The main goal of any online marketing endeavor is to convert as many website visitors as possible into leads, subscribers, and customers. You probably read in several places (and heard it in some webinars) that incorporating e-books into your content strategy is a good way to achieve the above-mentioned goal.
Indeed, e-books are a creative means of attracting potential clients through well-documented and aesthetically pleasing content. When we are talking about marketing content, e-books are most often downloadable PDF documents that are incorporated into a webpage or blog post. The visitors either click on the link to download the e-book or fill out a form to receive it via e-mail.
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A guide to creating an e-book to promote your online course
Coming up with your own e-book to promote your online course is easier than you may originally think. We’ve prepared a step by step guide on how to proceed. Let’s explore the first three steps now and another four next time.
Find the right topic
Marketing requires having a good idea about your targeted audience. With that in mind, you should ask yourself some questions in order to come up with an appropriate subject:
- What are they interested in?
- What is a problem they are seeking to solve?
- Is there a particular subject they want in-depth information about?
This short brain-storming session should give you a list of possible topics to choose from. It’s best if you pick something that you are also passionate about as it will make the process easier and the end-result more appealing. You don’t want to be overly academic but rather offer factual answers to their concerns (think in terms of this article – it’s a practical guide offering an answer to ‘how do I write an e-book to promote my online course? ‘)
Lastly, the topic of the e-book should be at least tangential to the main topic of the online course you want to promote. Once you hook people with the e-book, they’ll be more interested in checking out your course if it promises to solve a related but deeper issue they may have.
Make a plan
Once you know what the book will be about, it’s time to start the actual planning – much like you would do for an e-learning module or for a blog post. You need to figure everything out before you start creating the content:
- Research the subject to see what’s already out there, get all the updates, and gather the material you can quote.
- Create an outline – how many chapters you’ll write and what each one will address.
- Identify the main points for each section.
- Do a keyword research to determine traffic volumes (you want to use your e-book to drive visitors organically) and select your focus keyword.
- Come up with a good title.
- Set up the webpage or blog post that will host the e-book.
- Add an opt-in form where visitors can download the content.
On to design
It’s crucial that you think about how your e-book will look before you start writing the content. You want it to be in line with what’s already out there – familiarity wins over originality in this instance – so take a look at the most popular e-books and note their presentation (colors, fonts, images, length, and all other noticeable aspects).
Outline the inside of your e-book, keeping in mind that it has to be eye-catching, organized, clean, and engaging. Here are a few tips for achieving this:
- Just as you would do when designing e-learning, opt for smaller chunks of text rather than extensive paragraphs.
- Fill the pages with images, infographics, and other visuals.
- Include interactive elements like buttons and scrolling images.
- Use your brand’s color and imagery.
- Include links to all your social media pages.
- Break up the information into sections that are short and easy to follow.
- Make the highlights really stand out – either by using bold, putting them in a box or using some special signaling
Design your e-book cover with care. We all know the saying “you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover” and we are well aware that most people do that anyway. Especially when we are talking about an actual book – albeit electronic.
Once more, it’s important to be aware of the trends and check out other people’s successful covers before you choose your own. You need to pay attention to color schemes, arrangement, type of imagery – everything that is eye-catching is also relevant.
Many authors are taking content they have published some years back, changing the general arrangement and the cover and they end up selling more than they did the first time around – that’s the power of the visual in today’s online environment.
When it comes down to your e-book, you want the first impression to be memorable and that will take a really successful title-cover combo. Needless to say, whatever you do choose to put as the ‘calling card’ of your e-book needs to be connected to and relevant to the content itself.
Having all of the above figured out, you can move on to the next steps which entail writing the content, optimizing your webpage, and marketing your finished product. We’ll cover all these next time. So keep an eye on the INDIE Blog!
Raluca Cristescu has over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.