In the first quarter of 2021, e-book sales for publisher Harpercollins grew 38%, following a trend of increasing revenue for the company. While this is a snapshot of an editor’s success, it suggests a bigger move towards digital content consumption among marketers.
Lead magnets come in many forms, but the e-book still prevails in the first place. They give the reader:
- Extensive digital content in an environment that is mostly crowded with quick headlines and soundbites
- Visual data that complement the editorial content
- On-demand access to the e-book content
Your company will also benefit from the publication of an e-book. Making a profit, attracting new customers, generating excitement, and becoming an industry thought leader are just some of the benefits of this type of content.
But what exactly is an e-book and why are they producing such great results for marketers?
18 Free eBook Templates – Download Now
Download the 18 free e-book templates from HubSpot to create an e-book in PowerPoint, Google Slides, or Adobe InDesign.
What are the advantages of an e-book?
Let’s say you have a fantastic blog full of great content. Why in the world would you want to offer your readers an e-book? Is it even worth your time?
Here are some of the benefits ebooks offer content creators:
- Unlike long printed publications that are bought or mailed in-store, an e-book is instantly available as soon as you are ready to read.
- You can put it behind some kind of opt-in to motivate your website visitor to become a lead if they want the information.
- In a way, ebooks have design features like detailed charts, graphs, and full-page images that you may not be able to achieve on your blog.
- After creating the e-book for the first time, you can distribute the file multiple times without additional production costs. You also have no associated shipping costs.
- You can embed links to other media in the e-book file to encourage the reader to continue studying your content.
Perhaps more importantly, e-books offer a number of benefits to your audience:
- E-books are extremely portable and can be stored on a number of devices with no physical space allocated.
- The reader has the option to print out the e-book if they wish to consume the information in a traditional physical format. Otherwise, the digital format is environmentally friendly.
- E-books can be accessed with the ability to increase the font size and / or read aloud with text-to-speech.
- They are also easily searchable when the reader is looking for something in particular.
Are e-books profitable?
You can be. E-books are large-volume offers at low sales prices. This means that in order to compete in the market and make a significant profit, you will have to sell many of them for a relatively low price. Depending on your industry, ebooks can range from free to more than $ 100.
Before you set a price on your e-book, do some research. Determine who your audience is, what they are willing to pay, and how many people in your target market may be willing to buy it. Then determine the platforms through which you will sell your e-book. Amazon? Apple books? Your own website? You can research how much ebooks typically cost on these sites and use that knowledge in your pricing strategy.
How is an e-book structured?
There is no hard and fast rule for organizing your content in an e-book. It generally mimics the structure of a novel or textbook (depending on what you’re writing about). However, there are some aspects of an e-book that you should absolutely stick to.
E-books usually have a system of chapters and supporting pictures. Similar to a blog post, they also do well if they further segment their text with subheadings that break the discussion down into specific sections. For example, if you write about professional sports and one of your chapters is on Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States, you may want to create sub-chapters on the different teams in the MLB.
What is an e-book about?
Something. Well, within reason. E-books are simply the way of marketing to present a lot of important information in a form that your potential customers are most likely to read. An environmental company could write an e-book on saving water. With an e-book, you can also focus entirely on how your water-saving product is used or how it helped a customer solve a problem. Discover more e-book ideas at the end of this article.
Regardless of what topic your e-book takes up, research is an essential part of e-book creation. Unlike short pieces of content like articles and videos, the content of an e-book is based on trust and evidence. A user who receives (or requests access to) your e-book wants the full story, not just the bullet points. This includes all of the content and tests you went through to create the e-book.
Can you edit an e-book?
No An e-book cannot be edited after it has been saved in one of the popular file formats. So the best thing to do is to make sure you have an editable version saved in a program like Microsoft Word.
But why would you want your e-book to be non-editable? When e-books are not editable, it ensures that the content remains unchanged – both the format and the information – as it is shared by multiple users.
You can edit ebooks if they were saved with an editable PDF, a feature specific to Adobe Acrobat – the founding program of the PDF file type. Learn how to edit PDFs in this blog post.
How do you read an e-book?
You can read an e-book on many different devices: iPhone, Android smartphones, Macbook, PC, and e-readers such as Nook and Kindle. The latter two devices are typically used to read novels in digital form. Nook and Kindle owners can store thousands of books (literally) on a single Nook or Kindle.
But creating an e-book can be overwhelming. In addition to writing the content, you need to design and format it into a professional looking document that people will want to download and read. However, since lead generation is the ultimate goal of content marketing, e-books are an essential part of a successful inbound marketing program.
