The sales page for your book is extremely important. It should attract visitors and entice them to buy. But keep it simple. Website visitors have short attention spans. You don’t need big, bold headlines to sell a book. You need really great sales copy that makes a reader think, “I need this book!” Use this checklist to make sure you include the elements on your sales page that make potential buyers become buyers.
Checklist: Creating a Sales Page for Your Website
1. Detailed Description of Your Book – This could be information from your book jacket or an expanded version of your jacket copy. Either way, it should be written to entice readers. Marketing copy should focus on the benefits for the reader and explain why they should read your book—not just an overview of what the book is about. What problems does your book solve? That’s the kind of information potential readers need to know.
2. Author Bio and Photo – Even if you have an extended bio on another page of your site, be sure to include a brief bio so that visitors who don’t take the time to poke around other pages will get an immediate answer about who you are and why you wrote the book. Include a photo since this helps them identify with you.
3. Book Cover Image – This may sound obvious, but this is a big mistake I see on a lot of sites. The cover image may already be included in the website header, so authors think it doesn’t need to be included again. Wrong! If you or your readers share a link to your book on Facebook, for example, you will want to make sure it can display with a preview of the cover image—and that won’t be possible if it’s just part of the website header.
4. Testimonials – If you have them, use them. Testimonials are social proof that your work is good and can help improve sales. If you don’t have any, then go get some!
5. Sample Reading – There are a number of ways to approach this. I like to include a PDF version of the table of contents from my book. Some authors give away a sample chapter or two as a free download. If you do this, I’d suggest requiring sign-up for your mailing list so you can reach that potential buyer again later.
6. Purchase Link(s) – Make it as easy as possible for visitors to purchase your book by offering one or more link options for purchase. If you’re shipping books yourself, it can be as simple as setting up a PayPal button. If you don’t want to ship books (and it’s totally fine if that is the case), then make sure you offer a link to purchase on Amazon and/or other online booksellers. And don’t forget your ebooks. If you’re offering an ebook version of your book, add a purchase link to Amazon’s Kindle store or Smashwords or whatever service you’re using. You could also sell a PDF version of your book from your site. It’s remarkable how many people buy them, and if they’re savvy, they know how to load a PDF up on their Kindle, Nook, or iPad.
7. Consider Bonus Items – Some authors host campaigns to give away a bunch of bonus items “if you buy the book today only!” The truth is that these campaigns are not always the most effective because the results are usually temporary. So here’s another approach: offer bonus items for the first month—or the whole year and beyond! Why not make it irresistible for potential buyers? You can compile a list of bonuses from your own files (such as special reports, spreadsheets, templates, audio recordings, etc.), or you can ask peers to contribute bonus items. Many will be happy to do so as a way for them to get exposure with your audience.
8. Social Sharing Buttons – As a general rule for websites and blogs, all pages should have social media sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. Depending on your website platform, these are usually easy to add. I like the ShareThis widget for WordPress.
9. Set up Pre-Sale Offers – You can set up a pre-sale offer for your book several weeks or even months prior to its release. All you need to do this is a simple shopping cart button, which you can create with https://paypal.com. Make sure you are fairly certain about the release date and let early buyers know when to expect their shipment. You can entice them to buy in advance by offering a discount, personally autographed copies, or a bonus to go along with the book (like an extra report or audio download). You can also set up pre-sales with Amazon, which can have a dramatic impact on your book’s sales rank because pre-sales are all counted on launch day.
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