Of course, I’m assuming that you already have a website and are probably doing some business blogging. You may also do a regular eNewsletter to inform your customers and prospects about the great content you have created recently online. Your next step is to create an e-book that targets your ideal customers.
Joe and I learned this lesson with the e-book that preceded the print version of Get Content Get Customers. We were able to distribute our content marketing message to thousands of folks from around the world who took the time to download our e-book. We got plenty of positive and helpful feedback.
The power of e-books hit me again while I was reading David Meerman Scott’s new book, the World Wide Rave. He wrote about an Australian company the RPO group which is a recruitment outsourcing firm. Although David covered their website and their blog, I was particularly impressed by their e-book, 5 Secrets of Talent. It’s only 23 pages long, but conveys critical concepts clearly and compellingly.
Their e-book works for them. E-books can work for you as well. Here are five reasons why:
- You can quickly, compellingly, visually, and inexpensively establish thought leadership with an e-book that provides relevant information on the toughest challenges your customers face. Although you should have complete, in-depth information on your website that delves into those same challenges, an e-book distills your organization’s wisdom in an easily digestible format. In the case of the RPO group, they boil it down to 5 Secrets of Talent that target c-level executives who care deeply about talent but probably think very little about the minutia of recruitment.
- Offering a free e-book, is a wonderful incentive to entice your prospects to begin in their engagement with you. You don’t need to require that they sign up to download your e-book In fact, author David Meerrman Scott, stresses that you should never require registration for the downloading of e-books. The RPO group follows this rule and has managed to get more than 4000 prospective customers to download theirs. Their CEO, Liam Ovenden, explains their thinking about providing this kind of great, free content, "Now we’ve got qualified buyers coming to our website who are being turned from strangers into friends. And that makes our business development instantly more successful, which was the whole point in the first place."
- E-books, in the universally acceptable PDF format, are easy to pass along from one prospect to another, giving you potentially infinite reach. This means that however many initial downloads you get, you will undoubtedly get much broader viral reach with an e-book that delivers relevant and compelling content. E-books don’t suffer from the limitations of print material. Once you have made the initial investment it costs no more to generate a million copies than it does to generate a hundred copies.
- If you need help in designing your e-book and in generating the content, you can find talented designers and freelance writers easily. The skill set required to create an e-book is much more universal than that required to build a highly sophisticated website. Thus, there is plenty of available talent. The key is to make sure to partner with folks who understand the importance of great content that precisely targets your ideal customers.
- If your budget is very limited, you can create your own e-book by starting with PowerPoint and then transforming the PowerPoint files into PDF files. Even if you need to bring in professionals to fine tune your work, your investment will still be minimal while yielding maximum results. Take a look at the 5 Secrets of Talent and you’ll see that although it is certainly well designed, you could probably replicate the basic style yourself and wind up with a highly effective content marketing vehicle that delivers infinitely greater impact and reach than a traditional print brochure.
Even if you’re not quite ready to make the plunge into e-book publishing, start exploring e-books that you find compelling in terms of information that’s directly relevant to you. I think you’ll find that the best ones have a pretty powerful impact in positioning the e-book writers as experts you can trust to help solve your problems.