eBooks have been around for almost 20 years now.
But it wasn't until the smartphone revolution that the eBook market really took off.
In 2020, the global eBook market was worth USD 18.13 billion and is projected to be valued at USD 23.12 billion by 2026 – a CAGR of 4.9%.
In this article, we will focus on eBooks in the marketing sense - how eBooks can help your business grow.
In the marketing sense, eBooks are informative, text-based documents presented in a digital format.
They most often take the form of a PDF with 10 to 20 pages and resemble highly detailed blog posts.
EBooks burst onto the marketing scene in the early 2000s.
Typically, major publishers convert traditional books into digital formats to increase book sales.
But marketers offered free eBooks in exchange for contact information.
And so, a new lead-generation tactic was born - in the form of an ebook business opportunity.
If you are a business owner, you know how everything boils down to generating qualified leads - and ebooks help you do just that.
The idea behind eBooks is offering something of true value to the customer before the sales pitch or call-to-action. Like Netflix giving a free 30-day trial.
In this article, we will give you a deep-dive into what eBooks are, why eBooks work, how to write & design them, and more.
Deep Dive into eBooks
What are eBooks?
E-Book, also known as the electronic book, is a traditional print book made available in digital form. This book can contain text, text + images, infographics, illustrations, external hyperlinks, etc. Ebooks can be read on desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and E-readers like the Kindle.
A Brief History of eBooks
There is no consensus on who actually invented the first ebook and when. The subject is still widely debated, but some notable candidates for the invention of eBooks are Roberto Busa, Ángela Ruiz Robles, Douglas Engelbart and Andries van Dam, and Michael S. Hart.
While the earliest ebooks were the U.S. Declaration of Independence and electronic copies of pre-published texts, ebooks have now taken up a whole new meaning.
eBooks in 2021
The new way of creating and distributing content in the form of ebooks has allowed businesses and individuals to overcome challenges usually faced with traditional publishing.
Putting a book out now can be done independently and with far less resources.
According to PWC’s report, the Internet will become a key distribution channel of various literary works, fiction or nonfiction. This is expected to affect the existing value chain and motivate all stakeholders to take advantage of eBooks.
Libraries across the country have closed most of their services to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. However, many are still offering electronic reading materials. Moreover, due to decreasing cost of e-books, libraries are now able to buy more copies of the e-books, which is aiding in the market growth.
How eBooks can help your business
Businesses have identified eBooks as a brilliant marketing tool. According to the Semrush State of Content Marketing Report 2020, at least 37% of businesses create Ebooks on a regular basis.
Here’s how publishing eBooks in 2021 can help your business-
- Expand your email list: Each eBook that your business creates can be used as a lead magnet. Creating landing pages or including a pop-up on your homepage is a great way to promote your eBooks and get visitors to download them in exchange for an email address. This helps to increase your email list with targeted leads who could potentially turn into customers.
- Establish authority: Creating eBooks about your industry lets visitors to your website know that you know what you're talking about. You have a wealth of knowledge about your industry and you're willing to share it with your audience. This separates you from your competition, which can be extremely important depending on your industry.
- Repurpose shareable content: If your brand has already been posting content to your blog, site, or socials, an eBook provides a fantastic opportunity to repurpose some of that material that resonated best with your audience. This means you aren’t tasked with creating an entire book from scratch. But also that content you spent time and energy composing, is able to be put to good use once more.
- Opportunities for collaboration: Firstly, if you approach others with the intent to produce an eBook, it could be possible to secure a collaboration with movers and shakers in the industry. Secondly, once your eBook is published, the industry will see your brand as a viable leader and doors open for future collaborations. Lastly, your brand can leverage your eBook to heighten your visibility to both other brands and audiences.
Features of eBooks
Every eBook is unique in it’s own way. Yet, there are certain elements every eBook must incorporate to give it an extra edge.
No matter what they say, most humans judge a book by its cover. A striking, bold cover page is the best way to make the most out of the first impression readers get.
Opt for bold colors or designs, mention the title in a legible manner, and put yourself out there! An eye-catching cover page is a job half done.
Stick with psychology-backed design rules like maintaining hierarchy, opting for a readable font, leaving white space, and using color theory where applicable. Be mindful of the spacing and font size, so as to be accessible for the majority.
Pay attention to the overall arrangement of content in your ebook. Create chapters in a chronology and divide them further, if necessary, to make reading easier.
Stick with a constant design language in terms of colors, fonts, and image & illustration styles. This will keep your reader in-tune, and not distract them.
