MARKETING AND SALES STRATEGIES

How To Write A Free Ebook To Grow Your Business

free ebookFree ebooks with no registration required are one of the most effective forms of new marketing. When done well, an ebook helps to solve problems and therefore buyers appreciate the content, branding the writer as someone worth doing business with.

And because they have tremendous perceived value, people tend to pass ebooks on via social media and email to friends and colleagues. And perhaps best of all, ebooks lead to sales!

This is the third in a series on free content a marketing technique. I started by posting about the value of free content vs putting a gate that requires an email address and other personal information to get the content. Many people commented about my strategy of totally free content on my post Really, Truly, Actually Free Content and on social media. And then I shared the results of one free content offer, an ebook from Ted Page, Co-Founder and Principal of Captains of Industry titled Branding and marketing for renewable energy companies: How to look like the billion dollar company you can become that has generated millions of dollars in new business for the author.

Many people have achieved business success by writing an ebook like Ted. So can you. In this post, I will share a bunch of detailed ideas for how you can write an ebook of your own.

What should I write about in my ebook?

  • You should write about something that you know well. Ted, for example, is an expert in branding and marketing for renewable energy companies.
  • It is best to do a deep dive and create a detailed ebook on a long tail topic. This gives you an opportunity to be the number one search result. Ted didn’t create a generic ebook on branding and marketing. Instead he focused on branding and marketing for renewable energy companies. This specific focus led him to own the search results for anyone searching on this topic.
  • You should write to solve a problem that people have. For example, renewable energy companies need to understand marketing.

How should I write an ebook?

  • A real person whose name you put on the ebook should author. Don't make it generically by your company. You need the personal connection with readers and the benefit of having the author’s email address and social channels listed.
  • An ebook is a medium length document, maybe 20 to 30 pages. But since this is not dense text like a white paper, it is usually around 3,000 to 6,000 words.
  • Make it interesting!
  • Have a definite point of view!
  • Do not sell your products or services in the body of the ebook.
  • Use a title for the ebook that is a search term that people are looking for content on.
  • Write using conflict. Here is an ebook I wrote on this topic titled A Case Study in Conflict-Driven Business Writing.
  • At the end, in the biography section, have a place where people can learn more and can contact you if they want to work with you.
  • You will need a great title that intrigues people. For example, one ebook I wrote is titled Lose Control of Your Marketing!
  • Use a subtitle to say what the ebook is about. The subtitle of my Lose Control of Your Marketing! ebook is Why marketing ROI measures lead to failure.

How should I distribute the ebook?

  • Make the ebook a simple PDF document with no reader software required.
  • I suggest making it totally free with no registration required. You may have 20 to 50 times more downloads than if you require people to submit an email address to get the ebook. I’ve had millions of downloads of my ebooks because I do not require registration.
  • Add a Creative Commons license to encourage people to share.
  • Point people to a landing page where they can learn more, but allow people to point directly to the ebook URL if they want to.
  • When you write an ebook, it's a good idea to give the file a name that people will be able to recognize. Something made up by your website software like 60xf4001-783d-44f2-5e4d298v03d.pdf is not something I would look for on my computer.

What are some ebook design considerations?

  • Invest in a great design!
  • Focus on the cover because it’s the first thing people see.
  • Use landscape orientation, not portrait (so it fits on a computer screen)
  • Include a biography section at the end with your photo where people can learn more
  • Use a header or footer with the title of the ebook with page numbers. (Sometimes people print out one page).
  • Think about how you can supplement the main body of your text with sidebars and call-outs.
  • Lead readers to a next step. In B2B markets, you might offer links to additional content such as a demo or an invitation to a webinar. In consumer markets, point people to a page where they can buy the product.

What about a landing page?

  • You should have a permanent URL to point people directly to the ebook. But in addition, you can also create a blog post, landing page, or microsite as a place to point people.
  • Consider search engine optimization. You can make the title of your blog post or microsite URL an important search term other than the ebook title as a way to do SEO.
  • For those who do not download immediately, provide details on how you can benefit from reading the ebook

How do I promote my ebook?

  • Put the ebook title and URL into the email signature page of your email signature.
  • Make a postcard with the ebook title on the front and the URL and a brief overview of the ebook on the back and offer the postcard to customers, at tradeshows and other places.
  • Share on all your social media channels and encourage your employees to do the same.
  • Share with your partners, customers, the media, and analysts.

Have you written a great ebook?

Congratulations! Go ahead and add the link in a comment and let us know about your success. How many downloads did it get? Can you tie the ebook to sales?

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David Meerman Scott

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