In this post, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of creating an e-book by creating an e-book. And if you are concerned about your lack of design skills, don’t worry …
18 free e-book templates in PowerPoint, Google Slides and InDesign [Free Download]
Do you have your free e-book templates? Ready to make an e-book? Great – let’s get to it.
Which e-book file format should you use?
E-books can be saved in one of several formats. However, depending on your end user, you may find a use for one of the following file types:
PDFs are probably the most popular file type. The extension “PDF” stands for “Portable Document Format” and is best suited for e-books that are to be read on a computer (digital marketers, this should be remembered). We’ll talk more about how to save your ebook as a PDF later in this article.
This file type stands for “Electronic Publishing” and is a more flexible e-book format. By that I mean that EPUB ebooks can “flow around” their text to adapt to different mobile devices and tablets, so that the text of the ebook varies according to the size of the device a user is reading the ebook on , can be moved to and from different sides. They are especially useful for viewing on smaller screens like smartphones as well as the Barnes and Noble Nook.
The MOBI format comes from the Mobipocket Reader software, which Amazon bought in 2005 but was later discontinued in 2016. However, the MOBI file extension remains a popular e-book format with compatibility with major e-readers (except Nook).
Although the format has some limitations, such as: For example, if it does not support audio or video, it does support DRM, which protects copyrighted material from being copied for distribution or displayed illegally.
Newer Kindle formats are based on the original MOBI file types.
This is an e-book file type designed for the Kindle, an Amazon e-reader device. However, users can also open this file format on smartphones, tablets, and computers.
ODF stands for OpenDocument Format, a type of file primarily intended for OpenOffice, a series of open source content creation programs similar to Microsoft Office.
IBA is the proprietary e-book format for the Apple iBooks Author app. This format supports video, sound, images, and interactive elements, but is only used for books written in iBooks. It is not compatible with other e-readers.
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How do I write an e-book?
- Choose a topic that suits your audience’s needs.
- Outline each chapter of your e-book.
- Disassemble each chapter as you write.
- Design your e-book.
- Use the right colors.
- Integrate visual elements.
- Highlight quotes or statistics.
- Place appropriate calls-to-action in your e-book.
- Convert it to a PDF.
- Create a special landing page for your e-book.
- Promote your e-book and track its success.
1. Choose a topic that suits your audience’s needs.
Remember: the goal of your e-book is to generate leads for your sales team. So pick a topic that makes it easy for a prospect to move from downloading your e-book to talking to your sales team.
That means your e-book shouldn’t deviate much from the topics you cover in your other content marketing channels. Rather, it is your opportunity to dive deeply into a topic that you’ve only glimpsed but that your audience would like to learn more about.
For example, listening to sales and customer calls here at HubSpot, I learned that e-book creation is a huge barrier to our audience, who are marketers themselves. So if I can provide not only this blog post but resources to help make ebook creation easier, I will focus on the right topic, which of course leads to a sales pitch.
To unleash your creativity, here are some examples of e-book titles to consider. (Note: Replace “x” with an appropriate number.) You can also use our free blog topic generator to come up with more ideas. Most blog topics can be made broad enough to serve as longer e-book topics.
- X best practices for [Insert Industry/Topic]
- An introduction to [Insert Industry/Topic]
- X Frequently Asked Questions about [Insert Industry/Topic] Answered
- X [Insert Industry/Topic] Statistics for better decision making
- Learn from the best: X [Insert Industry/Topic] Experts share insights
For this blog post, I’m using the PowerPoint version of template two from our collection of five free e-book templates. In each section of this post, I’ll show a side-by-side of the template slide and how I customized it.
Below you can see my custom cover with my sales relevant e-book topic. For help writing compelling titles for your ebooks, see the tips in this blog post.
2. Outline each chapter of your e-book.
The introduction to your e-book should both highlight the content of your e-book and attract the reader. What will you cover in your e-book? How does the reader benefit from reading? For tips on writing an effective introduction, see this post.
Some e-book authors say that an e-book is simply a series of blog posts put together. While I agree that you should treat each chapter like a single blog post, the chapters of your e-book should also flow fluently from one to the other.
The best way to outline your e-book is to think of it as a crash course on the sales-related topic you selected. In my example of creating an ebook, I know I need to cover:
- Write effective copy
- Design an e-book
- Optimize e-books for lead generation and promotion
Although my example consists of a few chapters, remember that your e-book doesn’t have to be lengthy. I have a golden rule for e-book length: write what you need to effectively educate your audience about your chosen topic. If that takes five pages, great! If that requires 30 pages, so be it. Don’t waste words thinking that you have to write a long e-book.
With that we move on to the actual copy that you are writing.
3. Disassemble each chapter as you write.
You write! Here you can approach each chapter as you would write a long blog post – by breaking each chapter into smaller sections or bullet points, as shown in the image below. This will help you write simply and clearly, rather than trying to get every point across with sophisticated language. This is the most effective way to train readers and help them understand the new material you are providing.
