How to market an e-book: Don’t let your content offerings collect dust

We all know that traffic alone doesn’t pay the bills. Ultimately, our traffic has to do its job of converting potential customers who have problems that we can solve. One way to get the right people in the pipeline is to create compelling content offers that practically ask for opt-in. There’s only one problem: making sure we’re generating enough demand for the supply to be successful.

So, if your content is only stored on your website and isn’t getting too many downloads or leads, your advertising might be the problem. Read on to find the best techniques for marketing your e-book, white paper, guide, or any other lead generation resource.

How to Market an E-Book

  1. Consider a co-marketing campaign.
  2. Leverage industry influencers for thought guidance and reach.
  3. Use email marketing to promote the e-book to your existing audience.
  4. Promote your e-book on your top-trafficked (but still relevant) blog posts.
  5. Create a PPC campaign to promote your content offering.
  6. Announce your content offer on social media.
  7. Consider putting the advertising budget behind it.
  8. Use your content in a variety of formats.
  9. Connect with niche readers on social media.
  10. Submit to a content community or online group.
  11. Find other link options.
  12. Guest blog on popular websites with your e-book as the CTA.

1. Consider a co-marketing campaign.

Before creating your helpful content offering, consider whether there are any partnerships that you can leverage. Co-marketing provides the ability to collaborate on content so that two parties “own” that content and benefit from it.

Here are some reasons why co-marketing is a good idea:

  • By sharing resources to create the offering, the value of the content is doubled and the creation effort is reduced
  • By being promoted on two networks, the reach of the campaign is increased exponentially
  • Both partners are very interested in the results of the campaign, as both benefit from the advantages (the leads generated from it).

2. Use industry influencers for thought guidance and reach.

Whether or not you choose to co-market it, you can’t deny the power of good old-fashioned, personalized public relations. Think about your existing partnerships as well as other key players in the industries or social circles you want to reach.

Consider these thought leaders’ goals: to find relevant articles to share with their fan base, increase their reach, and further establish themselves as an authority.

You can address these goals by including them in your content offering. For example, ask them for an offer that you can include in your content offering or link to another article they have written. When you finish the piece, send them a free copy. I would suggest telling them how much you appreciated their expertise and that you were happy to include them.

Don’t forget to mention that you are promoting the offer on your network. Since they are included in the content, this is an incentive for them to communicate your offer to their audience as well.

The key to this tactic is to make your personal reach unique and worthwhile. Eventually, they’ll likely be bombarded with messages asking them to share content.

3. Use email marketing to promote the e-book to your existing audience.

Granted, the range is tedious. Don’t forget the network you already have. Your email subscribers have already expressed interest in similar content offerings. If this new ebook continues to add value to issues they need help with, this is another opportunity to keep them engaged.

As you continue to add value, you build more credibility and authority in their eyes. This way, keeping track of things will put you first on the list when ready to make a purchase decision.

For maximum success with this tactic, it is helpful to have a segmented audience so that you always deliver relevant, timely, and personalized content.

You don’t want to email a specific e-book to your entire contact database as it likely won’t apply to all of your contact lists. If you don’t segment email, your engagement and success will be lower.

This is what I mean:

On one of your registration forms, visitors can indicate which topics they need help with. For an inbound marketing agency, it could be: “What does your company want to improve?” with options to choose from:

  • Expand our web presence
  • Rank higher on Google
  • Generate more leads

This way, an e-book made around SEO could be sent to all subscribers who have already shown interest in ranking higher on Google.

4. Promote your e-book on your most-visited (but still relevant) blog posts.

In addition to your other advertising methods, you’ll want to make sure you’re converting organic traffic as well. But here’s the problem: a user cannot convert on a landing page they never land on. They can never be interested in a content offering that they don’t know about.

Content offers are not a “if you create them, they will come” scenario. Instead, see how you can leverage the traffic you are already receiving for promotion.

By including the CTA (call to action) in new blog posts you are just gambling. Mainly because you don’t know if this blog post will ever generate traffic. After all, it’s brand new.

However, you can include a CTA on an existing blog post that has proven successful and take that e-book to a known source of demand.

Promote your offer in relevant blog posts that are already getting traffic to get your ebook out to the audience that you have.

5. Create a PPC campaign to promote your content offering.

Knowing that your content offering has a clear path to revenue, organic games alone aren’t always the best way to advertise, especially when there is a clear demand as people look for resources like yours.

