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How to Leverage E-Books as a Marketing Tool

By Cedric Jackson, August 2, 2017
How to Leverage E-Books as a Marketing Tool

E-books are a powerful and effective way to distinguish your brand as an authority and presence in your business or niche. They lend a good deal of credibility to your brand message and can help you zero in on the exact customer type you most want to attract.

With that being said, it is equally important to realize how mishandling the production and distribution of your e-books can negatively impact how customers (and, more importantly, potential customers) view your company or brand. Today, I would like to present you with some advice based on what I have seen over years of managing a successful copywriting company that will help you successfully produce and market e-books to your target audience.

Getting Started

First and foremost, it is important to start with the best writer for the job. You might think it's you, and you may be right. No one knows your brand better than you do. The question you need to ask yourself is this: Would the way I deliver the message in this book attract new business if I knew nothing about my company ahead of time?

If you can't answer that question with a definitive, “Yes!” it would be in your best interest to, at a minimum, let a professional writer look it over. You would likely be very surprised at the changes he or she suggests and how much better the message flows with a slight professional polish.

Writing Your E-Book

If you already know that writing an entire e-book is beyond what you have the time or ability to produce, seek out a writer who has, at least, a working knowledge of the subject or, ideally, experience in it. Keep in mind that many freelance copywriters have or have had “day jobs” that have given them advanced knowledge in a broad range of subject areas. Don't settle on a writer based solely on cost. Properly vet any writer you hire and be clear about the objectives of your e-book.

That last statement is the perfect segue into what, I believe, is the most important part of the equation: Be prepared to pay for quality. I've said it before, but it definitely bears repeating. Sure, you can find a writer who will write 20,000 words for $25, but you will get what you pay for. Find an experienced writer and negotiate a reasonable price for the quality you expect.

Let's get the sticker shock out of the way immediately. If you want average quality, think in terms of about 1.5 cents per word. For 20,000 words, that comes out to about $300.

For high quality, you should be prepared to pay a minimum of 3 cents per word, plus any agency fees that might apply. High-quality writing will always fetch a bit more. However, if you have a good marketing plan and you have done all your research into who your ideal customer is, the return on investment will eventually far surpass the money you initially spend on a solid, well-presented e-book.

Developing the Finished Product

Once you have a solid, final draft from your copywriter, invest in a good formatting tool and give your e-book a strong visual edge. You can do this yourself (many software titles are intuitive enough to create awesome page formats with just a few clicks) or negotiate it as part of the price of its development.

The latter might work out better for you if you don't intend to release multiple e-books, but it will be far less cost effective if you do. In that case, I strongly recommend looking into some of the online tools in the link above and learning how to use them.

Marketing Your E-Book

Now that you have made a responsible investment of time and resources into the development of your e-book, you want it seen by as many people as possible. Here are a few avenues you can take to make sure your e-book gains maximum exposure.

To be clear, we are talking strictly about marketing material. I may do another article on marketing novels and other forms of e-books in the future, but for now, let's forget about tools like Amazon. You will only ever reach a tiny segment of your market there, and you will likely not deliver what the customer on that platform expects in the first place.

Here are some of the most effective ways you can use your e-book as a marketing tool:

#1 – Use it as a digital asset.

This is the #1 most effective use for a marketing e-book. Use it as leverage to capture email addresses, subscriptions to newsletters, or access to other online resources. Promise a link to an “exclusive, members only” area of your website inside the e-book if the reader follows your designated call to action.

#2 – Use it to promote your company directly.

Your e-book can function as an extended “about us” seeded with tons more valuable information than would fit (or hold people's attention) on a webpage. If people download a “book,” they expect to do some reading. This is where formatting and strategic uses of writing styles become essential parts of your e-book equation.

#3 – Use it to explain your product or service.

You can get a good bit of leverage in an e-book without ever once promoting your own company. Communicate to people that you have the knowledge and experience necessary to deliver a quality product or service, and two things happen. First, you build trust with your customers. Second, you position yourself as an authority in your niche. This is why quality is so important: If the quality isn't there, neither is the credibility. Growing your business is worth the investment.

Final Takeaway

If you haven't yet tested out the power and effectiveness of a high-quality e-book with your audience, I encourage you to do some research on them as they relate to your own business. Read a few that have been developed by your most successful competitors. These are the people who know their (and your) customers the best. Once you have an idea of the direction you want to take with it, consult with a professional writer to either develop or edit your e-book to maximize its effectiveness in your company's market.


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