Here's a video of the episode for those that want to follow along visually.
Hey, Scott Austin here.
And in this episode, I'm going to talk about landing pages and I believe that landing pages should be used whenever you're sending traffic to your website, whether that's through advertising, social promotions, partnerships, you do emails. And even in SEO and for landing pages, that's the first page they see on the site. So they have to understand context of what's coming to them based on the promotion that got them there. So I have a lot of philosophies behind landing pages and theories, and instead of just going through them dryly, I thought I'd rather review a bunch of sites and use them as examples of what they're doing well or what they can improve upon to illustrate how landing pages can be effective for you. So what I did is I went to Google and just did some random searches. And I looked up on the results, all the ads and any of the ads that were a Shopify store I've included in this.
So I didn't pick good examples. I didn't pick bad examples. I just randomly picked keywords queries, found all the ads and all those that are Shopify are the ones that I'm going to go through. So the first search that I did was for Kraft hot sauce. One of the links that came up was for freaky ferments.com. And the problem here is, and I think it's true for all the hot sauce. Ones is their landing page for this query. So I've said in my search, I want craft hot sauce, the hot sauce people land me on their homepage. So they didn't optimize a page which could have been a page in Shopify or a product or a collection, right? They didn't optimize a page for that term. They bought this ad and sent it to their homepage. So your homepage is meant for people, you know, nothing about when you're doing an ad, you should not send them to the homepage because you know something about them in this case, you know, they want hot sauce.
Well, if all you sell is hot sauce, you could argue, I could send them to the homepage. But in this specific instance, I said, craft hot sauce. So now you know something about the customer. They want craft wood, however you define craft. I think it has small batch, handmade artesian, all that kind of thing, but other people may think of it differently, but that word craft becomes kind of important to me in how I take what I know about the customer. They're looking for craft and delivering that value prop to them. Interestingly enough, the Freaker ferments food and beverage website that I'm on here, freaking ferments.com in their SEO. Meta-Description the first word is craft hot sauce. So they see themselves as craft, but as I searched their page, that the customer can see for the word craft, the word craft does not show up on their website, their homepage.
So they're not fulfilling on that craft expectation that people are setting. Even though they see themselves as craft, what I would do, how would I improve upon this? As I would have them land on a landing page that was optimized around the craft nature of their product. You know, if all their products are craft, I would just be sure to say, Hey, we are craft, you know, and they do a do some of this on the homepage. They just don't use the word craft, right? They say, Hey, we're made in Texas, it's small batch. I can see batch numbers written on the bottles. So these guys actually have craft hot sauce. They could just do a better job of optimizing the experience around that word, craft the customers put into that search query. You know, a couple of other critiques about this store is, you know, I, I land on this homepage.
The logo is texts that says freaky for food and beverage. It's just a text logo, but I can see on their packaging, they actually have a logo with a, you know, specific font that they use, which is, you know, enforcing their freaky word, but they don't put that on their homepage. So I immediately don't trust this website because it's got a text logo instead of an actual graphic logo. You know, there's a lot more I could critique about this page, but you know, just from the landing page standpoint, I think that summarizes what I want to say about this one. The next one that I firstname.lastname@example.org. And this one also takes me to the homepage. And this one is interesting because for them, what custom sauces are, is it looks to me like you buy a generic sauce, their house sauce, and they put a custom label on it for your wedding or for whatever purposes you want to have a custom label.
So they're doing custom labels as custom sauces, and somehow they've targeted the word craft, craft, hot sauces in there they're advertising. So I don't think that their product is fulfilling on the term that I look for of craft hot sauces. That's also, you know, my interpretation of, of the word craft. Maybe some people see craft as a personalized, you know, handwritten type of label kind of thing. But for me, this one's not fulfilling on the promise of the search query that was given. And then the third, one of craft hot sauces is hillside sauce.com. And they land me on the homepage. Also, I'm never going to be happy with an ad that takes me to a company's homepage. I just think that they could do a bit, every store can do a better job than that than sending advertising traffic to the homepage and their homepage.
You know, actually isn't that bad. But once again, as I look at it, you know, they're using the word gourmet, I don't see the word craft on it. So, you know, craft and Grameen can be kind of similar. Although, you know, gourmet to me means more of high-end, you know, quality. It doesn't mean, you know, small digital batches. I think they could have a Kraft landing page optimized around that search query. So let's go to the next search query that I did, and that is toys for active toddlers. So the first site that I get is shop dot the brain possible.com. Once again, I'm on a homepage. And the first thing I see here is their banner image is to preteen or maybe even teen, you know, somewhere between 11 and 13 years old, I'm guessing boys, right? And it says improved child development outcomes.