Consistency can also be maintained in language and the format in which content is arranged inside your ebook.
Humans love graphics! They are fascinating to look at, give a visual explanation to back the text, and even drive the point home better.
Add custom infographics to your ebook wherever possible. They offer a visual break from heavy text and make your ebook more complete.
Supplement the knowledge you provide in your ebook with external reading. You can add links to your own published content that can add value to your readers. This also helps take them a step further in your sales funnel.
Linking to other sources for external reading too can be used to ascertain legitimacy and credit them as a source.
As your ebook comes to its closing you may want to direct your readers to your CTA. While it's always advisable to have your primary CTA be the next step towards a sale, a secondary CTA to share the ebook works great too! Offer easy access links to share the ebook over social media to make sharing easier.
It expands the reach of your resource to more people who are likely to be among your target audience.
Beyond what goes into your ebook, it is important to consider the entry and exit points. In most cases, you would be listing your ebook on your website or sending it across via email. Make the sign-up and ebook download process easy to avoid drop-outs.
5 Great eBook Examples
To further dig into creating the best ebooks, we look into some of the best ebook examples. In this section, you can learn about good ebook layout examples, ebook outline examples, ebook landing page examples, and more.
- How to use Instagram for Business by Hubspot – An interactive ebook gem!
HubSpot is an inbound marketing and sales software that helps companies with inbound marketing, sales, and customer service.
Given it’s foot in content marketing, Hubspot published a guide on how to use Instagram for Business. It was a strategic choice for Hubspot, as it helped the company position itself as an expert in the field. And it is also a good hook for their target audience.
The table of contents is a very important part of an eBook. It sets the reader’s expectations, makes the eBook skimworthy, and user-friendly.
Hubspot’s Table of Contents is a wonderful ebook table of contents example. Spending a minute on it gives you the exact idea of what the ebook is all about.
Throughout the guide, Hubspot has maintained consistency in the use of fonts, colors, designs. There is a good balance between text and images. The guide also has internal links for those who want to dig deeper into a topic.
The guide also makes use of infographics to make the information easy to understand & retain. The use of different formats of content - graphs, photos, infographics, etc - also keeps the reader interested.
Who doesn’t love a bonus? A bonus section to your eBook is a sure-shot way to make the reader excited. The topic chosen by Hubspot for its Bonus section correlates very well with the rest of the guide. It is also action-packed because it gives the reader a kick to use & implement the strategies learnt.
- Informative infographics that are easy to understand even for the common man.
- A reader-friendly format that will help a seasoned user and even an Instagram newbie.
- Easy to understand “How-To-Guides” that can help you plan and execute future campaigns/contests/ads, etc.
- Tons of external links that can be used to understand content in detail.
Gary Vaynerchuk, the CEO of VaynerMedia and a well-renowned Social Media Master, launched this massive eBook in 2019. It goes a long way in establishing his authority in the industry and adding value to his target audience.
This ebook is one of the best marketing ebook examples.
The cover page of the eBook is super attractive - it uses bold colors and large font that is consistent with Gary Vee’s brand colors. The title does a great job in conveying the idea of the eBook and setting reader’s expectations.
Every chapter in the eBook has been separated with a full-page bold headline. This provides a great transition from one chapter to the next. It helps the reader to skim through the eBook, read systematically, and makes it easier for the reader to refer back to the eBook when required.
Throughout the guide, there is consistency in the use of bold text and colors. This is very important to retain the reader’s interest. Red circles are used to highlight information that the guide wants the reader to pay special attention to.
Finally, the guide is scattered throughout with interesting visual elements such as screenshots, graphs, infographics, illustrations. It provides many contextual examples to make sure the reader grasps the information.
PS. If you’re looking for ebook landing page examples, this one by Gary Vee does a great job.
- Bold, easy-to-read text throughout the guide. Consistency in the use of font and colors.
- Extensive use of visual elements like illustrations and screenshots to keep the reader engaged.
- Well-segmented and outlined to make it reader-friendly and skimworthy.
Think with Google boasts a treasure trove of consumer data and advertising trends that can easily be repackaged into custom illustrations, charts and graphs.
This ebook is one of the best b2b examples of ebook.
In this eBook about “people’s rapidly changing consumption habits,” Google homes in on Americans’ newfound obsession with cold brew, bubble tea and sparkling water.
In 62 pages, Google identifies spikes in search traffic across four different countries and uses simple text overlays to convey the information.
Through the eBook, information has been presented in bite-sized, digestible chunks to make it user-friendly. For example, this page shows the three biggest trends in the beverage market.
