Episode 59 – Planes, Clickbait, and Google Buy Buttons

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The dynamic duo of digital debutantes took on their usual trio of tips and the latest in self-publishing news in their 59th episode. In today’s show, you’ll learn about Facebook Custom Audiences, Facebook funnels, and successful autoresponders. You’ll also hear discussions on news stories focusing on Kobo books on planes, clickbait advice, carving your own path, Amazon’s new sales pages, and Google’s upcoming addition of buy buttons to search results. This week’s Question of the Week: Do you like Amazon’s new sales page? Why or why not? Do you think it’ll increase or decrease sales and why?
What You’ll Learn:
  • How Custom Audiences can help you hyper-target blog visitors
  • Why you shouldn’t worry so much about Fan Page likes
  • What kind of lead magnet works best for your business
  • How you can get books on trains, planes, and automobiles
  • Why you should consider limiting the blogs you read/follow
  • What to do instead of following every marketing tactic
  • How Amazon’s new sales pages could change your strategy
  • What Google’s new buy buttons could mean for book sales
Question of the Week: Do you like Amazon’s new sales page? Why or why not? Do you think it’ll increase or decrease sales and why?

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  • Jacob Williams

    Bryan, I use several YouTube optimization strategies that help me have sustained passive growth. I can share them with you. I talk about some of them in this podcast I was on: http://bit.ly/1PXjKvh

    • Jacob Williams

      I’ll give you one strategy that I didn’t include in that interview: If you click the settings gear you can listen to that episode at a faster speed. Recall that YouTube ranks videos based on minutes watched. My average minutes watched per video went up when I put annotations telling my viewers they could go through my lessons faster.

      • Bryan

        Ooh, faster vids. I didn’t know you could do that. Good tip.

    • Bryan

      Thanks for sharing, Jacob!

  • Denise Bossarte

    I don’t like the new sales page.
    I work hard to differentiate my books from other books in my genre. I am willing to put in the effort to do what it takes to make that happen, like using the AMC tool.

    And now Amazon has taken that away. And put an advertisement for someone else’s book right under mine.

    Why not reposition the descriptions to the new location, but leave in the ability to “spice” up the content?
    The advantage of having the description higher on the page counters the loss of the special formatting, IMHO.
    Not sure about sales – could see the masses responding to the change in either direction.

    • Bryan

      Adds more emphasis to the cover, that’s for sure. Even more reason to add video and whatnot to your author page.

  • RachelMedhurst

    I like the new sales page. I think it would be good if we can still make it pretty, but Jim is right about having to scroll. I used to scroll down to find the book description and go straight past it. At least where it is now, it’s unmissable. There is also still a decent amount of the blurb on desktops. I’ve not seen it on mobile yet.

    • Bryan

      Death to scrolling!

  • It’s an improvement. I think, as you mentioned on the show, they’re migrating their online space to be better suited for mobile use, so consolidating the info at the top makes sense. They’re the king of one-click shopping. They’re going to do everything they can to eliminate wasted time and screen landscape for the mobile consumer.

    • Bryan

      Good point on eliminating wasted time.

  • Crissy Moss

    I like the fact that they are condensing everything so that you see it right at the top of the page. I don’t like the fact that I now need to rewrite my blurbs so that the first line is more eye catching. If the copy is good it might increase sales. If bad, then probably not. Having a good cover to grab attention is the first step.

    Also, they did take away the color, but the large font headers are still there on mine. Still a possibility to put the tagline in the larger font, minus the color.

    • Bryan

      Yeah, I like that you can still use the header size. Time to think of some new tag lines :).

  • I think it’s an improvement because it eliminates the need to scroll down the page, but I wish they would allow the orange colour option for the blurbs. Other than that, I think it looks much cleaner. We’ll just have to wait and see if they decide to stick with it or go back to the old one.

    • Bryan

      And let’s hope it increases sales too!

  • A quick note on the clickbait thing. You’re both kind of wrong on it. The thing is that while I’m sure that there are listicles and articles with clickbait titles that are genuinely useful, most of them don’t have that intent. They exist (and are designed) for one of two cynical purposes: to get you to buy something from the person/group writing them or to get you to read more articles and bump up the impression count for online ads.

    In both cases, the articles *are* designed to get you to take an action… but that action is never the one that the article is ostensibly about (e.g. an listicle on weight loss tips isn’t there to help you lose weight. It’s there to pitch a weight loss product for you to buy).

    • Bryan

      Ooh, good point. Though I’m sure some clickbait titles have good intent, most fit your description here.

    • I think clickbait and listicles are two different things. Clickbait is scammy headlines or articles designed to get you to click. Listicles are just “cliff notes” versions of articles. Totally different things.

