Your Book Landing Page—Can’t-Miss Headline Writing Secrets (and Mistakes to Avoid)

by | Dec 1, 2014

By Casey Demchak

When I was a kid there were word games where you could read a simple letter—and if you circled every fifth word you would get a secret message of some kind.

It was neat. So neat in fact that I developed a similar strategy that works wonders on website landing pages that are designed to sell books.

The strategy is built around the fact that before anyone reads your website sales page, they will almost always skim your headlines first. If all a visitor does is skim your sales page headlines and subheads, they should receive a concise selling message and a confident call to action.

This “secret” message will often entice them to go back and read all the copy between your headlines to learn more details about your book.

Here is an example of how this headline sequence technique can look on a web sales page promoting a business book.

Embrace the Book that Will Transform How Our Culture Unites Business with Soul

[Name of book and author – image of cover]

Discover the power of integrating myth, science, spirituality and business

[Body copy goes here…]

Manifest financial abundance and heartfelt professional relationships

[Body copy goes here…]

Blend life and career into a purpose-driven spiritual journey

[Body copy goes here…]

Honor your desire to make your passion your profession

[Body copy goes here…]

Buy this book today and receive thousands of dollars in FREE bonus gifts with your purchase!

[Offer copy goes here…]

Without even seeing the body copy between these headlines, you gain a strong sense of what this book is about and what some of its key emotional takeaways are. Plus, you receive a very attractive special offer message.

Based on this sequence of benefit-driven headlines alone, someone interested in this topic will be very tempted to go back and read the body copy to learn more details.

This is what you want your headlines to do!

So the next time you set up a web page for your book, review your sequence of headlines and subheads and make sure they deliver a strong and inviting sales message.

Sales Landing Page Writing Mistakes You Must AVOID

When I review website landing pages intended to sell books, I tend to find similar copywriting mistakes that are common to many of them. Here are three big ones I see a lot that I strongly urge you to avoid.

Mistake #1 –Sales landing pages that are too brief

Wait a minute. “Aren’t today’s website pages supposed to be short and sweet?” you may be asking.

In many cases the answer is, “yes.” However, when you are creating a landing page where your intention is to persuade people to buy your book—a longer landing page gives you definite advantages.

The primary one being it allows you to convey all the information a visitor needs to make a buying decision. I can write an entire post that gives you a proven blueprint for writing a winning sales landing page for books. But for now, here is one simple tip:

Place three Add to Cart buttons on your sales landing page.

  • One at the very beginning of your page
  • One in the middle of your page
  • One at the very end of your page

This simple technique turns your “long” landing page into three short pages that are interconnected. By placing an Add to Cart button at the top of your page, you’ll capture visitors who are ready to buy your book right now.

However, some readers need a little more convincing. This is why you place a second Add to Cart button half way down your sales page after you’ve communicated some additional benefits offered by your book.

After this second button you can continue on with additional benefit-driven headlines and body copy for those who still need convincing. This leads into your third Add to Cart button.

As you can see, for people who need minimal convincing and who are ready to order right away—your web page will not be perceived as too long because they can hit the Add to Cart button at the top of your landing page.

For those who need more information before they decide to buy, having a longer page with multiple Add to Cart buttons along the way will help you sell more books.

This is because you’ll capture people who need more detail about your book before they can be convinced to reach for their credit card.

These folks will not perceive your web page as being too long, they’ll perceive it as being thorough and complete.

Mistake #2 – Using big blocks of dark chunky text

Website pages cannot look like the inside of a book. Large chunks of lengthy paragraph text followed by more dark chunky paragraphs look boring and like they’d take too darn long to read.

To combat this you need to make your copy more “at-a-glance friendly.” You can accomplish this with:

  • A liberal use of headlines and subheads
  • Paragraphs no longer than two or three lines each
  • Sharp, concise benefit-driven bullet points

This technique gives your copy a more open, airy look with a lot of white space around it.

This is much appealing to the eye because your sales copy looks fast and easy to read when it is presented in this style.

Need a visual example of this writing style? Just re-read this section!