A faster tactic than SEO, PPC is a great way to not only promote your business and its services, but also campaign for offers you have created. A successful PPC campaign increases the visibility and downloadability of your listing by directing high-intent users to the landing page.

6. Advertise your content offer on social media.

Email is a great tactic for reaching an existing audience, as is social media. An added benefit is that social media advertising can go beyond the existing audience much more easily.

Make sure to post on your social channels as soon as your offer is online and convey the value it has for the reader and add a picture to get their attention. Mix these posts with your other content so your readers aren’t put off by too much promotional content.

7. Consider putting the advertising budget behind it.

In some social channels (I’m looking at you, Facebook) the organic reach is not what it used to be. By boosting posts, you can increase the reach of both your followers and beyond. Alternatively, you can also create an ad that promotes your e-book and does a paid advertisement for a target audience.

Remember, people don’t surf social media for purchase. So, you need to make sure that the offers you are promoting and the way you advertise them generate interest and convey value. Otherwise, they just see it as an indicator and keep scrolling.

8. Use your content in different formats.

The first time they see your post, they may not click or convert right away. As with anything, it can take multiple “impressions” to attract attention and interest. If you keep posting the same thing over and over again, your content will become out of date.

Enter repurposing.

Your e-book can easily be converted into a slideshow, infographic, quiz, or any other format. Having multiple “versions” of your content for promotional purposes allows your e-book to go further and attract more attention at the same time.

9. Connect with niche readers on social media.

Check Twitter and LinkedIn for users who have shared similar content to what you have created. If I search for #inboundmarketing on Twitter, I can see who is sharing inbound marketing blogs, guides, and resources. I can also see who has the greatest reach in terms of likes and retweets.

Address these people with a simple message that says “Hey! I saw you share [this article] and i thought you might like [this related content offer]”. That way, you know that the person is likely interested in what you are writing because they were previously interested in similar content.

This tactic may not work as well as the influencer tactic in Tip 2 because you don’t offer mutual value, but a lot of these people spend a lot of time curating content for their audience and you might just be helping them.

10. Post to a content community or online group.

Search engines and their social feeds are likely not the only places your audience will be. If your e-book has specific information or niche information, you may be able to target those niches through content communities and online groups. For example:

  • Niche Facebook Groups
  • Niche LinkedIn groups
  • Reddit
  • Quora
  • Saggy groups
  • NextDoor neighborhoods
  • Industry forums

For example, if you’re a roofer in St. Louis, join your community group on NextDoor.com and post your content there. If your neighborhood is hit by a hailstorm, your “Assessing Storm Damage As a Homeowner” infographic can be useful for community residents.

Content communities are also a great resource for getting feedback, starting discussions, and sharing your passion for your services with others.

11. Find other shortcuts.

Tools like Ahrefs allow you to view other websites that have linked to content like yours. Reach out to them with your link to the content offering and see if they’d like to include a link to your resource. I find this to be most helpful when you find a broken link that your new link can replace. Webmasters generally appreciate it when someone informs them of a problem with their website links. If you can provide a link to replace the broken one, it may be placed.

Alternatively, use a tool like BuzzSumo or Mention.net to find mentions of your company online. You can see who mentioned you or your content offering and see if they linked to you or not. If they haven’t included your link please reach out to this website and explain that it could provide their readers with a better experience by finding the article that is mentioned.

If you’re looking for more ways to get backlinks, I recommend Backlinko’s “17 Powerful (Still Unused) Backlink Sources” to find other places you might get a link from!

12. Guest blog on popular websites with your e-book as the CTA.

You may also have the option to take advantage of the organic traffic and promotions of a third-party website through guest blogging. If your buyer personality visits a popular website that offers solutions to the problems they encounter, your content offering should also be there (if, of course, it is similarly relevant and helpful).

Once you have determined which websites your buyer personality reads to get information, see if those websites allow industry leaders to create a guest blog. Some websites require an application or an article suggestion. However, once you have accepted blogging for one website it is much easier to get accepted on other websites.

When writing your articles, keep them educational and don’t promote yourself. Remember, you are trying to help the reader solve a problem with your expertise and industry knowledge. To complete the article, use your e-book as the next step. When a reader finishes the article and wants more information, your content offering is in place.

Content that is only on your website cannot do its job properly and generate leads. But don’t worry, if you use these advertising tips, you will find that a little extra effort can really bring a content offering from zero to hero.

If you want to create attractive ebooks that will grab 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 completeness.

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