With one week to spare before the end of January, I am delighted to say I’ve been able to tick one item off, my substantial ‘To Do’ list for 2017. I’m feeling pretty pleased about this particular ‘tick’ because rewind 6 months and I wouldn’t have had the vaguest clue about how to attempt such a task.
Last year as I sat pondering weird and the wonderful ideas for the McRae Communications Marketing Plan, a vague notion wafted through my mind. I committed this seedling thought to my trustee excel sheet and decided to write an ebook every month. “Eh, hello… crazy lady. Why would you want to go and do that?”
Why write an ebook?
We all have a story to tell, whether it’s a personal story or a brand story, a creative concept or knowledge and learnings to share. For the purpose of this post, I’d like to consider the merits of the ebook as a marketing tool.
Why not write an ebook?
My idea to use ebooks as part of my marketing communications plan is not a new one by any means, but for many, making the jump to learn a new skill can be daunting. Let’s be honest (a) there’s no point in doing something unless you do it right, so that means investing a little time and energy (b) ebooks = unfamiliar technology/platforms = profuse sweating and knuckle biting.
Expand Your Audience
The most obvious reason to create an ebook is to share your knowledge or brand story with your existing audience. If you want to reach as many people as possible and increase your audience in the process, you may want to consider giving your book away for free. However, I personally would prefer not to give an ebook away for free. You no doubt know that ‘content is king’ on your website. I happen to believe that should extend to your ebook. The content you offer should provide real value to the reader. If this content has been created as the result of years of research and study or significant experience, then why give that away for free? That said, if expanding your audience is the top of your priority then a ‘Free’ ebook that hits the mark in some quirky manner is certainly worth considering, particularly if it is tied to an incentive program.
Boost your website traffic
Selling (or giving away) your ebook from your business website via a form is a sure fire way to boost traffic and engagement with you, your blog or service offering. You could increase your subscriber base by offering an ebook as part of the ‘Opt in” process. Everyone loves something for nothing, so perhaps creating subscription-specific ebooks is an option to consider.
Establish your positioning as an expert
An ebook is an effective tool to demonstrate your depth and breadth of experience and knowledge thus establishing you as an expert or thought-leader in your field.
Become an Author
There is huge value in blogging, and I could devote extensive word count to its merits. However, blogging can only take your audience so far. Blogging is great for piquing the interest, but an ebook provides an opportunity to educate or provide deeper insights. Of course, if you write an ebook the length of War and Peace it’s not going to have the same effect, but a few well-placed ebooks providing an overview on a topic that resonates is very useful for your information-hungry audience.
Another touchpoint with your audience
Delving into the ebook arena will provide your audience with another relatable touchpoint. If you are already all over social media, YouTube, Pinterest, or whatever and you faithfully update your own website, ebooks provide another dimension and another vehicle to (a) promote yourself (b) communicate with your audience in a way that suits them. Which bring me rather neatly to accessibility.
New technologies have changed the way we gather and absorb information. We view thousands of screens of content on a surface level. We tend to scan things online, only lingering on the pertinent points. We look for more and more information – and we look for it now!
As a result, most of us now own a computer, tablet, smartphone, Kindle or iPad reader. Since eBooks can be downloaded via these devices, your ebook content is easily accessible – instantly.
Creating an ebook gives you access to feedback on your positioning in the market. Not only will you be able to share your expertise ‘globally’ without investing bank-breaking currency or significant time, you can also ask your target audience for their thoughts.
By asking them directly what they enjoyed, didn’t like or would like to see more of, you are deepening and strengthening your relationship with your audience. You just can’t beat that level of market research. Your ebook could ultimately become a resource that anyone in the industry can learn from, but can also promote your company’s vision, methodologies and services to potential clients.
And remember, you are actually doing your audience a huge favour by collating valuable and informative content in an eBook so they can have it on hand for easy reference. You’ve just saved them a lot of time – and for that, they will be truly thankful.
If you are looking to bring in more business, a well-written ebook could convince potential clients that you’re the company they want to work with. You know what you’re doing and you’re going to produce a product that’s is (at the very minimum) as high quality as the ebook you created.
Measurement & ROI
If you’ve been anywhere near a marketing strategy in the last few years, you will be all too aware of the debate that surrounds the use of social media in a marketing plan. Should we use Facebook? Twitter? Yay? Nay? Hmm. Depends. How do we measure ROI? Blank faces … you know the story. Of course, ‘What’s the ROI for this ebook/Facebook campaign? ‘is probably the wrong question to ask in the first place. Social media and ebooks are viewed more in terms of how they ‘assist’ ROI (did the ebook help move your customer along the sales funnel to purchase?). Probably yes. Since books are generally priced lower than your core service offering, you are able to enter into a buying relationship with an audience that connects with your message and, when the time comes, purchase a higher priced product or service offering from you.
The great thing about an ebook is you can never sell out. You create one copy and you can sell it over and over with no additional overheads to consider.
As a writer, I learned very early on you adapt and evolve to survive. If I had been stubborn about remaining in the wonderful world of print and paper (oh heaven) I would have never have survived beyond my publishing incarnation. There is something liberating about challenging yourself and learning a new skill – particularly one you’ve eyed nervously from the peripherals. So as you can gather, I survived the learning curve and the knuckle biting and I’m here to tell you, ebooks will open up a whole new world to you and your business.
If you’ve been toying with the idea – just do it! What’s the worst can happen? You may actually enjoy it.
And well, it would be remiss if I didn’t say it – if you get stuck – I’m sure McRae Communications Consultancy could help you out, now that we’ve added another string to our bow.