Mistake #3 – A lack of confident special offer lines

The “offer” is the heart and soul of any sales page. This applies to books as much as it does any other product. Make sure you always have call-to-action lines where you ask people to buy your book using confident language.

Whenever possible, build your call-to-action line around a limited-time special offer—and then throw in some free stuff that has a value applied to it. This does two things for you. It…

  • motivates people to buy your book sooner rather than later (or not at all.)
  • demonstrates that buyers are receiving over-the-top value for the money they are spending.

Here is an example of a limited-time special offer with some value-added free stuff thrown in.

Order How to Double Your Sales Leads in 4 Short Weeks by November 30, 2014, and receive a 10% discount off the standard cover price.

P.S. When you order TODAY you’ll also receive instant access to our 15-page FREE BONUS e-book, 7 Things You Must Know to Convert Prospects into Clients (a $24 value!)

Notice this example avoids terms such as, “If you’re interested…,” or “If you order…” Using these kind of terms is very passive, and you want to avoid being passive with your special-offer and call-to-action lines.

Instead, be confident and direct, provide great value—and you’ll sell more books.

How does your book’s landing page stack up? Let me know in the comments.

Casey Demchak headshotCasey Demchak is an author, speaker and recognized expert at writing highly-effective sales copy for coaches, authors and corporate clients. Learn more about him and sign up for his FREE, weekly sales writing updates at www.CaseyDemchak.com

 
Photo: bigstockphoto.com

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9 Comments

  1. Joan Stewart

    Casey, your secret formula is pure genius! I am stealing it to use when I edit a White Paper for a client. She used a blah headline and sub-heads.

    Reply
  2. Fran Pickering

    This is really useful. I just redid my (fiction) landing page in line with your recommendations. You’ve made me think about what my emotional takeaways really are – so now I’ve got words like romance and exotic instead of plot descriptions. It looks a lot more engaging. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Casey Demchak

      Hi Fran,

      Glad the article helped. Yes, emotional takeaways with the fiction are the key. People read multiple romance novels because they of the way they make them feel. People read horror story after horror story because…well because they want to scare themselves. Using your marketing copy to move people emotionally is really important.

      Reply
  3. Ian Anderson

    Hi Casey,
    Good tips. One question I have re. a new books landing page:- whether to keep the website header and menu or go for a plain page with just the ‘new book’ copy on it?

    I notice that some folks even ditch the main website URL and have one especially for the book e.g mylatestbook.com

    Any thoughts?

    Reply
  4. S. J. Pajonas

    I’d love to see an example of this for fiction. It seems that this is mostly geared towards a non-fiction book, but I can see applying most of these points towards a novel. Still, sales copy is harder with fiction unless you’re pulling blurbs :)

    Reply
    • Casey Demchak

      Hi Ian. Thanks for reading the post. For a landing page intended to sell your book…yes, I’d eliminate your navigation tabs. I call this putting people on an island where there’s only one thing to do. Buy your book! Having a dedicated URL is also a great idea.

      Thanks,
      Casey

      Reply
      • Ian Anderson

        Better brush up my WordPress page template skills then….
        Thanks for following up the comment Casey.

        Reply
    • Casey Demchak

      Hi S.J.

      Actually this technique applies equally well to fiction. The key is to focus your headlines on your story’s central theme points, or key emotional takeaways. I have used this technique a number of times when writing landing pages for fiction books.

      Again, the key to writing sales copy for fiction is to focus on the emotional takeaways for your audience. Tell them what they’ll get out of the book–as opposed to trying to sell a summary of the plot points.

      Reply
  5. Michael N. Marcus

    Adding to >>Mistake #2 – Using big blocks of dark chunky text<<

    Make sure you have high contrast between text and background — not navy blue words on a dark purple page.

    No centered text for more than a line or two.

    No tiny serif and/or italic type.

    Minimize cute animations — out of fashion since the 80s.

    Test your page with multiple web browsers and on multiple devices: PC, Mac, tablets, phones. Some text characters are not recognized by all browsers.

    Reply

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