What is an eBook and why does your business need one?

Teaching-Based Marketing eBook DownloadWhere do your prospective customers get their information? With Google performing over three billion searches per day, odds are they’re using the Internet just like everyone else. How are you educating these web-enabled customers? Is your website – as well as your other marketing material – just about you instead of about them? The most cost-effective way to attract new and better customers is through being a great teacher, and great teachers publish books (eBooks, in this case.) This article will help you understand what an eBook is, and why your business needs one.

What is an eBook for business?

First, allow me to offer a little context. When I say “eBook,” I don’t just mean a digital version of a regular book. Much like email is the electronic way to send communication to your customers, eBooks are the electronic way to provide education to your customers. 

We know your potential customers are doing 57% of their research before contacting you, and the vast majority of that will be done online. For more details about this statistic and about Teaching-Based Marketing in general, please read this article.

Properly written, an eBook is a logical series of articles to help educate your customers. Instead of hoping your customers click on certain links of your website or blog, an eBook combines those posts into a sequence. Said another way, an eBook is an offline collection of the educational resources from your website. It can be read on a device, printed, emailed and shared.

If you’d like to skip the reasons why your business needs an eBook, please read this article on how to create your first eBook using a step-by-step process.

Why does your business need an eBook?

Three main reasons –

  1. It will increase your reputability
  2. It will increase your efficiency
  3. You will earn the email addresses of your potential customers

Here are more details on each –

An eBook will increase the reputability of your business

Think about this situation: you’re trying to earn the trust and the business of a prospective customer. It’s you against a main competitor of yours. The competitor gives the prospect a tri-fold brochure talking about what it is they do, how long they’ve been in business, their list of services, etc.

You, on the other hand say, “Look, I know before you make this decision, you want to do a lot of research, and you probably have a lot of questions. As a result of my experience in this industry, I’ve taken the time to create a book answering all the questions that my current customers had as they were initially meeting with me.”

Two things happen as a result of your approach –

  1. It’s extremely disarming to your customer. This book does not talk about you. It talks about them and how you can help benefit them by making a better decision.
  2. When you’re speaking about a topic you’ve discussed in your eBook, you can say, “As I said in my book…” or “In my book, I wrote about…” How cool is that?

For more about establishing credibility through a concerted strategy, please see my article about the Summerfest Effect.

An eBook will increase the efficiency of your business

Now you may be thinking to yourself, “All right Spence, I get why an eBook makes sense, but now you’re asking me to add another project to my list of things to do. There’s no way that’s going to make me more efficient.”

Instead of doing your best Thoreau impersonation and going to a remote cabin for a couple months, or writing a book in the middle of the night, you instead use a stepwise process as part of your normal business operations. As an example, at the end of the week you can ask yourself, “What questions did I hear from my customers and prospective customers more than once?” You then take a short period – maybe a couple hours at the very most – to write a well-crafted and well-articulated article answering that question in digital form. Hint: check your sent items folder in email for a head start.

How does this increase your efficiency? These articles become your templates that you can use to respond to those future customer queries. Next time you walk out of a meeting and you have a bunch of email waiting on your phone, instead of writing ad hoc responses and hoping that you’re saying the right thing, you simply email a link to your article with a quick note. You’ll be more confident knowing you’re sending something well-detailed, grammatically correct, and without typos.

In fact, you could have your assistant or another staff person respond on your behalf by linking to the article. If you’re in an industry where your license (law, finance, medicine) allows you to say certain things that unlicensed people can’t, do see how this system will allow you to confidently delegate common responses?

An eBook will earn the email addresses of your potential customers

Although the first two benefits of writing an eBook are important, earning email addresses will probably be the most impactful to your business. People will give you their email address in exchange to download your book. I’m not sure why, but I’m guessing it’s because there’s a certain value attached to a book, electronic or otherwise. I found that to be the case with my first eBook. At the end of each article I write for my website, there’s a call-to-action (CTA) of one form or another. Those CTAs used to be something specific to the topic. Once I started providing a link to the book instead, responses to these CTAs rose 1100%. That’s not a typo. 1100% increase in reader engagement!

Once you have a person’s email, that’s the start of an ongoing relationship. You’ve earned the permission to send communication to that person. Of course, we need to respect this fact by continually providing educational information. Make the mistake of sending only solicitations, and you’ll end up worse than if you had never started that relationship in the first place. Once someone unsubscribes, it’s really difficult to get them back.

Ready to get started? Read this article on how to create your first eBook using a step-by-step process.

Spencer X Smith

Spencer helps you save time through teaching digital marketing and social media strategies in plain English, after proving they actually work for himself first. He also is an instructor at the University of Wisconsin and a columnist for InBusiness.

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