When I see a photographer talking about the lack of the success of their Facebook ads, I always ask them what they used for their landing page. For those who may have not heard the term before, a landing page is the URL that a link leads to. It’s often a home page, but for advertising, it rarely ever is (nor should be).
Getting the ad itself dialed in is one part, but the landing page is where you seal the deal. I’ve written before about the importance of audience for Facebook Ads. In this post, we’re going to talk about why good landing pages are written for the audience they are targeting, and we’ll take a look at the anatomy of a good Facebook Ad and landing page combo that I found from Zenfolio.
After you’ve read this post, check out my post dissecting an example of a bad Facebook Ad and landing page combination that was created by the popular wedding site Once Wed.
Successful Landing Pages Start with Audiences
A best practice for creating ads is to make sure that you are always reaching out to a specific audience. If you’re a wedding photographer, you don’t want to reach all potential couples getting married. You want to reach the ones who are most likely your kind of client. If you shoot real estate, you want to reach realtors or businesses that are likely to need your services. You don’t need to reach everyone, you need to reach qualified audiences.
This is the time to put yourself in the shoes of your ideal client. Think about the clients you have most enjoyed working with and what those clients share in common with one another. How do they speak? What is their style? What do they like most about your work? What do they say when they share your photos on social media?
Write down some of these descriptions as they come to your mind, because they’ll come in handy later, as you write the copy for your ads and your landing pages.
Manage Expectations From the Start
One of the BIGGEST mistakes made by photographers with their ad campaigns is sending readers/clickers/prospects to a generic landing page. Usually it’s their overall home page. They’ve tried to speak to too many different types of people instead of their core audience.
At the most basic, a landing page should match the ad. Meaning, if you are advertising wedding photography, the ad should click-through to your wedding portfolio directly, so they don’t have to click around your site to find it. If you’re advertising mini-sessions, then the click should land you right on the mini-session page. Shooting senior portraits? Direct them right to the page that shows off your senior photo portfolio. And so forth.
The above is a minimum scenario. It’s something everyone can do because the page usually already exists on the website. The ultimate goal is to get them to convert (book!) with the fewest clicks possible. The longer they have to click around, the less likely they are to reach out to you to book.
The best-case scenario is developing a landing page specifically for each of your ad types. You can build a page right on your website or, if you are more advanced, use a service like Wishpond or Unbounce. For a monthly fee, they provide more advanced services like A/B testing, templates, and analytics.
Either way, whatever your ad is talking about should coordinate with the landing page it leads to. You don’t have to have the landing page in your menu on the website. It can simply be a page that you publish, but don’t link to except from your ads.
Learning by example is usually easy for everyone, so this post looks at a Facebook Ad and landing page from Zenfolio.
Good Landing Page Example: Zenfolio
Recently I was scrolling through Facebook and saw this ad from Zenfolio in my News Feed. You can see in the ad that they are targeting a fairly general audience – photographers, with a hint of wedding photography in the imagery, but the message is focused. The “status” part of the sponsored post is one sentence, and tells me exactly what they do – they build websites that have features photographers want. (Note: I’m actually a PhotoShelter fan, but Zenfolio is also a popular service listed in my resources).
The image is clear and tightly cropped. It looks good on desktop or mobile. You see exactly what they’re advertising – a website, you see their logo for brand identity, and the offer to “try it free.” Facebook has a rule that only 20% of the ad can have text, and that includes any sort of stylized logo that is text-based. In this image, you can see that the text is minimal.
Below the image is their headline. The bold, larger text that tells us what they’re about. They want to be perceived as a business partner; they’re addressing me as the professional, suggesting they’re my partner in working toward my success.
The copy below the headline (also called the link description) is clear, as well. They explain they have a ten-year history of providing photographers with websites, that they have an industry following, and that they use Miller’s, another trusted brand as a partner.
Finally, in the URL, we see that this isn’t just going to the homepage, it’s going to a specific URL on their site. Most users won’t notice that part, but if it were a junky or spammy URL, it would stand out as odd. As well, they’ve opted to use longer copy and forego a button that the user can click, like “Learn More” or “Sign Up.” This gave them extra space to tout their industry cred and business savvy. Bravo, Zenfolio!
Overall, this is a fine ad. The colors and the image are aligned with best practices for Facebook Ads, and they make good, but not excessive, use of the copy and headline options available to them.
Once we click on the link, we are taken to a landing page for Zenfolio. Look at the URL in the browser of this screenshot. It isn’t just their homepage. It’s goes to the link that was in the ad for the URL. You see there are some UTM tags in the URL as well, but I write about those in another post. The next thing we notice is that the messaging is the same. The button in the upper right says “Try It Free” just like the button in the ad we clicked on does. It is identical to the button in the ad.
The logo is clear and matches the ad (you wouldn’t believe how often they don’t match!), and the messaging is front and center across a properly credited, beautiful image. By delivering the same message on the landing page, in a mildly different way (“We’re professional and effortless!”), I know I’m on the right site, learning more, and seeing other features and benefits.
If you take a look at the image to left, you see a screenshot of the actual homepage of Zenfolio. While it has some similarities to the ad (the button, the logo, some of the copy), you can see that this has a different design altogether. The differences are subtle, but this page is designed for someone who searched and discovered their site. With the ad, Zenfolio knew they were advertising to photographers already, so they wanted to hook you in with some perks and benefits. They used language like “partner” and talked about Miller’s, another brand that is trusted in the industry. With this home page, they still provide a nice landing page, but you can see that they’re using a lot of the messaging that was in the FB ad. To have sent us here when we clicked would have been redundant and unnecessary.
Facebook Ads and landing pages are each their own science and art. There is a reason that some marketing experts just work on Facebook Ads and others just design and write landing pages. User experience and behavior is complicated. Don’t beat yourself up if it takes a few tries to get it right. Trial and error is what helps you refine your work so that eventually, it’s just second nature.
Make sure to head over to Facebook Ads and Landing Pages: A Bad Example, to see how easily good intentions can turn into a confusing user experience with a lot of lost opportunities for Once Wed.