How to Market an Ebook: Don’t Let Your Content Offers Collect Dust
We all know that traffic alone doesn’t pay the bills. Ultimately, our traffic must do its job to convert prospects who have problems that we can solve. One way of getting the right people into the pipeline is by creating compelling content offers that practically beg for the opt-in. There’s just one problem: Making sure we generate enough demand for the offer to be successful.
So if your content is just sitting on your website not getting too many downloads or leads, your promotion might be the problem. That being said, read on to discover the best techniques for marketing your ebook, whitepaper, guide, or other lead-generating resource.
How to Market an Ebook
- Consider a co-marketing campaign.
- Utilize industry influencers for their thought leadership and reach.
- Use email marketing to promote the ebook with your existing audience.
- Promote your ebook on your highest trafficked (but still relevant) blog posts.
- Create a PPC campaign to advertise your content offer.
- Announce your content offer on social media.
- Consider putting advertising budget behind it.
- Repurpose your content into different formats.
- Connect with niche readers on social media.
- Submit to a content community or online group.
- Find other linking opportunities.
- Guest blog on popular websites with your ebook as CTA.
1. Consider a co-marketing campaign.
Before your create your helpful content offer, consider if there’s any partnerships that you can leverage. Co-marketing provides an opportunity for cross-collaboration on content so that two parties “own” that content and benefit from it.
Here are some reasons why co-marketing is a good idea:
- Sharing resources for the offer’s creation doubles the value of the content and diminishes the cost/effort of its production
- Promoting to two networks increases the reach of the campaign exponentially
- Both partners have vested interest in the results of the promotion because both reap the benefits (the leads generated from it)
2. Utilize industry influencers for their thought leadership and reach.
Whether you decide to do co-marketing or not, you can’t deny the power of good old-fashioned personalized outreach. Think through your existing partnerships as well as other major players in the industries or social circles you want to reach.
Consider these thought leaders’ goals: finding relevant articles to share with their fan base, increase their reach, and further establish themselves as an authority.
You can appeal to these goals by featuring them in your content offer. For example, ask them for a quote that you can incorporate into your content offer or link to another article they wrote. When you finish the piece, send them a complimentary copy. I’d suggest telling them how much you’ve appreciated their expertise and that you were delighted to include them.
Don’t forget to mention that you’ll be promoting the offer to your network. Because they’re featured in the content, this acts as an incentive for them to share your offer to their audience as well.
The key to this tactic is to make your personalized outreach unique and worth their while. After all, they likely get bombarded with messages asking them to share content.
3. Use email marketing to promote the ebook with your existing audience.
Admittedly, outreach is arduous. Don’t forget about the network you already have. Your email subscribers have already expressed interest in similar content offers, and if this new ebook continues to provide value for problems they need help with, this is another opportunity to continue engaging them.
As you continue to provide value, you’re establishing more credibility and authority in their eyes. As you stay top of mind in this way, you’ll be first on their list when they are ready to make a purchasing decision.
To achieve maximum success with this tactic, it helps to have a segmented audience so that you’re always providing relevant, timely, and personalized content.
You don’t want to email a specific ebook to your entire contact database because it probably doesn’t relate to all your contact lists. When you don’t segment emails, your engagement will be lower and your success will be diminished.
Here’s what I mean:
On one of your opt-in forms, you could have visitors identify what they need help with. For an inbound marketing agency, it might say, “What Does Your Business Want to Improve?” with options to select:
- Grow our web presence
- Rank higher on Google
- Generate more leads
That way, if an ebook was created around SEO, it could be sent to all the subscribers who have already shown interest in ranking higher on Google.
4. Promote your ebook on your highest trafficked (but still relevant) blog posts.
In addition to your other methods of promotion, you want to make sure that you’re converting organic traffic as well. But here’s the problem: A user can’t convert on a landing page they never land on. They can never be interested in a content offer they don’t know about.
Content offers aren’t an “If you build it, they will come” scenario. Instead, see how you can capitalize on the traffic you’re already getting for its promotion.
By putting the CTA (call to action) on new blog posts, all you’re doing is making a gamble. Mainly because you don’t know if that blog post will ever generate traffic. After all, it’s brand new.
However, you can put a CTA on an existing blog post that has proven success, pushing that ebook to a known source of demand.
Promote your offer on relevant blog posts that already get traffic to put your ebook in front of the audience you have.
5. Create a PPC campaign to advertise your content offer.
If you know your content offer has a clear path to revenue, organic plays alone are not always the best route for promotion, especially if there is clear demand as people search for resources just like yours.
