4 Tips for creating an e-book that gets Leads

by Shiv Sharma / April 30, 2015

E-book is a word that gets tossed around a lot in today’s marketing circles. Inbound marketing without E-Books is like spaghetti and meatballs without fresh tomato sauce.

If you are a content marketer or a design professional, you probably have worked on creating one.

If not, you will, sooner rather than later.

E-books require a lot of work.  For the same amount of time and resources, you can probably churn out 3 infographics or half a dozen articles. So when you finally put it up for download, you should make sure it’s worth all the effort.

Sure, your E-book might get more views and shares than your average content.

But is that enough?

As a young professional in the intimidating but mostly awe-inspiring world of content writing, a few months ago I decided to take my first shot at writing an E-book.

It didn't work out too well.

It felt like going to the beach with all my gear and discovering a thunderstorm. Or showing my favorite movie to a date and finding her falling asleep in the middle. It was an unpleasant feeling.

But it also fascinated me.

So I dug the vast realms of internet, asked my peers, read some more E-books and found out the things that I did wrong.

And then, I wrote another E-Book.

This time the results were much better. In fact they were pretty good. We got 4 times the number of new subscribers to our blog compared to our last E-book.

And these 4 simple tips made all the difference. So let me share them with you.

1. Create actionable content

I was really excited about the topic of my first E-Book- Back to the Future of Management- Tips from a Workplace in 2025. A chance to envision future management principles with Back to the Future references! What was not to like? Our designers were pretty pumped about creating a futuristic design for the E-Book and they did a great job at that.

So what was the problem? Although the idea was great, we put a lot of effort in the design and content; however the E-Book was probably not the best format for such a subject.

People download E-Books to learn some actionable tips. To gain knowledge which they can instantly put into practice. While they might be interested in reading an article about management practices in 2025, they were less likely to subscribe and download an E-Book about it because of a lack of direct actionable benefits.

So for my next E-Book project I decided to write about a topic most young professionals would be curious to learn more about- delivering presentations. Presentation tips can be instantly used at work. The subject also allowed me to use my theater and public speaking experience to come up with specific actionable tips.

The resulting E-Book- Delivering Impressive Presentations did really well. We got 4 times more downloads and almost 3 times more social shares than the last E-Book. And we got a big jump in our overall blog traffic.

2. Build a landing page that adds value

Let’s have a look at the landing page of our first E-Book.

The first E-Book’s landing page has a nice catchy text copy to promote the E-Book followed by two required fields (Name and Email Address). However, the landing page doesn't tell you what specific content will be explored in the E-Book. It looks more like an extract from an article. If a user lands on this page, he/she will not understand the benefits of the E-Book.

Let’s compare it with the second landing page.

Now this landing page directly makes a connection with the reader. It focuses on the problem (fear of public speaking) and then  jumps  straight into the bullet points, highlighting the specific topics covered in the E-Book.  The landing page enabled users to see real value in the E-Book.

3. Call to Action: The little thing that packs a big punch

It’s easy to ignore it. After all it’s just a button.

But the Call to Action is much more critical that it appears to be.

You might have noticed that we always have a banner on the right side of our blog’s homepage which promotes the latest E-Book.

This is the banner which we used to have for our latest E-Book.

It did alright.

Then we changed it to this

It did great!

As you can see, the only difference is the color of the button. Just that change got us almost 12% more clicks. Make sure your call to action button stands out from the rest of the page.

4. Have a social media strategy

Social media is extremely powerful. That’s where you can directly interact with your audience. That’s the reason why almost all successful enterprises have a presence in at least one of the popular social networks.

Create a social media strategy which aligns with your ultimate organizational objectives. Every popular network (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google +) has its share of advantages and limitations. Facebook has higher viral quotient and reach, while LinkedIn will get you more quality leads. Decide the objectives of creating your E-Book, choose the appropriate social media platform and then promote it.

You can have the most brilliantly designed/written E-Book, but you can only depend so much on organic traffic. Without promoting it on social media, you won’t exploit its full potential.

Got any points we didn't think of? We’d love to hear them from you!

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