It’s rare that a week goes by and someone doesn’t ask me about ebooks.
As a content marketer, people want to pick my brain to learn more about this wildly effective strategy.
The most common question?
Why should people buy the cow when you’re giving the milk away for free?
Let’s take a different angle on that same idea. Ebooks offer a unique glimpse into your business, and what you do. They let your audience see first-hand what happens when they do business with you. So the question becomes…
When people see the secret behind your magic, will they be more likely to buy from you?
The answer is a resounding, YES!
There’s something about getting a spot behind the red velvet rope. When you expose a part of your business, your customers feel like they got to know you better. And if they like what they see, they’ll trust you to handle their needs.
See that? With an ebook you put your business in a unique position to instantly establish the coveted know, like, and trust factor with your audience. What happens next? Making the sale becomes astoundingly easier.
What Are EBooks?
An ebook is a book or report you deliver digitally. It is packed full of valuable information.
Most ebook authors make the material timeless so it can be used as a marketing tool for years after its release. Because of the lasting power of this type of cornerstone content, many small businesses choose to offer at least one free ebook to their customers in exchange for their contact information.
How Much or How Little?
Writing a book sounds like an overwhelming task. You want to deliver value, and you have a lot to say, but getting your thoughts down on paper and in a format that people will actually want to read is time consuming.
Here’s the good news. To offer a free ebook, you do not have to write the next War and Peace. In fact, you don’t even need to write more than 50 pages.
People are busy. When they request a free ebook or report from a company, they want to get an in depth answer to a burning question they have. They’re not looking for something to curl up with on the beach. Instead, they’re looking for something meaningful and helpful. Most of the time, you can deliver this in 10 chapters or less.
The goal of an ebook is not to fill page after page with content just for the sake of writing a book. Instead, it is to focus on forming a deeper relationship with your target audience. When you do, you build a core group of loyal fans wanting to work with your business. This doesn’t have to take hundreds of pages to accomplish.
10 Reasons Your Small Business Should Offer an Ebook (Like, NOW)
You get what an ebook is, and you get what it’s about, but is it for you?
If I hadn’t found value in it, I wouldn’t be promoting this as a way for your small business to grow. The bottom line is, ebooks can impact and benefit your business in a number of ways. Here are 10 of the top reasons you should have a free ebook offer for your customers.
- It’s a great way to weed out low quality leads. Hate wasting time with peksy, demanding customers? Requesting and reading an ebook requires a low level of commitment, but a commitment nonetheless. When a customer requests an ebook, they’re automatically a little bit higher of a lead than the customer who just saw your website, saw you screaming for someone to call you, and then picked up the phone to waste 45 minutes of your time. You don’t have that kind of time. Let your ebook weed a few of those leeches out.
- It’s a great way to brand your business. Your ebook says a lot about you. It sends a message of who you are, what you stand for, what you do, and why people should work with you. All of that in one piece of content? Yep. It’s worth it.
- It’s easy to do. Offering an ebook is perhaps one of the easiest lead generation strategies out there. Your book doesn’t have to be long – it just has to be valuable. Your book doesn’t have to be perfect – it just has to be valuable. As long as you have something valuable to say, you have a great lead magnet.
- It withstands the test of time. Your blog posts get pushed down each time they get updated. That’s not to say that they’re not important, but the investment you make in your ebook will last you a lot longer. Just think – you could offer the same ebook for years to come. That upfront investment you make to pay for the ebook will pay itself back and then some in no time. ROI anyone?
- It’s easy to deliver. You don’t have to pay for publishing services. All you have to do is upload the ebook to your website and send a link. If that’s too difficult, you can send the ebook as an attachment in an email. That’s something you do everyday in your business, so why not do it to grow your business too?
- It’s easy to read. Ebooks are meant to be quick reads. That means that the 10 – 15 minutes they use learning about what you do, and what you have to offer will be easy for them to invest in working with you. Your customers will spend enough time with your ebook to get to know your company, without being scared off by a big commitment (like going into your office where they have no idea who will be waiting for them).
- It’s a great way to establish your business as the local authority. Want to make a name for yourself in your community? An ebook is a great place to start. As mentioned above, you develop the “know, like and trust” factor that all authoritative businesses have. If you’re one of the few (or the only) businesses offering a book for free, you can bet you’ll be the one people turn to when they need help.
- It makes your customers feel like they won exclusive access to you. And who doesn’t want that? Customers want to know the person behind the curtain. Give them a glimpse into your world and they’ll immediately feel connected to your brand.
- It gives your customers another way to work with you. Let’s face it. People might not be ready to do business with you when they first check out your business. They might just be testing the waters to see what’s available. They might have a problem they didn’t know you could solve. Your ebook gets them in the door before they’re ready to sign on the dotted line. In turn, you get their info so that you can nurture that lead and when they’re ready to open their wallets, you’re there to take their money.
- IT MAKES YOU MONEY. That’s perhaps the best reason to offer an ebook, right? It makes your business more money. Ultimately that’s the goal of marketing, and an ebook can accomplish that for you time and time again. It’s like a digital sales force working to bring you new customers around the clock (and it doesn’t require a paycheck, days off, or benefits).
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. What’s stopping you from creating an ebook? If your business has an ebook already, what type of success have you seen as a result? Let me know in the comments, and let’s talk it out!