When a Client’s Website is Sabotaging Their PPC Success (And What One Agency Did About It)

Digital marketing agency Webistry helped the fine folk at a local dentist office (pictured above) secure 400% more conversions by convincing them to not send PPC traffic to their website…

As the Search or Acquisition Marketer at a digital agency, many obstacles can stand in the way of getting your clients more conversions. Maybe your copy isn’t quite capturing the offering’s unique value? Maybe you’re seeing diminishing returns optimizing in AdWords?

Or maybe it’s your client who is standing in the way of their own success. More specifically, it could be their website sabotaging paid advertising efforts.

Stefano Apostolakos of Montreal-based Digital Agency Webistry experienced this first hand when consulting for a local dental clinic, Centre Dentaire Les Cours. His client, Co-Owner Alex Aoun, had just invested a ton of money into their new website, and he was amped to start sending paid traffic to it so they could book more appointments via email and phone.

Thing is, the traffic they were sending to the dental office’s newly minted website just wasn’t converting. 💸  Stefano explains:

We were running paid ads for multiple dental services all leading to the same generic page within [the client’s] site with poor performance: [we saw] conversion rates under 1% combined for forms and phone calls.

Based on industry averages for pages in the health vertical, this was pretty low (the median conversion rate for landing pages in this industry is 2.8%) — and Stefano knew the agency could bring in better returns if they focused on the post-click experience.

Psst. See what conversion rates typically look like for landing pages in the health industry (and several other industries) in the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark report.

Thus began Stefano’s journey toward convincing Alex to bypass the fancy new website altogether and instead send their PPC traffic to dedicated landing pages for each campaign.

The new plan to direct ad traffic to landing pages increased the dental clinic’s conversion rate from under 1% to upwards of 5%, but it also brought them:

  • A better Quality Score
  • A drop in Cost Per Click
  • An increase in impression share
  • A better night’s sleep, probably

Here’s exactly how Webistry did it (and how your agency can too).

The first hurdle: Convincing your client their website isn’t making the cut

Stefano’s dentistry client Alex had just spent big money on a website he was proud of. It had modern design and listed all of the dentistry’s specialized services in great detail: dental implants, wisdom teeth extraction, whitening, emergency services and more:

The site was beautiful (which is sometimes half the battle), but paid traffic from ads to the generic services page just wasn’t converting. Stefano suspected that it was because prospects who were clicking on specific search terms were getting confused after being sent to a generic, catch-all page.

He knew that a more targeted approach to his client’s PPC campaigns was the answer. But when he suggested building a page per dental service (one for whitening, one for emergency, one for dentures), the client pushed back — and to be fair, Stefano understood why:

He’d just dropped a ton of cash on a new website, why would he need to invest even more money in something new?

Stefano convinced his client to hop on the phone. He wanted to explain exactly why he thought landing pages were the smartest thing his client could invest in next. He focused in on two main concepts:

  • Stefano explained that if prospects click on an ad for teeth whitening but land on a generic services page with wisdom teeth extraction listed at the top, this causes cognitive dissonance — and this confusion makes prospects bounce.

    People who search for and then click on an ad with “teeth whitening” in the headline expect to land on a page with “teeth whitening” in the headline.

  • Second, Stefano explained the importance of attention ratio. If prospects click on an ad for teeth whitening but land on a page with a ton of external links, they can easily lose sight of the action they were trying to complete — booking an appointment, for example.

    If the client continued to send traffic to the generic website, there’s a chance prospects could get distracted with the Facebook icon in the sidebar, click through and see a competitor’s display ad in their feed (you can kiss that lead goodbye!).

    Landing pages, on the other hand, narrow a visitor’s focus and get more people to follow through with the intended call to action.

With this, the client was sold on running a test — a proof of concept of sorts. And they weren’t disappointed:

After sending traffic to landing pages we created from Unbounce templates, we immediately saw a lift in conversions from 0.8% [on the client’s previous site] to 1.6%.

This gave the client the confidence to let Stefano double down on their PPC ad to landing page strategy.

