Creating an e-book is a significant undertaking for any business. From idea development to writing, design and promotion, e-books can be a drain on time and resources. Done well however, they have the potential to generate quality, high-value leads that result in a considerable ROI.
E-books can be a hugely valuable asset for both B2B and B2C companies, yet ensuring that your efforts are going towards something that generates real, valuable returns can be challenging. With that in mind, here are our top tips for creating e-books that attract warm leads that count.
One of the main aims of any e-book is to promote your brand as an industry specialist, or at the very least a knowledgeable voice within its niche. This begins with understanding not just who your audience is, but what kind of questions they’re asking.
A little bit of audience research comes in handy here, and should be performed as early in as possible to shape and formulate your content plan going forward. Sites like Answer The Public are a great place to start, as is mining available data sources for the most common search terms users are inputting to find your site. From there, the focus should be on providing valuable solutions to the problems your audience face.
Effective content marketing practice prioritises informing your audience over selling to them. An e-book should be an opportunity to showcase your brand’s knowledge and expertise, so use the space to build trust with your audience rather than offering them the hard sell.
Sure, you want the final e-book to showcase your brand in the best light possible, but the key here is subtlety. More often than not, focusing on providing your audience with the information they need is enough to give your brand credibility and effectively promote your services.
E-books are a great way to introduce new and prospective customers to your brand, so should be free to access wherever possible. Even so, it’s also true that gated content is a good way of weeding out time wasters and making sure your content gets seen by the most relevant leads possible.
If you do opt for gated content, consider including a lead magnet by asking users for their basic contact information (name, email address, job title) in return for the e-book. This value exchange will allow you to follow up with your readers directly and is a great way to grow your email list at the same time.
Valuable, informative content is the primary component of any successful e-book, yet it shouldn’t come at the cost of good design. Even if aesthetics are typically far down on your list of priorities, ensuring that your e-book is clear and user-friendly goes far. This will not only attract readers, but also encourage them to stay on the page and navigate from one piece of content to the next.
Along with developing effective lead magnets, designing your e-book with UX in mind is a key part of your lead generation strategy, and is all part of Conversion-Rate-Optimisation (CRO).
There are a whole host of resources online that offer guidance on e-book design for non-designers, although it’s always recommended to seek the opinion of a professional if your budget allows. Your choice of font, colours, imagery and page layout all contribute to the overall user experience and should be high on your list of considerations.
Investing in promoting your e-book needn’t be limited to a financial commitment – it’s just as much about investing more time into the process. After all, even the most informative, well-designed e-book will be little use to your business if your audience isn’t aware it exists.
By the time you’ve reached the promotion stage it’s likely that you’ve already put a significant effort into perfecting your e-book, so don’t be shy in shouting about it. Share the e-book across your social media channels, targeted email lists and, if your budget allows, consider paying for the content to be boosted on Facebook.
Where e-books really shine in comparison to printed content is the ability to include links and tracking features, allowing businesses to gain a clear view of their success. Insights into user engagement and interaction are invaluable when it comes to improving your strategy going forward and getting the most from prospective leads.
Creating an e-book can seem like a daunting investment for brands, yet follow a few simple rules and you’ll stand yourself in good stead to generate the best return possible.
For more information on how we can help you to create effective e-books, get in touch with the team today.