One of the ways in which lead generation is done over the Internet is by giving away free gifts, such as eBooks. On the Internet, leads usually mean email addresses of people who are interested in your business and the promotion is done through email marketing. The approach is quite simple. Marketers write an eBook that is relevant to their business and then promote it over the Internet. In order to get the word out, they will advertise the eBook on their website and/or blog. The marketers may also place classified advertisements on other business’ websites about their goods and services, paying them affiliate income.
As an inbound marketing tool, an eBook’s main purpose is to increase site traffic and act as a source of lead and audience generation. eBooks should be basic and interesting enough that non-experts understand and learn from them.
Internet visitors are generally very interested when they see free offers being advertised and eBooks are especially appealing because they always represent real value to the consumers. The Internet visitors will certainly try to click on the link and download the free eBook. This is where the process of lead generation is introduced.
When the Internet visitor clicks on the link, it will not take them directly to the page of the eBook download. They will arrive first at a webpage that will ask for their email address. That page will tell the visitor that if they provide their contact information (including email ids), a great deal of additional (and valuable) information will be available to them. Of course, the Internet visitors won’t mind providing their contact information because the reward will be to receive free things. This type of page is known as a landing page, lead capture page, or squeeze page.
Quality landing pages use success stories that the prospect would relate to when making a buying decision. As a general rule, Internet Marketers try to keep the content on their landing pages to a minimum. The goal of the page is to obtain the visitor’s email address; additional information could distract the user or cause them to “Click-Away” to a different website. Navigation and hyperlinks are almost always absent from typical landing pages. The absence of links is used to focus visitors’ attention on one choice: register for the email list or leave the site. Savvy internet marketers have discovered that convincing a visitor to sign up for an email list provides an opportunity to present that visitor with multiple sales messages over time, develop a relationship, and even cross-sell other related products.
After the visitor puts in his or her email address on the landing page, he or she will be redirected to the page from where the download can occur for the free eBook. At this point, the marketer has the email addresses of the Internet users who have taken advantage of the free eBook. In other words, the marketer now has a list of email opt-in leads, which can be used for additional promotions, such as email marketing.
Here are some tips for writing effective eBooks for lead generation:
- Know your objectives. What is your goal in writing your eBook? Clearly you want to generate leads and increase your database, but you should also have an audience takeaway goal. What impression are you trying to convey for your company, brand, or product and what response do you want from your audience? Are you looking to position yourself as the expert in your industry? Are you offering tips on a niche topic in hopes that your prospects will contact you to learn even more? Are you looking for a more interesting way of sharing your story or trying to establish your profile in the business community? Or maybe you’re looking to create awareness for your brand/product in a way that is helpful to your audience rather than promotional. Knowing your objective will help you set the tone for your eBook.
- KISS. Keep it short and simple. No one wants to read your 300-page eBook, and keep this in mind as you decide on a topic. Identify specific topics that will limit the scope of your writing. Fifteen to thirty pages should be more than enough for most eBooks. Remember, you aren’t writing a sales manual or company promotional material; instead, you are writing to capture and engage readers. With that in mind, don’t write in over-complicated language when things can be explained simply.
- Name your eBook. Done in tandem with identifying your goals and settling on a topic, choosing a title will give your eBook some structure. You won’t be inclined to digress too much from the concept of your eBook if you’ve already figured out a compelling title. And don’t be afraid of subtitles, especially if this is a business eBook. Subtitles increase your SEO rankings and more accurately describe what the reader is interested in.
- Write quality content. Yes, eBooks are downloaded for free (or in exchange for your reader’s email address), but people are coming to your site for a reason. Give them good-quality writing and show them that you are the expert that they think you are.
- Hire an editor. Although an eBook may not seem like an official document, you want to be sure that it is edited thoroughly. A professional editor can check for consistency of tone, grammatical errors, and anything else that might make your reader dwell more on the writing than the content.
- Design. eBook design is just as important as eBook copy. Sometimes it is even more important. A text-heavy, badly designed eBook will turn off your online readers, who have gotten used to stimulating, interactive online content. If you want to engage them, hire a professional designer to establish the look of your eBook. Use graphics and images in addition to the text, and don’t try to pack too much text onto any given page.
- Add an appropriate copyright license message to your finished eBook to let your audience know that they can share your copyrighted material. You can use a tool such as Creative Commons to accomplish this.
- Promote your eBook. You should promote your eBook anywhere and everywhere that you can. Tweet about it, post it on Facebook, share it with your LinkedIn groups, blog about it, and send it out to your established network.