When a visitor lands on your website, you’ve got one chance to get them to take an action, or you might never see them again. In this sense, your entire website can be viewed as a delivery mechanism for calls-to-action, in much the same way a museum is a delivery mechanism for inspiration.
But just like different masterworks will inspire different museum-goers, different CTAs will resonate with different guests. The challenge is balancing both the priority of multiple CTAs as well as guiding different visitors to the correct CTA for them. Remember, readers, peers, and the press each want very different things from your site.
So beyond instantly and unambiguously communicating your unique and professional brand to visitors, what’s your priority? Without question, it’s driving readers to sign up for your mailing list.
Why? Because if the one action you get readers to take is signing up for your list, it’s like wishing for more wishes, because then you’ll have weekly opportunities to get them to take action in the future!
After your list comes selling books, event attendance, and social media connections, in that order. Notice how your top four CTAs are for readers. The reason is twofold:
- Readers are the lifeblood of your business (and don’t you forget it).
- Readers are less likely to arrive on your site with a goal, so you’ve got to capture their attention quickly.
For that reason, this post focuses entirely on designing great CTAs for readers. In a future article, I’ll cover how press kits and press releases, deals with CTAs for your peers and the press.
Now, let’s activate those readers!
If your website does nothing else, it should persuade readers to sign up for your list, because once they’re signed up, you can invite them to take any other action, as the changing tides of your career demands.
So make them an offer they can’t refuse! Most of the time, this means trading a short story for a list signup, but depending on your genre, you may be able to offer epic fantasy maps, gamerlit character sheets, how-to checklists, or exclusive video recordings. The sky’s the limit, but that limit is this: Whatever you offer, it’s got to be something your readers want from you. In other words, it’s got to be on brand.
- If you haven’t done so already, sign up for a mailing list provider. We use and highly recommend MailerLite.
- Set up your mailing list by designing a branded template and an automated sequence of welcome messages.
- Select or create a compelling freebie to offer readers for signing up, and consider using BookFunnel to deliver it with grace and ease.
- Update your website page layouts with a prominent invitation to sign up for your list in exchange for your freebie.
- SiteArcade - Building a Reading Order Guide to Expand Your Fandom [7m read]
- Chris Fox - 3 Rules to Writing an Effective Reader Magnet [12m video]
Do you have a new release? Are your books on sale? Never miss a chance to convert a visitor into a buyer by evoking your brand promise with great copywriting and delicate salesmanship.
- Create reminders or private calendar events so that you update your website promos surrounding new releases, price drops, and pre-order launches.
- Draft sales copy that leverages your brand to increase conversion. Refer to the resources below.
- Look for places in your website layout where you can feature perennial bestsellers and series starters. Note: these are useful, but not high-priority.
- Kindlepreneur - Scheduling Book Promotion Sites To Increase Sales [8m video]
- Sleeknote - Call-to-Action: How to Write High-Converting CTAs [5m video]
Rally your readers to attend your next event. Good ol’ human interaction can impact your author presence very positively, but it will never happen if you don’t tell your audience where to find you.
- Look for places in your website layout where you can position a stream of upcoming events. This feed is medium-priority, as many readers won’t be interested depending on location, platform, or medium.
- List new events as soon as you schedule them with exciting copy that clearly states what to expect at that particular event.
- Highlight events as the date in your newsletter and social media streams to build excitement.
- Follow-up recent events with photos and gratitude to get readers more excited about attending the next event.
- SiteArcade - 8 No-cost Promo Ideas to Help Your Fans Find You [7m read]
- SiteArcade - How to Organize a Successful DIY Book Tour [12m read]
- Publishers Weekly - The Indie Authors Guide to Organizing Author Events [9m read]
Readers want to get as close to their favorite authors as they can, seeing the world through the unique set of eyes that only the author possesses. Use a contact form and links to your active social media accounts to bridge the gap. Active is key: Your readers want to interact. Don’t send them to an empty room.
- Strongly brand your social media profiles, using a pinned post to encourage readers to sign up to your mailing list.
- Before linking to any social channel, populate the feed with carefully curated content that represents your brand, genre, and positive personality traits.
- On your website, prominently feature your contact form, but keep social media links out of the way. Your mailing list, books, and events are far more important.
- SiteArcade - Social Media for Authors: Nurture a Positive Online Presence [10m read]
- Neil Patel - 7 Social Media Hacks That’ll Make Your Business Grow Faster [7m video]
Calls-to-Action are one of the most important elements of your author website because they represent they key to transforming a curious visitor into a reader.
The problem? People are prompted to take action online constantly. The solution? When crafting CTAs, get in your reader’s head. Offer them things they want, in language they use, or forget persuading them to take action.
Copywriting is a skill that will pay in dividends throughout your career. Nurture the skill, and it will multiply your impact across the board.
Next step: How to Sort Your Website Bookshelf for Maximum Impact.
See you then!