So this to me looks like a site that is for troubled. Pre-Teens not active toddlers. That's just what I look at. As I look at the banner and I scroll down, then I start seeing some toys that look like therefore younger age kids may be in the toddler. And I see some furniture that definitely looks more toddlers than, than preteen. So maybe they do have products that fulfill, but because they landed me on the homepage and they show me the wrong age group of kids, I immediately think, well, I'm in the wrong place, even if I am in the right place. And there's once again, why they should have a page that is optimized for that term, you know, active and toddlers. So if they're going to show a banner image, it should be the right age child and you know, ones that are, that are active and the rest of the page, you know, the rest of the homepage, you know, does a lot of, you know, the traditional things that homepage is do, but really isn't focused on the thing that I'm looking for, which is active and toddlers and toys.
Now, the other site that is a Shopify store that is paying for ads for this query is Exploratorium store.com. And I'm not a fan of product names that are, that are hard to pronounce. Like I, it took me a second to go Exploratorium. Okay. That's what they mean. That's just me now. Here's our first page. That's a landing page that is not a homepage. So that's a step forward. But the landing page that I'm getting as a collection page, which is usually not the best thing to do, and this one is holiday gifts for kids. So nothing is, so here I am on a holiday gifts page, not a toys for active toddlers. And it says kids not toddler. So I don't know if it's the right age group, you know, what is their definition of kids? Is that anybody under 18? Is it a certain age range were toddlers is a, to me smaller subset than kids.
And there's nothing here that says active. So on this collection page, I'm really not sure that this product set is optimized for what I'm searching for. And then they give me some what looks like filters. It says gift ideas under $15. And I click on that and it actually takes me to a separate collection, right? So they, I landed on one page, which is holiday gifts for kids. And now they're navigating to another collection, which has a different set of rules that are defining it. So here, what I expected to see when I see a collection, let me see how many I got 34 products in this collection. What I would expect to see on this collection page as a landing page or some tools given to me to help me find the best product that for my child or whoever I'm giving this, this toy to.
And I don't have any, any of those tools here, right? I just have a random list of 34 products that were holiday gifts for kids. And I really don't know how to subdivide them or decide between them, right. Filters could be, you know, age groups. These are for, you know, toddlers user for preteens, or it could be these are for active, or these are for, you know, other, you know, these are educational toys. These are learning to, you know, different categorizations that they could put in, in the filters, which don't exist. There are no filters I'm, they could give me filters here to help me choose the differences between these products, or they could have a little bit of information around the products. You know, I got one here that says galaxy rocket ship, and I'm not really sure what that is. As I look at the image, it looks like a little model that I can put together.
And then the one next one is a rocket puzzle. Once again, this they're just not fulfilling on the promise of what I'm looking for here. They could do a lot better job at that. And if I, if I was paying for ads you know, like they're doing, I'd make sure that I'm fulfilling on the expectation of the customer, much better to optimize my ad spend. Right? The worst thing here is they're spending money to attract traffic to their site. And that money is not as efficiently used as it could be if they optimize that landing page for that experience. So let's move on to the next category, which I'm going to call up. And it's what I searched for was the ultimate little black dress for sale. And I got one, I think, one Shopify or two Shopify stores that have that. So the first one is pepper, mayo.com.
And it takes me to a collection page. And that collection page is sale dresses with, you know, Google advertising. There there's broad keyword matches and there's different words. So I could see where that one happened. Right. I was searching for the ultimate, which to me means premium little black dress for sale. And that for sale got interpreted as on sale, right? So I could see where I could end up on a sale dress page that said on this sale dress page that I'm looking at, it looks to be all of their dresses that are on sale. I'm looking at, they've got four products per row, row one row to row three row four row five row, six row, seven row, eight row, nine road, 10 row 11 row 12 is when I see my first black dress, you know, I can understand how, you know, they took me to a sale page, but I also said black dress.
And they didn't take that into account when coming up with what the landing page was. So here I am, you know, literally I just, I just looked at 12 times four, I got 48 products and they're all dresses, but none of them are black. And it wasn't until that, you know, past 48 products that I start seeing black dresses start to show up so they could have done a lot better job in optimizing this page for that query. The other little black dress. One is Trina turk.com. And it takes me to a collection page and it says dresses, right? So it's a dresses collection and it's got a filter applied to it, supposedly that says color equals black. But here, once again, as I looked down products, four, eight, 12, 16, I'm going to say number 20 is the first black dress that shows up in this listing.
