online marketing

Benefits of eBooks in Content Marketing Strategy

What is content marketing

By creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content, marketers aim to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience. The major goal is to convert this traffic into profitable customer action.

Of course, the keyword here is “valuable”. It’s what distinguishes content marketing from other forms of advertising. Instead of simply pitching products or services, it becomes necessary to provide truly reliable, relevant, and useful content to potential and current customers, helping them solve their problems or answer their own questions.

The best way to tell if a piece of content is worth using in a content marketing campaign, is to establish whether people actively seek it out. If people want to consume it rather than avoid it, it’s worth your while.

A strong content marketing strategy includes a variety of content types. As individual pieces begin to take shape, there are some specific items to keep in mind: blog posts, ebooks, cheat sheets, workbooks and templates, whitepapers and reports, infographics, slide decks, video, etc.

Why content marketing

According to Pagefair.com, over 200 million people now use ad blockers. Conventional marketing tactics are becoming less effective. “Good” content is impervious to ad-blocking software and actually happens to be something that consumers want to interact with. Content marketing is therefore more effective and welcome on a foundational level.

There is the assumption that content marketing is an expensive alternative to the traditional marketing model. This, however, is inaccurate. Content marketing is highly effective and easy to begin. It is popular with consumers and can therefore drastically reduce the amount of money that would otherwise be spent on advertising that has a potentially lower success rate.

Roughly 88% of today’s B2B marketers use content marketing as that foundation of their marketing strategy. The sustainable value of content marketing means that brands are able to easily connect with their customers, as the lines of communication are a little more open. With conversion rates that are six times higher than those associated with traditional marketing efforts, it is hardly surprising that content marketing is growing in popularity.

Ebooks in Content Marketing

According to Jesse Noyes, senior director of content marketing for Kapost, "Fat content will become the focus of marketers everywhere.” The term ‘fat content’ extends to include whitepapers, infographics, ebooks, and videos – all of which can be used in a clever content marketing strategy.

In a content marketing plan, eBooks are best used by businesses that need to communicate complex information in a way that is both interesting and accessible. The term “infotaining” is often used to describe these eBooks, which should be filled with practical, useful, and possibly inspiring content that aligns with the business’ brand.

eBooks present the perfect balance between education and entertainment. Visually, an eBook is more appealing than a whitepaper yet it is more serious than an infographic. Essentially, eBooks cover several bases whereas other forms of content tend to be a little more one-dimensional. According to PricewaterhouseCooper LLpP, eBook sales are expected to grow from $2.31 billion in 2011 to $8.69 billion in 2018. This proves that they are somewhat of a “hot” commodity.

eBooks are being referred to as “fat” content, anything that can be broken up into smaller pieces and used in multi-channel campaigning. Ultimately, flexibility is what makes this type of marketing tool so popular. At least 39% of B2B marketers are using eBooks as a part of their strategy, whereas “thin” online content is slowly edging its way out of the limelight.

Benefits of eBooks

There are several benefits to using eBooks as a part of a business’ marketing strategy, some of which will be highlighted below.

Generate leads

What sets eBooks apart from other marketing tools is the fact that they seem to be more informative than a regular part of an advertising tactic. To the consumer, they exist in order to provide entertainment or expertise. After all, the best source of knowledge is an industry expert who can offer insight into solving the “real-life” problems of customers.

In an age where transparency is key, marketers will find that potential customers shy away from anything they perceive to be a “hard sell”. EBooks enable marketers to control the content they send out. The content becomes more inviting to consumers, drawing their attention in such a way that they feel as though they made a conscious choice to pursue a particular service rather than feeling as though they’ve been harassed into making a purchase.

Ebooks have the following technological advantages in lead generation:
 

  • The electronic medium provides a convenient method for an immediate call-to-action - a click!

  • eBooks containing links allow businesses to track their success through quantifiable measurements.

  • Rather than provide a static product, companies can add links to a variety of additional media (video, audio, or graphics) adding visual appeal.

  • An eBook is fast and easy to produce while still looking great and providing a professional appearance to a business’ content strategy.

Build a Brand

When used properly, an eBook will cause potential customers to link the content to a particular business’ existing brand. For this reason, marketers need to find a way to ensure that they maximise the eBook’s ability to enhance the company’s image.

Connecting an eBook to a specific brand can be done in the following ways:
 

  • Complement the existing brand by using the appropriate logos, fonts, and colour schemes on the eBook cover.

  • Present a professional image by ensuring that the format, writing, and editing are publication-ready.

  • When making your eBook publication-ready, marketers should execute each step with precision – especially in terms of the conversion of media.

