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How Adding Steps to Your PPC Landing Pages Can Improve Conversion Rates

If you’re anything like me, you know how important it is to improve your PPC conversion rates.

You may already be a rock star in AdWords and a wizard on landing pages, but what happens when you run out of new testing ideas?

Bids – Check!
Negative keywords – Check!
Landing page headline – Check!
Button color – Triple Check!

You’ve tried it all (at least you think you have), but still want more leads and sales. So, how do you take your PPC campaigns and landing pages to the next level?

Let me introduce you to a little something called multi-step landing pages.

Multi-step landing pages are just what their name implies. Instead of having a one-step page and form to capture PPC leads, you spread the questions and fields over multiple landing page steps and sprinkle in some magic (which we’ll also be discussing).

When you have your first multi-step landing pages live and ready, your goal will be to improve the conversion rate on each step individually, so that your funnel keeps growing, and more and more people reach the final step to convert. Not only can this help grow your conversion volume and conversion rate, but you’ll also find that this process can improve lead quality as well.

(Quick Note: The multi-step landing page strategy works very well for quote/lead generating goals. It won’t work that well for simpler landing pages like webinars, eBooks, and newsletters.)

Here are four reasons multi-step landing pages can convert better than single-step landing pages:

Reason #1 – People Online Are Smarter Now Than Ever Before

We’re living in a time where digital media consumption has surpassed TV in total hours spent per day. This means that more and more people are spending more and more time on their phones, tablets, and computers than ever before. Because of that experience, people are forming more opinions about what they trust and what they don’t.

One of the biggest reasons for this can be explained by the Flynn Effect and how more visual stimulation has increased our intelligence over time.

And, with that, more websites are being seen and searched and more opinions are being formed. Ad banner blindness is now a real condition, and the same thing is happening to traditional PPC marketing efforts. You can’t keep doing the same thing you did three years ago and expect it to work just as well. It just won’t.

If you have a one-step form that has 32 fields on it, people will first think “what the…?” Then, they’ll notice that you ask for name, email, and phone number, which automatically triggers their BS alert, and they’ll bounce right away.

People aren’t excited to talk to a sales person about their situation. Their excited to get a price quote as soon as possible or at least know where your pricing starts, so they can compare your company and the 49 other companies that do what you do.

That’s why one-step landing pages that ask for name, email, and phone number sometimes aren’t the best at converting. It strikes fear in the visitor. They don’t know how many phone calls or emails they’ll receive from you. They also don’t know if their information will be sold to other companies so that, later, they’ll be contacted by the other 49 companies as well.

Maybe that’s why 221 million phone numbers are on the Do Not Call list.

Reason #2 – People Get Bored and Distracted Easily

There’s a very high likelihood that people will bounce as soon as they read a vague headline or see a form that’s threatening to them.

On top of that, people’s attention spans have gone down from 12 seconds in year 2000 to 8 seconds today. That’s a serious 33% decline.

This means you have to do an awesome job of giving people clear value they can use, and you have to allow them to get what they want by making the first step toward that very easy.

In the specific scenario below, we went from a one-step landing page with three fields (name, email, and phone) to a two-step landing page with seven fields that looked like this:

Step 1:

advanced grass

Step 2:

advanced grass2

The result? A 214% increase in conversion rate.

Reason #3 – People Believe They’re Getting What They Want

One of the biggest reasons multi-step landing pages improve conversion rates is that visitors believe they’re getting what they want on the final step.

Your visitors know you can’t automatically give a quote with just name, email, and phone number. There needs to be some prequalifying questions.

If you’re a car dealer, you need to know what car, trim, and options a person wants before you can give them a quote. If you sell artificial grass, you need to know how many square feet, what type of artificial grass, and what city the person lives in before you can give them an accurate quote.

People know this. They aren’t dumb.

In the above example, we made sure that the step 1 questions were relevant to the product/service the visitor was looking for. This prequalifying step acted as a micro-commitment that showed the visitor was invested in getting a quote. Then, filling in the extra fields in step 2 reassured visitors they would receive a real, personalized quote.

Now, this doesn’t mean you have to be devious or trick your visitors into believing something that isn’t true. The truth is that you are giving them what they want, but you just don’t have the ability to generate an automatic quote right then and there.

But, if you can do it, do it like Peddle.com.

