“It’s better to give than to receive” still has a broad, universal appeal. We borrow this old advice to demonstrate the benefits of a profitable content marketing strategy – offering an e-book.
People quickly tire of being sold something, no matter how much they need. On the other hand, learning something new or necessary keeps them interested and conveys a subconscious recognition of the source. That is one method to get your foot in the proverbial door before it gets slammed shut.
eBooks, like trade publications, offer content designed to appeal to a specific audience. In preparing it, your company establishes its authority and credibility and downplays self-promotion.
The customer who finds the material helpful and interesting will hopefully attribute those qualities to your brand. That may not lead to an immediate sale, but it could generate enough interest to request a newsletter or accept a free trial.
What exactly is an eBook?
eBooks are educational and create value for the viewer. It is a download meant to be read digitally rather than flipped through in paper form. An eBook is a longer form of content, but not so long that it becomes tedious and time-consuming. If you stick to around 2,000 words, you have the best chance of keeping the reader’s attention.
Why create an e-book?
Before we get to these steps, let’s look at why you should create an e-book in the first place. An e-book can help your business in several ways:
The first is an additional source of revenue – but the truth is that you probably won’t make more money from your first book, at least not right away. To make money selling e-books, you’ll need to do a lot of advertising and marketing. You may not make any real money until you have sold five or six books. If you want to sell e-books, you should start now – be aware that you won’t make money immediately!
The second way an e-book can help your business is by increasing your credibility. If you’ve written a book about your area of expertise, that’s a sign that you know what you’re talking about! The added authority can open up new opportunities for you, such as becoming a speaker.
After all, you wrote a book on a topic, so you must be an expert! That can help you attract new customers. You can also impress existing customers by giving them extra recognition with a physical edition.
Finally, your e-book can feed directly into your business by becoming part of your marketing funnel. You can give away free copies of your e-book in exchange for your customers’ email addresses – the classic “freebie” opt-in – to get people on your email list and later turn them into customers. Using your e-book, you can organically lead people to the next step of working with you.
Creating an e-book for your business to attract more quality customers
1. start with your “why?
Before you start creating the e-book, be clear about your specific goals. What reasons are there for you to write this book, given the various ways a book can add value to your business? What role will it play within your content and marketing ecosystem? Which of your products or services do you want it to feed into? What do you hope to accomplish?
It would be great if you were clear about your reasons for writing the book, as this will motivate you throughout the process and ensure that the finished e-book meets those goals.
2. Get familiar with your reader
If you have a business, you must already have a clear picture of your ideal customer or client. Make sure you know this person in terms of their demographic characteristics – age, gender, location, etc. – and psychographic characteristics – attitudes and behaviors – well. That is usually the person you want to read your book, so your ideal reader will match your ideal client.
Find out what their most significant problems are and what solutions they are looking for. What kinds of things would they search for on Google and Amazon? What are alternatives currently available to them? Don’t skip this step because it’s crucial if you want to create an e-book that people will want to read.
3. Choose the right topic
You might be tempted to cram your entire philosophy of life into this first book as your ultimate legacy to the world. The danger in doing this is such an overwhelming task that you will never be satisfied to have put everything into it.
Second, you enter the territory of “vanity publishing,” thinking only about what you want to say rather than what your customers want to read. It’s much more effective to choose a narrow topic that people are interested in and where you can provide specific answers to their questions. Then later you can write more books about all those other topics!
4. Plan your outline
Now that you know who you are creating for and what you are writing about, you can start creating an outline for the e-book. Start with the goal in mind: what do you want your readers to understand or be able to do after reading your e-book? Then ask yourself what they require to know to do that. Start with your key messages – these will be your chapters.
Write down the critical points that the reader needs to understand for each message – these will feed into the content of the chapters. This planning stage will save you a lot of time when you start writing the book and ensure that you write content that addresses your reader’s problem.
5. Write the book (duh!)
Easy, right!!! Or maybe not. If you love creating and are good at it, you’ll enjoy it – but that doesn’t mean you’ll get it done. Writing a book is one of those “important but not urgent tasks” that keeps getting put off while you get on with more important things.
Schedule time in your calendar to write regularly – it’s best to set aside an hour or two to do it first thing in the morning before you even open your email.
If you don’t like writing or recognize your limitations with spelling and grammar, try putting together slides as if you were giving a lecture on your topic. Record yourself giving the training and then have someone transcribe the recording. Rev.com is an excellent service for this task.
There is no magic length for an e-book regarding how much you should write. It’s more regarding quality than quantity: you want to ensure you deliver the solution you promised and that the content isn’t too lightweight so that your reader is disappointed and feels like they wasted their time.
6. Choose a catchy title
If you were clear about your readership ahead of time and chose a narrow topic, choosing a title shouldn’t be difficult. In general, it’s best if you don’t try to be overly clever or cryptic! While well-known authors can get away with some cryptic wordplay, that’s not very effective for a beginner.
Think about search engine optimization – try a tool like Google Keyword Planner to find the terms people are searching for, and type things into Amazon search to see what comes up. Make sure it’s clear from the title what the book is about. You can also have a subtitle to back it up – “How to…” is a formula that works well.
