The best landing pages are ones that will drive new readers to your email list, build brand awareness, and increase sales which will allow you to grow your business substantially within months. While there are several types of landing pages that can carry out this important task, it’s even more important to realize one must have the ability to accurately design a clean template which will provide easy navigation for potential readers.
In other words, clunky pages rarely convert and often makes your business come across as low-quality, so if you tried to connect a site with your own domain to one made up of a free Wordpess.com page because you wanted to save a few bucks, it’s rare readers will give up an email address to join your mailing list.
Would you be willing to hand over your email if you clicked through to a low-quality landing page?
I wouldn’t, because to me the credibility of the author just went to shreds. If the landing page itself is low quality, I can be assured that the freebie I’m offered is as well. Even if the author’s actual works are high quality, how do I know this is the case if I’m reading a freebie that’s full of typos, contains a cover clearly made on a free book cover design site, and either took me to a free WordPress.com page or even one from a mail service provider.
I wouldn’t consider this to be a legitimate business and no, nobody’s getting my email if I’m led to such a page.
Therefore, if I want readers to take me and my business seriously, they deserve high quality across the board, from my free books I give away in exchange for an email to my websites. I don’t want to be seen as a low-quality amateur and anyone looking to begin an indie author business or any type of writing business in pursuit to leave Corporate America should have the same mindset.
So today, we’re talking about how to obtain an awesome landing page and what you need to do so your page can compete with some of the top authors in the game using five important elements.
Element One: Invest in a Premium Theme
Many of your free themes carry the basics, but if you invest in something Premium, you’re going to get Premium. For me, I dropped $497 for Authorcats, which had landing page features built in, which came in three forms: Simple, Long, and Upsell.
Before purchasing the system, I toiled for about ten hours in the library trying to create a MailChimp-based page and while it turned out okay and my site was linked to it, it wasn’t my page. Instead, I was using a page on someone else’s platform and it wasn’t my own. Therefore, my domain name didn’t match up, which is especially true for free pages.
I also wanted to connect the page to a mail service provider, but again, it’s going to be clunky and inconsistent using a MailChimp-based page as well as creating email templates from a MailChimp-based profile.
Now it’s time to create some wealth with your hard-earned money and invest in themes that carry high-quality landing pages.
So, this screenshot shows the homepage to my site. Notice that the very first thing visitors see is my free book, a blurb about my book, and a button below that they can click.
The Authorcats theme has the homepage built-in plus the button readers can click through to claim access to my freebie. When they click this button, they’ll be taken to the next page.
Element Two: Consistency
You want your site’s elements to remain consistent. Look at the above screenshot where I feature dark colors everywhere except the orange button, which gives my call to action more visibility. In other words, I want my readers’ eyes drawn to that button the second they read my bright headline.
Also notice the book cover is also professionally designed, which augments the implication that my reader magnet is going to be high quality.
Now, on my sister blog, Lord of Columbia Series, I also have an identical homepage, but take a look at the difference and you’ll easily see why the above screenshot serves a greater purpose for collecting emails while the latter is more of a blog that talks about influences behind the work.
Notice the difference between the home pages. Now, take a look at my next screenshots when I actually go to click through to claim my book.
So, this was a click-through from Lord of Columbia Series. It’s serviceable, but it’s not quite what I’d find high quality if I were a potential reader. Note that I’m actually going to redirect the home page on this site to my landing page on the sister site, but for all intents and purposes of this article, I wanted to leave it as is to show you the difference.
First off, I’m not being redirected to another page. I’m right on my website so everything going on here is still associated with my brand and not someone else’s, which brings much more professionalism to my work. Again, the above example is serviceable but it’s not something a true professional creating brand awareness wants. But, let’s go ahead and use one of my email addresses to join my mailing list. My Prolific Works list is going to be added to my MailChimp list, which is all I use MailChimp for these days, while my subscription on Lord of Columbia will go to my updated MailerLite list. When the time comes, I’m looking to merge my lists on MailerLite since the latter is much easier to use.
Element Three: Upsell!
So, I’m going to go ahead and claim my freebie and add myself to my own lists and you tell me which one looks better. Let’s start with the list from Lord of Columbia Series, the one that’s linked to Prolific Works. Now that I claimed the work, I’m taken to this page, one that also has other works I’ve claimed from other great authors whose themes mimic my own, and by the way, if T.A. Walters and Tracy Lawson are reading this article, rest assured your works are kickass! Loved them both.
