If you’re like most businesses, you and the marketing team are always looking for ways to generate a new stream of leads or revenue. An ebook might seem like just the ticket! It’s true that long-form content such as an ebook is a great way to demonstrate expertise in your field, deliver valuable information to your target audience and keep your company’s name top-of-mind for potential clients and customers—not to mention you’ll be seen as an industry authority.
But in order to reap the benefits of publishing your very own ebook, it’s important to understand that the work doesn’t stop after you’ve written it. You should also plan how you’re going to promote and distribute your masterpiece to the masses.
Sure, publishing a high-quality ebook is good content marketing and a positive signal to Google and other search engines, which benefits your overall site.
But ultimately, don’t you want people to actually read your ebook and gain valuable insights from it?
You want people to engage with you, ask questions and even share this resource that you worked so hard to complete. In addition, backlinks from other websites linking to your ebook can be tremendously beneficial to your site’s rankings.
Here at SEO Advantage, we like to break down ebook marketing into manageable “chapters.”
- Chapter 1: Research (topics, keywords, data, etc.)
- Chapter 2: Writing and editing
- Chapter 3: Design and development
Unfortunately, many people stop there, but they are forgetting one of the most crucial steps.
- Chapter 4: Distribution, marketing and promotion
This important final chapter is what we’ll focus on below.
Before we get started
Before we embark on ebook marketing and promotion ideas, first you need to ask yourself 2 very important questions to determine if you’re ready to move onto Chapter 4.
Is your ebook high-quality?
Actor and comedian Steve Martin once recalled aspiring stars coming to Hollywood, and how their first focus was on who to see for screenshots or to hire as an agent. Martin humorously recalled that he wanted to tell these young upstarts: “Why don’t you first be sure you’re good?”
The same principle applies to your ebook.
You can perfectly execute every single one of the strategies we list in this article, but if it’s in the service of a mediocre or subpar product, you might as well be flushing your time and money down the toilet.
During the research phase (Chapter 1), you should take time to find a topic or focus that is relevant, interesting and timely. During the writing and editing process (Chapter 2), you should leave no stone unturned when it comes to improving the structure and grammar of your ebook. During design and development, don’t be satisfied until the final product is polished, professional and pleasing to the eye.
Be sure you’re putting out your best possible work.
What is the purpose/goal of your ebook?
Is the goal of the ebook to directly raise revenue by charging a fee to download it or to provide valuable free information to your customers? For example, perhaps you plan to make your ebook “gated” and require visitors to submit their name and contact information in order to download it. Or perhaps you want to make the ebook accessible to all and just want to boost your brand’s reputation, and maybe even get some backlinks or interviews.
A majority of B2B marketers (64 percent, according to one study) choose to offer their ebook for free, but ultimately whether or not you decide to monetize your ebook will depend on your ultimate goal. Either way, it’s important to clearly establish the purpose of your ebook so that you can track and measure success.
7 ebook marketing tips and promotion ideas
Okay, now that you have a high-quality ebook and understand its purpose, let’s look at a few of the best ways to get it into the hands (or computer screens) of your target audience.
Tip #1: Start at home
If you’re publishing an ebook, then you should already have a solid business website (if not, then you should probably start there). Before you begin promoting your ebook offsite, make sure that it’s being well-advertised in your own online “yard”—so to speak.
This starts with creating a killer landing page.
The page you’re going to direct ebook visitors and prospects to needs to have a clear and attractive description of what the ebook entails. But don’t just inform people what the ebook is about—also describe how it’s going to help them, how it will heal their “pain-point.”
You can (and should) measure the effectiveness of your landing page using Google Analytics or another website analytics tool. Do this frequently to see how many visitors that page is receiving and what they’re doing once they arrive. If users aren’t downloading your ebook or submitting the information needed to unlock it, then it’s time to assess whether the problem is the landing page itself.
The rest of your website should be optimized to promote the ebook as well. Consider implementing a pop-up advertisement promoting your ebook that visitors will see regardless of what page they land on. On your most popular pages, embed a signup form somewhere on the page. Don’t forget to link to the ebook from your homepage.
