What Is a Landing Page and How Can Authors Use Them?

Some of the people who come to your website subscribe to your newsletter. 

Some read your bio. 

Some will click on your Books link and scroll through your list of titles. A portion of these might click on a book cover to read your book blurb. Even fewer will click your Buy link to visit your book product on Amazon. Still fewer will actually click that Amazon Buy Button to make the purchase.  

If this isn’t discouraging enough, many of the people who visit your website will look around for a few brief seconds, never to return. 

This is the nature of marketing in the digital space. You can’t really blame your website visitors because we all do the same thing, don’t we? 

How many websites do you visit only once, never to return?

How reluctant to buy are you? How many times do you look at a product online and decide not to purchase?

As an author marketing your books online, this is what you’re up against. Your website visitors are generally skeptical because they’ve been burned. They’ve signed up for newsletters and gotten spam instead. They’ve purchased books they couldn’t finish because the writing was poor, the editing was poor, or both. They’ve purchased books marketed as mysteries that turned out to be suspense. (Some readers may not mind the difference, but some fans of the mystery genre will. You promised one thing and delivered another.) 

Regardless of the reason, you must know that your website visitors have been burned. They’re skeptical. Their default switch is NO. 

A large part of your online marketing strategy is turning that default NO switch to YES. You must show your potential readers that your stories are worth it, that YOU are worthy of their trust. 

Everything on your website, all your social media, all your online ads, should be moving your target audience in this direction. Moving skeptical visitors into raging fans. This is a multi-step process. (We’ll talk more about this in the April 22 Coffee Break Newsletter. Read it here.)

Where do landing pages fit in?

Landing pages are a powerful tool in your author marketing arsenal because their job is to move website visitors:

  • from skepticism to trust
  • from uncertainty to confidence
  • from reluctance to willingness

Here’s what that means for authors. 

The purpose of a BOOK landing page is to turn more VISITORS into BUYERS.

The purpose of a NEWSLETTER SIGNUP landing page is to turn more VISITORS into SUBSCRIBERS.

A landing page turns one thing (VISITORS) into another thing (BUYERS/SUBSCRIBERS). This is called “conversion,” because it converts a visitor into a buyer/subscriber/follower. 

What we’re saying here is that a landing page is more effective at selling your book than your website’s home page. This should make sense because the main purpose of your website’s home page is NOT to ask people for money by asking for a sale. That’s like knocking on a door and having the resident open the door and say, “Hey, buy my book.” 

Whoa! Let’s get to know each other first, okay? 

That’s not to say you shouldn’t offer your book for sale on your home page. You should. For most of us, your home page shouldn’t just be a sales a pitch. People are arriving there from all sorts of directions, for all sorts of reasons. Your home page has to address this variety of visitors.

But your landing page is different. Your visitors arrive there knowing this is about the sale. You’ve told them that already with an invite to learn more about your book, such as:

  • a social media post with a blurb and graphic of your book
  • a link in a blog post that mentions your new release
  • an invitation for your newsletter readers to find out what others are saying about your upcoming release

Anyone who clicks on these types of links already knows they are going to be presented with the offer to buy. They won’t be put off when you ask for the sale. 

That’s why they’re there. 

But still, you’ll have to convince them. This is the job of your landing page. And here’s why they work.

Landing pages convert more traffic because they:

  • Eliminate distractions
  • Limit choices
  • Present a clear Call-to-Action (CTA)
  • Provide compelling benefits
  • Build trust

Let’s briefly discuss each of these elements of a landing page. 

Landing Pages Eliminate Distractions

Your website home page presents your visitors with all kinds of options. They can learn more about you by reading your bio, or they can peruse your offering of book titles. They might find a link to a sample of your writing, or read your blog, follow a link to another website you are affiliated with (like a group of authors in your genre), discover other authors you promote, or find links to your social media. 

Whew. I’m out of breath. Your website’s home page is busy, doing a lot of work for you. 

This is great for first-time visitors or fans or media personnel or publishing industry personnel inquiring about who you are as a writer.

This is not so good for “closing” a book sale. 

All these wonderful options become distractions. Instead of buying your book, your website visitors may do ten other things. 

Your landing page eliminates everything that doesn’t compel the visitor to complete the action you want them to take – in this case, buy your book. 

Good landing pages have a single purpose. 

Landing Pages Limit Choices

Offering too many choices overwhelms your audience – it causes them to pause. Instead of offering twelve purchase options, offer three.

If you offer too many competing options, indecision may cause the buyer to wait. Making decisions takes energy – even small decisions.

Every decision you present your visitor is a hurdle they have to jump over.

Simplify the process for your buyers.

Make the sale easy to complete. 

Landing Pages Provide Compelling Benefits

What’s in it for me?

That’s what your potential readers are asking when they arrive on your landing page. 

Your BOOK landing page should include your stellar book blurb. It should highlight endorsements that reveal reasons for buying this book. 

What does this story promise the reader? And what does it deliver? Detail this on your landing page. 

For your newsletter landing page, let readers know the benefits of subscribing. What are they getting? The inside scoop? A look behind the scenes? First alert on book deals and new releases? Freebie downloads? 

Show that what’s in it for them. 

Landing Pages Build Trust

As we stated above, your website visitors are skeptical. Your landing page must confront this skepticism and offer proof of your integrity, trustworthiness, and value. One of the best ways to do this is with reader reviews or testimonials. 

Assume your visitors don’t know you. Introduce them to people who do. 

Understand their need for reassurance and give them enough proof to feel good about the purchase. 

Allay their fears and answer their doubts.

Landing Pages Present a Clear Call-to-Action (CTA)

You’ve captured website traffic with a nice Facebook post about your new release. Interested readers click your link and arrive on your landing page. You’ve eliminated distractions, limited choices, listed benefits, and earned their trust with reviews and endorsements. 

Now it’s time to ask for the sale. 

This is not the time for finesse. This is the time to be clear and concise.

Your landing page should direct your target audience like a laser. 

When people arrive there, they should know exactly what the “next step” is. 

Don’t use confusing language or ambiguous phrases. 

Make your buy (or subscribe) buttons clearly visible and recognizable. Don’t hide them on the page. 

Visually, your call-to-action should stand out and command attention.

The Takeaway

Landing pages are a part of your marketing strategy. Unlike your website home page, they have a single purpose – to convert traffic. For authors, this means the single purpose of your book landing page is to convert web traffic into book buyers.

Landing pages convert more traffic because they:

  • Eliminate distractions
  • Limit choices
  • Present a clear Call-to-Action
  • Provide compelling benefits
  • Build trust

Do you have any questions or comments about landing pages? Drop me a comment below or in the AuthorCompany Facebook group.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.