They form the next part of the process. eBooks are an excellent way of turning your blog readers - as well as other visitors to your website - into leads.
An eBook can be a valuable offer that is gifted to an individual in exchange for their details.
However, this means they need to be worth their salt. eBooks represent an opportunity to mine deeper into a topic that is of interest to your audience; to further address their needs and problems.
So how can you make eBook marketing work for your business?
Content, content, content
It can’t be stressed enough: an eBook has to be packed full of interesting information. It doesn’t matter what you write about - as long as it’s relevant to your audience.
You could tackle an industry-wide issue that has ramifications for your readers; address some of the most common questions you get asked by customers; or explore further a subject you covered in a blog post that was received particularly well.
Remember, an individual agrees to share personal information about themselves in return for this content - so it has to be worth their time.
And there's no way of getting around this - it’s no good making your eBook sound fantastic in an offer when, in reality, it’s thin on the ground. Yes, you may still get new leads, but those people will quickly lose faith in your organisation if your content doesn’t deliver on its promise.
The planning process
Once you’ve decided what your eBook is about, it’s time to start planning how to turn your ideas into reality.
Whether you’re producing the eBook in-house or outsourcing to an agency, get key people together. This will include the writer and people within your organisation who harbour the most in-depth knowledge about the topic. It is their know-how that will add depth and value – the comprehensive, educative detail that will position your company as a thought leader and 'go-to' resource in your market.
The writer should question the "experts", in order to get right to the heart of the issue. However, if you are the organiser, you would do well to stop these meetings going on for hours - they can often be quite intense! You can always arrange an additional gathering if you don't manage to cover everything.
How to start writing
Even after you’ve gathered all the relevant information, it can be a challenge to start writing an eBook. It’s a lot longer than a blog post, after all.
Writing on Copyblogger, Ali Luke advises: "Think of your eBook as a series of blog posts.
"Content-rich, in-depth posts that readers can’t wait to read and share.
"When you look at it that way, your eBook suddenly seems less… daunting."
Just like any book, you can create chapters. By tackling these one at a time, you make the process a lot easier.
And, of course, all the usual writing rules apply: ensure that you always keep your reader in mind; craft a compelling title and chapter headlines; and adopt the right tone.
Your eBook will likely undergo a number of revisions, so it's important to set deadlines and stick to them.
Don’t forget about design
It’s a great accomplishment when you complete the copy of an eBook - but the hard work’s not over yet. Your eBook will fall flat if you don’t package it in an appealing way.
Let’s say your eBook is 5,000 words. That’s a lengthy read - but a valuable one. However, if a reader downloads your content and comes face to face with 15 pages of dense text, they might change their mind about reading it. On the other hand, if they’re presented with 28 pages of carefully designed text, images and infographics, they’re far more likely to invest their time.
Select a front cover image that captures the concept of your eBook in an interesting way and think carefully about the images within the copy. A good tip is to use pull quotes - pinpoint key sentences and phrases and place them in a distinctive font throughout your eBook.
eBook marketing in practice
Now that you've created your eBook, it's time to get it in front of your readers! As I mentioned at the start of this post, eBooks are a great way to turn blog readers into leads. You can achieve this by creating eye-catching call-to-action (CTA) banners and placing them at the bottom of blog posts. If the reader wants to find out more, they simply click on the CTA button and are taken to a landing page to access your content offer.
It's good practice to place the CTA button on other pages across your website - for example, in a dedicated section on the homepage. And you can also share the landing page on social media.
Additionally, you can send an offer to individuals in your contact base that you think would be interested in the eBook. Even though you already have these people's personal details, the eBook could bring them closer to doing business with you. And they may share the email with someone they think could benefit from its content.
eBook marketing is a fantastic way for your business to gain new leads. Creating an eBook that contains valuable content requires careful planning and hours of work. But if you can present a reader with a worthwhile offer that demonstrates your knowledge and expertise, you will be one step closer to calling them a customer.