According to a Pew Research Center study, 24% of US adults say they haven’t read a book (whether in print, electronic or audio form) in the entire previous year. I guess it’s a good thing that as a marketer who’s using eBooks to generate leads, you don’t really need to care if they read it or not – you just need to make sure they download it.
We’re going to show you how. Plus, we’ll provide you with 40+ eBook template ideas to get you started and make an eBook creation process a breeze.
What’s an eBook?
In the simplest of terms, an eBook (also spelled an e-book or an ebook) is a digitally published version of a book. EBooks are available in a variety of formats (PDF, .epub, .mobi, and so on) and can be read on a number of devices, including tablets, smartphones, computers, or special eBook readers (such as Amazon Kindle).
Why Do We Use eBooks?
From a reader’s perspective…
Well, instead of having a huge shelf filled with dusty books (which still bears a certain sentimental value to the old-fashioned book aficionados), you can simply fit thousands of books inside your Kindle or another eBook reader.
Nevertheless, there’s a downside to the digital format as well… To quote Stephen King:
“If you drop a book into the toilet, you can fish it out, dry it off and read that book. But if you drop your Kindle in the toilet, you’re pretty well done.”
On a more serious note, when it comes to the use of eBooks, we need to consider the other side of the coin too.
From a marketer’s perspective…
When it comes to marketing purposes, an eBook represents a brief book on a specific topic, readily-available in a bunch of formats. It has numerous benefits for marketers, some of which are:
- Generating leads/sales/subscriptions
- Reusing the previously written content (for instance, joining several blog posts into an eBook, or the other way around – writing an eBook and segmenting it into several separate blog posts)
- Telling a more comprehensive story
- An additional channel for distribution of your content
- Provide actual value to your customers
eBook vs. White Paper
In terms of format and lead generation potential, eBooks are often compared to and contrasted with white papers.
David Meerman Scott, a marketing strategist and author, defines an eBook as a “white paper on steroids”, while he refers to a white paper as “the sexy white paper”. Wait, what? Okay, taken out of context like this, it may sound as if a gym-obsessed guy were trying to seduce a hot girl, so we’ll quote Scott’s entire definition:
“Think of [an eBook] as a white paper on steroids (the sexy white paper): a report, generally 12—40 or more pages in length, that presents complex information in a visually attractive, reader-friendly format. The content is both informative and entertaining; the tone, collegial; the format, “chunky” rather than linear, to facilitate skimming and scanning.”
You’ll find a more detailed eBook vs. white paper comparison in the table below:
If you’re interested to learn more about white papers, we’ve also published a detailed guide on how to create a white paper (including 20 creative white paper template ideas, guaranteed to increase your lead capture).
How to Create An eBook in 6 Simple Steps
1. Choose a topic your target audience cares about
Obviously, the first step in creating an eBook is choosing a relevant topic to cover. It should be something your target audience is interested in and wants to find out more about. Are there any questions they might have that you could answer with an ebook?
Depending on the depth of your own knowledge on your target audience, you may already know the topics they’re interested in, or you may need to do some additional keyword research to discover more specific topics to cover.
Let’s say your audience is made up of people interested in digital marketing. To find a more specific topic, worth exploring in more detail, you could simply open a keyword research tool like Ahrefs or Moz (or even one of the free tools, such as Ubersuggest), enter your topic, and find a list of related keywords and long-tail keywords you could write about.
Other ways of finding an adequate ebook topic could be using social media to find out more about your target audience or creating a poll and using it to gauge your audience’s opinion on a particular topic.
2. Write a compelling title
The title (along with the entire cover page) is your reader’s first contact with an ebook you’ve written. According to Copyblogger, 80% of people will read your title, but only 20% will proceed to read the entire piece of content. We’ve already shown you how to write quiz titles that actually get clicked, but it can be applied to the creation of other title forms as well.
As it’s really important that they get past reading the title, make sure it’s something compelling and intriguing. A good title will spark your audience’s curiosity for a particular topic.