For example, to promote their Car Accident Ebook, Enjuris.com added a simple but effective banner ad at the top of their homepage and Car Accident Guide:
These are just a few simple ideas you can do to get started. The bottom line is let your entire website work for you in promoting your ebook.
Tip #2: Send out a press release
One of the best ways to get the word out about your new ebook is through a press release. This is a fast and effective technique for instantly letting thousands of reporters, media outlets and websites know about the release to potentially share it on their websites.
When writing a press release, be sure to make the headline short, snappy and attention-grabbing. Focus on the 5 w’s and h (who, what, where, when, why and how) in the first paragraph or two, then expand with more details, background information and quotes. Finish it off with a clear call-to-action (CTA) explaining where readers can go to get the ebook and how they can download it.
Tip #3: Leverage free media (like social media)
Your social media platforms are a natural next step for sharing your ebook with the world (or at least your followers). This tactic is particularly effective because you’re talking to an audience that has already expressed some interest in your business. Just be sure to be persistent—but not obnoxious—in promoting the ebook on social media.
How do you know the difference between persistence and obnoxious?
Determining what the perfect mix of information-only versus promotional posts will ultimately depend on your unique audience and business. Generally speaking, it’s safe to say that at least 10 percent of your posts should promote the ebook (but no more than one-third).
LinkedIn is a great outlet for promoting ebooks and other content, particularly for B2B marketers. Be sure to craft the language of your promotion carefully. The professional nature of LinkedIn makes it less receptive to outright sales pitches, but a well-crafted pitch that builds value and offers the ebook for more information can bring in highly-quality leads.
Tip #4: Invest in paid media
Even if you’re giving the ebook away for free, it’s often worthwhile to run a paid Google Ads (PPC) campaign to promote it to people outside of your typical sphere of influence. With PPC campaigns, you can target specific keywords so that the traffic you get should be reasonably interested in the information your ebook offers and therefore high-converting.
Also, don’t overlook the value of paid social media promotion. For example, you can boost a Facebook post for a reasonable cost to reach a new audience and ensure that your current followers are more likely to see the post in their feed.
Paid campaigns on either Google or Facebook can also have residual benefits, even if you don’t get the user to sign-up or download the ebook on the first try. Facebook will allow you to invite anyone who “likes” your post to also like your page, and Google Ads will allow you to retarget people who have previously been to your site.
These and other paid media tactics can be a powerful initial thrust of a multi-faceted ebook marketing attack.
Tip #5: Offer guest posting
In addition to spreading the word about your ebook to new audiences, writing for someone else’s website has good backlinking value. The link that comes back to your site will boost your site’s organic search position and help your ebook show up in the SERPs. Just be sure that you’re guest posting on authoritative and influential sites—that way you get more value out of your effort and you aren’t dragging down your site’s performance with weak backlinks.
Also, when you add the ebook title into your guest post bio, your credibility with the audience will be further enhanced. As a guest poster and ebook author, you’re raising your authority with search engines and with real people, which is exactly what you want.
Tip #6: Start a blog series
Do you have a company blog?
Consider taking chapters or sections of your ebook and turning them into bite-sized blog posts, then publishing it on your blog with a link back to the ebook landing page. Not only will this save you time by allowing you to repurpose content you worked so hard to create, but it’ll also let your blog readers know about your awesome new resource.
As an added bonus, it will also help the search engine algorithms know to prioritize the ebook, thanks to internal linking.
Tip #7: Consider physical copies
Most ebooks are delivered electronically (hence “e” book), but you can also consider printing physical copies to be used by outside sales staff or at trade shows. You worked hard on the ebook, so why not repurpose it to benefit your company in non-digital ways, too?
Pro tip: Messing around with a printer can be a hassle. Fortunately, Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program now includes the CreateSpace imprint, which produces physical paperback books on demand. All you need to do is upload the cover and a PDF, then let Amazon handle the rest.
What other techniques and tactics have you used to promote an ebook?
Share your success and feedback in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!