accomplish a goal. And it’s up to you to make their path easier to follow and more clear.

Let’s take a look at 12 pay-per-click landing page campaigns that have lost their way and show you how you can get them back on track.

1. Budget Rentals

Budget Rentals Landing Page

This campaign is flat. There are no elements of urgency or emotion. Basically you either want the 25 bucks off or not. With a few tweaks Budget could make this campaign sing however, so let’s take a look.

1. Headline is boring

Come on, a company the size of budget must surely have a decent copywriter on hand. What about something stupidly simple would perform better:

Don’t Lose Cash: Rent Your Car For Less With Budget
Save $25 when you rent a car from Budget for 5 days or more

One thing to note here is that there is a big difference psychologically between “Save $25” “$25 Less” and “Take $25 off”. Make sure you are testing your copywriting to find the best fit for your market.

2. Distractions

This page is full of distractions. Lose the Specials menu and the top menu to remove leaks. Open up “Full Terms” in a light box or small popup – or better yet have it expand the content area.

3. Odd links

The weekly rentals links don’t do anything. Never have links on your landing pages that don’t perform an action and move the visitor towards your goal.

4. Inject some emotion!

The item about the late-night flight delay is a big deal. Anyone who rents cars on a regular basis has been in a frustrating situation where they miss the attendant and can’t rent their vehicle. I would make this section larger and more prominent because it’s a good selling feature of Budget’s service.

2. CDI College

CDI College Landing Page

1. The form is all over the place

This form sucks. It’s hard to read and figure out what is going on. Test a simple form with fewer fields. For example, are you mailing me information? Probably not, because the address field is not required. Instead of using this huge form try having the visitor fill out some basic info (name/email/phone#) and then ASK them how they’d like to receive the information package. If they choose by mail, then and only then ask for the address information.

While you’re at it test some default values in each field to make sure the visitor knows how to fill out the form.

2. Call to action

This call-to-action isn’t terrible, but why not bring the visitor into the equation? Try “Send My Free Information Package”.

3. Speak to ME more…

What results will this “accounting and payroll training” give me? Be explicit with your headlines and don’t leave anything to chance.

How about this:

Accounting & Payroll Training That Will Get You Hired

The first paragraph is atrocious. What is even being said here? Add benefits to your copy otherwise people won’t know why your topic relates to them. I think the page would convert better even if the only change was to remove that paragraph.

4. Request free information Today?

This bold statement at the bottom is useless. It looks like a call to action and it’s also not adding any value to the page. Why not try something like this:

Spaces are filling up fast, request your Free information package by filling out the form above

That statement tells the reader exactly what to do and adds some scarcity and urgency to the page.

Additional things to test

Find more ways to get action from your visitors. Right below the form area is a perfect place to put the start date of your next course:

Our next flexible payroll training course starts in just 3 weeks

3. BMI Elite

BMI Elite Landing Page

There’s a lot going on with this page and the copy isn’t half bad, but there are a few tweaks that could make this page even better.

1. Web Form

This form needs some serious testing to make sure they’re not losing any business. First off I would test using a smaller version of the award in the top right corner. Possibly even removing the award banner altogether and just placing “Leads360” below the copy that reads Recognized for industry excellence providing the highest qualified Leads!

Free consultation is fine but it would be nice to add some benefit just below the optin headline. Maybe this:

Find out how we can get you thousands of leads every single month

The form is too long. Firstname/lastname should be consolidated. If you’re requiring the phone number then I assume you have someone calling me. If that’s the case, drop the estimated monthly marketing budget.  “Anything else we should know” is a pointless question to ask; it confuses a visitor and makes them think too much.

2. Call to action

The comic sans of the conversion world, “Submit” is a no no. What does submit mean anyways? To a visitor it means nothing. Try “Request my free consultation”.

Additional Things to test

Try some privacy text under the call to action button. This sometimes can make a huge difference.

4. Hostgator

hostgator Landing Page

Ah Hostgator. It’s pretty much impossible to get a real review of these guys nowadays because of their high affiliate payouts. That being said I happen to know they do a lot of conversion testing because I’ve seen a ton of variations on their landing pages.

Let’s talk about the elements of this landing page that are working.

1. Get clear about what you’re offering

Hostgator has a good use of bullet points to get across the key points about their hosting plan. There isn’t any self centered copy like “We are the best” or “You should trust us because we are so old”. Instead it’s based on what you get.

They create urgency with special offers even though their “Special offer” never ends.

2. No distracting links here

The page eliminates distractions. Notice there isn’t a menu. There are no other links aside from the sign up now link… well done.

Notice the banner that they use. It matches the copy on the landing page and mirrors the special offer. This creates a great feel from initial click and past the landing page.

3. That all being said, here’s what I would test…

Why not put the start of the sign up process right on this page? Instead of having to click to another page I could then get started right away.

