If your business doesn’t yet have an eBook, you’re missing out on an invaluable marketing opportunity. Because they are a downloadable product, eBooks offer greater perceived value for customers—especially when your company offers them for free. Each time a potential customer downloads your eBook, you can add to your list of high-quality leads, enabling you to more precisely target your marketing campaign. Plus, publishing a business eBook positions your company as an expert in your field. It sets you apart from your competition and enables you to engage directly with your potential customer base. Here’s a quick look at what an effective eBook involves.
The Perfect Topic
Choosing the right topic is a critical first step in creating a successful eBook for your business. It’s a given that your eBook’s topic should reflect the nature of your company. For example, if your business is a veterinary clinic, your eBook should be on some aspect of animal health. You might be tempted to choose a very broad topic, such as “What to Expect When Bringing Home a New Puppy.” However, it’s often a good idea to narrow the focus a bit. For example, you might choose the topic “Common Challenges in Housebreaking.” This topic would still appeal to the same group of potential clients, but it appears more actionable and worth reading.
When choosing an eBook topic, you should always keep in mind the needs of your customer base. Put yourself in their shoes. If you were a client interested in a particular industry, what type of information would you look for? For example, let’s say you run a financial advising firm. Much of your client base is likely people who are worried about saving enough for retirement. You could identify a narrow topic within the retirement niche (such as long-term care insurance) and focus your eBook on that.
The Ideal eBook Length
An eBook can be virtually any length. However, B2B eBooks are typically much shorter than the fiction eBooks you might have on your eReader. Many companies pump out multiple eBooks that are only a few pages in length, while others offer just one or two longer eBooks. As with most things, it’s best to keep your customers in mind when choosing a good length. For example, if you’re writing “Common Challenges in Housebreaking” for an audience of new puppy parents, those readers are likely going to be skimming the eBook to find the nuggets of info they truly need. Keep this downloadable concise, short, and to the point.
On the other hand, if you’re writing an eBook for Baby Boomers who are worried about retirement, they would likely be more willing to invest more time in reading a longer eBook—as long as you offer valuable information throughout it. Never try to add in fluff simply for the sake of making an eBook longer. You’ll only end up losing your audience’s attention.
After writing an eBook, it’s always a smart idea to set it aside for a few days. Then, read it again and look for opportunities to reduce the word count in order to make the writing more concise.
Stylistic and Design Considerations
Aside from length, another key difference between regular books and B2B eBooks is their style and design. Readers of B2B eBooks expect information to be packaged in bite-sized bundles. That means it’s a smart idea to use generous amounts of subheadings to break up the information. Your eBook should also have plenty of white space to enhance the visual effect and make it easier to read.
In addition, look for opportunities to include visual elements. Charts, graphs, and images are all good examples. You can also use sidebars throughout the eBook. For example, if you have a veterinary clinic and you’re writing an eBook on housebreaking a puppy, you could have multiple sidebars labeled with the subhead “Smart Tip” or something similar. Those sidebars would offer additional information that complements the main text. Another idea is to have a series of sidebars with the subhead “Famous Pups.” These sidebars would offer short vignettes about famous or heroic dogs throughout history. While this information isn’t actionable, it would appeal to all pet parents’ inherent love of animals, and it would make your veterinary clinic appear more approachable and friendly.
The Rules on Sales Pushes
A lot of businesses make one critical error when they develop their eBooks: They take the opportunity to aggressively make sales pitches throughout the downloadable. This is problematic because customers who download eBooks expect that they are getting a primarily educational resource—not a sales pitch. As a result, customers become disengaged and they aren’t likely to finish reading through to the end.
Although it might seem counterintuitive, an eBook works most effectively as a marketing tool when it isn’t chock-full of sales pitches. Instead, the focus should be on providing a valuable resource for your potential clients. Offer plenty of actionable information, and look for ways of providing “insider knowledge” for your industry. This positions your company as an expert in the field, elevates your professional reputation, and encourages customers to get in touch when they need your products and services.
Of course, you can include a gentle call to action (CTA) toward the end of the eBook if you wish. However, keep it short, simple, and non-aggressive. Simply let your readers know that if they have further questions or concerns about the topic, they can get in touch with an associate at your company for more information. Generally, it’s best to avoid directly asking customers to buy anything.
Writing an eBook isn’t easy—especially when you consider that it must meet high standards and create a positive first impression of your company. Instead of stressing over your eBook, let the experts take care of it. From concept to design, the team at Pennington Creative can develop a flawless eBook that positions your company as the authority in your industry. We serve clients across the country, so get in touch today to discuss your project.