Why eBooks May Be the Best Idea for Content Marketing
How many times have you heard the expression “communication is key” in getting to know your customers and letting them get to know you? How else would they be expected to keep up and marvel at all the many benefits associated with your products and services?
Old Days, Old Ways
In the past, that communication might have arrived in a customer’s home mailbox or office inbox in the form of a slick brochure or newsletter. Or perhaps you would be lucky enough to be asked to appear on a local television show speaking authoritatively on some subject related to your industry. Hopefully, the host would mention your name or plug the company and you might receive a few leads as a result of your fifteen minutes of fame.
Now There’s a More Targeted Approach
Today you can put all that knowledge and expertise into one impressive inbound marketing vehicle, an eBook, which can then be offered to existing and potential customers as an example of your overall outlook and business acumen.
The great thing is, it doesn’t look like advertising.
By now, most people are used to the convenience of reading all sorts of books, magazines and blogs on their computer or mobile devices so downloading an eBook feels less like a sales pitch and more like a coffee break. Who doesn’t want to learn something new every day?
And eBooks present another very attractive benefit to your business: online lead generation. In a quid pro quo transaction like this, people willingly give their contact information in exchange for a useful, comprehensive compilation of tips, explanations, resources and advice on which they can take immediate, informed action. Plus, it’s all attributed to you and your business.
To paraphrase Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, “if you write it, they will come.”
Three E’s of eBooks: Expertise, Entertainment, Engagement
Let’s Start With Expertise
Whispers of a rising star with a stellar reputation can bring new customers barreling to your brand. Nothing rivals going viral. Your own eBook let’s you “show what you know“ and provides a small sampling of your company’s superiority. This is the teaser that talks to the clients reluctant to sign on without an example of your expertise.
You may have already established a voice of authority through ongoing blog posts, emails and updates to your website. Webinars put you face to face with the public. Monthly newsletters convey a wealth of interesting information. However, the instantly downloadable eBook takes those efforts one step further to deliver an in-depth demonstration of a company’s capabilities. What you’re really saying when you take the time to present your own quality eBook is that you are an established thought leader, have achieved a real level of success and can comfortably and confidently guide and assist others.
While we know promoting the latest in plumbing parts is no laughing matter and you don’t want to make light of electricians, there is a way to make your point and sell your product with the help of some honest-to-goodness humor. If nothing else, it will keep the reader awake and that’s a good thing. It’s always wise to watch what you say and keep your content from sounding too formal and fussy. But you don’t want to go overboard in the other direction either. It stands to reason, if an eBook is friendly and easy to follow, the people behind it will be, too.
Jokes like this Rodney Dangerfield gem, “I haven’t spoken to my wife in years. I didn’t want to interrupt her,” aren’t necessary. Remember that the humor must be appropriate to be effective. But the goal is to keep the reader reading. Let’s be honest: a little pun, a little sarcasm, a little self deprecation goes a long way toward lightening things up.
“I looked up the family tree the other night and found I was the sap.” (Sorry, we couldn’t resist. RIP Rodney D.)
Rules of Engagement
Of the three, this is the most important integral component to eBook creation and essential to online lead generation. In fact, analytics can detect which parts of the eBook retain readers the longest or entice them to click through via a link.
Take the time to brainstorm stimulating topics of discussion that come up within your industry. Think about what facts a shopper might need to make an informed buying decision. Even touchy subjects like auto recalls or customer complaints can be turned around to your advantage with titles like “How to Survive Your Car’s Recall” or “Satisfying Customers One By One.”
There are proven techniques to keep readers engaged, some of which will be covered below. Every time you Insert a relevant video, audio or interactive graphic and vary things visually with bullets, subheads, lists, etc., you add interest. Granted this approach does require some additional planning and a thoughtful rollout of subject matter—something a skilled eBook content writer can help with.
5 eBook Essentials
If your eBook impresses, the logic is your company will, too. Therefore, the effort that goes into creating a first-class eBook should represent, in every way, the unique ability your business has to satisfy a potential customer’s needs. You want to leave them wanting more. If they did this, think what they’ll do for me…
That’s why it’s so important to understand the key factors involved in how an eBook evolves. Here are the steps you need to take to grow your business and reach new audiences.
Pinpointing the purpose of the book is the first step toward planning your content. What are you offering as a taste of things to come? Will it educate, organize, influence or explain? Think about the kinds of questions your customers ask. How will this content lead people back to your business and ultimately benefit your bottom line?