But you get the point. This doesn’t quite work for my brand. First off, I’m using Prolific Works, which is a great site to place your freebie reader magnets on for increased exposure, but it should only be for Prolific Works users. There’s a lot of free treasure on here like Patriot Son and Counteract, as well as my first in series, Northern Knights, but it’s not my own brand.
So if a reader is on Amazon or iBooks and they click through to download Northern Knights, which is perma free on all these platforms, I want them to be directed to my site, which I’ll describe in a later article that discusses reader magnets in greater detail.
Also, if a reader clicks through from Lord of Columbia Series to snag this freebie, how do they immediately know about my other works? I have a complete first trilogy of Lord of Columbia, but directing them to a different site isn’t helping my cause.
So, let’s click through Lord of Columbia and see what happens.
Will you look at that?
So, their free book is successfully headed straight to their inbox, which I’ll talk about later but look at this deal. Now, I have this box set on Amazon but it’s only advertised if the reader joins my mailing list. Amazon doesn’t consider the Complete First Trilogy as part of the series itself mainly because I told it not to; knowing about this is another reward for my mailing list. You can stumble upon this box set on Amazon, but if you join my mailing list, you get a one-way ticket to a massive discount.
So, instead of downloading Swords of Destiny and Missing in Columbia, Episodes II and III in LoC for $2.99 and $4.99, respectively, you can download all three books for $5.99, saving you $1.99 when you download all three at once. As for the other page, this deal is nonexistent.
I could put an ad in the front and back matter of the book, but do we really read ads when we’re excited to read a book? How many of us bought a book and immediately looked at the author’s backlist?
Probably none of us.
So, why bother?
It’s not going to convert well.
But again, notice that button in orange that says ‘Buy on Amazon.’
Let’s talk about that button next.
Element Four: Call to Action
Don’t be afraid to tell people what to do, so instead of stating ‘You Can Purchase Your Copy Here’ instead you want to tell them what to do: Buy on Amazon. Click to Purchase. It’s a command. I’m not asking, I’m telling.
And that’s what we as authors who wish to earn a full-time living need to hit home on.
Tell your readers what to do and it’s much more likely you’ll see a higher conversion rate.
But, your call to action needs to lead readers somewhere. So, let’s click the CTA and head over to Amazon.
Bam! Now, my new reader just joined my email list, where they’ll receive future updates on LoC plus more freebies and can potentially have just claimed/purchased four books for the price of two.
Not bad, right?
Element Five: Ease of Use
Let’s head over to my email where you can watch exactly how I can download the work straight from my site. This email is connected to another landing page where the reader can choose which file they want so they can download to Kindle, iPads, other ereaders, or if they choose, they can just download the PDF.
Alright, so I was able to successfully deliver my free book to my email. So, clicking through I’ll find a Thank You email confirming to my reader that their free book is ready.
The email should look something like this, which will redirect my reader back to a hidden page on my site where they can either click through the link or click the button toward the bottom. Now, the only readers with access to this page are ones who’ve joined my mailing list, so if someone didn’t click through to the page, they won’t have access to the book.
Take note, however, that my color scheme hasn’t changed. The links are orange, the button is brown, which matches my color scheme on my site. Again, these pages are building me brand awareness.
So, let’s go ahead and download this book by clicking through to the button.
Now, they can click the final CTA and download their copy of The Skyehawk Chronicles. Notice on the screenshot below that when I click the CTA, a list of options come up, allowing readers to choose whether they want to download the work on a Kindle or other ereader device, or if they just want the PDF.
My old landing page/email list strategy never would’ve yielded great results, but using the Authorcats system along with hosting from Wealthy Affiliate I was able to keep all my branding on my own site. You simply can’t do this anywhere else unless you are a webmaster, or are proficient in using landing page builders like Elementor and similar plug-ins.
For most of us authors, we’re not proficient webmasters, which is why the Authorcats theme was an easy buy for me. Literally, a no-brainer that I recommend to anyone. You can clearly see the difference between what my old style looked like on Lord of Columbia Series versus my up-to-date style on Lord of Columbia.
For blogging purposes, Lord of Columbia Series has its own role and can help supplement in building my email list, but for the sole purpose of building my list, the landing page connections plus CTAs on Lord of Columbia only augment brand awareness and conversion rates, bringing a much more legitimate template to the game than the clunkiness of my previous one.