PPC is a quicker tactic than SEO and is a great way to promote not just your company and its services but also campaigns to offers you create. A successful PPC campaign boosts visibility and downloads to your offer by driving high-intent users to the landing page.
Email is a great tactic for promoting to an existing audience, and so is social media. An additional benefit is that social media promotion can reach beyond that existing audience much more easily.
Be sure to post on your social channels once your offer is live, conveying the value it contains for the reader and including an image to attract their attention. Mix these posts in with your other content so that your readers aren’t put off by too much promotional content.
7. Consider putting advertising budget behind it.
On some social channels (I’m looking at you, Facebook), organic reach isn’t what it used to be. Boosting posts helps to increase reach to both your followers and beyond. Alternatively, you can also create an ad that promotes your ebook and do paid promotion to a targeted audience.
Just keep in mind that people don’t browse social media with buying intent, so you’ll have to ensure that the offers you promote and the way you promote them piques interest and conveys value. Otherwise, they’ll just see it as an ad and scroll on past.
8. Repurpose your content into different formats.
The first time they see your post, they may not click and convert right away. Like with anything, it can take multiple “impressions” to attract attention and pique interest. At the same time, if you continue posting the same thing over and over, your content gets stale.
Your ebook can easily be turned into a slideshare, infographic, quiz, or other format. By having multiple “versions” of your content for promotion, your ebook can go farther while getting more eyeballs on it.
Look on Twitter and LinkedIn for users that have been sharing similar content to what you have created. Just by searching on Twitter for #inboundmarketing, I can see who is sharing inbound marketing blogs, guides, and resources. Plus, I can see who is getting the biggest reach in terms of likes and retweets.
Reach out to these individuals with a simple message that encapsulates “Hey! I saw you shared [this article] and I thought you might like [this related content offer]”. This way you know that the individual is probably interested in what you’re writing because they’ve been interested in similar content before.
This tactic might not work as well as the influencer tactic in tip #2 since you’re not providing mutual value, but many of these individuals spend a lot of time curating content for their audience, and you might just be helping them out.
10. Submit to a content community or online group.
Chances are, search engines and their social feeds are not the only places your audience hangs out. If your ebook contains specialized or niche information, you might be able to target these niches through content communities and online groups. For example:
- Niche Facebook groups
- Niche LinkedIn groups
- Slack groups
- NextDoor neighborhoods
- Industry forums
For example, if you’re a roofer in St. Louis, join your community group on NextDoor.com and offer your content there. When your neighborhood gets hit by a hailstorm, your infographic on “Assessing Storm Damage as a Homeowner” can come in handy to the community’s residents.
Content communities are also a great resource for getting feedback, starting discussion, and sharing your passion for your services with others.
11. Find other linking opportunities.
Using tools like Arel=”noopener” target=”_blank” HREFs, you can see other websites who have linked to content like yours. Reach out to them with your content offer link and see if they want to include a link to your resource. I find that this is most helpful when you can find a broken link that your new link can replace. Webmasters generally appreciate when someone lets them know of a problem with their website links, and if you can provide a link to replace the broken one, it might get placed.
Alternatively, use a tool like BuzzSumo or Mention.net to find mentions of your company online. You’ll be able to see who has mentioned you or your content offer and determine whether they have linked back to you or not. If they haven’t included your link, reach out to that website and explain it might provide their readers a better experience if they could find the article that is being mentioned.
If you’re looking for more backlink opportunities, I highly recommend Backlinko’s “17 Powerful (Yet Untapped) Backlink Sources” to find other places you could get a link from!
12. Guest blog on popular websites with your ebook as CTA.
You may also have an opportunity to capitalize on a third party website’s organic traffic and promotions through guest blogging. If your buyer persona goes to a popular website that provides solutions to the problems they’re experiencing, your content offer should be there too (as long as it’s similarly relevant and helpful, of course).
Once you nail down which websites your buyer persona is reading to get information, see if these websites offer the opportunity for industry leaders to guest blog. Some websites will require an application or an article proposal, but once you get accepted blogging for one website, it becomes much easier to get accepted on other websites.
When you write your articles, keep them educational and don’t self-promote. Remember, you’re trying to help the reader solve a problem with your expertise and industry knowledge. A the conclusion of the article, use your ebook as a next step CTA so if a reader finishes the article and wants more information, your content offer is there.
Content that just sits on your website can’t properly do its job and bring in leads. But worry not, by using these promotion tips you’ll see a little bit of extra effort can really take a content offer from zero to hero.
If you’re interested in creating attractive ebooks that capture attention and bring more leads to your business, check out the FREE resource below (see what we did there?).
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in September 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.