So, you’ve written a book. Now, you’ll probably want to get people to read it—which is easier said than done, especially when we’re in the middle of a global pandemic. At a time when many brick-and-mortar bookstores are shuttered and there’s nobody to explore the aisles, helping potential readers discover your books can be tricky.
If this is your predicament, we have three words for you: book landing page.
Smart use of landing pages (along with digital ad campaigns) can help publishers and authors find new audiences online. With the nationwide change in book-buying behaviors during COVID-19 and the resulting spike in online book sales, it’s no surprise that the digital sphere is taking the spotlight. As time goes on, converting customers over the internet will only become more important.
And landing pages are a key ingredient in that recipe for success.
Why Do Authors Need a Book Landing Page?
You might already have a cross-platform marketing strategy for your book, covering channels like a website, social media, and email marketing. That’s great for exposure, but how do you convince all of those folks to actually become readers? To help your book move actual copies, you need a dedicated page with that singular goal in mind.
That’s exactly the idea behind a book landing page: a base for your book that is hyper-focused on conversion. Unburdened by navigation bars and other distractions, landing pages steer people directly to your call to action.
Chances are higher that a browser will pick up your book if it’s the only book on a single table in the room, rather than one of many CTAs on display. Then your landing page will do the rest of the work, convincing passersby that buying your book is in their best interest. Just take this landing page of David Lawrence and John Lawrence’s Smarter Marketer, for example:
Landing pages are handy for all authors, no matter your end objective:
- If you have an ebook as a lead magnet, your book landing page will drive visitors to a signup form that captures email addresses.
- If you’re selling your book, your book landing page will make people want to click the big “Buy” button.
Whether you’re looking to make more sales off of your book or capture newsletter subscribers, a landing page will step up to the plate for you and your book marketing plan. Now here’s how to create one for yourself.
Editor’s note. Looking to promote an ebook for lead generation? Emily Bauer recently explored genius ebook landing page examples created in Unbounce that’ll help you get more readers to download. Take a look if you want more inspiration!
How to Build a Book Landing Page
Before we discuss book-specific tips, it’s worth it to remind yourself of general landing page best practices:
- Center your value proposition “above the fold” to quickly and concisely convey the benefit of your product.
- Present a clear call to action, so that visitors to your page know exactly what they should do.
- Keep your page conversion-focused by cutting out clutter and navigation.
- Include social proof and testimonials.
- A/B test, A/B test, and A/B test.
You may already be familiar with A/B testing through running a mailing list (you are running an author mailing list, aren’t you?), but it can also be used on landing pages. When you run tests through a service like Unbounce that automatically splits your traffic and tracks your data for you, you’ll be able to refine your landing pages until you have one that works best for your specific audience—no guessing needed.
Bottom line: make sure that you first stick these fundamentals to stick your landing (page).
And with that in mind, let’s turn to features that are specific to building book landing pages. Remember that display table your book is placed on? Imagine a website visitor walking over to it. Imagine what else will figure into that visitor’s buying decision. A book is all about what’s inside. Yes, readers may pick up a book because of its look—but you’ll turn casual browsers into actual buyers by the quality of your book’s content.
That’s where a finely-executed book landing page can really shine: it can show your book in action, letting visitors “pick up” your book and “flip through” it to hook them. Here are some ideas to inspire you.
1. Catch the eye with a striking book cover
Even in the middle of a pandemic, one thing is certain: people will still judge a book by its cover.
That’s why a striking, professionally-designed book cover is one of the best favors that you can do for your book (and yourself). A great book cover is how you’ll capture a casual browser’s attention long enough to linger by your display table in the first place.
But here’s why it’s doubly important to get your book cover right: your landing page should be built around your book cover. A strong cover will determine the central theme of the page, and help lay the foundations in terms of the high-contrast colors, styles, and general mood. You might also re-use images from your book cover in the design of your landing page.
Don’t forget to take the testimonials on your book cover and use them as social proof on your landing page. Spoiler alert: readers aren’t going to squint at a book cover just to read someone else putting in a good word for your book. Instead, pull those quotes and integrate them into your landing page design.
2. “Flip it over” for an irresistible book description
What’s the next thing that a curious reader will look at when they pick up a book? Chances are they’re going to read the inside flap to find out the book’s premise.
Likewise, people who stop on your landing page will want to know what your book is actually about—which is where your book description is going to come into play. On any Amazon product page, the book description is a major conversion factor. It’s a similar case for landing pages.
This book description is not a substitute for (or a carbon-copy of) your unique value proposition. Both should compellingly describe the benefits of your book, how you solve your customer’s needs, and what distinguishes you from the competition. The book description, however, should go “below the fold.” And while you don’t want a wall of text that will scare off customers—or, worse, bore them—the copy for book descriptions tends to be longer than the UVP.
Here are some more pointers to keep in mind as you perfect your book description:
- Keep it to 300 words or less.
- Use bullet points that quickly convey digestible information for readers, especially for nonfiction books.
- Craft every sentence of your book description with your ultimate goal (remember: conversion) in mind.
3. Offer a “Look Inside”
If you’ve ever bought a book on Amazon before, you’re probably familiar with Amazon’s Look Inside feature: a simple click that allows you to read a sample chapter, skim your table of contents, or browse the index. This is a smart way to let customers check out a book for themselves, which will likely carry them further down the funnel. And it’s something that you can replicate on your landing page.
For a novel, you might want to offer a sneak peek at the first page or the first chapter of your book below the fold.
For a nonfiction book, you might want to show off your table of contents or a chapter-by-chapter summary that shows readers exactly how you will solve their problem.
This results in a great tactic that really shows your product in action—which is, as you know, also a best practice when it comes to landing pages.
Letting readers see exactly what they’ll be getting will raise their confidence in their purchase, encouraging them to follow your focused call to action without worrying if the price is “worth it.”
4. Host a (virtual) reading
As we mentioned earlier, book marketing has changed during this age of social distancing. Some of the first establishments to close were bookshops and libraries—a hit to authors who rely on nationwide book tours and public readings as a way to promote their just-published books.
So what can authors do to adapt?
They can bring themselves to the masses online. Though not everyone can visit their local bookstores right now, people can access their laptops (or smartphones) with one click. Instead of a scheduled in-person reading, you may be able to provide a recording on your landing page to capture their interest. Readers appreciate the chance to connect with authors—what better way to do so than to hear a sample of the work in your own voice?
The benefits are twofold: this is, of course, another way to show your product in action. But this is also a clever, prescient way to start building a relationship with visitors. People are increasingly tired of faceless and soulless corporations. They will want to know their hard-won money or email address is going to somebody real—someone they can relate to on a human level.
5. …and follow-up with a Q&A
But you can even go one step further than that. Adding video to landing pages is a proven tactic that boosts both engagement and conversion rates. Remember, a good video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80%.
Authors are in a unique position to take advantage of this. For a book landing page, you have a number of video ideas at your disposal:
- A book trailer
- A videotaped Q&A or webinar where you answer frequently asked questions from fans
- A sample of an interview that you did with a media outlet
Just remember to keep it short. After all, your landing page isn’t a YouTube channel. You don’t want to distract anyone from the objective of your landing page: your call to action.
Get Started Quickly (With a Little Help)
Marketing your book can feel daunting, but it’s okay to rely on others when things get overwhelming. Whether you’re using Unbounce’s templates to make building your book landing pages easier or consulting with a book marketer to see what you could be doing better to promote your book, there’s no reason to go it completely alone.