The real game changer: Dedicated pages for each offer

Once Stefano had buy-in from his client, he set out to create hyper-targeted landing pages for every single service offered by his dentistry client — from Invisalign to emergency services to root canals.

Now, if a prospect searches and clicks on a text ad for “laser teeth whitening”…

…they land on a page that addresses their search intent and reinforces they’ve made “a good click”:

Click to view full-length landing page.

Similarly, if prospects click an ad for “emergency services”…

Translation: “Emergency dentist in Montreal – Do your teeth hurt? Get a same-day appointment, Monday through Friday. All types of emergencies accepted.”

…they’ll land on a page with a headline that matches the ad’s copy:

Translation: “Do your teeth hurt? Wait no longer! No matter what your emergency is, we can help you out right in downtown Montreal.” Click for full-length landing page.

The branding of these landing pages matches that of the client’s website, and the extra real estate afforded by a full, dedicated landing page also gives Stefano and his client more room to:

  1. Educate clients about their services: For example, their whitening landing page compares the four different whitening procedures in depth: the prices, duration of each treatment and even which is most popular. This is key information some prospects will need before booking a procedure.
  2. Build trust: Stefano has found that showing the team (the dentists, the specialists, the hygienists and even the receptionists) humanizes the services offered by the dental clinic and helps to build credibility.

Overall, Webistry created a better experience for his dentistry client’s prospects and allowed them to find exactly what they were searching for. In turn, this brings Stefano’s client better results for their PPC campaigns:

Now that we’ve built custom, unique pages per campaign (per service type), conversion rates are in the 5%+ range (combined forms and phone calls).

Stefano has created campaigns and dedicated landing pages for several of his client’s services: dental implants, wisdom teeth extraction, whitening, emergency services and more. His highest-converting campaign landing page for Centre Dentaire Les Cours — for the emergency services page — converts at 12.37%.

Not too shabby.

Drive more leads and revenue from PPC campaigns with dedicated landing pages. Try Unbounce for 30 days free today.

Bonus: Keep delighting your prospects by increasing conversions month after month

This strategy brought Stefano’s client a better conversion rate along with many other gains: a better Quality Score, a drop in Cost Per Click and a better impression share. Getting his client clicks at under a dollar is a big deal when the customer lifetime value of a dental clinic is pretty darn high. 💪

As an added bonus, using dedicated landing pages makes A/B testing campaigns a breeze. This means that Stefano and his agency can continue to improve his client’s conversion rates month over month.

This makes Stefano’s agency services indispensable to his client and makes them more likely to keep doing business with Webistry. Here’s how Stefano’s client, the clinic’s Co-Owner Alex Aoun, put it:

There’s no better feeling than realizing your receptionist is too busy to handle the increase in phone calls and email inquiries. When you need to hire a second receptionist to keep up, you know you have a good problem on your hands!

Pretty sweet if you ask me — so sweet it’s makin’ my tooth hurt.


Why the Traditional Marketing Funnel is Sabotaging Your Conversion Rate

The sales funnel. It all seems so smooth and simple, doesn’t it? Lots of prospects come in through the top, only to move in various, predictable stages like “Awareness” and “Discovery” only to come out the bottom as loyal, committed customers.

Except the reality of today’s sales and customer experience process is anything like that.

Things like brand advocacy, social media, and even our own experiences have changed the way we market to others. Why then should we stay stuck in this rigid, old funnel structure?

We shouldn’t – and today’s article will show you why.

According to the Harvard Business Review, there are a myriad of ways that people learn of and interact with a product. There are even times when customers don’t come through the top of the funnel, but rather somewhere in the middle.

FunnelA typical marketing funnel starts with more customers in the “Awareness” stage and ends with fewer in the “Retention” phaseLet’s say you were in the market for a new pair of running shoes. A friend recommends a specific brand and links to them on Facebook. On their page you can see user comments and testimonials as well as active discussions. You’ve just completely passed the Awareness and Discovery parts of the funnel and moved on to Engagement and likely even Purchase – because a recommendation from someone you trust is that valuable to you.

