We've all had it happen before.
You spend days creating an ebook. You slaved over the copy. You hacked together the design. You put it on your website.
And then ... crickets. No one downloads it.
But you were told ebooks are one of the most effective forms of content marketing. So what gives?
If you're using ebooks to generate leads and still not seeing the results you've been promised, then you might be making one of the following rookie mistakes.
1) You didn't identify your target audience.
This is a classic case of marketing with the lights off. If you don't know who your target audience is, then how are you supposed to write an entire book for them?
Solution: Create a buyer persona.
It's time to do your market research to create a buyer persona before you mess up your next ebook's chances. Your buyer persona will detail everything there is to know about your ideal customer and it will typically include:
- Goals and challenges
- Hobbies and interests
Once you have this information, you'll be able to more easily and consistently produce targeted content. You'll know the right topic to choose for your ebook and you'll know how to speak in their language.
2) Your topic wasn’t valuable.
If you could find the answers to your ebook by a simple Google search then why would anybody be inclined to download it?
The whole point of your ebook is to get people to give you their email address, correct? Problem is, you're also competing with every other marketer who wants their details -- so why should they give it to you ahead of the other guy?
Solution: Solve their problems.
There's a reason why your business exists. It's because you have a solution to the problems that your customers face.
By creating an ebook that promises to educate them on how to solve those very problems, you'll be providing them with a valuable resource that they won't have to think twice about downloading.
For example, this ebook below from the HubSpot library is ideal. It doesn't try to give the hard sell to the prospect, rather it promises to educate the target audience on how they can create a responsive website (something that's incredibly important given recent Google Algorithm changes):
When coming up with a topic, make sure it's:
- Targeted to your audience and your niche
- Useful and educational
- Includes keywords that resonate with your prospects
- Clearly communicates the benefits of the ebook
3) You made the cover with MS Paint.
Alright, we know that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but we'd be lying if we said we weren’t guilty of it.
If you want people to download the ebook, then its design needs to entice the prospect to do so. It has to look professional, set the story of your ebook, and reflect your brand.
Solution: Create a professional design.
When designing your cover it needs to reflect the theme of your whole ebook. It's the first thing your audience will see, so the design has to instantly attract them.
For example, this ebook from SparkPay has an effective design with simple graphics, a clear title, and reflects the style of their brand:
If you are designing your own ebook then make sure the cover is:
- Clear, attractive, and noteworthy
- Consistent with your brand
- Conveys the theme of what's inside
- Highlights the value to the reader
4) You didn't promote it.
This is biggest mistake that you can make. If you're expecting people to just stumble upon your ebook without giving it the promotion it deserves, then you may as well throw in the towel right away.
Truthfully, you need to put the same amount of effort into promoting your ebook as you did to create it.
Most people immediately think of these four channels: Social, email, blog, and paid amplification. But after you've exhausted your social media accounts, emailed it to part of your database, blogged about it, and paid for advertising, where do you look to next?
Solution: Do outreach for your ebook.
An effective outreach strategy is the next step to giving your ebook the very best chances of getting seen. Outreach is focused on finding different channels and influencers within your industry who can help you give your content a bigger push.
This can include:
- Writing guest posts for high-traffic bloggers
- Asking influencers who write about similar subjects to share it
- Sending out a press release
- Publishing on an ebook marketing platform
To make sure you are giving your content the best possible chance to be snapped up, it's vital that you only target influencers who speak to your audience. Platforms such as BuzzSumo can help you search, analyze, and connect with influencers to help you promote your content.
5) Your audience couldn’t find your landing page.
The landing page is the gateway to your ebook, and the reason you're generating leads in the first place. So you need to make sure that:
a) People can find your landing page
b) The landing page entices people to fill out their details
Solution: Optimize your landing page.
Optimizing your landing page is a crucial step in making sure that you have everything prepped for a guaranteed download.
Below is a great example of an optimized landing page:
Want to optimize your landing page the same way? Follow these tips:
- Use the keywords of your ebook in the headline, URL, meta description, and in the intro copy.
- Write a short summary of what's included in the ebook.
- Include an image of your ebook.
- Add bullets to highlight the ebook's benefits.
- Don't include any links, and take away the navigation bar.
- Don't ask for more contact information than you need in the form.
Once you've correctly optimized your page, your audience won't have to search high and low to find what they're looking for. And by highlighting all of the benefits, they feel more compelled to to download your ebook.
In Short: Keep your audience in mind.
The key takeaway is that your content has to be created with your audience firmly in mind. Make sure you aren’t making any of these critical mistakes for your next ebook and start using it as it was intended: a lead making machine!
Originally published Jul 27, 2015 4:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017