There’s a sense of pride when you finally publish an ebook.
It took hours, days, and possibly months to bring all that information together. You get excited at the idea that you will generate leads and shares.
Unfortunately that’s not happening.
Trying to figure out why your long form content isn’t producing the results you had expected might be a surprise since 72% of us go to the internet to find the information that we need every day.
To understand why people aren’t downloading or responding to your ebook, here are the 5 signals that will make your prospects turn away from downloading your ebooks.
Be sure to read until the end, there is a list of tips to help you fix these!
1. Writing For The Wrong Target Audience
The most important aspect to writing a successful ebook is writing for the right target audience.
This will determine the direction of your ebook, and how this information will be presented.
The situation may be that you think you’re writing for this target audience, when in actuality your topic is too complex or too simple for your brand’s audience. As you go, your tone of writing could change making it difficult to revert back to the original style.
You might end up having a more scattered ebook that could be missing key information that your target audience was looking for. Over researching and an inability to translate that information into your own writing style will confuse your audience.
Every successful business knows who their target audience is.
For ebooks, there is a possibility that your main target audience might not be just marketers.
By testing your content, creating a communications guide, and with an Atomic Audit you will maintain the language that your customers resonate with the most. Consistently writing with your target audience in mind helps your brand stand out!
2. Too Short In Length
When people download an ebook, they are expecting a document that’s more than just 500 - 1000 words. They associate shorter lengths to a blog post.
Short ebooks could be making your reader feel cheated, which will lead to an unsubscription from your emailing list. What’s worse is that you develop a reputation for providing low quality information harming your search rankings and conversion rates.
Create an outline that encompasses all aspects of that topic or an overview with key points that you find specific and useful.
Let’s say that you’re writing an ebook about marketing your company at a conference. Your ebook could include the following information as a great overview on the subject:
Examples of what other companies are doing:
- Steps you took to prepare your strategy
- What collaterals to use
- Tips on selling and promoting when there
- Lists of people you’d like to reach out to
- How you will follow up with them
Don’t forget to include references to back up your statements. As marketers it’s easy to write about what we know, but by being able to back up your claims with hard numbers you will be providing your prospects with evidence that they can share with their team.
3. Formatted For Failure
When you think of subway commuters who read on their phone or a printed book, format for multiple medias is now super important.
The way we like to absorb information differs from person to person. Not considering proper format or printability of your ebook will immediately discourage your lead.
The signs of badly formatted ebooks can include overly large bodies of text, disorganization of topics, lack of actionable easy to implement takeaways, and printing challenges.
Many people continue to print out valuable documents. They are able to learn more effectively and can better remember information read on hard copy than on digital.
Touching paper and turning pages aids the memory, making it easier to remember where you read something. - UKSH Insights
Make sure that the dimensions of your ebook are within a standard sized sheet of paper for easy printing.
Format your content to include:
- White space in between topics
- Heading and subheadings
- Various text stylizations like blog quotes, bullet points, bolded words and italics to help emphasize certain points and areas.
- Visual aids like graphs, graphics, and infographics to help support your text, making the data easier to digest.
4. The Terrible Bait and Switch
To sell a gated ebook, you need to create a landing page for prospects to input their information. Usually you ask for an email address, name, company, and their role.
Those interested in your ebook were impressed enough with your landing page that they then chose to fill out your form. They trusted you enough to give you their personal information. They were excited about the top-notch ebook and future emails you’d be sending them.
In many cases you get an awesome landing page, but then the ebook doesn’t deliver.
Your lead’s excitement fades. They become frustrated that they were deceived. Soon they receive an email from thanking you for downloading that ebook plus, “here’s some additional content that I think you might be interested in”.
Your prospect now wants to unsubscribe. In some cases they can’t find an unsubscribe button- definitely a terrible practice. When this happens, emails will continuously be sent to a recipient that doesn’t want your content. They will move it to junk mail or contact you directly. If your emails are being sent to the junk folder, this could also be impacting your analytics.
Get rid of the fluff and branding irregularities.
Maintain the same visual and content quality that was seen on your landing page for brand consistency and trust.
If you’re promising a solution to your prospect’s challenges be able to answer them with multiple solutions that have the research and proof behind them. Include recent case studies, testimonials, data, industry studies, and even your company’s metrics.
Give them the option to unsubscribe from your emails.
If they are not responding to your emails, send them a personal email asking what they didn’t like about the email that they received. A personal email will go a lot further than one sent by a bot.
Here’s an example:
Thank you again for downloading our ebook!
I noticed that you’ve opened the last few emails and then recently unsubscribed.
I’m interested in knowing what you didn’t like about the emails that were sent to you. Feel free to be completely honest! We’re always trying to improve in how we connect with our community and your feedback would be extremely useful!
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts,
If they don’t respond to your outreach, here’s a tip from the podcast Startup Chat:
Send them one last email telling them that you will not be sending them any more emails and apologize for not being able to offer a better experience. You will be increasing the likelihood of them responding back with this type of message.
5. Missing An Offer
What are you ultimately offering your leads? An ebook that includes great stories and cases studies doesn't necessarily motivate your reader into action.
Creating assets that they can print out or physically use in their own strategy proves to increase the value of your ebook. Provide them with the tools and resources to help them take action. This strategy can also create an opening to naturally add your tool/product to the ebook.
Try including the following assets within your ebook:
- Printable checklist
- Calendar dedicated to improving the workflow of a certain process
- Templates or outlines
- Lists of tools and websites
- How-to guides
Quickfire Round: Real Reasons Why People Download Ebooks
*from real people
- Gives them a sense of ‘ownership’, a sense of achievement
- To see what others are doing and to learn from their approach
- To learn from their content
- To get information that is not available anywhere else, like results from extensive company testing
- Gives insights on current trends in industries relevant to marketer/reader
- Address a problem that the business is looking to solve
- For inspiration and ah ha moments
- To confirm information they already know and be able to share this with the team with more authority
- For templates, how-to guides, spreadsheets, etc.
- As a reference for past presentations they’ve seen at conferences
- It’s free even though some are gated
- Is a great way to self-educate
- To be on the list of their competitor
- To replicate the subject, approach, and design
- Solves the challenge of trying to read blog posts that are too long, in one sitting
- To bundle all of the information that company has published about that topic
- If they are reports, overviews, or a round-up of the year
Time to Get Started
To recap this post on improving your ebook strategy, remember to:
- Always write with your target audience in mind
- Keep the length aligned with the information people expect from this kind of content
- Make it printable and formatted for easy readability
- Be consistent how you brand your landing page and ebook
- Offer actionable tips and resources to help your leads get started in improving and solving their challenges.
Reassess your ebook with these tips in mind and see where you can tweak your strategy.
What is the one thing you look for in an ebook? Share your thoughts in the comments!