How I Improved My Sales Page and Increased Conversion Rates for My E-Book

by John Soares on February 10, 2011

A few months ago I made some changes to the website for my very first information product: Writing College Textbook Supplements: The Definitive Guide to Winning High-Paying Assignments in the College Textbook Publishing Market (WCTS for short).

Go over and have a look at the page. I”ll wait…

Writing supplements and ancillaries for college textbooks has been my primary source of income since 1994, so it was natural that I’d turn to my main area of expertise for my first e-book infoproduct. You can see the clickable cover in the right sidebar.

My Overall Plan for WCTS

It’s a narrow niche, and I’m page one, or even #1 on page one, for most of my important key terms. I’ve done this through blogging regularly (about once a week) on the Writing College Textbook Supplements blog with good SEO techniques, along with sending out press releases, writing for ezinearticles.com, and getting a couple of interviews on other blogs.

About Copywriting

Copywriting is the freelance writing niche that focuses on writing sales pages and sales copy for information products and just about anything else that can be sold. (And if you’re good at it and find the right clients, you can make a lot of money.)

Now back to WCTS…

First Change: Text Under the Book Cover in the Side Column

Previously I had a much longer sentence and the title of the book. Now I have:

Find out how I make $50-$100 per hour writing for college textbook publishers.

Note that the bold link highlights a command (to make money) and shows how much I make per hour. (And that’s the true amount. I’ve even had a few projects where I’ve made over $100 per hour.)

It’s short and sweet and attracts attention.

Second Change: More Benefits on the Sales Page

I added more benefits to the bullet lists at the beginning of the sales page, and I also stressed early on how much people can make in this freelance writing specialty.

Note that I don’t go on forever trying to make the sale, and I don’t use major pain/pleasure tactics so common in many sales pages. In part I don’t like it; I prefer softer-sell methods. Also, my target audience contains many people with master’s degrees and Ph.Ds. They don’t like that kind of crap and they’ll click away quick.

Third Change: Clearer Disclosures

I made the disclosures at the end of the sale page more clear, and I used them to help sell WCTS:

Disclosures

Even though I make an average of well over $50 per hour for writing supplements and ancillaries, there is no guarantee that you will make that much. It depends on your negotiating skills with editors, and also how fast you can get quality work done.

And there is no guarantee you will even be offered work.That depends on your education, writing experience and skills, and your ability to market yourself to editors.

Finally, both of the testimonials on this page are from people who were given review copies of the e-book.

Fourth Change: Book Plug on my C.V. Page

My c.v./resume page gets the most SEO traffic. I put my detailed CV (it was about 14 pages as a word document) on the site for two reasons:

1. For SEO purposes. People searching for a particular college textbook may see my link on page 1 or 2 of Google and give a curiosity click.

2. To get work. I’ve already gotten two projects, one a very large and well-paying one, from people who found me online and then contacted me. And when I contact a new textbook supplements editor, I direct her to my c.v., which has likely helped me land several other projects.

About the plug: I put it right at the top of the c.v. so visitors are aware that I have an e-book for sale on a topic that is likely relevant to them:

I’m John Soares. My c.v. provides the usual info you’d expect, and also most of the 200+ supplements and ancillaries I’ve written for college/higher education textbooks.

Want to know how I make $50-$100 creating supplements and ancillaries? Want to know how I’ve made a career through freelance for college textbook publishers? Click the book cover to the right just below my picture —->.

The Results

My conversion rate nearly doubled after the change. Enough said.

Update

I wrote a second edition: see what’s new here. And also see my post about when and how to write a second or revised edition of your book or e-book.

Your Take

What do you think of my changes? Any suggestions for improvement? What do you think are the best practices for creating an ethical sales page?

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    { 10 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Michele Welch February 10, 2011 at 9:27 AM

    Twitter: @newbizblogger

    Hey John,

    Great job on your sales page. First time I’m seeing it. Writing a sales page is hard! I’m actually in the process of creating mine and to say it’s a challenge is an understatement.

    The problem is that when you are doing it for the first time, you don’t know what you don’t know and you are learning as you go.

    I’m with you though, I like the soft sell. I want to make it clear on what there is to offer and the benefits they can get from using this product and the effects on not taking action, but I’m not about shoving things down peoples throats and playing mind tricks.

    It’s either a fit for you or it’s not… that simple.

    Good luck with your ebook. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help. :-)

    P.S. Great idea on offering a book sample. You don’t often see that. ;-)
    Michele Welch recently posted…Going Offline To Seek Online Business

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    2 John Soares February 10, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    Thanks for your kind words Michele. I think we share the same approach to selling: let the potential buyer know all the ways she can benefit from the product, offer a sample, and offer a money-back guarantee. No need to go on and on…

    And good luck with your first sales page. The writing does get easier with time.
    John Soares recently posted…Why Publishers Should Pay a 50-Percent Royalty on E-Books

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    3 John Soares February 10, 2011 at 10:17 AM

    Just did a word count for the sales page: 702 words. Short enough that visitors are likely to read the entire thing. Long enough to have all the key info for making the sale.
    John Soares recently posted…Why I Won’t Buy Demand Media Stock

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    4 Patricia@lavenderoils February 10, 2011 at 10:38 PM

    Twitter: @lavenderuses

    Hi John

    I saw your post on another commluv blog where you had commented. On topic for me, so thought I would come across and see what you as an experienced writer had to say.

    For me, I am at the beginning of the journey with writing my first e-book. This post is really helpful and informative in getting it right. Like you; I don’t believe in the hard-sell. Puts me off, so figure it will put my readers/customers off too.

    Thanks for sharing what works for you. Can add it to my notes for when I do finish my e-book and I am ready to publish and put up on my site.

    Patricia Perth Australia
    Patricia@lavenderoils recently posted…Collaboration- the new buzz word

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    5 John Soares February 11, 2011 at 9:47 AM

    Patricia, thanks for sharing where you’re at now with your ebook process.

    I think you’ll find that the straight-forward and truthful sales page will get you more customers than the long sales page with the screaming red headlines and the hard sell, at least in most niches.
    John Soares recently posted…What to Do If You Take a Blogging Break

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    6 Dave Doolin February 13, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    Twitter: @doolin

    I recall how horrified I was when I found out that some professors did not prepare their own lecture material ex nihilo. =)

    John, my hunch is you could likely teach the first two years of just about any college curriculum in the country. Heh.

    Reply

    7 John Soares February 15, 2011 at 9:39 AM

    Dave, thanks for the vote of confidence. Most of the textbooks I create supplements for are for lower division courses.
    John Soares recently posted…Get Permission to Use Copyrighted Photos

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    8 Susan T. Blake February 16, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    Twitter: @susanTblake

    Thanks John, these are very good, replicable tips!
    Susan T. Blake recently posted…Doppelganger or Kindred Spirit An Invitation

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    9 John Soares February 16, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    I’m glad you found them helpful Susan!
    John Soares recently posted…2010 Book and E-Book Sales Data for the United States

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    10 Direct Sight November 26, 2011 at 9:45 AM

    Twitter: @directsight

    Thanks John our team found this very interesting after getting this recommended to us. We are implementing some of your tips and will post what results we have found. Best wishes Mark

    Reply

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