Make sure that there is a uniform structure in each chapter. This helps you create natural transitions between the individual chapters, so that you can transition clearly from one chapter to the next (simply piecing together blog posts can take away this quality).
These practices should apply to all of your other marketing activities, such as: B. Email marketing, call-to-action creation and landing page development. “Clarity trumps persuasiveness,” as Dr. MECLABS ‘Flint McGlaughlin often says.
Do you want to make sure that your e-book stays engaging for readers? Here are some key tips to keep in mind:
- Use keywords in the title that highlight the value of your offer. Examples are adjectives like “amazing”, “great” or “ultimate”.
- Keep your format consistent so that you create a mental model for readers and improve their understanding of the material.
- If necessary, use formatting – such as bullets, bold, italics, and font resizing – to get people’s attention to your most important content or to highlight points that you want readers to remember.
4. Design your e-book.
Our downloadable e-book templates are offered in both PowerPoint and InDesign. In this example, we are going to show you how to do it in PowerPoint as more people have access to this software.
You will notice that the template (slide 3) only contains one “chapter page”. To create additional chapter pages or any pages you want, just right-click the slide and choose Duplicate Slide. This will create a copy of your slide and you can drag it to the right place in your ebook using the PowerPoint sidebar or slide sorter area. You can then adapt it for all subsequent chapters.
5. Use the right colors.
Ideally, our free e-book templates magically match your brand colors. But probably not; This is where you can really personalize your work. However, since e-books have more room for color than your logo or website, it’s a good idea to include secondary colors in your brand’s color palette. Ebooks are where this color scheme can really shine.
This blog post shows you how to add your branded colors to PowerPoint. This is a great way to customize the color scheme in our e-book templates to suit your brand!
6. Integrate visual elements.
Images and graphics in e-books are difficult to get right. The key to making them fit well is to think of them as complements to your writing. Whether you add them during or after you write your ebook, your images should serve to highlight an important point you are making or to deconstruct the meaning of a concept in an easy-to-understand, visual way.
Pictures shouldn’t just be there to make the e-book easy on the eyes. Rather, they should be used to improve the reader’s understanding of the material you are dealing with. If you need help collecting pictures, we have three free stock photos that might help you along the way:
And if you’re putting together a data-intensive e-book, you may want to download our free data visualization e-book for tips on designing great charts and graphs for your content.
7. Highlight quotes or statistics.
Another way to enhance your e-book is to highlight citations or statistics in your design. Just make sure that the quote or statistic you are using really adds value to the content.
Whether you’re highlighting a quote or adding artwork, keep all of your content within the same limits. If your copy is indented one inch consistently from both the left and right sides of your page, keep your designed elements aligned with the same spacing.
8. Place appropriate calls-to-action in your e-book.
Now that your content is written and designed, it’s time to optimize it for lead generation, conversion, and promotion.
Think about how you got here – you clicked a call-to-action (CTA) in an email, social media post, or elsewhere. A CTA is a link or visual object that entices the visitor to click on it and go to a landing page that further connects them with your business. Since your e-book readers have likely been turned into leads to get your hands on your e-book (more on that in the next step), use the CTAs in your e-book to convert your readers back into and convert them to Route your marketing funnel further down.
For example, a CTA can lead to another offer, the registration page of your annual conference, or even a product page. Depending on what that next action is, CTAs can be an inline rectangle or a whole page that addresses the next offer (see both images below).
To link the CTA in your e-book (or any image or text in your e-book) to your destination URL, just go to Insert >> Hyperlink in PowerPoint.
We even developed 50 customizable calls-to-action in PowerPoint that you can download and use in your e-books. You can grab it here.
Now we don’t have a dedicated CTA template slide in the PowerPoint ebook templates that you can customize … but it’s still easy! All you have to do is duplicate slide four (the header / sub-header slide) and adjust the copying or adding of images as needed. You can also go to Insert >> New Slide and work from there.
9. Convert it to PDF.
Once you’ve finished writing your e-book – CTAs and everything – it’s time to convert it to the correct file type so that you can transfer it to your recipient.
To convert your e-book to a PDF, click on File >> Save As in the opened e-book template. Under File Format, select PDF and choose a destination on your computer for this new file.
Why can’t you just attach what you have to a landing page and you’re done? Word documents, PowerPoints, and similar templates are perfect for creating your e-book, but not for sharing. Because these templates are editable, the contents of your e-book are too easily damaged, distorted, or even lost when you switch from your computer to the hands of your future leads. This is where PDFs come in.
