Landing Page Makeover Clinic:
10 Tips for Better Book Sales

Landing Page Makeover

Since Brian likes me to cover the “conversion” beat for Copyblogger, I’ve been actively collecting spot-on quotes, resources, tip lists, etc. to help you make the most of your online sales/marketing copywriting efforts. So let’s start with a pretty good quote about our favorite topic, landing pages.

A landing page is communications, not advertising. Landing pages are where you communicate valuable information. Advertising gets people to click to your landing page, but once a prospect is there, the landing page should focus on communicating the value of your offering to the buyer.

I pulled this from Web Ink Now, David Meerman Scott’s blog, Web Landing Pages: Required for Search Engine Marketing. I like this quote a lot, although I’d add it’s where you communicate value AND direct a specific response/action from the visitor — even if that action is to click through to another page.

There’s other good stuff in this post, much of which we’ve covered in previous posts. What’s interesting to me, though, is that the landing page for his new book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR could use a boost in landing page effectiveness. If David were to ask me to revise this page, here are 10 changes I would offer:

  • Strip away the page template navigation and other extraneous elements so the focus is strictly on the product and the pitch.
  • Open the page with a strong, benefit-rich headline that speaks directly to the reader’s self-interest.
  • Tell me more about what the reader will learn by reading the book and following its advice.
  • Revise the copy from a little less “I” and a lot more “you.”
  • I’d make the product or “hero” shot bigger and more prominent. I might put the first BUY button under the photo.
  • Move the praise from below the fold of the page, edit tightly and move some of the items in the left column. The rest I’d highlight in shaded boxes throughout the copy.
  • Line of text in red, bold or plain, is very hard to read. I’d use red sparingly and use a deep blue for heads and subheads.
  • Feature the “specials” so they’re seen by the reader. (To review the special, I need to use a link that takes me to a different page. I might use a clickable pop-up here to keep the reader on the landing page.)
  • Again, rather than send me to a different page to read the forward, I’d edit it and present the gist in a clickable pop-up.
  • Ask for the order, use your own BUY button rather than Amazon’s (it can still link to Amazon), and put the title of the book adjacent to it.

Want the Maven to Makeover Your Current Landing Page?

After I prepared this post, I got to thinking it might be fun to do Maven Makeover Clinics as an ongoing feature, with landing pages contributed by Copyblogger and Copywriting Maven readers. You submit the URL of an existing landing page (your own, please), and I’ll critique in an upcoming post. I might do some in-depth reviews like the one above or “quick-tip” my way through several.

Now before you get all excited about getting a freebie, I’ll tell you right upfront that I don’t work for free (well, not usually :=) You wanna play? You’ll have to pay, but not me. I’m going to ask that participants pony up a donation to my one of my favorite charities, Heifer International.

Please, no emails just yet.

I’m still hammering out the details, including a special email address and yes, a landing page, to handle the requests. I’ll be back within the next few weeks with specifics.

Roberta Rosenberg is the Copywriting Maven at MGP Direct, Inc.

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Reader Comments (48)

  1. says

    Thank you Roberta!

    How cool that you chose my landing page to review. Yes, I’ve got to do better. I am on the road this week speaking at three conferences, but would like address your suggestions upon my return next week!

    All the best,


  2. says

    Roberta, regarding lines of red on white. Some online marketers emphasise using red text and black on yellow text, because they say they’ve tested it, and maybe not everyone likes the way it looks, but it converts best. What do you think about this? Where do you think text colour sits in the pecking order of conversion friendly factors?

  3. says

    Hi Glenn, I always start from the standpoint of maximizing readability. Short bursts of even garish color combinations can add zip and contrast to regular text blocks and move a reader along. You can’t, however, read line upon line of red or black text on yellow for very long. It’s way too tiring on the eye. But by all means, test color. But it wouldn’t be the first-tier testing I’d initiate.

  4. says

    Great, Roberta. I like the way you’ve imparted your insights in the form of a critique. And neat that you were able to get Mr. Scott involved, too.

    I like your emphasis on where content appears (emphasis on material ABOVE the fold). It’s something that I learned only recently, but it makes so much sense.

    Looking forward to submitting my site’s landing page for a Copywriting Maven review. Will check back for updates toward that end :)

  5. says

    “A landing page is communications, not advertising”, very well said indeed. You have brought up many excellent points regarding landing page optimization. I found this article on the W3 Edge website that details a few other points you all may be interested in. The article is titled “Landing Page Usablity“: a good read.

    Thank you for posting your points!

  6. says

    How about trying something aside from landing pages! A series of extremely short pages linked together like a path can achieve much better results than a single page, especially when you give respondents simple choices and tailor each subsequent page based on their choices.

  7. says

    Hey Anna, I saw your site awhile back but didn’t get to spend enough time there. Can you point me specifically to testing data that supports this assertion?

    A series of extremely short pages linked together like a path can achieve much better results than a single page

    If this is true, I’d love to look more deeply at this technique. Thanks!

  8. says

    Anna, I’d love to see some samples of this kind of technique, too! (Sometimes it’s all I can do to convince clients to make/update even one landing page.)

  9. says

    In addition to the elements you mentioned, there is the matter of design. When you arrive at the page, there is no central focus. The type is pretty much the same size throughout the first screen. The eye doesn’t know where to go. So not only would a good benefit-rich headline help, but a headline that is bigger would also help.

  10. says

    I am impressed with all the tips and tricks given on this blog.

    I would try to implement in my landing pages and will come up with the results.

  11. says

    Hi Roberta,
    I love the first point about stripping away page navigation. This is a vital step that a lot of people ignore. I’ve also seen people that have a site like an Amazon review site add Adsense to their site. In my opinion this is crazy because you are allowing the user to click away from your sales funnel. Ok, you maybe get a few cents for it, but I feel you need to decide what kind of site you are building and then stick to it. Either sales, Amazon review, Adsense etc, but not all in one.

    Thanks again for the useful post.

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