Whether you’re looking to grow your author email list, sell more books, or round up launch team members, the tool you need is a landing page.
What is a landing page?
A landing page is a web page where people “land” when they type or click the landing page URL. Landing pages are specifically designed to get visitors to take a specific action.
A website offers many web pages, menu tabs, and links a visitor can click if they’re looking for something. A landing page is a single web page that asks the visitor to take a specific action.
The extreme version of a landing page is called a Squeeze Page. On a Squeeze page, there is only one action the reader can take. Typically, that single action is to fill out the form with your email address. If you click the logo and it doesn’t take you anywhere, you’re being squeezed to give your email to the website you’re visiting.
Typically, landing pages are educational. They answer questions the reader has about the action you want them to take. The landing page explains why you need to leave your email address and promises that you’ll receive the featured benefit when you do.
Landing pages are unique in that they’re not listed in your website menu. Your menu may display your About, Blog, Books, and Contact pages, but landing pages are not displayed in the menu. You’re bringing people directly to your landing page from a Facebook ad, a social media post, or even a live speaking event.
When I speak at conferences, I often create a special landing page with a free resource for the session I teach. The only way anyone knows about the landing page is because I give the URL at the end of my talk. Attendees can type the landing page URL into their phone or laptop, and they’ll bypass all the options on my website and land on the landing page. It’s a perk of attending my live teaching sessions.
It’s the difference between telling people to buy your book and sending them a direct link to your book on Amazon. It’s easier for the reader and more successful for you.
Why do I need a landing page?
The primary purpose of a landing page is to help your reader take the action you want them to take. A landing page educates your reader by answering questions and objections about the action you’re asking them to take.
If you want your landing page visitor to enter their email address, you may need to explain that you’re offering a digital product that can only be delivered electronically. For example, “Enter your email address below, and I’ll email your digital tip sheet to download right away.”
Novelists can put the web address for a landing page in the back of each book. In Jim Rubart’s book Rooms, the main character wrote a song. At the end of the book, Jim included the URL for a landing page where readers could download an MP3 of a song the main character (actually Jim!) wrote.
Through the landing page, readers can buy Jim’s song for the price of their email address.
Why are landing pages useful?
A well-designed landing page will increase your conversion rate. More people take action on a landing page than any other kind of web page.
If signing up for your newsletter is the only thing a visitor can do on the page, the number of people who follow through and fill out their information will be high.
It’s somewhat counterintuitive. You’d think that offering many options would result in more people finding what they want and filling out the form.
Research has shown otherwise.
In a famous study, scientists set up a sample display in a grocery store where shoppers could taste various flavors of jam. They wanted to understand how consumers make decisions.
On one day, the researchers offered 24 flavors of jam and a $1 coupon to anyone who sampled. On the next day, they offered only six flavors of jam and a $1 coupon. The larger display attracted more shoppers, but shoppers who saw only six flavors of jam were ten times more likely to use the coupon and make a purchase. Presenting fewer options increased the likelihood of the purchase.
The more you ask your reader to do, the less likely they are to take action.
When should I use a landing page?
You can create separate landing pages to accomplish any of the following author tasks.
Gather a Launch Team.
Before you launch your book, create a landing page where readers can sign up via to join your launch team and receive all the benefits of being on your team.
Collect email addresses at a live event.
When you speak, create a landing page where attendees can enter their email addresses to receive a digital resource that compliments or reinforces your teaching. At the end of your session, give the landing page web address so people can sign up while the information, and the URL, is fresh in their minds.
Offer a freebie.
Jim offered a song. If you’re a novelist, you might offer a short story. Nonfiction writers might offer a downloadable tip-sheet on their topic or a video of you teaching on another aspect of your topic.
Sell your book.
Create a landing page where your visitor can only click “Buy the Book.” Your landing page button won’t charge their credit card, and you don’t have to ship books. But it will take them directly to an online retailer they trust, and your reader will be much more likely to purchase your book.
MyBookTable Pro has a landing page mode design to sell books. If you want to create a landing page for each of your books, consider upgrading from MyBookTable to the pro version.
Promote a launch party.
Your launch party landing page can function as a party invitation.
Let readers know whether your event will be online or in-person. Hint at the prizes you’ll be giving away, and tell them how they can participate. When they enter their email address, they’ll receive the link to the online party or the address to the in-person party, and maybe even a sneak peek at those prizes.
Essential Elements for Every Landing Page
Element 1: Headline:
Your landing page headline makes the initial promise. The landing page for my Podcast Host Directory features the headline, “The world’s most comprehensive podcast host directory.”
Element 2: Explanation:
The next brief sentence tells the visitor what they’ll get if they take action. On my Podcast Host Directory page, visitors know they will be able to, “Get in contact with over 100,000 podcast hosts (the benefit) if they become a Novel Marketing Patron (the action).
Element 3: Graphic:
If you’re offering a song as Jim did, your graphic might be the MP# icon. If you’re offering a short story, prominently display the cover image. Choose an image associated with the action you hope they’ll take.