Tell me how long signing up is going to take. Hostgator hosting is pretty easy to setup so why not say something along the lines of: “Setup a server now in under 5 minutes”.

If you are going to keep the call to action simple and not have the sign up process start right on that page then the call to action needs to be tested. “Start Your Site Now” would relate to the visitor better and sounds less like a commitment to buy.

5. Just Fab

Just Fab Landing Page

1. So many distractions

There is just so much going on with this page that it’s hard to even know what I’m supposed to do. The page says 2 pairs for 39.95 but it also says “buy one get one free”. Well which is it? Is one pair 40 bucks? Or are two pairs 40 bucks? They need to use consistent language to avoid confusion.

“See sales tab for available styles” what does this mean? Where is the sales tab?

I’m on the very first page, I haven’t signed up or even SEEN your products yet and you’re telling me there are “Hassle Free returns” I don’t care about that until I’m starting to think about buying. Always remember what state your visitor is in when she is on a particular page.

2. This call to action gets lost in the clutter

The call to action is the same colour as 5 or 6 other elements on the page so it doesn’t stand out. Just changing this to a different colour is going to improve the effectiveness of this page.

The call to action says “Get started Now” but just below it says “join now for exclusive access”. Am I starting or am I joining? Instead of the “join now” line try:

Get exclusive access to our 2 for 1 sale now

6. New Relic

New Relic Landing Page

One comment that I have about New Relic is that their homepage is much better designed. There is content and it’s actually pretty well written. That being said when I clicked on one of their banners I was brought to the page above which is really lacking.

1. Where is the content?

The headline is trying to be too cute. What does this product do? This page is in desperate need of some content to let visitors know what they can do with the product.

What are the “intuitive tools” that will optimize my code?

How are you optimizing my code? Are you speeding it up? Are you making it easier to read? Be explicit with your benefits. Tell me why your product will make MY life better.

2. T-Shirts or software?

What’s with the t-shirt? Am I buying clothing? It seems to have nothing to do with anything. Lose it.

3. I’m flush with call-to-actions!

I’m not sure that you need to have 4 call to actions on this page. All of the content could be summarized above the fold and one call to action could be used.

Better yet, just summarize the information and provide a form to create your account right on the landing page. Remember to keep things simple.

7. Participaction

Participaction Landing Page

This is a splash page that is stuck in a time long past. Splash pages are horrible for usability. Don’t use them.

1. Why am I here?

I would love to see the bounce rate on this splash page, I bet it’s huge. I just clicked a link about getting my kid to be more active and I land on this page. “Let’s get moving” doesn’t explain what I’m choosing… even if this page were changed to “English” and “Français” it would perform better.

That being said it’s 2013. Why are we having language selections as a landing page anymore? With a few lines of code you can find a user’s location and select the language for them. In this case if the user is in Quebec set French as the default. Anywhere else? Set English.

Then make it obvious how to switch languages on any page on the website.

8. PR Web

PR Web Landing Page

1. What are these images in the banner?

What does the banner have to do with 14 ideas to promote my business? I’m guessing it’s talking about content creation, but it needs to be more obvious. Better yet, scrap the images and boost the size of the headline.

2. Connect with me

The copy isn’t terrible, but I’d like to see a better connection with the reader. “This guide is full of ideas like:” can easily be changed to

“With this guide you will learn how to:”

See what I did there? Now the user is directly linked to what benefit the guide will give them.

3. Optin Form woes

This form looks overly complicated. Are they telling me there are NO required fields? Or is it that all of them are required?

Keep it simple stupid!

I would try eliminating the fat in this form. Pull out the annual revenue field. Lose the password and the explanation about “How you will sign into your account”. Nowhere on this page does it tell me that I’m signing up for an account, so why are you forcing me into it?

Ask for the password on the next screen to get people to sign up right before giving them their download.

4. Give me some reason to fill out the form

There needs to be a benefit in the optin form. Instead of “Complete the Form to Download your Free Guide” try this:

Complete the form below and discover 14 lucrative ways to promote your business online.

Doesn’t that sound more exciting?

MUST test items

They MUST test their call to action copy. I’m willing to bet that something like “Send My Free Guide Now” or “Teach me how to promote my business” is going to outperform the current one.

Privacy statement. There’s no perfect way to include privacy statements below your form. Changing just a few words can make or break your end results so this is a MUST test.

9. Rackspace Hosting

Rackspace Landing Page

This is a really long page so I’m not going to dissect every little element, however there are some glaring conversion leaks that are going on here that I want to point out.

1. Where is the headline explaining why I’m here?

First off, if you’re going to use a headline or call to action that is as vague as “Take charge today” then you need to back that up on your landing page right away.

Create a headline/subhead combination that mirrors the banner ad. Something like this:

Take charge today and build a server that fits your business
Use Rackspace’s public cloud servers to build scalable websites and applications

This new headline and subhead would combine a strong headline, the name of the company, the name of the product, and it even hammers home a benefit or two.