On your way to purchase these shoes, the company recommends some specialized insoles to help cushion your feet. Great idea. Now you’ve instantly moved from consideration to purchase. It’s also possible that you could go back and forth between funnel stages while you evaluate different products or brands.

And with networks like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest always available at the tap of a button, the traditional sales funnel we all know and refer to ends up looking more like a pretzel, with twists, turns and overlaps at every corner.

pretzel-marketing-funnelUsers will often double-back on their decisions, or switch between two points instantly

Moving the Focus from Transaction to Relationship

According to Antonio Lucio, Chief Brand Officer at Visa, the end goal is to shift priority from the transaction to the customer relationship. To that end, Visa has created the “Customer Experience Journey” which looks at the process from transactions being a part of the customer relationship rather than the customer relationship being viewed purely in terms of transactions.

He gives the example of a family planning a trip from the U.S. to Mexico. Visa has mapped out the whole experience:

  • Family gets ideas on where to go from TripAdvisor
  • Family gathers suggestions from friends on Facebook
  • Family decides to get cash from an ATM to pay for their cab
  • Family pays for their hotel via their Visa credit card
  • Family shares photos of trip with friends back home via Instagram

You may see this list and think “Well, Visa is part of only one of these options” – which is true when you’re looking at each one as a transaction.

But step back a moment and look at the bigger picture. Every one of these points is conducive to building and nurturing the relationship with the customer. The transaction itself is just a small piece of the puzzle and not the end goal. According to Lucio, “[w]hen you change from decision to engagement, you change the entire model.”

So What Does This Have to Do With Conversion Rate?

Here again, if you’re looking at the funnel purely from a revenue point of view, or spending too much time focusing on transactions, the customer experience gets lost in the shuffle. It becomes too much of a focus to think only of the numbers and not of the people driving them. If you zero in on numbers alone, you miss out on so much more. Just look at brands like Tesla Motors on Facebook. Do you think there are nearly 1.5 million Tesla owners?

tesla-motors-facebook-pageTesla Motors has nearly 1.5 million followers – not all of them customersNot yet – but these people admire what the company has been able to build and the values they stand for. All of those things feed back into the brand itself and create the customer experience. Even digital products and services like SaaS and mobile apps can benefit from this adjusted funnel. As the Harvard article explains, with traditional funnels, marketing is a separate entity. With SaaS and other platforms, the marketing and the service go hand in hand.

Marketing with SaaS

The Salesforce AppExchange, for instance, doesn’t just look at the process as “how do we market this?” but rather, “how do we add value to this so that the things we recommend market for us?” Many of the apps profiled here weren’t made by Salesforce, but Salesforce and the apps it works with form a kind of symbiotic relationship where both parties win.

salesforce-app-exchangeNot all apps featured on the AppExchange were built by Salesforce, but all of them use it to enable their own customer experience journeysAnother example is Google. What started out as solely a search engine has branched out to become a search engine, email service, word processor, storage service and countless other services, all entwined under a single brand umbrella. Every service plays well with other services – making it faster and easier for us to create, communicate and share. And our brains thrive on faster and easier.

Sure, there are other search engines out there, even other companies that have just as much influence as Google. But they don’t integrate in a way that makes our experience faster, easier or better. When was the last time you found exactly what you needed within seconds, using Bing?

The Bottom Line on Funnels and Conversion Rates

As the Harvard article says, the traditional funnel isn’t going away anytime soon. There are still products and services out there that gain new customers this way. But to overlay and apply that to our more open, two-way communication world is just trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. It’s not flexible, not adaptive, and just doesn’t work – leading to poor experiences for everyone.

When you look at marketing as the multi-faceted beast it is, you’ll be able to create your own funnel “roadmap” that incorporates all the steps you need to engage and empower your customers in a way where everyone wins.

What are your thoughts? Have you thrown out the traditional funnel in favor of another sales model? Which one did you choose and how did it work for you? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling copywriting, user-friendly design and smart analytics analysis. Learn more at and download your free web copy tune-up and conversion checklist today! Follow @sherice on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+ for more articles like this!

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