For example, let’s say you own a travel agency. Rather than sending out a daily barrage of emails shouting Post-Brexit London or River Cruises Reduced, you may want to produce an eBook that offers industry insider advice on how to uncover and calculate all the hidden costs and 10 ways to shave those exorbitant expenses. Or you could cover the pros and cons of Airbnb including first-hand “rest-imonials.” If you feel the content has been compelling enough, you should capitalize on that success by inserting a link to your website for more money-saving travel tips or a discount coupon.
Any time you can solve someone’s problem, the loyalty factor goes way up. Whether it’s a tip on removing ink from a silk blouse or adding oil to a leaf blower, that’s information you’ve gone out of your way to provide that can potentially save time, money and frustration. It has value. It may sound simple and obvious to you, the expert, but those are the kinds of things that increase authority and credibility in your customers eyes.
Here’s another example. Perhaps you’re running a garden nursery and you have a collection of monthly how-to newsletters released over the last year. Your customers may appreciate having them all in one convenient place—a thoughtfully compiled eBook. By including links to other resources, videos, training, seminars and the like, you show you have a non-commercial motive of simply being of service.
Format and Flow
First and foremost, your eBook is an extension of your identity and, as such, should be treated with the same care and caution. The look and tone needs to complement any existing branding strategies including logos, graphics, typography, slogans, etc.
Let’s talk about voice for a minute. Casual brands like Banana Republic and Forever 21 would have a distinctly upbeat, style-savvy tone of voice compared with the staid seriousness and lower octaves of a hundred year old, venerated Washington, D.C., law firm.
The standard organization rules of writing any book apply:
- Keep it logical
- Watch transitions
- Have an introduction and conclusion
- Write what you know
- Verify all the facts
The length of the book may vary, ranging from 2000 to 4000 words on average.
Prose Like the Pros
Just because it isn’t on the shelf at Barnes & Noble doesn’t make it any less of a piece of literary achievement and, therefore, your eBook is subject to all the rules of grammar and spelling and good common sense. That means the content must be flawless when it comes to design, writing and editing.
This is a professional product. You wouldn’t hand out a business card with a typo or approve a television commercial with a competitor’s store in the background. The same goes for the quality and accuracy of an eBook. It’s out there for eternity. Consider it money well spent to hire a skilled eBook content writer to insure every detail will be checked and double checked.
Do Read The Don’t List
Remember, it’s not hard sell, it’s hardly selling. Be informative and entertaining. It’s a gift with no strings attached, in theory.
- Don’t try to cover more than one subject
- Don’t make it sound like an ad for your business
- Don’t tout your company too much or push your products
- Don’t charge a lot – best to offer for free
Totally Targeted Leads You Need
Ebooks offer an outstanding opportunity for a business to generate a substantial amount of leads. You can request a person’s email address before they download the book so you’ll have the contact details of anyone interested in your particular subject matter. You’ll be able to capture prospects at the time in the buying cycle when they’re most receptive–either seeking information and solutions to their problem or evaluating all the options.
With eBook sales rising so rapidly, people are getting more and more accustomed to obtaining instant information in book form. This becomes one of the best means of online lead generation because you have pre-qualifying proof that people want what you have. Adding an eBook to your online marketing kit can also help with search ranking since Google desires to see more original, fact-filled content replenishing stale websites.
Create a Buzz
To promote and create a buzz around your new eBook, just embed links on your home page, Facebook or other social media accounts. This offers a convenient, immediate call to action with one click. Truly good eBooks get shared and talked about online, bringing fresh prospects to your brands.
And when people request to download your eBook, it makes it easier to track and manage lead generation using analytics programs. This research can predict the likelihood of someone becoming a client and tailor future sales interactions accordingly.
Writing an eBook article about writing an eBook is like teaching a class about teaching a class–you have to follow your own advice. Above you saw we started with a clever headline and strong subhead, followed up with a logical flow of ideas that support the main topic, injected humor to keep things light, broke up large chunks of text with bold subtitles and added interesting visuals to illustrate our ideas. The tone is friendly, casual and conversational, yet hopefully, we have packed the pages with all you need to decide if an eBook is your next step in a strategic online marketing plan.
An eBook is an in-depth lead generation asset, available as a PDF download that lets you target a specific audience’s need with value-packed, educational, actionable content to attract them to your brand.
When you are asked a question about your business, do you ever feel like you could write a book on the subject? Well now’s your chance! Contact us and we’ll show you how we publish attractive, effective and lead-generating eBooks for our clients.