Written by: Mary Yamin-Garone, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise
Attention business owners: Are you producing e-books regularly as part of your content marketing strategy? If not, you’re missing out on a massive business opportunity. Why? Over the last five years, smartphone sales have skyrocketed. So have tablets and e-Reader sales, making e-books easier than ever to consume. Today, e-Books are a nearly $9 billion industry and growing. So, why isn’t your business creating an e-book? I get it. It may seem daunting if you’ve never made one before. If you’re not sure if it’s worth the work, keep reading.
I’m going to share my top ten reasons why you should seriously consider creating an e-book for your business.
1. Find the right topic. When I say the right topic, that means one that your readers will eagerly llook forward to reading. It’s one they want to know about, have questions about, and one for which you can provide concrete, valuable answers.
That’s why topic research is essential before creating your e-book.
Here are some tips to begin:
Search for industry hashtags on social media. Look to see what people are talking about. Follow conversations and find the questions people are asking. Could you answer topically related ones in your e-book?
Search for industry keywords on BuzzSumo and see what major topics come up repeatedly in top-shared posts. Look for knowledge gaps you can fill with your e-book content.
Look at your own blog posts for inspiration. What topics are most shared? Which ones get the most follow-up questions and comments? You could potentially create an e-book that dives deeper into those subjects.
Consider common customer problems you hear about regularly and write an e-book that helps solve them.
2. E-books attract targeted leads. Creating an e-book should be an integral part of your content marketing strategy. The objective of that strategy is to attract people who would be interested in buying what you’re offering. Those targeted leads can also be converted into paying customers.
Follow these steps to generate more leads using your e-book:
Identify your target audience.
Brainstorm—What are they looking for? A solution? A skill? What’s your expertise/knowledge?
Write your e-book based on the selected topics.
Promote and market your book to your target audience.
Make entering an email address for your e-book a requirement.
3. Establish yourself as an authority. As a business owner, you know how difficult it is to get people to pay for what you’re offering. Thanks to the Internet, people have more options than ever. So, what will make them decide to pay you and not one of your competitors?
The answer is simple. You must establish your business as an industry authority. Once you do that, potential buyers will trust your business; be more likely to buy what you’re offering; and the price will become less of a deciding factor.
Regardless of what field/industry you’re in, you’ll have a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise to share. By putting it out in an e-book, you can position yourself as an authority in your particular niche while building trust and a reputation.
4. Cement trust. If you can’t come off as a trustworthy business owner who can solve your audience’s pain-points, they won’t trust you enough to take a chance on your offers. An e book is another way to showcase your expertise and why people should trust you. Include testimonials and case studies in your e-book. Customer testimonials are some of the most effective content you can produce. In fact, they have an 89% effective rate, far higher than most other content. The genuine voice of a satisfied customer also establishes empathy with your reader. They can see that the person you’ve helped is just like them.
5. E-books improve your content marketing strategy. Content marketing has become the largest marketing trend in recent years. If you don’t know exactly what content marketing is, let me explain.
Forty years ago, businesses like Pepsi Cola controlled the entire marketing process. They’d hire big marketing firms that would devise large scale marketing campaigns for radio, television and newspapers. For the most part, those ads were how people learned about what to buy.
Then along comes the Internet, and everything changed. Now, we gather information about products and businesses on our own. We simply search for whatever we want to know.
Content marketing takes advantage of this new trend. When businesses create content that potential buyers are interested in, they increase their odds of being seen. That’s why most businesses are active and blog on social media. The problem with those methods is people expect small, consumable content. A 25,000-word blog post is overwhelming and most people won’t read it.
If your content marketing strategy is lacking depth, creating e-Books is the best way to fix it. Your target audience will consume longer content if it’s in the form of an e-Book that they can download and read when they have time.
Again, look through your most popular blog content and decide which topics your audience would benefit from a more in-depth look.
6. E-books increase your website traffic. After you’ve created your e-book, you can start promoting it through social media and drive traffic to your website, blog or product page. Remember to include a call to action in your book.
7. They help grow your email list. E-books are hands down the best way to grow your email list. Even if your business isn’t online, an email list gives you direct access to people interested in buying what you’re offering. When you offer an e-book, you should always require an email address to gain access.
8. Include premium content. To create a must-have e-book, you need to include premium content. That means:
You haven’t written about the topic elsewhere, like on your blog, where readers can easily access it.
If you’ve written about it before, you haven’t deeply covered the topic.
The topic requires research to provide a full picture.
In other words, premium content must be exclusive, exhaustive and the highest quality possible. It needs research and your best writing. The main reason premium content is necessary in your e-book is because it builds trust with your readers. When you offer such a valuable resource for free (in exchange for their name and email address), your reputation and authority will grow by extension.
Remember, be generous with the information you share.
9. Differentiate your business from the competition. Your e-book allows you to not only get creative, but it also lets your brand’s unique personality shine through. Include original and engaging content for your audience as well as educational and insightful information. Engaging content designed to inform your reader helps establish your brand’s reputation for being an industry leader.
10. Creating an e-book is easier than you think. They’re easy to make and it costs nothing but your time. You don’t need any special skills. There are lots of free tools available online that you can use. Simply create your content in a Word document or PowerPoint and save it as a PDF. You can get high-quality images for free here. Since people have short attention spans, err on the side of less text per page and use lots of great imagery to convey your message.
Bonus tip: If you create an e-book that’s valuable enough, people will pay you for it. Let that sink in. If you create an e-book that’s valuable enough, people will pay you for it.
Imagine having an alternate stream of income for your business, thanks to your e-book. Experiment with charging for one to see if people are willing to pay for it. Keep in mind, however, people won’t be willing to pay unless you give them a reason to. It’s time to start thinking like an author.
Remember, e-book consumption is at an all-time high. Over one-half of all Americans own a dedicated e-reader device and even more are consuming e-books via computers and cell phones.
That means your next paying customer will most likely read e-books.
I’ll leave you with this question: When your target audience needs information on a specific topic, do you want them to read YOUR e-book or your competitor’s?
Still not sure how to start? Send me a message at email@example.com.
For more writing tips, visit my website.
Mary Yamin-Garone, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Mary Yamin-Garone is an award-winning writer, editor and book/writing coach. In her 36 years, she has seen most every facet of the writing world as the featured guest writing expert on a weekly radio talk show; the recipient of numerous writing awards and accolades; and the coach and editor for several best-selling authors. One of her proudest moments came after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Mary received the Communication Concept 2002 APEX Award for Publication Excellence for Magazine and Newspaper Writing for her work after 9/11. She recently launched her signature coaching program, Bring Your Words to Life. Mary will help you improve your writing and turn your most important life experiences and knowledge into your best-selling book.