ebook marketing blog

Why your business needs an ebook

It can be very useful to create an ebook that visitors to your website can download, or view in situ. The main benefits to your business include the following:

  • It can establish your authority.
  • It can be used as a means of obtaining visitors’ email addresses.
  • It enables people to read your case studies or white papers without having to be online.
  • It can help to create brand loyalty.

Let’s examine each of these in turn.

It can establish your authority

Ebooks are the perfect medium for “going niche”. Let‘s say your product is an online creative writing platform. A video explaining the benefits of encouraging creative writing will likely be either too long or too short. A document is probably far better, but creating and distributing a printed book is too much of a faff. An ebook is not hard to create and can be used as a means of showing potential clients that you know what you’re doing.

It can help to create brand loyalty

This is directly related to the preceding point. By demonstrating that your company is an authority, you encourage website visitors to keep on returning.

It can be used as a means of obtaining visitors’ email addresses

It’s fairly standard practice for companies to make an ebook available in exchange for contact details. If you have a newsletter, the ebook can be used as a lead magnet.

It enables people to read your case studies or white papers without having to be online

Some ebooks are intended to be read online, but it’s always a good idea to create a version of your ebook that can be downloaded or read on a device.

What exactly is an ebook?

Ebooks come in various formats, such as for Apple, or the Amazon Kindle. However, although it is possible to convert ebooks from one format to another, the simplest, and arguably the best option is to create a PDF version. That will be able to be read on most if not all devices, and the software with which to read it is free.

How to create an ebook

I’ve been experimenting with several options. The simplest one by far is to create a document in a word processor, and then save it in PDF format.

If, however, you want something a bit more exciting to look at, and your company does not have the requisite design skills in-house, there are some online applications, such as Visme (free) and Designrr (paid). These provide professional templates, drag-and-drop functionality, and the possibility of importing or copy and pasting material from elsewhere. 

The screenshot below shows an example of a fictitious case study I created. As you can see, I can change the title, the colours (theme), add media and data, plus several other options.

This kind of application makes it easy for people with no design skills (such as myself!) to very quickly produce something that will not be ashamed to show its face in public.

ebook marketing blog screenshot

The output options typically include creating a flipbook (that is, an online document in which the pages appear to turn over), a PDF and sometimes even an embed code. The embed code enables you to place the ebook where it can be read on a web page. That can be useful for keeping visitors on your website for longer.

The best option will depend on what you want the reader to do with the ebook. For example, if you want them to be able to download it and print it off, your choice will be different from a book that includes animation or even video or audio clips.

Good practice tips 

  • Think of the target user and their use. If you anticipate them printing the document off, nothing will prove more annoying to the user than huge swathes of black background with hardly any words on the page. 
  • If you want them to be able to read it on a phone, then large graphics and embedded multimedia are probably not ideal. (It’s worth bearing in mind that some services have an upper size limit, like 25 mb, when sending files. Above that, other services, such as Dropbox, have been utilised. While easy to do, why place an extra obstacle in someone’s way?)
  • It’s worth using your software’s security options to prevent unauthorised people from changing the document.

Concluding remarks

Ebooks, especially PDFs or web-based ones, lend themselves to any kind of content. They are easily accessible and can be used to enhance your brand’s image and garner the email addresses of potential clients. What’s not to like?

Terry Freedman

Terry Freedman is an independent educational ICT consultant and writer, having had a long career in Education, including teaching, advising schools and inspecting. He publishes the ICT and Computing in Education website at www.ictineducation.org, and the Digital Education newsletter at www.ictineducation.org/diged. You can follow Terry on Twitter @terryfreedman.

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