I wrote recently about author funnels on Creativindie but the point was this: you can’t try to give everything to everybody. You have to focus on the 95%.
Who is going to visit your blog? Either people who know you, your name, your book’s name – or people who don’t.
People who already know you and your books probably don’t need to visit your website much: when they finish a book you’ve include a call to action and links to go buy the next one, or sign up for a free book from your website. (If that’s the case, you have a special landing page where they can sign up for their free book, not just the homepage).
And it’s important to get those people onto your list.
But it’s more important to think about the people who found you by accident – because they were searching for stuff related to your genre, and because you were smart and wrote a lot of great content with keywords relating to your genre – they stumbled upon you’re site.
And now you’ve got, maybe, 3 seconds to catch their attention.
How do you do it? With fancy colors and images and moving gifs and flashing lights?
One Facebook or Twitter, when they are scrolling through a bunch of stuff, pictures help your posts stand out. But they are already on your website. You don’t need to catch their eye, you need to hook their brain. Probably with an interesting headline or subtitle.
All your posts should extremely clickable with captivating titles, but you also need your subtitle/tagline (under your blog header or logo) who you are and what exactly you do.
And then you want them to do something.
But don’t give them a ton of choices – too many choices will paralyze them.
Give them one choice.
The choice will probably be, “Read Something For Free.”
You could offer a free book, but if they don’t know you yet, they aren’t going to want it – at least not badly enough to give you their email.
So instead you should try and get them to read an excerpt. “Read the first chapter free!” and immediately following, add social proof with a few reviews, or “over 100 5 star reviews” or “over 10,000 sold” or “winner of X prize.”
Give them a reason to start reading.
Back it up with social proof.
At the bottom of your excerpt you have “get this book for free on Amazon” (for your permafree book – if you don’t have one, you can link to your book).
At the end of that book, you have another offer – something even better – to try and get them on your email list.
Why do you need an email list?
So you can let them know when you have a new book out, ask them to buy it and review it, and hopefully share it with others. But if you only have one book, after they’ve bought it and read it, having them on your email list is worthless… unless you plan to write more books soon. It’s still a good idea, but it can be expensive once you get a few thousand people on your list to keep it up, unless you’re earning some money back.
So you need more content.
Don’t give them everything. Don’t worry about everybody. Make the thing you want them to do the easiest thing to find; remove obstacles (price, confusing site, email optin). If you ask for their email too earlier they’ll leave. You need to make them want your book before they’ll trade their money or their privacy to read it.
You can do that with excerpts, or a brilliant description, or a beautiful book cover, or lots of quality reviews. Attract them with the right content, grab them with a good offer, get them on your list – OR sell the book hard and get them to click over to Amazon and buy.