Advertising your landing page: How to drive traffic with online ads

Here’s the undeniable truth: your landing page will not have the desired impact without enough traffic that can convert into leads and customers.

While organic growth tactics such as SEO and inbound marketing are an effective way to acquire new visitors, a much faster way to drive traffic to your site is through online advertising.

There are many different ways to approach online ads and it can be overwhelming to get started. Before you invest your precious time and money, this guide will help you figure out the best online advertising strategy that works for you. 


Understanding your marketing funnel

First things first: Make sure that you’re familiar with the customers’ journey and its mechanics. This guide to marketing funnels will set you on the right track. 

Understanding your customer journey is important for both setting up and optimizing your online advertising. It’ll help you to decide where to invest your budget, what ads to use and how to optimize your offer.

Customer journey

Start with a goal in mind

What is the one thing you want a visitor to do on your landing page? All of your advertising efforts should be focused on a defined and measurable goal (also, a conversion). A conversion can be someone entering their email address or making a purchase.

Define your target audience

Who are the people that would get excited about using your product or service? To understand your audience better, businesses normally define 2-3 customer personas. Wondering how to create these personas? Grab a pen and paper!

Creating a persona
Time for an exercise!

Let’s do a little exercise. Don’t forget to take notes when answering these questions:

What is my audience?
Write down their demographics (e.g. gender, age, parental status, and languages).

Where are they located?
If your business is online, it might be the entire world. For others, like a real estate agent, it might be a specific area.

What do they do for a living?
Depending on your offer, you may want to target stay-at-home parents or small business owners.

Where do they spend time online?
This is VERY important to know as it will affect your choice of advertising channels and ad targeting.

What are their interests and hobbies?
Try to define interests closely related to your business.

What products or services (similar or related to your offer) do they use?
For example, if you’re offering kid’s birthday planning services, your customers could also be shopping brands like Lego, Disney or Carter’s.

What is their pain point that your product solves?
Knowing your audience’s biggest struggles will help you to make your ads and offer more compelling. The more specific (and painful) the problem is, the more likely people are to reach out for a solution.

How will they feel after using your product/service?
People care much more about themselves than your business. How is your persona struggling and how will their life change after they find the solution in your offer? Don’t be humble here! Make the reader feel excited about how you’ll help them.


Getting practical: Creating an effective landing page

After you’ve defined who you’re addressing, you can create a landing page with a lead form. This is the page where the visitor lands on after clicking your online ad. 

An effective landing page includes these elements:

  • Business details and branding: Often a customer journey will only include a few clicks. Make people remember your brand (with pictures and your logo) and make it crystal-clear what your business does.
  • A compelling offer: Make your offer so valuable that the customer wants to type in their email address in exchange for the incentive. Your lead magnet could, for example, be a downloadable PDF, checklist, research paper or consultation. 
  • Social proof: When possible, use verified testimonials to help build trust with new visitors and increase their chances of converting.
  • Privacy policy: Respect your prospect, be transparent on how you will use their data and provide a contact email. This will also help when getting your ads approved on advertising platforms.

  • Custom domain: This is optional, though we highly recommend to set up a custom domain for your landing page if you’re planning to drive traffic through online ads. This will look more professional and trustworthy.
MailerLite tip

With MailerLite’s updated landing pages, you can test multiple lead magnet variations at once and see which one results in the most signups.


Foundation: Using Facebook and Google to promote your landing page

Most new advertisers begin with 2 channels: Facebook (including Messenger and Instagram) and Google. There are 3 reasons why these make for a good start!

  1. Both platforms have an incredibly large user-base. You can target very specific audiences that can be as narrow as: “Recently married American expat living in Costa Rica, interested in yoga and veganism, likes Khalid and has their birthday this month.”

  2. These platforms make it easy to set up and manage ads. You can test, optimize and scale your ads, even when you’re just a one-man-army and have a small budget to spend.

  3. The amount of consumer data collected by Facebook and Google gives you unmatched automation possibilities. For example, Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences take thousands of signals to determine user intent and their likelihood to convert on your website.
Advertising on Google

Thinking from a funnel perspective, you can use these platforms to cover your niche throughout all customer journey stages:

  • Facebook ads to capture the attention of cold traffic. Depending on your earlier-defined customer personas, you might include LinkedIn or specific niche websites if they spend time there.
  • Google Search ads to drive users with high-conversion intent. 
  • Facebook or Google Display ads for remarketing.

Once you get familiar with advertising on Google and Facebook, other channels will be much easier to set up. 


Google Search ads

People make 5.6 billion searches on Google per day, that’s a lot of opportunities to advertise! Google Search lets you target users based on keywords that they enter into the search field. You can reach prospects that are actively searching online for a product or service like yours.

