Advert expectation management

My experience with businesses that have started to create dedicated landing pages for advertising campaigns – a good thing, by the way – is that they often have unrealistic expectations of them. For example, one company I know was disappointed to get just 3 enquiries for a product in the first month of running a highly targeted campaign. They were disappointed because they’d taken a long time to write a really good sales page, then spent £150 getting 30 people to click on a search advert, and only 1 in 10 had filled in the contact form.

My response was to ask how many enquiries they’d normally get in a month from the website (“only one or two” was the reply), and how many enquiries they’d expect to get from a £150 magazine advert (“I’m not sure such a thing exists”). So it worked out pretty well, I’d say.

The problem is that we’re usually quite proud of our products, and if we’ve also gone to the trouble of presenting them really attractively, we’re a little offended if 90% of people take a look but go away. We shouldn’t be. It’s important to be dispassionately driven by the data in this case.

Let’s take the landing page as a given. First question: is the advert getting the right people along? Should we be narrowing it down to just the people really likely to convert? How much is the enquiry worth to us (what’s the conversion rate of enquiries to customers, and what’s the likely customer lifetime value)? If it’s search advertising, should we be expanding the keyword range to show the ad to a broader audience, or writing a broader ad to attract additional prospects who might not have known they’d be interested? All these things can be tested. You might start getting more enquiries, and you might start getting them more cheaply. But if there are only 10 units a month being ordered in the whole country, there are only a small number of enquiries to be had, and the best advert in the world isn’t going to create hundreds more.