Make Your eBook Count with These Online Marketing Strategies
Over the past few years, eBooks have become increasingly valuable components in online marketing. More and more marketers are using eBooks as a way to get word out about their organizations, provide readers with meaningful content, and secure leads and conversions.
Yet, there’s more to it than simply writing the eBook and throwing it onto your company website. To truly impact your business, you have to market your eBook properly—but how do you do that?
Marketers are increasingly recognizing the value that eBooks provide prospective customers, due to many factors including their low cost, accessibility, re-usability, and versatility. These qualities translate to eBooks being an effective tool for generating leads and conversions as part of your company’s overall marketing strategy.
However, your eBook won’t deliver those benefits unless you promote it well, and this demands an approach that combines various tactics. You likely intend to host the eBook on your website, but you also need to consider where on your site you’ll promote it and how. You also may know to share your new eBook to your existing base through social media and email, but to reach the most eyes you need to learn strategy for using those platforms efficiently. Finally, one of the most crucial ways to promote your eBook is through the creation of other complementary content.
Maybe you’d like to learn more about why eBooks are an attractive marketing channel first, though. Why are they a worthy investment of your time and resources?
Why Write an eBook in the First Place?
To understand why free eBooks are an effective marketing tactic, you have to look at it from the reader’s perspective as well as the marketer’s perspective.
From the reader’s perspective, they are receiving something of real value. Even though you’re using the eBook to market your business, eBooks don’t necessarily come across as marketing material to readers who are wary of “falling for” the hard sell. Yet while the eBook is being provided for free, there’s still an exchange for the reader’s email address and future consideration. When you provide meaningful content, this is a good deal for the prospective customer, especially given the format’s convenient features—it’s accessible on a wide variety of devices, easy to download, can be printed, etc.
From the marketer’s perspective, an eBook provides lasting results for a modest initial investment. An eBook is inexpensive to produce relative to other marketing materials such as printed brochures, and once you’ve written it you can share it endlessly across different platforms without further spending. In exchange, you reap long-term benefits as your eBook integrates with your larger marketing strategy and serves as a soft sell for moving prospective customers through early stages of the sales process. Years later, your eBook will still be attracting readers, collecting contact information, and helping you convert leads into valued customers—if you market it right, that is.
Promoting Your eBook on Your Website
It may seem obvious that your eBook will be hosted on your website. You’ll create a landing page for it, include the download link and a bit of copy about it, and that’s that. Is it really so simple, though?
For readers to find their way to your eBook and actually download it, you have to promote it effectively throughout your website. The first thing to consider in this regard is how you create your landing page. If you’ve downloaded free eBooks yourself before, you may have noticed that the landing page for a well-marketed eBook features copy that meaningfully communicates the value of the eBook. The most direct way to accomplish this is by explicitly laying out the benefits the reader stands to gain, i.e. the things they will learn from reading the eBook, in a set of bullet points.
The landing page should also include several other features as well. Most prominently, you should consider what you will ask of your potential reader in the download form. It’s always a good idea to ask for an email address, but will you also include fields for demographic information, such as a zip code? Will you include a field for a company name so that you can identify business you can reach out to? Consider how many fields you want to include and how much you want to ask of your reader, and remember that you can make some fields optional.
However, featuring your eBook on your website means more than just giving it a tab in the navigation menu and hoping visitors make their way there on their own—you have to direct them there from other places. This means planting both direct and indirect calls to action throughout the site. Make opportunities for yourself in your web content to include either attention-catching call-to-action buttons or more subtle in-text calls to action.
You might also consider the option of, rather than linking these to the eBook’s landing page, instead having them create a click popup. Research has shown that such popups have a higher conversion rate than landing pages, because the popup opens instantly without having to load, meaning visitors don’t have to wait and are less likely to bounce.
By implementing these tactics across your website, you’ll increase the number of visitors actually seeing and downloading your eBook, leading to higher conversion rates.
Email and Social Media for eBook Promotion
You can’t only market your eBook to people already on your website, though. To get the most out of it, you also need to promote your eBook through both email and social media, so that your message reaches people at the far edges of your network.
One of the most vital tools at your disposal is email marketing, but there’s more to it than simply sending out a lone email when the eBook gets released. There are multiple points in the process where it’s appropriate to use emails to promote your eBook, and a successful strategy will integrate email into your marketing strategy before, during, and after the eBook’s release date.
During the lead-up to the completion of the eBook, you can begin by sending out an email announcing the forthcoming release date. This gives you the opportunity to build up interest beforehand so that the release is more successful, as well as a good excuse to increase the number of emails you can send over the course of your promotion campaign.
