Recently I got a call from a marketer who was looking for “the next step” for her brand’s content marketing strategy. Their blog, social media, and email content were humming along, and they really wanted to amp things up and start growing their audience.
I said, “Great — what about an e-book?”
“Yeah, I’m still here. It’s just … what the heck would we write an e-book about?”
And that’s where far too many marketers stop. They’re fine with the idea of creating content for blogs, emails, even podcasts … but an e-book? Isn’t that something only “real writers” do?
Relax. If you can write a good blog post, you can put together a terrific e-book … and here are five reasons why they’re worth the time and effort:
1. An e-book grows your thought leadership.
By gathering your expertise on a particular topic into an e-book, you set yourself apart from … well, everyone in your field who hasn’t. When you publish an e-book, you show your audiences not only that you know enough about this topic to fill some pages, but also that you can communicate your insights — and that you’re willing to share your expertise.
2. An e-book is great for lead generation.
It’s standard practice to ask visitors for at least their names and email addresses on your e-book download page; some B2B companies include fields for company name, title, and/or phone numbers as well. Once a person has submitted his or her request, you have a new lead with whom you can follow up — someone to whom you can offer further resources and eventually invite into a sales conversation.
3. An e-book is a fantastic sales tool.
One of the biggest problems your sales reps face is coming up with a reason to follow up with prospects. When you publish an e-book, you solve this problem by giving them a powerful follow-up tool: “Hey, Dan, I recall you had some questions about [topic], and I think you’ll find our new e-book extremely helpful …”
4. An e-book keeps on giving.
Unlike the average blog post or social media post, your e-book has a long shelf life, which means it can be delivering new leads week after week, month after month. Once your e-book is published, remember to continue linking to it from related blog posts, posting about it on your social media networks, and mentioning it in your podcasts and webinars.
5. An e-book grows your e-newsletter list.
Let’s face it: People don’t sign up for e-newsletters like they used to. Ask someone to sign up for your weekly tips, and you immediately conjure up an image of one more email in an already bursting inbox. But offer to send them something of value in return for their email address (which happens to put them on your list), and they’ll happily comply. (Note: While this practice is quite legal, there are better and worse ways to go about it. Consult your email marketing provider for their recommendations on best practices.)
OK, your turn: How are you using e-books to grow your list … and your thought leadership? Share your insights in the comments — we’d love to hear from you!Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community