They're giving me so they could have done a lot better jobs. I don't know what's wrong with the filters, not showing just black dresses. And I don't see that on their filters that that filter was applied, but it shows up in the URL strings. So maybe they structured the URL string wrong that it's not triggering the filter the way they want it to. So if I click on the black color filter that they provide, yeah. So they, it had the URL string wrong for how to apply a filter to the URL string. So they just did it wrong. But on this page here of dresses, you know, I've got some filters, so that's a little bit better, but they just, they just ended up, you know, doing it wrong in the beginning. So I didn't see black dresses for quite a bit of time. And in this one here, you know, I'm, I'm looking at the the overall page and the header, and it says, shop and save and get 30% off, not bad stuff.
But you know, once again, sending somebody just straight to a collection page, you know, it's better than sending people to a homepage, but it's not as good as sending them to a page that is customized for that ad. And then that, that page, you could have things that are a list of collections, but you also have a little bit more information because this person has clicked on an ad in Google. They probably know nothing about you. They're just clicking on the results that are showing up. If they already know about you, that's fantastic. But most likely they don't. And I land on this page and it's just a collection page that says dresses. And I don't know anything about this store and there's no context given to me about what, what type of clothing am I expecting to get from Trina, Turk? Is it, is it high end?
Is it cheap? Is it fashionable? Is it trendy? Is it, you know, whatever, you know, however, you would describe yourself to somebody they're not doing that on this page. And in most collection pages, you should not be doing that, right? Because most collection pages are being navigated to, by customers that are already on your site, they come to your homepage and then they click on dresses and then they click on black dresses. You don't want to set that context and explain everything about your store in your shopping experience of collections, but on your landing page for your ad campaigns, you could do that. So you could have a collection showing the black dresses with the right filters, all applied, but above that, just have a little block that explains a little bit about this brand and the value proposition. This brand brings to this customer who may have never heard about you before, because not only do you have to fulfill on their ex you know, their expectation of, of their search query, a little black dress, but you also have to let them know why your black dresses are the ones that are right for them.
So now I'm going to move on to the next search query that I did, which was for best men's wallet. And the first site that had a listing was an, and as I'm on this page, it's called Ridge wallet.com. And this is something I saw. And I think every single one of there's 10 or so sites that I'm talking about here today, every single one of them with exception of one, I think it was had pop-ups. You know, as I landed on the page, I would get the automatic email. Pop-Up this one has a notice about collecting personal information. That's front and center in the middle of the banner image, right? It's not down at the bottom. Like some of them put it a little bit out of the way, like I've got to click this to get it, you know, to get it off the screen kind of thing.
I had some of them where I click the email, you know, close the email pop-up and it gave me another email. Pop-Up the point here being is once again, these people are coming to you from a Google search through the ads that you paid for. They don't know enough about you yet. This is the first thing they see about you is gives your email. They don't even know anything about your brand, your store, your products yet. And this is give us your email. Me personally, I'm not a fan of that at all. I, it drives me nuts. When stores do that now in your store and your business, you may have data that shows that it's effective and overall, you're building your list with this. I would challenge if you're doing that, I love here looking at the metric, right? The metric should drive decisions like that.
But also look at that with gesture ads and see in, in just your ad campaign, if you were to like turn off popups on the first page view, does that improve your performance and your return on ad spend or not? Right? Because your ultimate goal here is not getting people onto your list. It's getting people to buy products, getting people onto your list. It's just a step to getting them to buy products. These people are coming to you through a Google search query, and all the queries are doing are very shopping related. So they're in shopping mode. What you really want them to do in this session is to purchase. Now. They may not most likely they will not write it. We know it takes a lot of queries or a lot of time looking at sites before people make search decisions. But I would just say with your ad traffic, give them a little bit of respect, build a little bit of credibility with them.
You absolutely want to be collecting email addresses as best you can. I would just prefer you do that with exit intent popups instead of page load pop-ups on their first page, right? From, from an ad source. Now here on the Ridge, I am taken to a collection of all wallets. So, you know, here I have men's wallets and I did a query. What was best men's wallets. So maybe they think every single one of their wallets are the best, right? But I'm looking for the best. So they could do a better job here of highlighting, which of their products are the best and a lot of their products as I look at them, or just different colors of the same product over and over again. So actually maybe it looks like they only have one product and just separate colors. But once again, I'm confused right now and they could do a better job explaining it to me.
