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The Most Important Words On Your Web Site

Dec 29, 2007
When I coach authors on what their web site needs to look like, I spend a lot of time talking about the words on their web site, i.e. their copywriting. But even more important than the collection of words are a few individual phrases no site can be without.

Sign-up: getting your visitor to sign up for *something* is important. Why? Because studies have shown that surfers don't often buy the first time they land on your site. Often they want to browse, shop, maybe bookmark you for later. If they bookmark you, you've lost a sale. Don't get me wrong, I love it when someone bookmarks the Author Marketing Experts site but when they do, the likelihood of my being able to sell to them is minimal.

Instead, I get them into the AME funnel by encouraging prospective customers to sign up for something they want, i.e. our Book Marketing Expert Newsletter. And then to encourage them even further, we actually give them something for signing up: our Top 50 Media contact list. So if you're not asking for a sign-up, you might want to reconsider this. Then, give them an ethical bribe in return: give them something they want. Don't just throw a freebie at them and expect your visitor to jump for joy. Here's a clue: if you wouldn't want the freebie, it's likely they won't either.

Buy: most of us have been taught not to ask for what we want. I'm giving you permission to not only ask for it, but put it on your home page. So often I talk to authors who say their web sites aren't selling. They're not selling because the author forgets to ask for the sale. The words Buy or Buy Now are a call to action that will greatly increase your chances of making a sale. If this isn't on your home page, have your web master or web designer add it ASAP.

Free: I know, now I'm getting confusing, right? I just told you that you needed to ask for the sale and now I'm telling you that you need to give it away. Well, yes and no. Let me explain. First, while you want to have a strong call to action and a "funnel" to get folks into your marketing message, you also want to give something away (besides the newsletter freebie).

Consider this: people want information or they want to be entertained or they want to be educated. If you can do any of these things, go for it. A way you can do this might be through your blog, blogging is a fantastic way to disseminate information in a free format. The next might be through a game on your site, a resource or article page, or other information on your subject or area of expertise. We had a client once who wrote a book about working with difficult people and she had a game on her site that would let visitors launch a gnarly co-worker out of a cannon (while I love everyone I work with, I used this for other, eh, outside AME people ...). Things like that have a great pass-through factor, meaning that folks will pass along the site or link so others can share in the fun as well. Remember the "Elf yourself" that Office Depot did last holiday season? I must have gotten that link sent to me 25 times. No kidding. People love freebies. Make 'em laugh, educate them or give them something they can't get anywhere else and they'll beat a path to your door.

The point being that even the best web site copy has a few elements that shouldn't be overlooked. By incorporating just a few simple steps, you can really begin to see your site go from a ho-hum author web site to a rockin' selling tool!

Here's to your success both online and off!
About the Author
Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a book marketing and media relations expert whose company has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. Visit AME
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