This is another addition to our ongoing series of tutorials and case studies on landing pages that work.
Singapore-based Pearlin Siow is a go-getter! A writer and author of business motivational books, she knows that writing a book can add a nice fat dollop of authority gloss to individuals and businesses.
Her new venture is all about applying that proven tactic and making it pay. Along with her co-writer, Cayden Chang, Pearlin wants to attract business owners who understand the value of proximity. In this instance, having their business article/info/bio adjacent to articles written by well-known Asian entrepreneurs in her upcoming book series, 100 Best Business Ideas To Make You Rich.
Let’s dig right in.
- The Goal:Get 95 pay-to-play articles
- The Challenge: Pearlin and Chang want to hit the ground running with their new site launch
- The Current Landing Page: www.the-100-best.com
- Value: $998 per article inclusion
The Maven’s 10-Point Critique
#1 — Make sure your landing page design works for the majority of monitors and screen displays.
I viewed the page on my 20” screen/1680 x 1050 resolution and it looked a little big to me. I then tested it on a 15” monitor with a standard resolution. The page spilled its borders and was completely unreadable. You’ll definitely want to rework the overall design layout so the majority of visitors can read the page comfortably and without a lot of fiddling around.
#2 — Use one strong establishing image ‘above the fold.’
Your header and book cover images are large — too large, in my estimation — and compete with each other. Your headline gets lost sandwiched in-between, and lost means not read. I’d pull back the banner size and simplify it to its essential message. Then I’d crop the cover image to show just the front of the book.
The back cover is too hard to read, even in this super-sized size. Don’t show what visitors can’t digest.
#3 — Be mindful of what a book cover communicates, both directly and indirectly.
You can’t judge a book by its cover but, to one degree or another, all of us do. That’s why smart publishers spend time and money to get their book covers just right.
Your current cover confused me. Why does it look wrinkled? Why the handwriting effect? Why the Tested and Approved badge — by whom? Your cover has to appeal to two markets — buyers of the book product when published AND the business people who will pay to be included in the book. Ask yourself — do you want to appear in a book that looks like that and do you want to pay for the privilege?
$998 is a lot of marketing dough to spend. A high quality, business-elegant book cover will make it easier for your prospects to imagine their own name and article inside.
#4 — Provide an example of what ‘my page’ might look like.
For $998, I want to see a sample of what my page might look like. Offer an attractive mock-up of a typical page. Show me what my investment buys me — my name here, my photo here, my business information (name, URL, etc.) here, etc.
You actually do this but it’s not on the landing page. It’s found buried on your click-through page, Terms and Conditions. You want it on the landing page. Show a portion of a sample page and link to a pop-up window (that keeps the reader on the page) that shows a typical article. Rather than a static PDF, it might be fun to do this as a mini-movie so you can do close-ups, etc.
From an emotional standpoint, this is a vanity project. Therefore you have to help the prospects imagine and visualize themselves in the book and make them say Wow, I want to be a part of that.
#5 — Consider a two-column format so you can run photos of all the famous folks you’ve interviewed for previous books adjacent to your page content.
Consistency may be the hobgoblin of a small mind, but I tend to like bio shots in one basic format and size. I’d think about redoing these images with professional head shots (like Yap uses in your sample interview) and decide on one size for display.
#6 — Put your core promise upfront.
In the newspaper business, failing to do this is called burying the lead. In marketing, we call it less-than-smart, especially when you have just a few seconds to capture someone’s interest long enough for them to continue to engage with your message.
Right now, you have 4 (4!) screens of warm-up copy and big pictures, but on the bottom of screen 4 I found this:
Wouldn’t it be great to get instant credibility with your clients and customers by being featured in a bestselling business book, called 100 Best Business Ideas To Make You Rich, alongside top entrepreneurs like …”
Not a perfect sentence but it hits the core point — Gain instant credibility by sharing your knowledge alongside other business experts in a new business book. I’d also add something about not having to write a word if you’re not a writer or too busy to do so. We’ll write it for you!
#7 — Don’t underline anything in your copy that’s not a link. And the only links you should have on your page are the calls to action or links that support the calls to action, period.
You underlined your book title, making me want to click it. When nothing happens, I’m frustrated. Feel free to use bold, italics, or color to highlight your title. Just don’t underline them.
Speaking of links, you have several that distract visitors from your page and force them to leave. Links to Amazon might sell a few of your other books, but you’ve just given someone a reason not to proceed toward a $998 pay-off. If you use a link, have it open up on the same page.
Every link has to be 100% focused on helping the visitor make a positive decision toward the desired action. Nothing more, nothing less.
#8 — Be trustworthy. Prove all claims or don’t make ‘em.
Hype makes prospects antsy and mistrustful. That’s why marketers (like you and me), just can’t say anything and have folks believe. Shouting doesn’t make it so, either. So one of the areas I’m particularly honed-in on is language precision.
If you’re calling yourself a best-selling author, prove it by copies sold, Amazon or Barnes & Noble ranking, etc. If you’re, for example, the most successful business author in Singapore, that’s cool. It’s specific and believable. Say that instead.
Also, a book that isn’t yet published can’t be a best-seller. It’s a future/prospective/potential best-seller, but not a best-seller now. So you need to focus on the claims and statements you can make that are provable and believable. Believability leads to trust and trust leads directly to a sale that the customer won’t regret later.
#9 — Consider your audience when highlighting your chosen experts.
I have to be honest to say I haven’t heard of any of the folks you highlight. The fact that I personally haven’t heard of them isn’t important. What is important is whether or not your prospects have.
If you’re going for a strictly Asian market, you might be good to go. If you’re thinking outside Asia, then you’ll want to sprinkle some European, North and South American experts to round out the roster.
#10 — Detail the process for your visitor, step by step, once they’ve paid their $$$. Anticipate their questions.
Okay, so I pay my money and then either submit my article and ancillaries or you interview me and write it up.
Then what happens? Who owns it? Can I use my article on my own blog? How will you market this book? Do I get a cut of the sale price? Do you have an affiliate program? These are the questions running around your prospect’s head that will most certainly need answers.
BONUS 1– Define and clarify your call to action.
Submit your story and Join now are two very different calls to action. (What am I joining?)
Submit your story for review is a better call to action. It lends a little exclusivity to the mix, since you’ve noted that entries will be limited.
BONUS 2 — Clarify the charitable contribution.
I’m all about the pro bono, obviously. But your copy says 100% of the book sales will go to your charity. When I read the linked document, however, it says 40%. Disconnects make me uneasy.
My thanks to Pearlin Siow for her patience and support of Heifer International. Look for my next makeover in approximately 4 weeks.
Want to get a future Copywriting Maven landing page makeover?
Got a landing page that’s more poop than pop? Willing to share with Copyblogger readers? Prepared to put a little of your own “skin in the game” for a Maven Makeover? Then follow your click to Maven’s Landing Page Makeover page for all the details.
I’m back-logged for gratis “Heifer” critiques until 3/15/10. If you’re interested in a private critique/makeover or other services, please email me directly.