Like it could say welcome to the best, you know, men's wallet, you know, available, you know, here's the Ridge collection, blah, blah, blah. And here's why our products are the best. Don't spend a full page doing that, but explain, these are the best waltz. And here's why, so you're at least following up on the search query that I made for. I want best men's wallets. All right. We're the best. And here's why, and now here's our products, right? And on this page, as I look at it, this, you know, it took me a second to realize that I think it's just different colors for each one of the same wallet over and over again. But there's no filters here. It's just a list of products, which I'm never a fan of just giving people a list of products, because what you want a customer to do when they come to this page is get educated about you, your brand and your products and your value prop, and then click to the second page.
Right? So, and have confidence that the customer has confidence in the page that they're clicking to. So the more tools you can give to somebody on this page, like, you know, these are the differences between our products, you know, that's great. And they're, they're doing a good job of that here, because these are just colors. And they're explaining each one of the colors, but it's actually, Oh, no, it's color and material. So here on this wallet page, I've got carbon wallets. I've got titanium wallets, I've got aluminum wallets. And then like in aluminum, I've got black gunmetal, Navy, and Matt, olive and Tiki. So here on this page, I'm making two decisions. Decision number one, what color do you want? Decision number two, what material do you want? And I have to make both decisions at the same time, and it's not clear to me as the customer.
You just saw me go through my head and figure out, Oh, I'm making two decisions here. Right? Most customers are going to have that same thought process. And they're confused for a little bit where in the beginning, right? If I had filters that said material carbon, you know, titanium, aluminum, Oh, I can, I can click on those filters. I can see that. And then I've got other filters that say, you know, color and I can click on, you know, Matt gray or whatever that structures the conversation for me and lets me know, here's the two decisions you're making on this page. One is material and one is color. I'd prefer you only make one per page, but if you're going to be to let it be clear to the customer, that this is what you're doing and a way to do the way to communicate, that could be having the two filters on the side of this collection page for material and color.
So then it becomes more clear that on this page, here's the decisions that I'm making. And let's go to the next wallet page here. And this one is Dango products.com. It takes me to a collection of wallets. So once again, this isn't the best wallets they have. This is all of their wallets. So they could do a better job in explaining here, you know, just like the, the other one. Why are there walls? But there's no explanation at all. At the top of theirs, they've actually got, it looks like a whole bunch of different series. They call them, which are, you know, product types. There's a series D series M series. And I, I got no idea what that means. So I've got these little logos at the top, these little icons they've made for that, you know, which is, I guess I'm making decision which wallet I want, but there's no education on what those are at that time.
If I click on one and then it gives me a little bit more information, which is actually nice, but on this page, they land me on, there's no explanation of what's going on here. So once again, what they're doing here is they're dropping me into the middle of a shopping experience. They're not starting a shopping experience with me, right? So if I'm searching for men's best wallets or best men's wallet, and I land on this page, they should say, Hey, we're Dango and we make the best men's wallets. And here's why three bullet points or something like that. Now here's your first choice. What model, you know what series, but once again, if you're saying best, you should curate that a little bit for me and not offer me your whole catalog. Here's our best wallets or here's our most popular walls, or here's the walls that most customers like that sort of merchandising.
So immediately, you know, I want best. That means you should take half your product catalog or more off of that list. And you're, you're helping me with that. Here's the best ones. And then, you know, so you shorten the list a little bit for me and then give me some tools and tell me, all right, here's the next decision you need to make? So the Dango guys here, they're doing the same thing that the other one was doing the Ridge wallets where they're not giving me any education. They're not making it clear what decisions that I'm making at this point. So they can do a much better job of that. I think to now let's move on to the last search query that I did. And that is for ultra lightweight running shoes. If I look at the first result, it is York athletics, MFG manufacturing.com.
It takes me to a collection of footwear. I was asking for ultra light running shoes and I'm taken to a collection that is just as, just as footwear. Once again, you know, I'm going to S you know, it's consistent here. You send me to a collection page. I'm going to be very dissatisfied with that experience because you're dropping me into the middle of a shopping experience. And you're not taking the context I'd given you and starting with that, cause they're not starting with running shoes or lightweight. It actually looks like most of their shoes are running shoes, but nothing here says, you know, we have the lightest running shoes, you know, blah, blah, blah, nothing about lightweight is showing up here. So they bought that search query term, lightweight running shoes, but they're not fulfilling on that expectation or that desire of mine on that landing page.
