Just like the name implies, an e-book is an electronic version of a book. Rather than being printed on paper, like a traditional book, the e-book format can be read on a computer, a smartphone, a tablet or an e-reader. Since e-books don’t have to be printed, they are much cheaper to create. While many of the e-books published annually are works of fiction created by individual authors, businesses can also benefit from creating e-books. Keep reading to learn more about e-books as well as how they can become a valuable part of your company’s marketing strategy.
E-book Consumption Is on the Rise
In 2015, a whopping 221 million e-books were sold in the United States alone. While that is a big number, it is only a portion of total book sales. About 17 percent of total book sales in America are for e-books. However, that number is just for e-book sales. There are also plenty of e-books that are written and distributed at no cost to the readers. These are typically released as marketing tools.
Using E-books in Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Companies that want to be ahead of the curve, or that want to be in touch with a larger audience, should definitely consider the widespread nature of e-books. More and more people are gravitating toward e-books for their convenience and their instant availability, and avoiding that growing trend might be a mistake.
E-books Can Be a Source of Income for Businesses
A number of businesses bring in all or part of their income by selling e-books. It is possible to sell an e-book directly from your website, letting customers click, pay and download the entire e-book within seconds. If you have a lot of written copy or expertise in a niche area, then an e-book can be a smart way to turn that into income.
The specific subject of your e-book can vary depending on your own industry and your audience. If you have a blog about healthy eating, then an e-book with healthy recipes might be a great way to make money. If your website is all about starting a local business, then an e-book with tips and checklists for entrepreneurs might be a better fit.
E-books Can Help Generate Leads
One of the benefits of creating e-books is that they can help you generate leads. Even if you choose to give the e-books away online at no cost to the reader, you can still gain something in return. Many businesses offer e-books in exchange for an email address. For example, you could have a landing page where anyone who wants to receive a free download of your e-book can sign up for your newsletter. This is the perfect way to please your audience and create a winning situation for your company. You’ll generate new leads who are interested in your industry, and readers will gain access to valuable content.
Establish Expertise and Authority With an E-book
An e-book can be a wonderful way to showcase your company’s authority or expertise in a certain area. For example, you might offer personal training services to clients in a major city. You could secure e-book writing services and put together an e-book about the biggest concerns when finding a personal trainer. When you promote e-book downloads, you’ll also be promoting your brand and your expertise in the field. When potential customers read the e-book, they will be more likely to use your personal training services in the future. Offering an e-book can be one way to increase profits, traffic and customers.
How to Create an E-book
Deciding to create an e-book is the easy part. Once you’ve made that decision, you will have to create the e-book and make sure that it is ready to be distributed to readers. Although an e-book isn’t printed, it should still be of a high quality and free from mistakes. After all, that e-book will be a reflection of your company and your professionalism. These tips can help you create and put together an e-book that will boost your business image.
Define Your Target Audience
One of the first steps in creating an e-book is deciding who you want the e-book to appeal to. Ideally, the people who read your e-book will go on to become customers or loyal readers. Think about who your target audience is, where they live and what kind of e-book they would most like to read. It is not enough to write a great e-book; you also have to ensure that the people reading the e-book are the right match for your business.
One way to define your target audience is to look at your existing customer base. How many of your current customers are women? What is the average age of your current customers? What kind of industries do they work in? Where in the world do they live? Once you’ve answered some of these questions, you can put together a buyer persona. This is a typical customer that you might encounter in your business. When you’re writing an e-book, imagine that you’re writing with this buyer persona in mind. It can help you target your content to the right kinds of people for your business.
Come Up With a Descriptive E-book Title
Sometimes, businesses start by writing the e-book and then come up with a title at the end of the process. While that can work, a much better strategy is to come up with the title ahead of time. After all, many potential readers will only download or sign up for an e-book if the title appeals to them. Unlike in a traditional bookshop, potential readers won’t be swayed by glossy covers or shelf placement. The title needs to speak for the content and the quality of the book.
If you’re thinking about creating an e-book, then you’re probably already familiar with the idea of keywords. While the content of your e-book doesn’t necessarily need to be written with keywords in mind, you should add them into the title. Although the title should still read naturally, it should also contain important keywords.
Remember that once the e-book is written, it still needs to be found by potential readers. One way to help them find your e-book is by including keywords right in the title. If a person heads to Google, or any other search engine, and types in a query, will your e-book come up as a result? If the title is obscure, then it might not. Don’t be afraid to make your title common, especially if you’re planning to distribute it right from your website. The right keywords in your title can bring more eyes to your website and your e-book and eventually turn into sales.
Compile Existing Blog Posts
One way to write an e-book is to start from scratch. After you have come up with your title, you can start to craft an outline and then begin writing. The exact length of an e-book is up to you, but keep in mind that marketing e-books aren’t always very long. While the average e-book tends to be around 80,000 words, novels are longer, and informational e-books tend to be much shorter. It is not uncommon, for example, to have a free e-book that is just 5,000 words long.
Believe it or not, you might have a lot of the content needed for an e-book written already. Simply check your existing blog posts. Much of that information might become the basis for an e-book. A series of blog posts detailing ways to flip houses, for example, is evergreen content that could end up being compiled into an e-book. Of course, this might involve more than just cutting and pasting blog posts into a word document. You might have to do some trimming or find a cohesive way to bring all the content together. However, it can be a wonderful way to generate e-books quickly.