On this page, we gain additional context behind consumers’ cold-brew fascination via an easy-to-understand bar graph, a pull quote from a YouTube influencer and a sharpness-adjusted background image.
A similar type of data visualization occurs on subsequent pages, with the search data displayed in a linear Google Trends format.
- Information presented in bite-sized, digestible chunks to make it easy to understand.
- The use of visual elements, particularly graphs, to display information.
- Well-outlined and segmented into different sections.
Freshworks offers SaaS customer engagement solutions to organizations of all sizes. These tools make it easy for support, sales and marketing professionals to provide better customer service and collaborate with team members to resolve issues.
The eBook has been published by Freshworks to generate leads (in exchange of contact information). It is highly interactive, with several value-added tools that readers can put to use right away.
It features an elaborate table of contents that breaks down the eBook into several subsections.
The ebook design is bright and colourful with several engaging graphic elements to break up the text such as bulleted lists, charts and icons.
It features pull quotes and statistics to grab the reader’s attention, as well as demonstrate social proof and credibility in the form of hard numbers.
- Eye-catching design - bright and colorful, extensive use of visual elements like graphics, quotes, and data.
- Social proof - features quotes and hard numbers from stakeholders in the industry.
- Highly interactive, with several value-added tools that readers can put to use right away.
Velocity Partners is a B2B marketing agency that does B2B positioning, B2B content marketing, and B2B digital marketing for technology companies.
Velocity has done a great job from a design perspective in their B2B Marketing Manifesto. Every design element in the e-book - the typography, the color choices, the layout and the illustrations - support and enhance the manifesto’s message.
The eBook uses a large, bold font and has a clear, consistent messaging throughout. The page layout is well-designed making the content easy for the reader to consume.
The eBook ends with information about Velocity. This serves as a call-to-action. It encourages readers to learn more about the company, what it does, and more.
Overall, Velocity has done a commendable job in designing the eBook and leveraging it to get qualified leads for its business.
- The use of bold colors and font consistent with the brand's image to convey the message.
- User-friendly and interactive design with visual elements like illustrations and a great page layout.
- Right tone of voice - informative as well as entertaining and easy to understand.
Practical Tips to Get You Started
These real-world examples of eBooks should hopefully help you envision your next eBook, either in design quality or breadth of topic coverage.
Here are some practical tips to get you going.
- Choose a topic that positions you as an industry expert
As we see from the eBook examples above, the topic you choose for your eBook should relate to your industry. It should help you position yourself as an authority or industry expert.
The ultimate goal of publishing an eBook is to generate qualified leads. So choose a good hook for your target audience. It must add value to the reader and encourage them to share their details to get access.
Case studies, listicles, and how-tos are three categories for eBooks that always gather interest. Here are some topic templates that will put your thinking cap on -
✅ X Best Practices for [Insert Industry/Topic]
✅ An Introduction to [Insert Industry/Topic]
✅ X Common Questions About [Insert Industry/Topic] Answered
- Break the eBook down into digestible chunks
If you recall the definition of an eBook in the marketing sense, it is simply a series of blog posts stitched together. Therefore, it is important to break down your eBook into several subsections.
This will help you plan the content better, because you can treat each chapter as a separate blog post. And it will make the end result user-friendly because the reader will know what to expect from the eBook.
Word of caution - while you treat different sections as separate blogs, do make sure there is consistency in tone and language. Finally, make sure that the chapters flow fluidly from one to the other.
- Outsource but maintain editorial consistency
A good eBook requires extensive research work and content creation efforts. From planning and writing, to designing and publishing, the process can take a lot of time.
As such, you can consider outsourcing part of the work, or even the entire eBook. In fact, outsourcing to the right people can bring expertise to your eBook content.
However, you must make sure that the eBook is consistent with your brand image.
The eBook will be a big part of your content library. It is important to make sure it is consistent with the kind of content you create across different content marketing channels.
Choose your partner well - take your time to find the perfect people to outsource your content to. Regardless, the editorial power is with you. Spend time and effort to ensure that the eBook delivers the message your brand wants to.
- Keep a track of the sources you use
When writing an eBook, there are tons of external sources you will refer to. It is always a good idea to keep a track of these sources and add them to your eBook.
Adding external sources to your eBook will help you expand its reach. It will open up collaboration opportunities. And it will provide the reader with more context, where they need it.
In fact, if you use quotes or data from external sources and credit them, it adds to your credibility as well.
Along With external sources, add internal links to your own content from different channels. For example, there might be an interesting in-depth blog you published that relates to your eBook content. Add it in there!
