In the current content-centric B2B environment, prospects are bombarded with all forms of original content. Blog posts, videos, whitepapers and ebooks theoretically all serve the same purpose: providing value to prospects at no cost.
This is rarely the case as the rise of content marketing has driven many marketers to believe quantity is more important than quality. The result is something we are all painfully aware of: low quality, low impact, and undervalued content that comes off as a badly disguised attempt at providing true value to the prospect.
This isn’t a new occurrence by any means, it leads to a much more cynical and wary consumer. They are immediately suspicious when approached with a seemingly valuable piece of information; wondering “what they're getting out of this?”
Another trend that has come as a result of the discerning prospect is the gradual move towards longer form content. 400 word blog posts (such as this!) are often not enough to deliver the sort of value that is sought today.
Having such a bare bones
approach to creating content can also result in the prospect thinking that you lack credibility.
This is awful news because one of the main objectives of your content is to establish yourself as a leader in your space.
Furthermore, Google continues to wage war against so called “low quality” content - further cementing the fact that quality, not quantity, is king.
Why Ebooks Are Proven To Be Effective In Growing Your Business
This is where ebooks come in.
B2B marketers have slowly but surely realized that their “Mc-Blogposts” are just not cutting it.
Creating an ebook with relevant subject matter is the next logical step to satisfy the prospect’s hunger for value, and eventually convert them to a valuable lead.
The proof is in the numbers. Research done by the CMI showed that 51% of B2B marketers used e-books as a part of their marketing mix. This number rose to 64% in the next year, and has continued this upward trend since then.
There are several reasons why you would undertake the creation of an ebook.
Reason 1: Genuinely delivers value
First, it shows prospects that you are genuinely interested in delivering value to them. They’ve whet their appetite on the blogpost… now are they ready for the main course? By creating an ebook you are indicating that you're not afraid of giving away some of your secret sauce. Sharing is caring, is definitely a mantra to live by in the content marketing world!
The benefit of this is that soon you will be regarded as a thought leader in your space - the go-to guy for information on your area of expertise. Ebooks sky-rocket your legitimacy in the eyes of prospects and leads to more brand awareness.
Reason 2: Teaches prospects about what you do and why it's important to them
Publishing ebooks helps to teach potential prospects. If the reader isn't aware of a certain aspect of your business - reading an ebook that explores the significance of that particular aspect will then prompt readers to engage with you and want to learn more. Radix Communications hits the nail on the head when they describe it as the intersections between the information you have, and the information your audience needs.
Reason 3: Converts leads
Turning prospects and readers into leads. It is the hardest goal to achieve as it requires a great deal of subtlety. Remember that badly disguised attempt at providing true value? Still true.
The easiest way to do this is to gate your content. I mentioned that ebooks should provide readers with value at no cost - this breaks that rule. In essence, the reader is paying you for the ebook with their contact information. What you do with that contact information is what makes a good content marketer stand out.
Do you proceed to mercilessly bombard them with follow up emails that solely promote your product? There goes that disguise, again. Instead, continue providing them with value.
If you have more ebooks with similar themes that the reader may find relevant, recommend it to them. Share a relevant video or blogpost. In fact, share someone else’s blog post with them. The reader will appreciate the fact that you are promoting someone else’s work (perhaps even a competitor).
If you don’t want to gate your content, but lead generation is still a priority, I recommended that you include subtle CTAs that don’t come off as sounding too “salesy.” The CMI recommends sprinkling these CTA throughout the ebook, making sure that it “makes sense in that context and is perfectly aligned with the topic.”
Creating and placing CTAs
Include your CTA on a dedicated page within the ebook, and ensure that it maintains its contextual relevance. This page could be at the end of your ebook (most common practice), or within the body. Have a solution that addresses the key themes of each chapter in your ebook? Then by all means make that fact known to the reader.
CTAs could also be in the form of hyperlinks within the body of your text, directing readers to key parts of your website that are relevant to the current page or chapter they are on.
The key point here, is do not create an ebook solely to generate leads.
This tactic has been tried before, and the discerning audience of today will see right through it.
Strike the balance between providing value, helping the reader and serving your own goals.
Our very first Ebook
Our newest ebook delivers key information on the current trends in content and how it affects your business. We deliver actionable tips on how to optimize the language you use in your content to help you reach your audience better.
By downloading our free ebook you will learn how to optimize your web copy, product descriptions, newsletters and outbound email campaigns!
It's Your Turn,
Let us know what you think of our first ebook and what you'd like to learn in the next! Share your thoughts in the comments below and share this article.