If you’re new to search ads, we’d recommend you to go through the Google ads course to learn how to achieve the optimal setup for advertising your landing page. Keyword planner will help you to find queries to bid on and get price estimates.

The pros and cons of Google Search ads

  • Reach customers exactly when they need your service or product
  • Many tools and resources to master your ads
  • Extensive reporting and easy sync with Google Analytics
  • High prices for certain keywords (you can end up paying $5-15 per click in certain specific industries)
  • Tricky to set up for effective performance
  • Will not work if your solution is new to the market and search queries are low
Google keyword searches

Best practices for Google Search ads

Best practice #1

Google Search ads are highly effective when you choose the right keywords, create highly-relevant ads and fine-tune your landing pages. The keyword quality score will give guidance on your optimization priorities.

Best practice #2

Don’t put all of your keywords into 1 ad group (shoes, clothes, accessories). Instead, create different ad groups where each group contains keywords that are highly related to each other (jeans, trousers). Then create relevant ads for those specific keywords and include the keywords or phrases in your ad text.

Best practice #3
Boost your ad rank and increase your ad space on Google’s search page by implementing ad extensions. This will result in better cost-per-click (CPC) and click-through rates.
Best practice #4

Use keyword match types to control the actual queries your ads show up for. When starting, avoid using broad match keywords as these will drain your budget fast. Take control of your ads using phrase match or broad match modifier for better results while maintaining visibility for related searches.

Advanced tip #1

Use Remarketing Lists for Search (RLSA) to optimize for customer intent and Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) to capture less frequent and less competitive search queries.

Advanced tip #2

For smaller CPCs and less competition, set up ads on Bing search. You will need to create a Microsoft Ads account in which you’ll be able to import your Google ad campaigns with just a few clicks.


Facebook (including Messenger and Instagram)

You’ve probably heard of boosting your Facebook or Instagram posts. Many have tried it and were disappointed with the results. But when you dig deeper you’ll see that this trio is every advertiser’s dream. You can set up ads on all three of the platforms using one tool: Facebook Ads Manager.

Setting up ads is fairly easy and you can run the same ads on both Instagram stories and Facebook feed. All you need to do is to upload separate visuals for each placement and the platform will do the optimization itself, depending on your chosen goal.

To get started, go through the Facebook Blueprint courses to learn everything about targeting and creating compelling ads across the Facebook family.

The pros and cons of Facebook advertising

  • Reach multiple platforms at once
  • Easy setup and maintenance
  • Very specific demographic targeting
  • Powerful interests, habits and behavior-based targeting
  • Ability to find new customers based on the behavior of your current customers
  • High competition for certain verticals (limited ad space)
  • Strict policies when it comes to advertising landing pages
  • Poor support for advertisers
  • Limited advertising possibilities for certain industries (content restrictions)
Facebook ad

Best practices for Facebook advertising

Best practice #1

Your Facebook ads will be successful if your visuals, text and landing page are all aligned. Use visuals to capture the user’s attention, the ad text to convince them to click and your landing page to convert them.

Best practice #2

Experiment with your ad content. Instead of writing your features and benefits, try using testimonials, emojis or fun stats to deliver the same message. Test long copy versus short copy. Or duplicate ads and change the visual on 1 ad.

Best practice #3

Exclude irrelevant ad placements. For example, you may want to skip advertising on Facebook’s marketplace if you’re selling services.

Best practice #4

Comply with Facebook’s policies. The platform is known for being very strict about ad content to ensure a good user experience. Read more about getting your landing page approved here.

Best practice #5

Try using video ads and adapt your visuals for different platforms. What works on a Facebook news feed might not necessarily work on Instagram stories.

Advanced tip

Upload your subscriber’s list to the Audience Manager and create a lookalike audience for your selected location. Then target that audience in your campaigns.


Advanced: 5 other landing page advertising channels that can generate traffic and conversions

LinkedIn

This is a good platform when you’re aiming to reach professionals or advertising a B2B product. Ads can get rather expensive, but the results might surprise you. Do note that LinkedIn only allows ads in certain languages, please check if your landing page is eligible.

Our tip

LinkedIn is a completely different environment than, for example, Instagram. Adjust your ad copy accordingly, yet keep in mind that professionals enjoy lightweight content too.

YouTube

Being one of the world’s largest search engines, YouTube is a great channel to advertise if you’re able to produce engaging video content. It is also one of the cheapest platforms when it comes to reaching large global audiences. You can set up YouTube ads through your Google Ads account and the targeting possibilities are endless.

