EBooks are used as a part of content marketing strategy by many companies. Since they cannot be created overnight (meaning you aim at crafting a quality one), there must be clear benefits you get as a “reward” for allocating your resources on an eBook.
Do eBooks really help your marketing and represent a win-win approach, which makes customers more loyal to your brand? Let’s find it out.
Buying ads on social media has become a go-to practice for many businesses – it creates a relatively steady flow of new customers discovering your business and product.
However, it doesn’t really contribute to building relationships with your potential or existing customers, while content marketing does both.
And why would relationships mean that much? Firstly, they help keep your clients coming back for more and keeping tabs on your new services and products, and secondly, they facilitate word of mouth advertising your brand.
According to the research, people trust opinions and recommendations from those they know significantly more than any ads or even online reviews from people they don’t know.
Moreover, “content marketing generates three times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, and costs 62% less,” as it says in the Upwork’s eBook The Fast Lane to Great Design.
But there are several tactics in content marketing, and one of them is eBooks. And it is no piece of cake to produce a highly converting one. So, obviously, you might question this approach for marketing your business: is it really worth your time and money?
To get an answer, you have to:
- find tools and methods, which can optimize the process of eBook creation, so you can save resources without loosing in quality,
- estimate how much time and money you need to spend on your eBook
- compare necessary investments with potential results.
1. Is there an easier way to make your eBook?
There are many ways to facilitate the process of writing an eBook - for free. Although the writing itself shouldn’t be something to save on, you do not have to load your designer with additional work or break your head over things like formatting, cover design, etc.
There are apps and online services providing you with templates - you just have to copy and paste content into one of them and your book is ready. The same tools often let you create original images.
For instance, Crello provides users with more than 250 themed templates made by pro designers for free
2. Let’s calculate how much time and money your eBook will take you
Say, you plan to create a 70-page eBook, which, with illustrations, can run up to around 5,000 words. Researching and writing a quality 1,000-word article takes an expert about 1 to 3 days. That’s approximately 8-20 hours of work on the content itself.
Alternatively, you can repurpose your blog posts, which makes everything a lot easier. You just need to tweak them here and there to adjust to an eBook format.
Another thing to try is to interview experts, be it your company employees, clients or independent consultants. This way you get unique content usually for free and a part of these people’s authority.
And remember, eBooks should not be long - 20 pages of useful content will have more value in readers’ minds than a 200-pages full of fluffy words.
Next, write in the time necessary for designing your eBook. If you use already existing solutions, it shouldn’t take you more than one working day to put everything together.
There is usually no need to prepare many visuals (these are mainly photos and screenshots) from scratch for a book, which is being created as a part of your content marketing strategy.
Your next step is marketing your eBook. Yep, that’s the widely noted irony of inbound marketing – you actually need to use outbound marketing to get the word out. Marketing may include creating a landing page for your eBook, writing social media and blog posts about it, and mentioning it in your newsletter.
(Social media are really great for promoting your eBook: for instance, you can list your eBook on a company LinkedIn profile, or give a link to it in Facebook groups.) Developing this content can sets you back another 20+ hours. In total, we are looking at about 50 hours of expert time.
3. Is it worth your time to create an eBook?
Now what’s left for you is to estimate whether that’s a viable lead generation and client relationship-building option for your brand.
Nobody can guarantee the number of leads or better yet sales you’ll get from your eBook because that’s like giving somebody a PC and saying you will complete 10 projects with it – unless you possess necessary discipline and expertise that’s just not going to happen. But eBooks are a well recognized inbound marketing strategy, successfully used by big brands like Intercom.
However, what you can be sure about is that your eBook helps to:
i. Establish you or your company as a thought leader people would remember about when in need of an expert opinion.
At Copyblogger, they have created 15 eBooks - and made the complex appear simple, while not giving obvious and too general advice. This is a sign for a potential customer to choose them, and not their competitors - everyone would like to see the level of a company’s expertise before making an actual order.
Being considered an expert means a lot, especially now, when people are bombarded with eye-catching ads, discounts and cloned products and services they can barely distinguish one from another.
ii. Repurpose already existing content giving it a second life.
You may have written a lot of blog posts that are still relevant - why not making the most out of them? Find out what topics people are really interested in - visit forums, Q&A platforms, and Facebook groups - and pick up relevant blog posts to make an eBook.
iii. Improve your website's rankings.
Documents are also taken into consideration by search engines, so you can make your eBook accessible for everyone without registration and it will still be useful for marketing your business.
You can also place it on Google Play - Google is interested in indexing this content, so you will get additional attention from it.
iv. Give readers a feeling they control the situation.
They can decide on whether or not to download your eBook and when and how to read it. Besides, eBooks can be downloaded and read without an Internet connection - on tablets, PCs, smartphones or eReaders.
v. Provide them with unique content they feel grateful for and thus, more willing to give something in exchange.
People stumbling upon your useful content online are actually more likely to leave their emails for you to send them updates about your product or service down the line.
DemandGen Report – 2017 Content Preferences Survey states that 76% of buyers said they would share information about themselves with a business in exchange for white papers, 63% – for eBooks, 57% – for case studies.
And since email ROI is estimated to be quite high (numbers vary, but according to Adestra and Econsultancy’s study data global brands spend an average of 15% of their marketing budget on email, while email accounts for 23% of all total sales), expanding your contact base can be a reasonable way to facilitate further sales.
AdEspresso promise to give a full guide on mastering social proof marketing making it difficult not to share your email with them.
Put out sought-after content that’s valuable for your customers to create and further relationships with them as that is likely to be one of the best endorsements you’ll ever get.
If you are able to cut a few corners in your eBook production – like using your internal research data and analytics, engaging your employees to contribute to the book and using ready-made templates to design the piece – you can produce this marketing item with minimal effort, in a short amount of time.
Considering all the benefits it can bring you, you are not at risk of wasting your time on something that has no value at all.
Sawaram Suthar is head of marketing at Acquire, and also a founder of Jagat Media, a digital marketing agency. A digital marketing consultant, he has experience in things including branding, promotions and page optimization, along with research and strategy. He has an MBA from the University of Pune. Anyone can find him on @sawarams.