One conversation I frequently have with companies who are asking us to set up a Google AdWords campaign for them goes as follows. “What do you want to get out of this?” I ask. The instinctive reply is normally “visitors to our website”, but they realise there’s a trap, have a think, and then either say “good quality visitors to our website”, or name a specific action they’d like to generate, such as reading a brochure or requesting a sales call. These are all fine, but if they’ve got a specific action in mind, I then ask which page on the website we should be sending people to. The answer is normally a certain product description page. So we look at the page, and there’s no reference on it at all to the brochure about the product, and there’s no encouragement to contact the company, or visible information about how to do so. Visitors are just expected to be so excited about the product that they’ll then rummage around the website looking for a “downloads” page or a “contact us” section. Except, as we all know, many of them won’t bother.
So the company I’m talking to says: “Good point. That page really does need a great call-to-action at the end if we’re going to be sending lots of people there from our AdWords campaign. I’ll get something added right away.” And that’s great. Except it begs the question: why wasn’t that call-to-action there in the first place? Even if you’re running a well-funded AdWords campaign, it’ll only be adding to the number of people who were arriving on the page anyway, from other sources such as Google normal search. Why were those people not encouraged to “do something”?
If your product pages end with a data table, or just peter out into listings of minor features of the products, you really need to take a serious look at the “story” the page is telling. Sidebars are for navigation, not for calls-to-action. Every product page should end with clear next steps for the visitor to take.