Peddle is an automated service that gives you a real time offer for your car. They have a sweet setup, but a long and complicated form process compared to some of their other PPC competitors. But it works! And, it works because people know they get a dollar offer without having to talk to a human being.

sell your car

Love the simple headline on this page, too (image source)

It’s only about a 13-field multi-step landing page process, but the user experience is awesome (or not, depending on how much they were expecting to get for their car) when they arrive on the final offer page that looks like this:

your instant offer

Hopefully, you’re happy with that offer and accept it (image source)

Reason #4 – Questions That Don’t Matter Can Improve Conversion Rates

Stop me if you’ve seen this before. The first step of a landing page asks visitors what zip code they’re in and tells them that they could potentially receive a “special offer” if their zip code is within a certain magical geographic region.

They type in their zip code, and… YES! They qualify for a free quote, consultation, or percentage off!

And, even though it doesn’t matter what zip code they typed in, they feel like they’re getting a great deal because of that pre-qualification. You, as the PPC advertiser who got their click, know which geographic areas you’re targeting, so essentially, all visitors should qualify for the “free quote” or “free consultation.”

It means there’s now a higher likelihood that the visitor will continue through the landing page step process and ultimately give you what you want – their information.

Guess what happened to Namify’s conversion rate when we did a four-step PPC landing page, leading with zip code as step 1?

namify

There was a 311% increase in conversion rate, a 74% increase in conversions, and a 73% decrease in cost per conversion.

You can do the same thing with demographic targeting questions or other small questions about your product/service.

Crazy idea: you can even make up different questions for your multi-step landing pages, and people will think that answering them will take them closer to the end result of getting a quote so they know how much your product/service costs.

Bonus Point

One thing you need to be aware of when using multi-step landing pages is that you have to give the visitor a great reason to give you their correct contact information. Many times, visitors will think they’re outsmarting the system by putting in fake information, just so they can get to that last step where they think there is a treasure chest.

By letting the visitor know you need their correct information to call them with the information they need, you can actually improve your chances of getting someone on the phone to close. And, better yet, on your post conversion page, you can let the visitor know they should expect a call from number (888) 888-8888 within the next five minutes.

Conclusion

As with anything conversion rate optimization, it’s vital that you create your hypothesis first and then test it. You may find that fewer fields and a one-step form work best for your situation. But, as the great Pablo Picasso once said, “action is the foundational key to all success,” so you’ll never know until you try out the ideas you have!

Have you ever tried multi-step landing pages yourself? What did you do to increase conversion rates? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author: Johnathan Dane is the founder of KlientBoost, a California based PPC agency that’s on a mission to grow companies. He’s been interviewed by Google and has a German Shorthaired Pointer named Tanner. Connect with him on Twitter.

  1. Good stuff Jonathan. Could you see a benefit to service industry vendors (roofers, pest control, etc.) using a multi-step funnel on their main website instead of just their landing pages? If it works so well on the LP’s its seems like it would work on their main sites too.

    • Johnathan Dane Feb 14, 2015 at 7:26 pm

      Hey Matt!

      Yea absolutely.
      In fact, it’s what we do on ours.

      I guess you can say we’re in the service industry too :)

  2. Tavius Southard Feb 13, 2015 at 5:49 am

    Very cool info – I really liked that last point about the multi step page…

  3. This is excellent advice and works quite well in practice. It can also work in reverse for collecting additional information. That is collect the email up front and then ask the extra questions. Even if the person does not complete the entire form you still get the email.

  4. Johnathan,

    I have a question I’m hoping you can help with. I’m implementing a multi page form (5 steps) on a soon to be launched Unbounce landing page for an Adwords campaign. I’m concerned about how a Unbounce-style multi-page vs a client side scripted multi-step form on one page plays out in conversions and quality score. I would definitely prefer a single page with a multi-step form but Unbounce doesn’t currently do that and I don’t have the resources to develop it.

    1. Multi page reloads the entire page which looks tacky.
    2. Slows the user experience down considerably – could this hit conversions?
    3. I wonder if Adwords will see a low “time spend on page” for the first page the visitor hits and hurt the QS. Because it’s a simple form asking for just a zip code, the visitor would quickly move on to the next step (hopefully) and not spend more than a few seconds on it.

    What are your thoughts on how to avoid these issues?

  5. Wesley Parker Mar 15, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    Hi Jonathan, I really enjoyed the points that you made in this article, this is something that we’ve been doing for a while with our clients and we’ve found similar results

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