Mention ebooks and white papers to many marketers and site owners, and you’re likely to hear the familiar wail of despair—“I know I should be producing them, but they’re expensive! They’re time-consuming! I don’t have the resources!” Ebooks, white papers and other long-form marketing content seem intimidating because they take more time and research. But the fact is, most can be created from already existing material. And, they can easily be used as free downloads to entice visitors to opt-in.
If you’re looking to take your lead generation to the next level, you can’t ignore these powerful tools. So, why are ebooks and white papers so effective in generating leads and sales? They appeal to the savvy consumer’s love for information—without the sell. Here are 5 ways to use them to get more leads:
Select a strong topic. What do you talk about in your blogs, on your site and in your videos? What is your area of expertise? Pull a strong topic from these sources and use it to be the focus of your ebook or white paper.
Make it visually appealing. Design a cover that would make someone at a bookstore want to pick it up. Include your brand logo so that your cover (and any future covers) are instantly recognizable to readers. Add interesting graphics to the interior pages, such as images, graphs and charts to emphasize your points.
Give it a compelling lead-in. If you’re offering your ebook or white paper in exchange for an email address or sign-up, remember to make the offer appealing. Action words help emphasize the value in your offering, so skip the “submit” or click, and go for something like “download your free ebook!” or “get your free white paper now!”.
Don’t sell. Not hard, anyway. Your material should be overwhelmingly informational in order to establish your authority. It’s ok to tie into your products and services if you present them as a solution. But, in white papers especially, this should only occur at the end of the presentation. You do want to let readers know that this is your area of expertise—you just don’t want to shove it down their throats.
Ask them to act.
All good ebooks and white papers need to lead the reader to an inevitable conclusion—that you are the solution to the problem, the authority on the topic. The question is—what next? Don’t leave your readers hanging! A good call to action will let them know what to do next. Provide your contact information, links to your site or blog and/or a button to an opt-in page.
Don’t let the thought of having to product ebooks and white papers intimidate you. Regardless of your budget, they are some of the most popular and effective ways to generate leads and sales. They offer information without the sales pitch, and they let readers get more in-depth than the average blog, article or 2-minute video can do. And, they’re a free source of useful information for your buyers—what’s not to love?