3. Outline each chapter
Before you actually start writing your eBook, you should create a brief outline of everything you plan to include in the book. You should divide your eBook into separate chapters and add headings and subheadings to make the information more readily available.
Such a structure will enable you (or your writer) to better organize your writing, while it enables the reader to skim through the eBook and find particular information.
4. Write the chapters
Once you’ve prepared your outline, you are ready to start writing. As you have an outline to follow, it should be much easier to write the entire thing. We’re not going to go into the specifics of writing styles and approaches, as those largely depend on your business and niche.
5. Edit. Edit. Edit.
After you’ve written your initial draft, you need to edit until perfection. The entire editing process could be divided into three stages:
- Editing for spelling and grammar mistakes (in addition to human eyes, editing tools like Grammarly, WowGrade and Hemingway could be of great help in this process)
- Content editing (it ensures your content is easy to read and thoroughly covers your topic)
- Formatting (make to wrap your eBook in an easy-to-read format)
6. Design (add graphics, images, etc.)
Normally, you’d want a skilled designer (unless you are one) to create all the graphics for your eBook. If you can’t afford to use a professional designer, online tools like Canva or Piktochart can help you create awesome graphics, even if you’re not a designer. You can find a detailed guide on how to design an eBook using Canva here.
In order to help you with designing your own eBook, we’ve provided a collection of eBook template ideas further on in the article.
How to Use an eBook to Generate Leads
After you’ve created that awesome eBook, it’s time to put it to some actual use. As a marketer, you rarely write for the sake of doing so – in most cases, you’d expect the content you’ve created to bring you some business value. The same goes for eBooks. There are three crucial steps that will help you maximize your eBook’s ROI:
Build a landing page. Some studies have shown that high-quality landing pages can boost conversion rates by up to 300%. That’s why it’s extremely important you dedicate some extra effort in creating an awesome landing page for your eBook. It needs to be good enough to convince your audience your book is worth giving a go before they’ve even had any contact with the actual book.
Add an inviting call-to-action. A CTA is a button text or a text link that invites a website visitor to take a certain action (in this case, to download your eBook). Common CTA examples include “Download Now”, “Get Started”, “Get It Free”, and so on.
Promote. No use in writing the best eBook or creating the most beautiful eBook template in the world, if nobody’s going to see it. That’s why you need to put at least as much effort into promoting your eBook as you did into its creation. Make sure to leverage all the existing promotion channels, such as social media, email marketing, search engine marketing, cross-promotion, etc.
Extra Tip – Give your eBook away for free. But why would anyone go through all the effort of writing and publishing a great eBook just to give it away for free? Because eBooks are a great way of generating leads. And, hopefully, those leads will eventually turn into customers.
40+ Amazing eBook Template Ideas
- Hubspot’s 5 Free EBook Templates
- Hubspot’s 13 Free Customizable EBook Templates
- Small Biz Trends Free EBook Templates
- Fizzle’s 10 EBook Page Templates
- Blurb’s Book Starter Templates
- Lucidpress EBook Templates
- EZ EBook Template Ideas
- Curata’s EBook Template
- Creative Market Ebook Templates
- CoSchedule EBook Template
- Top Envato InDesign EBook Templates
- ConvertKit EBook Templates
Alternative Lead Generation Models to Consider
Even though some say the use of ebooks for lead generation is a thing of the past, with high-quality content and adequate promotion, you can still capture some serious leads using ebooks. We’ve also mentioned white papers as a quality lead magnet, but there are several other lead generation models to consider:
- Free video training or courses. Offer your audience the opportunity to learn something new for free, in return for some leads. Works like a charm.
- Free software. Basically, add the prefix ‘free’ next to anything and it instantly adds lead generation potential to it.
- Online quizzes. A hidden gem of lead generation. Online quizzes are the next big thing when it comes to capturing leads, due to their ever-increasing popularity on social media. If you’re looking to take your lead generation game to the next level, you should try creating your own online quiz right now.