Our tip

Show your expertise and deliver significant value before asking your customers to leave their contact details.

Twitter

On Twitter, you can choose to promote your organic Tweets, your profile or promoted-only Tweet-like ads. You can target people based on the profiles they follow (choose “Follower lookalikes” option), but the ad setup is kind of clunky compared to other platforms.

Our tip

Twitter ads will work better if you use your recent Tweets for promotion. There’s no need to create a whole new ad group. Just click “Edit creatives” within the ad group and add your new/scheduled Tweets to the mix.

Digital advertising platforms

Quora

If your audience likes to browse for answers on Quora, then definitely try their ad options. It’s a minor player but the audience engagement is great. Not many advertisers use Quora, so the competition is low and you can experiment with a small budget. Their customer support is very responsive as well.

When starting out, you can either choose to answer your niche-related question and promote it or set up your ad to appear near the questions of your choice.

Our tip

Try asking a question in your ad headline to make it look more organic. By doing this, you will capture the reader’s attention and increase the click-through rate.

Google Display Network

Accessible through the Google Ads interface, Google Display Network (GDN) allows you to advertise on millions of sites, including Gmail and Reddit. All for a low price. When creating a display campaign, choose to target users by their interests, intent or simply enter a list of websites you want to advertise on. 

Your banner will be shown on a variety of websites and in different dimensions, but you don’t need any graphic design skills to create all of these ads. Use Responsive Display Ads and the dimensions will automatically be adjusted by Google. Easy, plus for many advertisers, these ads turned out to perform better than regular display ads.

Our tip

Unless you’re using audience-based targeting (rather than topic or placement), closely monitor the “Where ads showed” tab and exclude any websites that are not related to your offering. If you see a lot of those, review the ad group targeting settings to make sure you’re reaching the right people.


Closing the deal: Reengage landing page visitors with remarketing campaigns

There are many reasons why people leave your landing page without converting. Their phone buzzes, their kids need attention, their pizza delivery arrives—anything could happen while they’re browsing. Give visitors a chance to learn about your offer again by setting up a remarketing campaign.

What makes remarketing ads great?

  • Better CTR: People are more likely to click as they are already familiar with your brand.
  • Higher conversion rate (and often better ROI): if you already invested $5 to bring someone to your site, you might only need an additional $2 to bring them back and make them convert.

Furthermore, you’ll have the opportunity to present your offer in a different way when you use a different ad copy and/or landing page the second time around. You can also experiment with a different product or lead magnet.

Facebook and Google Ads are the easiest platforms for remarketing. To set it up, you first need to insert a Google Analytics and Facebook pixel into your landing page.

Once implemented, you can create an audience (or a few) from the people that have visited your site within your chosen period (for example, the last 14 days). Then use this audience as the target for your campaigns.

If you target your audience via Facebook Ads Manager, your ads are shown within Facebook’s family platform and audience network. With Google ads, we’d recommend using a display campaign so your remarketing ads are shown all across the Google Display Network.

Tip #1
Consider adding an incentive for your remarketing audience. Lead them to another landing page where they can read more about that exclusive offer. Alternatively, lead them to a different lead magnet landing page.
Tip #2

Try excluding your remarketing audience from your regular display or social media campaigns (as they’re already being shown your tailored remarketing ads).


Conclusion: Setting up your ads for success

Online advertising is a powerful tool to bring traffic to your landing page. You’ll need to spend some time fine-tuning your campaigns, but once you’ve found your own secret sauce you’ll be amazed by what your ads can achieve.

No matter what platform you choose, the main principles remain the same:

#1 Know your audience. You will succeed if you sell soccer balls to soccer players and marketing advice to business people, not the other way around. 

#2 Maintain consistency. Make your imagery and tone of voice consistent across all customer touchpoints. Yet, adjust your ads to match the language that your users speak on each platform for better results.

#3 Prove your value. Get to know your audience, show you’re trustworthy, use social proof and provide value in advance. Make your landing page and social media profiles professional: people love doing background checks.  

#4 Set the right expectations. Your conversion rate will be higher when your landing page matches with people’s expectations after clicking your ad. Make sure your offer is announced loud and clear on both your ads and landing page. And be transparent, when a newsletter opt-in is necessary to receive the freebie, you have to mention this.

#5 Tell visitors what to do. Use call to action phrases and buttons in every step of the customer journey. Gently guide people to what you want them to do next. “Learn more” differs from “Sign me up!” Test different CTAs to see which one converts best.

#6 Test everything. Targeting, creatives, landing pages, call to actions and even your offer can (and should) be tested. As an email marketer, you probably know what difference a single subject line can make, so you can imagine what impact other elements could have.