Five Ways to Evaluate a Merchant’s Landing Page by Dan Murray

by Shawn Collins on June 5, 2008

Minimize your risks and maximize your returns in paid search arbitrage

Our business is paid search arbitrage and most of the time we send traffic to the merchant’s landing page directly from search engines. That means we live and die by the conversion rate of the merchant’s page and we have to very carefully evaluate a landing page before we begin working with a new merchant.

In this article, I’ll outline some of the things we look out for when it comes to landing pages.

Toll-free phone number on the landing page

In most cases, when a prospect calls the merchant’s phone number, the affiliate will not get credit if there is a sale. So when a merchant puts their phone number on the landing page, especially in a prominent location, that can serve to “siphon” legitimate commissions away from the affiliate.

Recently, I was assessing a landing page for a weight loss merchant through a major affiliate network. When I tested the landing page link, a huge popup window appeared, that was half the size of the entire screen, obscuring almost everything else and urging the visitor to call the company’s 800 number. Needless to say, this is not an affiliate-friendly practice.

Advertising for other merchants or products on the landing page

As a paid search affiliate, when I send highly qualified traffic to a landing page, my intention is obviously to drive a sale of the product featured on the page.

When merchants place banner ads for other companies on the page, which can bleed away our precious traffic and decreases the potential to close sales and earn commissions.

Is there navigation on the page for other parts of the website or other products from the merchant?

Since we are trying to drive orders by bringing highly targeted traffic to a merchant’s sales page, if the visitor starts wandering around to unrelated parts of the site, we can often lose the sale.

In some cases, however, the prospect does need to visit some other pages to make a purchase (to check product specifications, for instance). Be sure the merchant’s landing page only links to other pages that are mission-critical for making the sale.

Pop-up windows on the landing page

I don’t think there’s anything more distracting than visiting a landing page for a product and seeing a pop-up window that advertises something completely unrelated to the product featured on the page.

If you see this practice, be sure to talk to the merchant and either ask to share in the revenue they receive from the pop-up window or, better yet, request that they kill the pop-up.

Targeted content on the landing page for the product you are selling

If you are promoting, say, “men’s Nike running shoes,” be sure the landing page is specifically geared to that product.

Any more general page — for, say, running shoes, or Nike shoes or men’s running shoes will not perform nearly as well as a page geared exactly to men’s Nike running shoes. If your merchant doesn’t offer these deep-linking landing pages, request that they be created.

Dan Murray is Internet Marketing Strategist and Founder of Ravenwood Marketing, Inc., a high-volume paid search firm based in Boulder, CO.

Download issue 1 of FeedFront at http://feedfront.com/feedfront-issue1.pdf.

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