Element 4: Sign-up Form or Call-to-Action Button
The form may not be the first element readers see, but it is the most important. People who land on your page can sign up for your webinar or launch party, or they can click a button to “Buy Now.” Whatever your call-to-action, your reader must see a clear and easy way to do what you’re asking.
Optional Landing Page Elements
Some of your landing pages might include the following elements if they help your reader take action.
A brief video describing how your product works might facilitate an emotional connection in your reader and cause them to sign up for your webinar, team, party, or freebie.
Testimonials or Endorsements
Another author’s stamp of approval or the testimony of a satisfied customer are powerful tools that demonstrate social proof.
If you’re asking readers to take action that requires more time, money, or attention, include a list of Frequently Asked Questions and answers. If a reader can get answers on your landing page, rather than searching your website, they’ll be far more likely to take action on the spot.
8 Tips for Creating Effective Landing Pages
Tip 1: Stick close to the template.
I am not a designer, and you probably aren’t either. A professional designer knows how to layout the elements of a landing page. You’ll include your own wording and perhaps your book cover image, but keep the original layout and design in place.
Tip 2: Assume the visitor is not yet sold.
Not everyone who visits your landing page is convinced they need to take action. Ask your writers group for feedback on your landing page. Is it convincing? What would convince them to sign up or click the button?
Tip 3: Make sure your landing page is mobile responsive.
If you’re running Facebook ads, or if people are clicking through from social media, they will most likely view the mobile version of your landing page. Be sure to review your mobile version before you begin sharing the link to your landing page.
Tip 4: Use the text of your button to help your reader take action.
The button your readers click (or tap) to take action should be a short sentence, a complete sentence, or the answer to a question. Use this underutilized space to highlight the benefit.
Short Sentence: On the Podcast Host Directory landing page, you’re prompted to “Access the directory.” Your readers want to “Download the free guide,” “Listen to the free song,” or “Sign up for the webinar.”
Complete a Sentence: “To get my new book on release day,”… “preorder now.”
Answer a Question: Want to join the launch team? “Yes please!” Need the tip sheet? “Send it now.”
No one wants to “submit.” So use the text on your button to help your reader take action.
Tip 5: Focus on one goal.
Don’t mention your sequel. Only talk about the one book you’re trying to sell, because your landing-page visitor wants to know, “What’s in it for me?”
Your copy should answer the question, “Why should I sign up?” The more compelling your answer, the more successful your landing page will be.
Tip 6: Respond to objections.
Readers have mental hurdles that may prevent them from taking action. They hesitate when they’re unsure if they can unsubscribe or if they’re worried you’ll sell their email address. Address these concerns briefly. Let them know they can “unsubscribe at any time,” and that you’ll never share or sell their email address. Most people assume that is the case, but it’s good to reassure them.
However, If you promise not to sell their email, you must adhere to your own agreement. In America, if you violate that promise on your website, you’re potentially liable for a breach of contract.
Tip 7: Keep the form simple.
Don’t make the mistake of immediately asking readers for a physical address or zip code. Authors are tempted to complicate the form by asking whether landing page visitors are interested in contemporary or historical fiction. You can collect that kind of information later.
Your contact with your reader on the landing page is like your first date. If all goes well, you’ll get to know each other better in subsequent conversations.
Tip 8: Conduct split testing to see which landing page is more effective.
Create two landing pages and see which has a higher conversion rate. If you’re trying to decide which headline to use, duplicate your landing page but use two different headlines as the variable to test. If enough people visit your landing page, the one with the higher conversion rate will tell you which headline resonates better.
I recorded an episode about split-testing with Facebook ads, and while the landing page is a little different, the principles are the same.
Tools for Creating Landing Pages
Tool 1: LeadPages
Lead Pages is considered by many to be the best in the business. Starting at $25, they are also the most expensive. If you can generate a lot of revenue by collecting hundreds of leads, then Lead Pages may work for you.
Tool 2: Divi
Divi Theme by Elegant Themes (Affiliate Link) is a WordPress theme that makes it very easy to create landing pages on your own website. But since the landing page isn’t necessarily part of your website, it doesn’t have to be created there.
Tool 3: Mail Service Providers
MailChimp, ConvertKit (Affiliate Link), MailerLite, and other mail service providers have landing page creation capabilities that integrate with their respective email services.
Tool 4: WordPress Plugins
WordPress page builder plugins such as Elementor and Beaver Builder may already be built into your website.
My Book Table Pro has landing page builder mode for your books. When you upgrade to the Pro version, you can create landing pages for each of your books by turning on the landing page mode.
Landing pages can be adapted for almost any digital action you want your readers to take. Build your email list and your connection to your readers with a powerful and effective landing page.
MyBookTable is a way to quickly and easily build an online bookstore on your WordPress website. Use it to rank #1 on Google for your book and to boost your book sales on sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Get it free at MyBookTable.com. Novel Marketing Patrons save 25% on MyBookTable Pro. www.mybooktable.com.
You’re the Cream in My Coffee, by Jennifer Lamont Leo
In 1928, small-town woman Marjorie Corrigan travels to Chicago and thinks she sees her first love–believed killed in the Great War–alive and well. Suddenly everything in her life is up for grabs.