E-books are fast, efficient, and cost-effective. If you're looking for a way to increase revenue, bolster customer engagement, and generate leads, e-books are a strong option for just about any business.
What is an e-book exactly?
An e-book is an electronic book (usually in a format like .epub or .mobi). Because there are no printing, shipping, or storage costs, they make a lot more sense to produce than a printed book. As an added bonus, they are more easily updated as new information becomes available (market statistics, acronyms, major players in an industry, etc.). For businesses, an e-book is usually pretty short and sweet (somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 words, though some are longer just depending upon the content). These short pieces highlight important, actionable information that can immediately be of use to potential (or current) clients. This adds value to your clients' lives or businesses and helps build a stronger bond between them and your company.
E-books let you show what you know
Use your e-book to show potential clients what you know. But don't just ramble on endlessly using industry jargon. State things plainly and tell / teach them things they can actually use in their everyday lives or their own businesses. Here are some examples:
- A construction company publishes "10 DIY Concrete Projects for Your Garden" and offers it for download to each person who visits their website.
- A medical office publishes "Living Longer with Spices" and emails it along with patient portal login information for each new patient.
- A grocer includes a link to download "How to Clean Anything with Baking Soda" in their monthly newsletter because their baking soda sales have been decreasing.
Use your e-book to put the knowledge you have in your industry to good use for the customer. This helps them feel confident in your abilities and therefore more likely to buy your products or services.
Give e-books away
One question business owners might have is, "If I create an e-book, should I be charging for it?" The answer to this question will vary from enterprise to enterprise. However, there are benefits to doing both. When it comes to providing the information in an e-book for free, you help hook people who may have never seriously considered your product or service before. Most sane people LOVE free stuff, and they don't have anything to lose if they didn't have to "waste" their money on your e-book. They give you a chance to win them over, they save money while obtaining valuable information. It's a win-win!
If you want to sell e-books, you'll want to make sure that you really are providing premium content that isn't being provided in any (or many) other places. For example, "How to Lose Weight" wouldn't be an e-book most people would pay for because there are so many free resources available on the Internet regarding various diets. A better option would be "How to Lose Weight While Sleeping," especially if it is produced by a physician (versus a gymnasium or "fitness guru"). More enticing still would be "Eat Chocolate, Lose Weight," since it combines two things that people want into one activity (especially since they are normally seen as enemies of each other!).
Another option to consider if you want to sell your e-book is to simply undercut the books already on the market. For example, if "How to Lose Weight While Sleeping" is already selling for $4.99 on Amazon, sell "Eat Chocolate, Lose Weight" for $3.99 and watch the profits roll in! Remember, because there are not printing, shipping, or storage costs for e-books, your royalties and return on investment are limitless.
And if you sell the book to someone who then becomes a customer, you can "double-dip" since you're essentially getting paid (when they purchase the book) to market to potential customers.
Where do I start?
The first thing to do if you are considering creating an e-book is to figure out what it would be about. While the history of you or your company can be included, not many people are going to be interested in reading that information alone. And it certainly doesn't add any value to them or their agency. Consider some common problems that people come to you to solve. Especially when they come to you for things they could prevent or treat themselves. For example, a plumber might produce "10 Ways to Prevent Toilet Clogs" and go into detail about the most common types of clogs, how to recognize the problem, and what to do about it when it happens.
Pause! You're telling me to give people permission NOT to use my services?
For most people, using a service for something isn't about them not being able to do it themselves (consider how many people you know who pay someone else to do simple tasks like cut their grass, deliver their food, or do their dry cleaning). Their decision to hire you is likely about one or all of these three things:
- Not having the time, energy, or desire to do it themselves.
- Wanting to be reassured that it is being done correctly by an expert.
- Wanting to have someone else to blame if it ISN'T done correctly.
I have earned clients on accident just because I disclosed to them how tedious and complex publishing print or e-books can be! Once they realize the amount of work involved they decide it's easier to just hire Volo Press and have it done for them while they sleep, vacation, work, spend time with their family, etc.
Add e-books to your marketing strategy
Content marketing (newsletters, blog posts, e-books, etc.) isn't going anywhere. People will always search for answers to their questions and advice about their situations when they need help. If you become their go-to place for answers, it won't be long before you're their go-to company for service delivery or product purchases as well.
Have you decided what kind of e-book your company will be producing? Share your working title in the comments!