Free eBooks do much better at pulling in leads, as many people are unwilling to pay for a download unless your eBook is actually a full-length book and offers significant tangible value not found elsewhere. However, if you’re planning on charging for your eBook, you have additional opportunities to send out emails when you have special offers, giveaways, or price drops (potentially making the eBook free after a grace period where users can pay for advance access). These emails can be composed specifically for this purpose, or can be incorporated into your regular emailed newsletter to keep them from becoming overbearing.
You don’t have to do all the legwork yourself, either. This is a great time to tap your affiliates and do some cross-promotion. They get to introduce their email subscribers to a useful free product, and you get exposed to a whole extra email list.
There are also situations where you have an opportunity to implement novel solutions that generate exceptional results. For example, if your eBook is particularly long or technical, it might help to create an opt-in mini coaching course to help guide the reader through the content. An auto-responder emails a lesson breaking down a chapter every couple of days, ties it into other content already on your site, and at the end asks the reader to share the course as a whole rather than just the eBook.
These are just some of the ways you can use email to enhance your promotion of your new eBook—depending on your situation, you can use analytics tools to monitor the performance of your emails, test out different tactics, and see what works best.
Social media is another invaluable platform for promoting your eBook, but here, too, an effective strategy demands more than simply posting a status or tweet linking to the eBook’s landing page. Effective social media marketing for an eBook requires both direct and indirect outreach.
You should begin by placing those links in your profile bios, accompanied by a bit of text along the lines of, “Download our free <x topic> eBook!” This way, the eBook will be prominently featured whenever someone views your page.
Next, you can use social media sites like LinkedIn to reach out directly to influencers in your field, such as non-competitive bloggers that share your niche. Offer them your eBook, and ask them to share it on their accounts if they find value in it. This gives you exposure to their following, which greatly broadens the impact of your social media campaign.
Of course, you should still post about the eBook on your own social media, but remember to keep it from becoming repetitive spam or you’ll get tuned out. One way to drop promotions for your eBook is through tweeting or sharing quotes from it, as well as questions that it answers. This does more to keep the posts interesting and demonstrate the value of the eBook than simply posting “check out our eBook!” every week.
Using Other Content to Promote your eBook
Finally, one of the most effective and important ways to promote your eBook is tying it in with other content. You’ve already seen how this can work with web content, but integrating your eBook with the rest of your content as well is crucial to maximizing its success.
One way of doing this is offering the eBook as part of a package deal. This can mean including it with a free trial of a product of service, but a more effective route may be marrying it to other pieces of content. For example, you can pair your eBook with:
- An educational slideshow that offers a simplified breakdown of the eBook’s topic
- A report that makes use of information from the eBook
- A tutorial, similar to the one described in the email section above
- A video that either directly promotes the eBook or covers related material
- A newsletter subscription
Text content is another major opportunity for promoting your eBook, especially blogs and articles.
In part, this can take the form of guest blogs or featured articles in other publications. Writing a guest blog or article for someone else gives you more exposure to audiences outside of your existing base, as well as the chance to link back to your eBook in the brief author profile or self-summary accompanying your piece. This creates more inbound links that bring fresh readers to your eBook and your site.
However, don’t underestimate the power of your own company blog. Once your eBook is complete, you have the opportunity to leverage this marketing channel to promote the eBook in several important ways.
You can place a banner call to action at the top or bottom of your blogs (producing a click popup like those in your web content), but the most effective tactic is anchor text calls to action. A blog like this one might include a hyperlinked call to action within the text that asks readers to download an eBook that goes further into detail about the relevant topic. Alternatively (or even in addition), you can link with an H3 or H4 heading that directs readers to the eBook, like so:
Download Our Free eBook and Become a Better Marketer Today!
These tactics are more subtle than the in-your-face banner calls to action, and are less subject to banner blindness, where people scan past what they perceive as marketing without even really seeing it. You can place use these sorts of calls to action in new blogs that relate to the eBook’s topic, or go back to previous blogs that are still popular or relevant and add them in.
Of course, for this to be truly effective, your company blog needs to be well-developed so that they’re actually attracting traffic. If your blog isn’t optimized and you don’t feel it’s up to snuff to be put to this use, now is the time to get it in gear so that you can use this marketing vehicle to its fullest potential, both when promoting your eBook and outside of this context.
If you have questions about eBook promotion, maintaining a company blog, search engine optimization, or any other aspect of online marketing, Frontier Marketing is here to answer them. Frontier is a team of experienced professionals, specializing in web design, graphic design, content writing, social media management, email marketing, and more. Give us a call at (847) 254-0837, and let’s discuss how we can take your business to the next Frontier.