I have spoken in the past of about the value of “inbound marketing”
One of the best tools for this kind of marketing is the free e-book, which helps your client to learn something they find useful. This is especially true if you sell a specialized service to your client. Here are a few examples:
- If you are a law office that specializes in estate planning, you might have an e-book that familiarizes your potential clients with the basics of preparing a will.
- If you sell bar and restaurant supplies, perhaps an e-book about starting your own bar or restaurant.
- If you run a family counseling center, you might have an e-book about coping with divorce or spotting the signs of depression.
But why would you give away your expertise for free? What do you get from it?
You get a few things:
First, you can gather e-mails that you can use to contact potential customers. As many web marketers will tell you, one of the most valuable parts of having a popular website is being able to get e-mails for web marketing. Most “free” e-books are in fact there to do mainly that, get e-mails.
Second, it establishes you as a trusted expert in the field and helps get you referrals. When clients find your e-book useful, they begin to see you as a trusted source. In service industries like law, medicine and marketing, getting clients to trust your expertise is the first stepping to getting their business.
Third, the e-book itself works as an advertisement for your services. As clients get a glimpse of the ins-and-outs of your field, they get a deeper understanding of the value you are offering. This is especially true in certain poorly understood industries (like marketing, I dare say) where clients sometimes haven’t fully come to understand all that is involved in for example, promoting a website or establishing a brand.
Often, an overview of a practice, rather than giving clients all they wanted, actually just shows clients that there is far more involved than they expected, thus making you, the author, and your services much more valuable.
What are the Costs Involved in Creating an E-Book?
Creating a professional looking e-book is not at all like publishing a book in hardcopy (though even that is no longer quite as expensive as it once was). An e-book is much less expensive. There are not the start-up costs, for example. If you write it yourself, you can easily hire a freelance designer to create a professional looking cover for you for relatively cheap. And then you simply make it downloadable on your website to anyone who signs up with a valid e-mail address.
In some cases, if your e-book is itself very valuable, you might even sell it–although this is not the main objective probably.
This is not to say that every kind of website or business should have an e-book for download. An e-book is simply another tool in your inbound marketing tool box that you can take up along with Twitter campaigns, Facebook Like pages, or video marketing.
You are the one who has to whether it is right for your business and its marketing strategy. Are you using eBooks for your business?