Why authors need landing pages – and what to put on them

A wooden desk with a plant, coffee, glasses, notebook, and hands typing on a laptop with the screen showing ‘Landing Page’.

By Allison Tait.

When people talk about landing pages, writers seem to look the other way, assuming that landing pages are for people with, I don’t know, products to sell.

The fact is, though, that if you are an author, with a book to sell, you have a product. Not a vessel for your creativity, hopes, dreams, desires and Big Thoughts, but a product. (Okay, it is a vessel for your creativity, hopes, dreams, desires and Big Thoughts, but it’s a product as well.)

And having a product means that you have to think about how people are going to learn about your book – and how you’re going to convince them to buy it.

Enter the landing page.

Of course, chances are that you haven’t the foggiest notion of what a landing page is, or how to use one, but we have you covered.

In episode 31 of So You Want To Be A Copywriter podcast, host Bernadette Schwert interviewed Kelsey Johnson, product marketing manager at email marketing platform Aweber, about how to create landing pages that sell. You can listen to the full episode here, but here are the key questions in a nutshell.

What is a landing page?

“Just a standalone web page,” says Kelsey. “It can be built separately from your website, and it’s used for just one purpose. One specific page for one specific purpose.”

Fun fact: A landing page doesn’t need to connect to your website in any way.

Why would I create a landing page?

“Landing pages used to be for bigger companies, to run advertisements or marketing targeted for specific groups. Marketing that speaks directly to those people – the way you would promote a product (for instance, software) to students, for instance, is different to the way you’d promote that same product to a small business.

“But now, [landing pages] are trickling down to all users, no matter what you sell. You can use them for getting sign ups to your newsletter or use a landing page to sell one specific book, to get people really excited about that one book.

“Websites are big and hard to build. Landing pages are simple and can be put together easily with a landing page builder – there are lots of templates available. It’s easy to try out different languages and messaging.”

Fun fact: Most newsletter platforms, like Aweber and Mailchimp, will also offer landing page templates for members.

What do I put on a landing page?

“No matter what you’re selling or trying to get [potential customers] to sign up for, you want them to take an action. So your landing page shouldn’t just be a list of the things you have available – instead, show [visitors] how it will benefit them. Create a list of the benefits you’re offering to that audience.”

Fun fact: Landing pages are niche pages. With your website, everyone who visits has to work their way through it to find what they’re looking for. A landing page is all about them, and they’re often following a link from Google ads or social media.

How do I write a landing page?

According to Kelsey, there are just a few must-haves:

  • First, come up with a value proposition for your audience. Who are they? Where are they coming from? What will they expect to see? Use that information to drive one very attention-catching headline.
  • An image or video is essential. Keep any video short – you have about seven seconds to get your message across initially, but the total video should be less than a minute.
  • Three bullet points – explain the benefits of what you’re offering to that person in three bullet points. The three most important things.
  • A huge ‘call to action’ – what do you want them to do? Sign up for your newsletter? Click through to get a free resource (writing tips, reading lists, a free chapter, novella or ebook? Buy your book?) Make the button BIG.
  • Social proof – testimonials, case studies, reviews. “Social proof is essential,” says Kelsey. “Put it everywhere!”

Fun fact: “That’s it,” says Kelsey. “Let’s not add anything more – from the headline, the imagery and the bullet points, you should be able to get the conversion.”

Want to know more about landing pages and copywriting? Join the AWC Copy Club here!


Author bio 

Allison Tait is the author of three epic middle-grade adventure series for kids: The Mapmaker Chronicles, The Ateban Cipher and the Maven & Reeve Mysteries. A presenter at AWC and former co-host of the So You Want To Be A Writer podcast, Al is currently working on a new landing page for her newsletter. Find out more about her at allisontait.com.

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