You’ve seen these letters at the end of files before. Short for Portable Document Format, the .PDF file type essentially freezes your e-book so it can be viewed clearly on any device. A popular alternative to PDFs is the .EPUB file type. See a comparison of EPUB to PDF here.
10. Create a special landing page for your e-book.
Your e-book should be available for download from a landing page on your website. A landing page is a web page that advertises / describes your offer and provides a form that visitors must fill out with their contact information in order to access your e-book. That way, you can convert your visitors into business contacts that your sales team can ultimately follow up.
For example, you went through this landing page to access this e-book template. Download this free e-book to learn more about how to optimize your landing pages for conversion.
11. Promote your e-book and track its success.
Once your landing page is set up, you can use this destination URL to promote your e-book on your marketing channels. Here are five ways you can do this:
- Promote your new e-book on your website. For example, add a CTA or a link to the landing page of your offer on your resources page or even your homepage.
- Promote your e-book through your blog. For example, consider posting an excerpt of your e-book as a blog post. Or write a separate blog article on the same topic as your e-book and link it to a call-to-action at the end of your post to encourage readers to keep learning. (Note: this very blog post is the perfect example of how to promote an offer you created using a blog post.)
- Send segmented email to contacts who have expressed an interest in receiving offers from your company.
- Take advantage of paid advertising and co-marketing partnerships that will help you bring your e-book to a new audience.
- Post on social media with a link to your e-book. You can also increase social shares by creating social media share buttons in your e-book, such as: B. the one at the bottom right of this e-book.
After your content has been published and promoted on your marketing channels, you should also conduct marketing analytics to measure the success of your live product.
For example, you should have a landing page analytics that gives you insight into how many people your ebook downloaded and turned into leads, and a closed loop analytics that shows how many of those people end up in opportunities and Customers have been converted for your business. Learn more about the HubSpot Landing Pages app.
And with that we made an e-book, folks! You can check out the packaged version of the example I created in this post here:
After your content has been published and promoted on your marketing channels, you need marketing analytics that will measure the success of your e-books. For example, with landing page analyzes that give you an insight into how many people have downloaded your e-book or how many of these downloaders have been converted into sales opportunities and customers for your company.
So what should you write about in your e-book? I’ll answer that question with another question: What do you want your readers to know about this e-book? To find an e-book idea that will suit your audience, consider the type of e-book you are planning to create. Here are a few ideas.
Are you conducting an experiment or a company survey? This is a great way to develop proprietary knowledge and become a thought leader in your industry. But how do you share your findings with the people who are interested? Create an e-book that describes the experiment, what you wanted to find out, what the results of the experiment were, and what those results mean for your readers and the market as a whole.
People love success stories, especially when those people aren’t interested in buying something from you. If you have a client whose business you’re particularly proud of, why not tell their story in an e-book?
E-book case studies show your buyers that other people trust you and have benefited from your product or service. In your e-book, describe what your client’s challenge was, how you connected with them, and how you were able to help your client solve their challenge and become successful.
The more complex your product, the more information your customers need to use it properly. If your product or service can be used in different ways, or if it’s difficult to set up on your own, dedicate a short e-book to show people how it’s done. For example, in the first section of your e-book, explain how you are going to bring your product or service to market. In the second section, you break down the individual functions and purposes for which your product is best used.
Are you interested in interviewing a well-known person in your market? Perhaps you’ve already sat down with an influencer to think about the future of the industry. Package this interview in an e-book to make it easy for your customers to read and share your inside information.
A “playbook” is a document that people can use when they take on a new project or concept that is unfamiliar to them. Think of it like a cheat sheet full of tips and tricks to help your customers get better.
When done right, a playbook will provide your customers with the information they need to distinguish themselves while using your product. For example, a software vendor could create an “anti-virus playbook” for IT professionals to help support teams better prevent viruses in their respective companies.
Blog post series
Sometimes the best e-book for your business is already scattered across a number of blog posts. If you’ve spent the last month writing articles on the same topic for your business, imagine what those posts would look like put together?
Each article can start a new chapter. Once this e-book is created, you can promote it on a landing page, link to that landing page from every single blog post, and generate leads from readers who want to download the entire blog series in one convenient e-book.
Share your expertise in an e-book
E-books are one of the leading lead magnets a company can offer its audience. Creating an ebook is all about delivering great value at a low price in order to generate high sales volume. Ebooks are good for new businesses looking for brand awareness and established businesses looking to secure a place as thought leaders in the industry. As long as you and your team have outlined what the success of your e-book launch will look like, you will still reap the rewards of this stand-alone asset for months – or even years. Get started with your own e-book using the free template available on offer below.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2018 and has been updated for completeness.
Originally published 7/20/2021 1:30:00 PM, updated 7/20/2021