Proofread and Edit the E-book
Very few businesses would publish content on their website without editing it first. You might proofread it yourself or even have someone else comb through and check for mistakes. The same protocol should be followed with an e-book, even though it will take significantly longer.
Your e-book is your way of communicating with new leads. The people who read your e-book might be deciding whether or not to pay for your products or services. When you promote e-book conversions, make sure you can stand behind the copy 100 percent. If you’re not comfortable reading through and editing the entire e-book, then it might be worth hiring someone to write, edit or just proofread the book before publishing.
Hire an E-book Writer
If you’re an expert in your field, then it might seem like a natural choice to write an e-book yourself. While that is certainly a possibility, remember that not everyone has the time, desire or skills to write an entire book. You might be an entrepreneur trying to get a new business off the ground, for example. While you may have a lot to say, your busy schedule might prevent you from creating a quality e-book in the time frame you’ve set for yourself. Rather than skipping this important marketing strategy or putting out a subpar book, hire an e-book writer. E-book writing services let you control the creative process but rely on the professional writing skills of an author. You’ll still be able to outline the content of the e-book, specify the voice of the content and confirm it all before you publish it. However, you’ll also have more time to focus on the other priorities of your business.
Consider Layout and Formatting
Writing your e-book will be the biggest part of the process. Once that is complete, you may want to spend some time thinking about the appearance of the book, the layout and the formatting. If you create a PDF e-book, which is the easiest and cheapest option, then you will have very little formatting to do. As long as you type the text up with plenty of spacing, and you add in page numbers so that readers can find where they are in the book, then there is very little else that needs to be done. For an EPUB e-book, however, there is a bit more formatting required. You might even want to create a colorful cover for the e-book to catch the attention of potential readers. There is a range of software tools that can help you put together an appealing e-book that will look good when downloaded onto e-readers and tablets.
How to Promote and Distribute an E-book
Congratulations, you have created an e-book! Whether you wrote it yourself or hired a professional author for the job, you are now the proud owner of an e-book all about your area of expertise. Remember that simply writing an e-book is only part of the equation. Now it is time to promote the e-book content, get more eyes to the e-book and get as many people as possible to download and read your e-book. Here are some helpful tips for promoting and then distributing an e-book.
Post About It on Social Media
One of the easiest and most effective ways to promote a new e-book is to post about it on your social media channels. To start, you can simply announce that you have a new e-book. Then, offer a link to the landing page or website where interested readers can download the e-book. Don’t stop there, however. On Instagram and Pinterest, you can create graphics with key quotes or phrases from the text. On Twitter, tweet out a popular or meaningful quote from the e-book. All of these approaches can generate interest and encourage people to click over and learn more.
Send an Email to Your Subscriber List
Chances are high that you already have some kind of subscriber list set up to reach your customers. This is known as an email list, and it might include past customers, individuals who have reached out to you in the past and those who have signed up to receive relevant emails from your business. Promote e-book content with the right audience by sending out an email letting subscribers know about your e-book. This is the target readership for your e-book, so you’ll likely have a great reaction from this approach.
Include a Call-to-Action in Related Blog Posts
If your business already has a blog, then make sure that you link from relevant blog posts right to your e-book. You can go back and edit existing blog posts that are about a similar topic and include a new call to action that brings readers to your e-book. As you’re writing future posts, make sure to mention the e-book right in the copy. Including hyperlinks to the e-book will increase traffic and boost ranking from an SEO perspective. It will also help funnel blog readers, who are part of your target audience, over to the e-book.
Ask Influencers to Share Details About the E-book
No matter how big your network might be, there is always someone with a bigger network out there. Influencers are people who have a significant influence over the behaviors or buying habits of their followers. Influencers are commonly found on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. If there is someone with a big influence in your industry, contact them to see if they would be interested in sharing your content. This can be reciprocal, with you sharing their content at some point in the future. You can also pay an influencer to promote your e-book to their audience.
Write Guest Posts Promoting the E-book
You can also promote your e-book by writing guest posts. If there are other blogs that cover topics in your industry, you might offer to write them a blog post in exchange for a call to action that leads back to your e-book. You provide the other blog or website with free relevant content, and in return, they give you a valuable backlink and some traffic heading to your e-book landing page.
Try Paid Advertising
There are many relatively inexpensive ways to promote an e-book. If your budget allows, however, then you might want to explore paid advertising options. One strategy is to place an advertisement for your e-book on social media platforms. You can also place an ad on search engines like Google, letting your e-book come up first for relevant searches. Advertisements can be placed at a set fee, or you can pay per click. PPC advertising is often ideal because you only pay for those readers who click on the link and head directly to your e-book.
Offer Your E-book for Free on Amazon
If you have spent a significant amount of time and effort on an e-book, you can also submit it for sale on a platform like Amazon. That’s where many avid readers head for new e-books, and having your e-book for sale on Amazon can be impressive. Plus, you can cite yourself or your company as the author of the book, improving your business image and level of professionalism. You can offer the e-book for free, or you can charge a minimal price for each download.