So once again, this would be a much better landing page, even if they use the exact same collection. If they just give me a little context at the top that said, we have the lightest weight running shoes for your needs, blah, blah, blah. And then on that same, same thing I said, but the wallets on this collection page, I'm not given much decision-making tools. I'm just giving a, a list of products without any tools under the determined, which one I want other than product photos, price, and product names, which the product names are not descriptive at all. They don't, they don't help me make decisions so that this page could be a lot better experience optimized for that term that we're looking for. And the last one and I left this for last because it is by far the best one of them. All right.
And it's the only one that takes us to a page. So here I am on Allbirds and they take me to a page for Dasher running shoe. So I'm assuming I have not clicked on a second page on this. I'm assuming that this one Dasher running shoe is their lightest weight one. So what they could do is do a little bit better job of seeing lightweight. It does say run hard, tread light. It's kind of supporting the, Hey, this is, I assume, lightweight. It's the tread light as opposed to small carbon footprint and production, but you know, they, they could do a little better job and it's not too much of a critique there of supporting that lightweight thing that I have. Now, the beautiful thing here is, as I come to this landing page, it is a full screen video that starts off of just people running down the beach.
And it's, it's compelling. All right, because all the other landing pages that I landed on, I think every single one of them was either a homepage banner ad or a banner image or a list, you know, of a collection page, which they list of products. None of them had lifestyle. A couple of them had, you know, it was all product photography. This one here is just total lifestyle people running down the beach. So it is really impactful, especially when I was going through all these different search queries and looking at all these different stores. This one just popped at me the second it happened. And then the other beautiful thing here is on this banner image, which is this, you know, video it's running, there's two choices. And it's two really simple choices. Shop men, shop women. I have to make one choice right now.
I'm going to click on the men. And it takes me to the product for the ministry Dasher. The first thing they said was, are you a man or a woman? Because we have two different, you know, styles of the same, same model of shoe that are lightweight. One, you know, which one is the appropriate one for you? And then on this product page, I get to make my choices about color and size. And, and that makes total sense to me. And also back on their landing page, if I didn't pick men or women, if I scroll down, they've got lots of information about this product and their photography is just absolutely wonderful. It's all, it's all lifestyle photography, all custom shoots. There was one here. I saw it. Yeah. This one here, side by side. They've got a once again at the top, it was shop men, shop women.
It's the decision they want me to make on this page. And the beautiful thing about this is they focus. This focuses page. You have one choice to make men or women. I can not stress enough. How important that is. We really clear about the decisions people are making. And at the bottom of the page, they've got this shop man, and shop women a choice again, but it's superimposed over two navigational images, which are one of a man running up sand dunes. And then the other is a woman on sand dune. So it's like it's contextually. They, they go together so well because they were shot in the same sand dune. You know, they're obviously shot on the same day, almost from the exact same angle kind of thing. It's like they make sense going together as opposed to, you know, a generic image of a man or a generic image of a woman.
You know, these two, these are not generic images of men and women. They're appropriate to the shoe model that we're looking at. And the background scenery of them is the same. So they, they look like they're a match set and it it's really beautiful. Most stores, you know, don't have the revenue to justify a photo shoots like this, but it really tells me that these guys spend a lot of time and energy in product photography and lifestyle photography. They've even got some videos here that I haven't watched. So this page has at least two videos on it, really engaging stuff in the product, photography, lifestyle, photography, all really high quality just makes me trust this company so much more. And I've heard about Allbirds before. I've never bought from them. And I've, I've only heard good things in, in my random landing on their page.
Totally supports that. So I just went through a bunch of different examples. I'm going to link to all those landing pages that I ended up on in the show notes. If you'd want to go look at a specific example, you can, but you know, the, the summary I'm going to give you is a majority of the competition out there, right, is sending their Google ads spend to their collection pages or to their home pages, which is not doing a service to the customer. So a way that you can differentiate and perhaps get better return on your ad spend is actually having customized pages that you build for your top volume queries that is driving traffic to your store. That custom experience is going to take context from what the search query is, right? Like, remember I used the word craft in one or high-end or best in another kind of thing. Take those words, reuse those words in your landing pages to fulfill on the question or the query that that customer is asking. And you should see better performing ad spend from that. So hopefully that was helpful.
Thanks for listening.