You have probably experienced it, you download ebook after ebook from HubSpot and think, “Man this is great, we need to do something like this!” The only problem is, everytime you try it turns out looking like a grade school arts and crafts project. Your content is great, but the project lacks a certain level of polish needed to be effective and taken seriously.
If you ever have a crisis of confidence planning or creating a content offer, just ask yourself “What would HubSpot do?”
It’s sounds nutty, but it works. Everything you need to know is right in front of you on HubSpot’s website and blog. They do everything for a reason, from selecting a certain font, to picking an effective color, everything is there for a reason.
Once you realize that, you can study their content offers, CTA’s and landing pages and see how they can apply to you. Once you are comfortable emulating or borrowing from HubSpot's playbook you will begin to settle into your own comfort zone.
I’m going to walk you through, step-by-step, how I created the conversion process for my ebook, “The Complete Guide to Getting Individual and Family Health Insurance” and how, in a poorly lit room, it could be mistaken for a HubSpot production.
Creating The Conversion Process
Step 1: Learning
Since HubSpot doesn’t have a dedicated ebook class, you kind of have to pay attention for the little tips and tricks that fallout along the way. Sure there are blog posts and webinars here and there, but nothing in the form of a step-by-step class like the other areas of the conversion process. You are going to want to rely heavily on a handful of real ebook examples, HubSpot or not.
I found HubSpot’s blog post A Simple Guide to Creating Social Media Sharing Buttons for Your Ebook to be very helpful during this process.
After you realize HubSpot has already provided you with a real world marketing road map, things get a lot easier. If that isn’t enough, HubSpot Academy should consider becoming an accredited college or university, because you will learn more about marketing in 10-15 classes than you will getting a four year bachelor's degree in corporate communications.
Tip: If you have yet to go through the HubSpot Training, try having an example already prepared before you take each class. That means, build a landing page, only referencing what you see practiced on HubSpot’s site, before you take the landing page class. Do the same for the CTA, Thank You Page, Blogging, etc.
The HubSpot Academy Landing Page Class and real HubSpot examples were invaluable tools to helping me create a great landing page.
Creating a shiny new CTA is where HubSpot starts to cheat a little bit. While their CTA tool is very powerful and useful, it doesn’t provide you with the out-of-the box ability their other tools do to easily replicate their level of work. This is where you will have to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty with a little graphic design, that is if you want to continue to go toe to toe with HubSpot.
I have to admit, I had a bit of a head start in this area. All of my graphic design ability is self taught, however it was acquired over a handful of years and previous experience running and managing other websites.
Start simple and think in layers. Get your hands on an image editing program and just start playing around. If you stick with it and keep trying, it will seem simple after awhile. I use Photoshop Elements for all of my CTAs, however I cut my teeth on a program called GIMP, which also happens to be free.
Again, the HubSpot Academy CTA Training Class was great for some CTA theory. In addition, real HubSpot examples help understand what makes a great CTA.
Thank You Page
I went into the HubSpot Academy Thank You Page Training Class with a fully completed thank you page. One big mistake I made, I didn’t bring back the main navigation. However, I did base my thank you page off of an existing HubSpot page, if only I saved the link. But, having a page already completed beforehand will allow you the opportunity to learn at your own pace and focus on the material of the class instead of learning the tool. If you are already comfortable using the tool you can closely watch what others in the class are struggling with and pay more attention to the professor's insights.
You guessed it, the HubSpot Academy Thank You Pages Training Class and real HubSpot examples helped me do this.
Step 2: Planning
My least favorite part of this process, so it will be brief.
My only goal at the start was to not write an entire ebook from scratch. The fancy marketing term for this is repurposing content. I had been blogging for four or five months before we started with HubSpot and knew that I had a series of posts that would come together nicely to provide the main content for the ebook. I also used my very first content offer, a 10-Step Checklist to Getting Health Insurance, as the main outline for the ebook.
You will want to spend a few minutes identifying the title and direction of the offer. This can be done by looking at popular blog posts and keywords you are already ranking for and getting traffic from.
Every other step in the process I just dove right in and started making mistakes and adjusted accordingly. If you plan too much you will out think yourself and kill good ideas. I find it helpful to get into the project first and let the ideas and process present itself.
Step 3: Creating
Finally, the fun part. Now that you have done the necessary leg work, it’s time to put your new skills to the test and put something together.
I really had no idea how to create an ebook two or three months ago. The only thing I did know, is that creating any kind of multi page PDF document was exhausting. Before starting with HubSpot, I hoped, like everything else they do, they had found a way to simplify this process.
Sadly, they have not created an awesome ebook tool yet. So I had to roll up my sleeves again and teach myself the ins and outs of ebook creation.
After considering several different programs - both paid and free - to use, I settled on Open Office Impress. Why? Because it was free and would open HubSpot's PowerPoint ebook template.
It’s important to note that I really only ended up using the template for two things, the social media sharing icons (which I cleaned up and shrank anyways) and to get the right dimensions for the ebook. There might be a way to set the default dimension in PowerPoint or impress, however this was the fastest and easiest way for me to do so.
I created all of the graphics and images using a combination of Adobe Photoshop Elements and the tools provided directly in Impress.
I used the HubSpot Landing Page tool to layout the page and insert the copy and forms. Again, I used Photoshop Elements to make the ebook cover look like it was printed on a real book.
I created the entire CTA in Photoshop elements and used HubSpot's CTA tool to upload and link to the landing page.
Thank You Page
Again, I used HubSpot’s CMS to create the thank you page and followed best practices learned in the training.
This entire process was created using: HubSpot CTA tool, Photoshop Elements, Open Office Impress, HubSpot Landing Page tool, HubSpot CMS and HubSpot Ebook Template.
Seven months, 50+ leads and a few customers later, my ebook has provided visitors a compelling reason to handover their email and start learning more about their health insurance needs.
Joey Giangola is a third generation independent insurance agent for his family agency, Giangola Insurance, which was founded by his grandfather in 1955. He would also be called the director of marketing if they had such fancy titles. Joey is also obsessed with helping you put the health back in your health insurance and believes that’s the secret to fully maximizing your coverage.
We HubSpot because Insurance is boring, but what it protects isn’t. How else are we going to tell a bunch of people that?
Originally published Aug 8, 2013 9:21:00 AM, updated January 14 2014