- Place CTAs (calls-to-action) strategically
Once your content is ready, it is time to optimize it for lead generation. That is, to place strategic calls-to-action.
A CTA is a link or visual object that entices the reader to click and arrive on a landing page that will get them further engaged with your company.
The ultimate goal of publishing an eBook is to generate business for the company by adding value to the reader. As an end to that goal, add CTAs where the content calls for it.
Depending on what this next action is, CTAs can be an in-line rectangle or a full page teasing the next offer.
As a word of caution, do not overwhelm the reader with big CTAs where they don’t even make sense. The idea is to add value and help readers in their journey.
Tell Better Stories in eBooks at Scale with Scalenut
By now, you might have made up your mind to launch an eBook for your business. If that’s the case, congratulations. You’ve taken the first step.
However, you might be feeling overwhelmed about the process. Indeed, creating a good eBook requires a lot of planning, research, writing, and editing. If you put in that much effort, you want it to be worth it.
We, at Scalenut, can help you through the process. Be it writing a part of it, or writing & designing the entire eBook. Our expert freelancers are well-qualified to write & design eBooks that help your business grow by leaps & bounds.
Here’s how you can get started with us.
- Simple form to request the content: Communication is key when it comes to content creation. If you have worked with freelancers, you might have felt a communication gap, or a need to follow up multiple times.
At Scalenut, we have curated a simple form to request content with a different set of questions for every content type. This allows the talent pool to get the brief they need, at once.
Based on the brief and the work intensity, you will get an estimate of the expected turnaround time. Which means, you don’t have to follow up time and again.
- Match you with Great Copywriters on Scalenut: At Scalenut, we recruit our talent pool from a wide range of industries like Education, Fashion & Lifestyle, Tech, and so on. And in every industry, we recruit talent across different levels of experience.
Everytime a new client is onboarded, an industry tag is given to the client which is similar to the tag given to the freelancers at the time of onboarding.
For example, an AI-focused company is tagged with freelance experts from a tech background.
When you place a request on the Scalenut Marketplace, our process makes sure that it is assigned to the best-suited freelance expert. Here’s how it happens-
- Tag mapping - your request will be matched with an expert in your industry. Within every industry, we have a talent pool with 2 to 7 years of experience - making sure that each request is well taken care of.
- Previous work done for you - preference will be given to freelance experts who have worked for you before. This ensures consistency in tone of content.
- Your rating of the freelancer’s previous work - on the dashboard, you can rate every project you complete with us. And the next time you place a request, we will match it with freelancers you rated the highest.
- Collaboration tool to track WIP: When collaborating on a project, it is inadvertent that either party may have something to say.
For example, the freelancer may have a query regarding the brief or something that they think can be added for a particular piece.
We understand that you can also have additional information to convey to the person working on a particular piece that you did not have while creating the brief or missed out on for some reason.
The Scalenut Dashboard is equipped with a Comments tab that allows two-way communication between clients and freelancers.
It works like any other messaging app, allowing to-and-fro communication. All of it works seamlessly to ensure that you get the end product you had in mind while engaging with a freelancer.
- Two Layers of Quality Checks: At Scalenut, quality comes first. We make sure that you get the best output for every content request you make.
This is made possible through two layers of quality checks -
Scalenut Quality Report -Scalenut'sQualityX is an auto-generated report that checks the content on more than 30parameters like plagiarism, readability, SEO, and more. It ensures that thecontent's readability & language is perfect for your user. The report isattached with every request you generate.
Scalenut Expert Review - Every piece of content is QC’ed by an expert at Scalenut. The Scalenut expert serves as the point of contact between you and the freelance experts. She understands your needs and your brand inside out - to make sure every content piece is consistent with your brand tone and image. She ensures the structural flow of the content is in sync with the brief, and that the content is suitable to your target audience. This results in a content piece that is in line with your expectations from all perspectives.
- Easy consolidated payments that incentivize you to create more: Scalenut’s mission is to help you tell better stories at scale. To encourage businesses like yours to create more content, we help you save as you create content. Here’s how we make that possible-
- Standardised pricing - You don’t need to negotiate on individual requests. Prices are defined, standardised and you know how much you’re paying for before you place the request.
- Refunds- in case you order a 800 word blog and the creator is able to turn in a great 600 word piece that works for you, we’ll refund you for the 200 words. This is automatic and credits are available for your next purchase.
- Buy in bundles to save- every recharge for Rs. 20,000 or more gets you 25% extra credits for free.
Join us at Scalenut and create eBooks that give you high returns.