How-To Use eBooks for Lead Generation

In This Article

    For B2B businesses, lead generation is the pathway to success. You need to be able to identify potential customers in order to get your story in front of the right people. eBooks are a great way to do both at the same time. In this article we’ll look to cover:

    • Getting the right resource together
    • Defining the right topic for the right audience
    • Researching, writing and designing your eBook
    • Promoting your eBook to drive leads to your sales team

    The Power of a Premium Content Offer

    From a marketing perspective, the eBook fits into a broader category known as a “Premium Content Offer”. This is anything that sits behind a “gate” — a form that requires contact information.

    Templates, kits, workbooks, videos or interactive websites can all stand in as an offer. eBooks, however, are one of the most common and valuable options available. The eBook provides an excellent, long-lived and long-form method to tell ‘your story’. A well-written eBook leaves potential customers perceiving you as helpful and knowledgeable. It generates leads while building your brand — the B2B marketer’s nirvana.

    • Tell your story
    • Impress potential customers
    • Generate leads while building your brand

    Step 1: The Challenging Solution to Lead Generation

    The catch to cashing in on the powerful outcomes of an eBook is the daunting task of writing the eBook. This requires being part journalist, part designer, an expert project manager and an all-around content strategist. Thankfully, there is no need to do it alone — Gripped has your back.

    This article is a blueprint to identify topics, write content, design a template and then effectively market your finished product. We help customers create an inbound marketing roadmap — an eBook is a great place to start.

    Step 2: Your Team

    The first step in any project is creating your team. For an eBook, that means thinking about content creation, graphic design and promotion.

    Promotion is a critical aspect that should be considered early. Getting the right people to engage with social media, write kickback emails, and build a quality landing page are all necessary steps to success. You should then re-engage your content creation team to write supporting blog posts, generating as many avenues as possible by which your target market audience can discover your eBook.

    • Content creation
    • Graphic Design
    • Promotion

    Step 3: Defining Your eBook Topic

    The next foundational element of writing an eBook is picking a topic. Your goal here should be three-fold: pick an eBook topic that is interesting; pick a topic that is relevant to what you do/sell; pick a topic that will generate leads relevant to your salespeople.

    The first step in any project is creating your team. For an eBook, that means thinking about content creation, graphic design and promotion.

    It is advisable to speak with your sales and customer support teams to get a first-hand account of the common problems and questions asked by customers and prospects. If stuck for inspiration, there are a number of tools available to kick-start your project. SEOPressor provides title suggestions based on keywords, and is a place to start for blogs and an eBook.

    Your Blog Topic Idea

    Ultimately, your topic needs to be compelling in order to drive traffic. However, that traffic will only be beneficial if it is relevant to your business. Your topic must appeal to the kind of people with which your sales team actually wants to speak.

    • Pick something compelling
    • Make sure that topic draws in people relevant to you

    Step 4: Thinking About Your eBook Audience

    It is critical to keep in mind the content expectations of your target market audience. Writing something too technical or lacking in appropriate depth can leave readers underwhelmed or confused.

    Think about the persona of the target audience you want to attract with your eBook. Write content that matches. Bake those assumptions into the title and promotion. In addition to picking the right topic, it is important to keep everything at a level of detail and focus that fits the knowledge base and interest of the audience that you are seeking to impress.
    For help thinking about persona check this out.

    Step 5: Generating Your eBook Title

    Your eBook title is a key driver of traffic, so think about it from the beginning. It impacts how search engines categorise your work and whether or not people choose to engage. Use alliteration or strong language, and make sure to integrate keywords.

    It is best to start with a working title and return at the end to make sure you got it right. Your title needs to be compelling. Above all else, however, your title has to accurately reflect the content and value of the eBook.

    Remember to respect the reader’s experience. If expectations differ from delivery — the result will be disappointment, no matter how great either was independently.

    Step 6: Research for your eBook project

    Find data that backs up your claim, look at varying viewpoints and see if other brands (particularly your competitors) have already written on the subject. Don’t worry if they have, but use that information to expand the conversation and add value that is unique to your perspective and business.

    Remember, this eBook is your chance to inspire, inform and spark debate. It is your first opportunity to show a potential customer the competency of your organisation. It is a chance to tell your story the way you want. Vigorously dive into the subject, pull all of the expertise you can find in-house, online or through interviews.

    You are explicitly making a trade with your potential customers — the answer to questions they have in exchange for their contact information. A valuable eBook starts with good research.

    • Add a unique perspective to the issue at hand
    • Put in the work necessary to impress readers
    • Answer the questions you set out in your title and introduction

    Step 7: How to Write an eBook

    The key to a successful eBook is being good. Clarity is always better than persuasion because it is helpful. Being helpful and clear in your eBook is how you show a potential customer that you will be clear and helpful as a client. However, an eBook should never read like a dry instruction manual.

    You need to pull together the research of journalism and the helpful voice of a blog post. You must make the reader feel as if they got what they came for, but leave them still wanting more. Your number one goal in writing should be to fulfil the expectations promised in the title. Create a valuable and, if possible, entertaining resource for your reader.

