eBooks can serve as a highly valuable asset for your business, particularly where your content marketing strategy is concerned. Lots of elements go into producing a large piece of content like an eBook though and many forget the key features that they should include so that it can generate optimal results for your business.
What is An eBook?
If you’re not totally familiar with what an eBook is, it’s essentially a digital or electronic book. eBooks should be accessible on most smart devices, PCs, tablets, and phone etc. eBooks, like regular paper-back books, allow users to navigate and browse through multiple pages of content at their own leisure. In the context that we’re discussing here, eBooks serve to provide your online visitors with educational content, using visual aids to describe complex processes quickly and concisely. In exchange, you can ask your visitors to complete a form submission, allowing you to communicate with them on an ongoing basis.
In terms of format, eBooks are commonly made available as downloadable PDF files, convenient for on-the-go learning, or just as something users can refer back to, which adds to the appeal of this type of content.
Why Should You Offer an eBook?
eBooks are an extremely effective way to encourage your visitors to become, leads by converting and parting with their contact information in exchange for your informative offering. eBooks are also very cost-effective, offering a strong ROI as the production cost for such content can be kept at a minimum, dependant on your internal skillsets of course.
Additionally, as an even bigger marketing win, eBook downloads are easy to track (woo!). Print media is notoriously difficult to demonstrate an ROI, sure people may pick up your brochure or guide, but could you tell your key stakeholders how their investment positively impacted the business, probably not. Depending on your website’s infrastructure and how you decide to offer this downloadable content, you can decipher a number of key metrics like no. of downloads, clicks on certain links, opens. All of which will support you in making future decisions as well as provide feedback to those concerned.
Essential Features For eBooks
This may seem pretty straight forward to some, but you would be surprised at some of the key elements that get missed out of eBook content. Now, there’s no strict rules or guidelines on what you should or shouldn’t do either, for example, an eBook based around catering is likely going to differ from an eBook about graphic design. To give you a holistic view on how to approach creating your content, we’ve compiled the following key features.
An Eye-Catching Cover
Now we’ve all heard of the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” but unfortunately some of us still do. Use your brand guidelines to create a cover that is easily identifiable as something your business created. Include a strong and catchy title, but also consider how this title works from an SEO perspective too. Write a very brief summary, 1-2 sentences outlining the purpose of the eBook, what’s it for and how your user will gain value out of reading it.
Table of Contents
eBooks allow users to jump from section to section, depending on what the user is most interested in reading. Although it would be ideal for your eBook to be digested in chronological order, consider how a reader can quickly and easily navigate to their desired section. In the table of contents, you should consider attaching links to each title to allows your readers to jump ahead should they want to.
Engaging Written Content
If you’re a marketer, this goes without saying. You need to ensure that your eBook provides value for your readers. The content within the eBook should be well-planned and better still, well researched. Remember that this piece of content will sit under your brand, you don’t want to be accidentally spreading misinformation or inaccurate instructions. You want to leave your visitors feeling happy and satisfied that they took the time to exchange their data for a piece of content, provide a good experience and you’ll see your visitors return for more.
Actionable Tips & Tricks
The purpose of offering content like a downloadable eBook is to offer helpful solutions to the challenges and problems your users are experiencing. Include actions that your readers can implement themselves, part of building a great experience for your users is enabling them to feel empowered from the content you’re providing. After describing a particular step, consider adding in valuable tips and tricks that you may have learnt from your own experience. The more helpful you can be, the better.
Visuals are very important in the context of an eBook. As you could probably guess, a ton of information goes into producing a multi-page document, whilst all of this information will be of value, you don’t want your users to be deterred from a page that’s too text-heavy. Dependant on the topics being discussed, consider adding in images and graphics to break up the text so that sections are clearly defined, and the content is easier to digest. Using visuals like graphics are a great way to explain complex processes in a quick and engaging way and complement your overall storytelling.
Statistics and Supporting Data
Any insightful eBook should contain well-researched information throughout. It’s likely that downloading your eBook will be the first touchpoint for many of your visitors, first impressions will count. Your first-time readers won’t have any reason to trust that your claims, suggestions or actions are reliable, use supporting data and backed statistics to improve the legitimacy of your content. There’ll be sceptics in all industries so where appropriate, use your primary or secondary research to connect the dots, in turn, this will boost your brand’s credibility and users will return for more.
Related to the previous point, in an ideal world we’d keep every visitor on our owned channels but that’s simply not the nature of the internet. If you’re using found or secondary data from third-party sources, give credit to them with a link. This will allow your readers to check the source for authenticity and provide the opportunity for users to explore sections or topics in more detail. Obviously, the goal is to ensure your users stay on your site but providing knowledge and value should sit higher on your priorities. You can embed a number of internal links too, where appropriate of course, to other related topics as well as your product or service pages.
Finally, no piece of content is complete without a CTA. When your readers get to the end of your eBook, you don’t want the relationship to end. Fortunately, with gated content like eBooks, you can generate leads through contact submissions to which you can then continue to market to them on an ongoing basis. Aside from this, when planning your CTAs keep in mind that your eBook shouldn’t be leveraged as a sales tool, but to nurture your leads until they are ready to make a purchasing decision. Use your target personas and overall objectives to decide which CTAs will be appropriate and situated where.
One to get you started is your back-page. This concluding page should serve as a landing page (sort of), summarise the value your readers gained from the eBook and suggest other ways in which they can continue to gain value from your business. Whether that be exploring other content, subscribing to an email subscription or checking out your YouTube page.
How Can We Help?
At Bright Design, we recognise that producing valuable content is the key to online success. Your content will perform best when formulated into your wider inbound marketing strategy. If you’d like to learn more about how inbound can generate consistent and sustainable growth for your business, get in touch with our team of experts today.