2. We have a leak captain!

And by “a leak” I mean a few dozen leaks.

Lose the main banner and social icons. Are you trying to sell hosting? Or is this page actually designed to boost your social profile? Choose one.

Lose the footer links. They are all leaks and don’t contribute value to this page.

3. Call to action woes

This call to action sucks. “Sign up now” is boring all by itself. Why not help me imagine all of the cool things that I can do with Rackspace?

How about something like this:

Help your website or application succeed with Rackspace Public Cloud
Create an account in just 5 minutes. Sign Up Now

10. Sourcedogg

sourcedogg landing page

The two big issues with this page are the copywriting and the optin form.

So basically everything.

1. Why do I care?

There are no benefits on this page. They are effective at telling me what the whitepaper is going to say, but not why I should care about it.

The headline should relate the benefits of the whitepaper back to the user. Try a headline like this:

Discover 7 ways you can see lasting results with procurement
Study shows how the 13 procurement leaders are so successful and how to implement their tactics for result-based and future-proofed procurement

2. Optimize your form

“Download your whitepaper now” doesn’t cement WHY I should be downloading this whitepaper. Why not use something like this:

“Fill out the form below to get instant access to this report”

The other issue with this form is that it’s too long. I know they’re trying to qualify the lead with many forms, but the form can be made leaner. Here’s how:

  • If the user has entered in their website then you have their company and their industry simply by taking a look.
  • Why are all of the other fields required when the phone number isn’t? Isn’t the phone number the most important part? If not, lose it.
  • A few lines of code can figure out the country of a user, there is no need to get this from the user themselves.

3. Call to action

A simple call to action like this can almost always be improved. Test something like “Download my copy now” and test out adding a privacy statement.

11. Success Factors

Success Factors Landing Page

1. Where’s the headline?

The top of this page is very confusing. At the top of the page it says “Performance Metrics”. Maybe this is some ill-conceived way to increase quality score in Google Adwords but it’s not working for usability and conversion.

The line “Learn the twelve fundamental principles for increasing workforce productivity” is a GREAT headline, but it’s too bad that it’s almost impossible to read. Don’t get fancy with  the typeface on a landing page. Take that headline and make it larger and easy to read.

2. Optin Form

This is the worst part of this page. Pretty much everything about it is done poorly. The country field can be easily removed. Two column forms are difficult for users to read and there’s no use for it in this case (form is already below the fold, why not just make it all one column).

I would test a two-step form for this many fields. Try something like this.

  1. Get the user to fill in a small form on the landing page. Just the name, company name, email and phone number.
  2. Next have them confirm their opt-in (if required) and send them the download link.
  3. On the download page have a light box that requires a few additional fields. Use some copy like “One last thing, tell us a bit about why you want to increase workforce productivity”.
  4. Once the user submits the last few fields close the lightbox revealing the download page.

The optin form headline is drab. I’d like to see it reinforce the benefits of the report. What about something like:

“Fill out the form below and increase your workforce productivity”

3. Call to action

This call to action sucks. “Submit” doesn’t add value and it doesn’t make a user want to take action. Even simply changing the call to action would boost this page’s conversion rate. Try this:

“Send me the download link”
“Send me instant access”

11. USC Annenberg

USC Annenberg Landing Page

This is a pretty decent page but there are elements that definitely need testing in order to optimize conversions.

1.  Stock images are useless

I would have to think that USC could get a better photo than some generic stock woman. Why not use a real student, or a teacher?

2. Survey Area

The banner ad that got me here said “Specialize in PR”. I would change the first step into a drop down box that defaults to Public Relations. Then I would take the entire form and put it on this page. There can’t be that many required fields for this kind of lead so you might as well make it short and sweet.

3. FREE copies of FREE information

The information enclosed in this brochure is not proprietary information. It’s a brochure. Don’t insult my intelligence by trying to make it out like FREE is a benefit of this download. Instead of the line “To receive a FREE copy of our…” try something like this:

“Fill out the form on the left to discover how you can enhance your career with USC Annenberg. Classes start soon and have limited space”

This line works better than the ‘FREE’ line for a few reasons. First you’re making the brochure about the visitor instead of about you. The new line helps the visitor visualize how this report could make their life better. Secondly you’re injecting some urgency into the brochure by saying that space is limited.

Now it’s time for YOU to take action

Smell that? That’s the smell of roasted landing page. Make sure you continue to improve your own landing pages or they might be next!

Take the time to look at your landing pages objectively. Eliminate the ‘fat’ and remove any elements that don’t add value.

And ALWAYS remember to test like hell.

See you in the comments.

— Eric Sloan

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About Eric Sloan
Eric Sloan is the founder of MARE.io, a free online survey tool. He writes about business, management, and digital marketing.
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