  • Chris Syme

    On the “clickbait” issue–the problem with this piece is that the writer considers all bloggers who are attempting to provide useful advice “hacks.” It’s my observation that many times, academicians and authors have this ethereal sense that everyone has some sort of innate wisdom they can draw on and “figure things out for themselves.” It is a silly romantic notion that doesn’t jive with the time-pressured existence most authors live daily. The real issue here is not the titles of blog pieces (this author is definitely showing his ignorance by that assumption) but the lack of knowledge and discernment by the readers. Know that you can follow a handful of very reliable sources and stick to them. Most bloggers in the marketing space are writing about the same things. Find ones you can trust–ask around on forums if you don’t know any. Use an RSS reader and scan before you read. Saves time. It’s readers who need to become savvy, not writers. As long as HubSpot tells us that lists are popular with people (time savers), we are going to write them. Anyone who calls all listicles wrong is throwing the baby out with the bath water. I liked Jim’s take on pain points. Agree. This has more to do with people’s “need to know” and not unethical bloggers. Fear of missing out.

    • Bryan


      I agree, most blog posts I read from experts have at least one important point to glean. And it’s ultimately what you do with it that counts.

  • I actually don’t mind this change to the Amazon page layout. Having the description higher is great, but it only shows a tiny bit of it. I miss the orange headers though. I may have to tinker with it a bit.

    • Bryan

      I don’t mind it either. I’ll need to tinker too.

  • Nick Marsden

    Clickbait — it’s the bane of the internet. I hate clickbait! It’s so easy to tell yourself “I’ll just look at one of these”, then the next thing you know, an hour has gone by. I don’t think it’s a matter of “acting” or not “acting”. It’s a matter of avoiding distractions. Clickbait has no use other than to distract. And “good” clickbait often disguises itself as useful information. I think it’s time for the internet as a whole to boycott these stupid lists! GAH!!!

    • Bryan

      BOYCOTT! Down with Top 5 lists. Especially the top 5 news!

  • Nick Marsden

    Question of the Week:
    I think you guys are right about making the opening tag line more “hooky”. I think that is the intent of making the blurb area so small. I was looking at my page and tried to think of a way to make my entire blurb show up on the page without having to scroll, and it looks impossible. So, we all just need to take a new look at that opening line. The tag still works. It just doesn’t turn the letters orange. It makes the line bold and larger than the paragraphs. Writing that hook in will still be effective. But it’s gotta be an awesome hook!

    As for my personal feelings about it, I think it could use a couple tweaks (too much clutter of buttons), and that thing about series links not working should be fixed, but the general layout is starting to grow on me.

    • Bryan

      I contacted KDP and they (mostly) fixed the series thing.

  • I’m excited to see the blurbs higher on the sales page! It’s about time. It would be nice if more showed, but I suppose it just gives us more incentive to make the beggining of our blurbs more catchy.

    Now maybe Amazon will make some other much-needed changes to their sales pages.

    • Bryan

      Let’s hope! Yay catchy blurbs!

  • I love the new sales page, with a couple of exceptions.

    I love that the first few lines are right there at the top. I wish you could use the H1 and H2 headers, but I haven’t been able to for print ever, so I’ve come to terms with it.

    What I don’t like is that it no longer shows the original price crossed out with the new price underneath it, nor the words ‘you save’ when Amazon has price matched the book or discounted it (in the case of paperbacks).

  • Also, listicle sounds like testicle, but probably only Jim and I laugh at that.

    • I refuse to admit that I laughed at this publicly.

  • Harmon Cooper

    Bryan, which podcast are you listening to for social media marketing (namely FB)? I was hoping you’d list them in the show notes as they sound helpful.

    • Bryan

      Hey Harmon. Yes, the first three links are links to those podcasts, but here they are again for you. Rick Mulready’s is particularly good for FB marketing:

      • Harmon Cooper

        Thanks! I’ve been listening to self-publishing podcasts for the last two years in preparation to launch a dozen or so books this year (I’ve been saving…) I was so happy when I stumbled upon the Sell More Books Show. It is very good, helpful and Jim’s rants motivate me to perform (as I walk through the crumbled streets of Central Asia, where I currently reside). Thanks for all the hard work.

        • Bryan

          Very glad to have you as a listener, Harmon :). Also glad you’re getting some motivation while tramping through the crumbled streets!

  • QOTW: I like the current way it’s looking on my screen. Like in a supermarket when they move items around it makes the longtime shopper stop and look. They may see something they’d never noticed before.

    • Bryan

      Great comparison, Clark!

  • robertscanlon

    Hmmm. I was seeing that new Amazon Kindle page at the same time everyone else was (but not on all browsers), but today it’s reverted back to the old design (on two different desktops, both logged in and logged out).

    BUT … on the iPad the new design still stands.

    They are testing and testing …

    • Bryan


  • In response to the ‘Books on a Plane’ segment, I was really excited about this news when I first read about it on Publisher’s Weekly. It’s amazing what Kobo is doing. They are working so hard to be innovative, and I want to get in on the great things they’re doing. It won’t be long until they surpass B&N as the #2 spot of major ebook retailers. I didn’t know B&N was doing something similar with their partnership with Amtrak. I think it’s awesome, and I really wish B&N would’ve done this a long time ago, else they wouldn’t be struggling in this situation like they’re doing now. I hope this is a sign of a positive turnaround for B&N.