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    Step 7: How to Write Something Long

    When writing something of any length, you are really writing a number of independent but interrelated pieces. Writing an eBook is not all that dissimilar from writing 5-10 related blog posts. The only difference is to make sure that they complement each other and build on an idea without unnecessarily re-treading the same ground.

    You need to think about consistency of style and format to enable your reader to easily build a mental map as they read. But, if it is overwhelming, simply think about it as multiple projects and knit them together after the fact.

    Remember, your audience went through the trouble to fill out a form and download the document. It is important to be concise, but don’t get hung up on length or rush to a sales pitch. Quality is more important than flash. People who download an eBook are likely to read the whole thing, particularly if it answers their question. Simply answer the question you set out to address, and do so in whatever length is necessary to do a good job.

    • Don’t get overwhelmed by length
    • Focus on writing shorter segments well — then string it together with an eye for consistency
    • Write to the length that suits the topic
    • Quality is what counts

    Step 8: Designing an eBook

    The first thing to understand about eBook design is that there is no one way to do it. You can start anywhere and work with any number of styles. For me, the place to start is the cover. It allows you to focus your creativity on the most important stylistic section of the eBook, and from there identify a number of visual elements and themes you will use throughout.

    If stuck for inspiration, think about the design standardisations already put into your brand — it is probably unwise to deviate from them anyway. Start with the set of fonts and colour schemes used for most public-facing initiatives and build accordingly.

    Don’t be afraid of using contrast, repetition, whitespace and/or proximity to aid in the readability and clarity of your document. There are a number of design templates that will aid your development process. However, what you need to think about is readability, clarity and reflecting your brand/the content of the eBook.

    The end goal is to make something that sacrifices neither aesthetics or utility. Utility, when it comes to your eBook, is delivering on the promise to provide value to your reader in the form of easily digestible and quality information.

    • Start with the aesthetics already built into your brand
    • Get creative with contrast, repetition, whitespace and/or proximity
    • Be mindful of aesthetics
    • Prioritise clarity and readability

    Step 9: Choosing Your CTA

    The primary goal of your eBook has been achieved before it has been read — gathering the contact information and adding it to your potential client database. However, a quality eBook will not only impress a potential client, it will lead them down a path that will maximise the chance that they contact you.

    A Call-to-Action (CTA) is a link or visual object that entices a visitor to click through to a landing page that will further engage them with your company.

    When building your CTAs, remember the content of your eBook. Design them around ideas that a reader is likely to have further questions about. Then, make sure that they link to a properly constructed landing page to further the engagement once they have clicked through. Make sure to include a tracking URL so that you can gain data on what sources are most effective at leading readers to the next stage.

    The result may be an end-to-end inbound sale. Worst case scenario, by clicking that link, you now know that is a person who is actively interested in what your company offers — not simply the topic of your eBook.

    Look here for 50 customisable calls-to-action you can use to kick-start your CTA campaign.

    • Tailor your CTA to the content of your eBook
    • Include a tracking URL
    • Make sure your CTA leads to a quality landing page

    Step 10: The Landing Page

    Your post production promotion starts with the development of a strong landing page. This is the conduit through which people will first encounter your eBook. It should contain a picture of the cover, a teaser of the content and the ‘gate’. This page needs to be laid out in such a way that it entices a reader — providing just enough information that they decide to download the eBook.
    For an in-depth look at how to create a landing page look here.

    Step 11: Your Promotional Campaign

    Once your eBook is finished and your landing page built, all that is left to do is promote. Use every channel available to your marketing team. However, the downloadable nature of the eBook means that the ‘click-through’ environment of social media is your most important asset.

    With all content, it important to keep it ‘alive’ with supporting material, links and social posts. This will aid with its dissemination, and impact your SEO ranking. The more ‘arrows’ pointing to your site, the more likely people are to find it.

    Create auxiliary blog posts, a stream of social media content and potentially other ‘gated’ material such as templates, kits, and visual resources. This related content builds a self-sustaining web, each strand of which helps the others remain relevant — fueling inbound traffic.

    • Create social posts and supporting/linked blog articles and related material
    • For a step-by-step guide on how to best engage your audience using different social media platforms — look here.

    Summary: A Diligently Planned eBook is the Bedrock of B2B Inbound Lead Generation

    An appropriately curated eBook appeals directly to your target market audience and acts as a conduit to gaining their contact information. In addition to building your brand and associating it with the free delivery of valuable information to potential customers, the eBook provides a long-form medium in which to tell a vital aspect of your sales story to an interested audience.

    To write a quality eBook, you need to pick a topic that appeals to your target market audience. You need to craft a compelling title that accurately reflects the content delivered, and present all of that in an engaging format that adds to its readability and aesthetics.

    Think about what your audience wants to know, what you have the expertise to tell them, and how that can be delivered with clarity while also leaving them eager to engage with you further. Think about the reader, their job, their life, their experience. Write directly to them — they’ll appreciate the insight and derive the value you intend.

    Next, you need to follow through with promotion. Use every method at your disposal, but focus on the power of social media. Then watch the analytics and pass on leads to your sales team — turning inbound traffic into growth.

    If you still need help creating premium content, or simply supporting the eBook you already have, we can perform a FREE Content Audit and suggest services we have available to improve your inbound engagement and commercial results. Talk to a Gripped Growth Expert today.