The human brain is a wonderfully complicated thing, capable of complex thought on multiple levels. Yet in many ways, it is actually a very simple one. We do a lot of things without even thinking – the autonomic functions of controlling the body and its varied functions - sensing heat, light, breathing without conscious effort. Ah! The subconscious! Responsible for an awful lot.
When we come across something new, or simply that we haven’t seen before, the brain looks for patterns to see where this new ‘thing’ fits into its experience of life. What the brain is trying to decide is ‘Will this ‘thing’ help me or hinder me in the flight or fight for survival?’ What’s worth knowing is that the base setting of the brain is ‘off’ rather than ‘on’, because that’s the more efficient way of dealing with the millions of things it comes across in our daily lives. What it means, though, is that we are basically trying to work out ‘Give me a reason why I can discount what I am seeing’. Once you get past that, point 2 is ‘OK, what do I do next? Do I kill it or not?’
Which is good news / bad news for marketers. Human brains make a very quick assessment of what is useful and what is wallpaper that can be tuned out. Think of the difficulty TV advertising has these days. It’s also Bad News for websites – if you don’t tell them ‘It’s ok, you are in the right place, here’s what you do next’, then the subconscious will take over and tell them ‘You are safe to discount it’, they will click 'Back' and go away.
When you’re building a website, you can take this into account in organising the website so that it can appeal properly. When you’re using search advertising, you can take it into account too, actually it comes into sharper focus as you are trying to get someone to respond to a short, sharp advertisement that they see on a Google search, so you have less time to grab the attention. But here's the good news part - Google recognises this and does its bit by addressing the subconscious with the way it enables you to build ads that are short and sweet. They get to the point quickly.......Who are you? What are you offering? What do I do next? After that, it’s over to you.
Three tips for doing it right and feeding the subconscious brain:
- Keep your ads tightly themed to your keywords. Use the same ones in the ad!!!!
- Make sure the text on your ad page matches exactly the text in the advertisement itself. If you are making a ‘20% discount’ offer, make sure they can find the ‘20% discount’ offer immediately on clicking through
- Have a clear call to action to take advantage of the offer. Call Now! Leave your details here and someone will call you! View this video!
All of which says it’s good practice to have a different and specific Landing Page for every ad. Never (ever, ever, ever....ever, ever...) send your visitors to a general page in your website, especially not your home page. They will get lost in it, no matter how simple you have made it, because right at that moment, their brain is busy looking for the special offer, and nothing else.
Google helps you in some of this by penalising poor ad campaigns through a lower quality score if the Landing Page doesn’t match well to the offer, thereby giving you a lower position in the listings or forcing you to spend more to get a higher one.
They are doing it for a reason, and good landing pages are an essential part of making your campaign an effective one.