7. proper formatting
If you are only making your book available as a free download, the most specific formatting is to convert your document into a PDF file. Basic formatting includes chapter headings, fonts, paragraphs, and so on.
Divide your text into smaller chapters with headings and subheadings to make it easy to read. If you’ve added images or diagrams, make sure they display the way you want them to.
You should use a template if you plan to distribute your eBook through a third-party platform like Amazon. There are options for Kindle and also for different paperback sizes if you want to print as needed. For more information on formatting, check out Amazon’s guide to e-book publishing and print-on-demand. You can also pay someone to do it for you if you get stuck.
8. Check and check again
You can create an e-book very cheaply on your own, but there are two areas where you shouldn’t skimp. The first is proofreading, and the second is cover design (more on that later).
Professional books go through many rounds of content editing, proofreading, and editing. As for content, you can ask your existing community and customers to read your draft or outline and give you feedback – this will also help your audience buy your e-book before it’s even published.
Spelling and grammatical errors are the worst signs of an unprofessional book and will hurt your business rather than help it. Print out the text because you can miss some things in the digital version. At the very least, have others proofread the final version – after all the hours you’ve spent working on it, you’ll be blind to mistakes.
Related: How To Analyse Customer Feedback?
9. Appearance matters
The second significant investment is a professionally designed cover. Your cover is the first thing individuals will see when they come to download your e-book. It won’t get many clicks if people don’t notice your cover or look amateurish.
You need an eye-catching design that conveys what your book is about and who it’s for.
If you’re going to distribute your book through Amazon, make sure your cover fits the categories you’ve chosen and stands out even as a small thumbnail. As for formats, you’ll need a 2D version for Amazon and a 3D version for your marketing materials.
10. Set up a funnel
If you expect your e-book to be part of your marketing funnel – because even though it’s primarily for credibility, you should make it worthwhile for you and your business goals – you need to set it up properly. The easiest method is to create a landing page where prospects can sign up and receive a free copy of your book (in PDF format) in exchange for their email address.
If you’re distributing the book on third-party sites like Amazon and want to ensure you’re driving people to your site and into your community, you can also include an opt-in link in the book’s content.
That can be right at the beginning of the book so that even people who don’t buy the book can see the link if they “look inside” the first few pages. The link and call to action should lead to an additional benefit related to the book – perhaps a book guide or series of worksheets accompanying the content, an email course, or a video series.
11. Promote, Promote, Promote!
You might assume your work is done once you’ve written and published your e-book. But if you stop now, you probably won’t see the results you’re hoping for! How to market your e-book could be a whole book, but the essential point is that this is 80% of the work.
So how can you create the “big bang” around your publication? You want to get readers excited about your book and get people talking about it.
You can get individuals talking about your book in several ways:
- Let your social media community and email list know about the book launch.
- Host a pre-release with free copies or bonuses for people on a waiting list.
- Maybe include a download link in your email signature.
- Get creative and get your book out there!
The advantages of creating an e-book for your business
1. It improves lead generation
Since lead generation is one of businesses’ top three content marketing goals, e-books are essential to a successful inbound marketing strategy. Any lead magnet, whether an e-book, checklist, template, or another resource, will help your brand improve its lead generation.
It’s easier to grow your email list and capture users’ attention when you offer them valuable information for free. That shows that you want to teach your audience new things to be successful in their ventures.
2. An e-book strengthens brand Credibility
Building your brand and attracting the appropriate audience takes time. It’s especially difficult for new businesses and websites to prove themselves if they don’t yet have a large following.
However, giving readers the knowledge and encouraging them to learn increases your brand’s credibility, positions you as an industry expert, and gives you a solid reputation.
3. It builds brand loyalty
Quality content can drive traffic to your website, encouraging users to become loyal to your brand. To profit from your e-book, you need to attract loyal readers. It’s simpler to convert them into paying customers once you have their attention, but you must ensure you provide valuable information first.
4. An e-book leads to sales
Even if you don’t sell your e-book at a specific price, providing it free leads users to enter the sales funnel and become more familiar with your brand and its content. Align your content with your audience’s buying process, so they feel ready to buy. A healthy email list combined with valuable lead magnets is a recipe for increasing sales.
How many good leads can an eBook deliver?
Taking the time to develop quality, in-depth, actionable information that answers questions and solves a specific problem is the best approach. eBooks are a subtle marketing tool disguised as a generous giveaway. If promoted properly, visitors will find their way to your offer and website.
A form that works
If you’re wondering who will read your eBook, start by gathering some basic information. Add a form they can fill out if they express interest in your free e-book. That is the cornerstone of building a solid relationship with newcomers.
As with any sale, getting a prospect interested takes more than one attempt. You want to build a profile of your reader to tailor future contacts. A form is required to separate the wheat from the chaff. Giving out personal information will deter people from seeking free offers and wasting time.
However, providing an email address in exchange for an e-book doesn’t mean someone is giving you permission to harass or take advantage of them. The longer the form is, the more people will change their minds. So ask only for what you need (name and email), not everything you’d like to know (phone number, address, job title, industry, income, star sign, etc.).
The Bottom Line
Generating new business is one of the significant hurdles marketers must overcome. eBooks can be a friendly introduction and a goodwill measure that builds credibility and attract more high-value customers.
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