Offers Valuable Knowledge to your Target Audience

When creating eBook content, authors should focus on topics that they have expertise in. Consumers are able to sense when content has been penned by an author who is floundering in unfamiliar territory. Furthermore, the eBook should not be about the product or service offered by the company in question.

While the eBook content may not be intended to sell, it will still have a positive impact on the decision-making of its audience.  The key here is to ensure that there is a call-to-action at the end of the eBook which links to the pertinent areas of the company’s website. This subtle method of selling helps readers make a decision without feeling they are under inordinate amounts of pressure.

Of course, the topic of the eBook should still be industry relevant – something that will attract the attention of the appropriate audience and teach them something that will assist them in making the “correct” purchasing decision. Ebooks are often used to set a particular company up as a trusted source of information or an industry leader on a particular topic.

10 Best Practices for Creating eBooks
 

Below are the top ten best practices for creating quality, effective eBooks:

  • Covers should be compelling with short, provocative titles.

  • EBooks should be easy to find, share and act on.

  • Anticipate varying screen sizes for eBook consumption and make graphics and text readable across the board.

  • Lists, tips, and best practices with examples are the most compelling eBook content formats.

  • Include links within the eBook to blog posts, videos, and articles from the business itself and from 3rd party resources.

  • Focus on content that is easily shareable on social media.

  • Promote portions of the eBook through blog posts and social networks.

  • Co-create eBooks with industry thought leaders to create a built-in incentive for them to help promote.

  • Use a clear and relevant call to action according to the eBook purpose.

  • Provide PDF and embeddable versions of the eBook.

 

Speakers Market Beyond the Event Itself

As a professional you need to be able to see the value in your event speakers beyond the session itself. Quite obviously, speakers play one of the most important roles in the success of your event. You may wish to harness their infinite charisma in order to market your event more effectively. When they're on the stage, speakers are the living embodiment of the event itself. They engage with the audience and share their passion for the topic at hand. They keep people entertained for an hour or so, hoping to stay in the audience's mind for long after the event is over. Additionally, they have full control over their content - an enormous responsibility, all things considered. Surely, their responsibilities could (and should) extend a little further.

Turn your Speakers into Marketing Machines

Event organisers often make the mistake of shouldering the burden of marketing all on their own. The fact of the matter is that your speakers should be generating buzz about your event. After all, their success depends on the success of the whole shindig too.

If your goal is to have your speakers market the event from day one, you need to be completely honest with them. If they want the gig, they need to uphold all of the responsibilities laid out for them. Tell them that they need to raise awareness. Get them in touch with your marketing team so that all of your efforts are synchronised.

Your speakers should be doing exactly the same things you are to promote your event. Posting on social media, blogging, and reaching out to influencers are three vital steps in generating buzz.

Stay Updated on Important News and Trends

Research is incredibly important leading up to your event. While your event may be set up and ready to go, you need to keep track of your audience and attendees in the months and weeks before the date. Your speakers will find a wealth of information that will enable them to reach out on social media and connect with the people that matter.

 

 

Online Marketing for Events: Tips for Event Profs

Many event professionals hit a roadblock when it comes to online marketing. Of course, with a few handy tips and tricks you needn't feel like online marketing is such a huge challenge. With your event planned perfectly, including fantastic speakers and tantalising catering, the only obstacle you really face is getting the required attention. Essentially, online marketing is a gift rather than a burden. It truly does make your life that much easier...if you know how to use it.

Be Smart - Get Other People to Do your Marketing for You

Perhaps the best thing about online marketing is the fact that you can, without too much effort, get other people to do your marketing for you.

Contests are a great way to generate buzz about your event. Consider launching a competition where entrants can win tickets to the event by sharing the news. You would be surprised at how far information will reach when there's a prize to be had.

Influencer marketing is another fantastic way to generate interest in your event. It can sometimes be difficult to connect with the right influencers due to the fact that they're usually bogged down with hundreds of requests. Try to get noticed by the right kind of influencers by doing some noticeable legwork. Reach out to them by sending personalised requests instead of flooding them with generic posts that are clearly targeted at a large group.

Offering referral discounts is another fantastic way to generate buzz. Send a message to your attendees letting them know that they will be able to receive a partial refund on their ticket purchase should they refer a friend (or two).

Use Social Media Wisely - It's One of Your Biggest Assets

The most important thing to remember about social media is that it is in a constant state of growth. While Facebook and Twitter may have once have been the only bigwigs worth considering, other social media platforms have now joined their ranks. Spend a little time doing research on what's trending online, and use that knowledge to your advantage.

Create an air of exclusivity by creating a closed Facebook group for VIP guests. There will always be those people who crave exclusivity and "special treatment" - this could be a great way to get them to mention your event on social media in a completely positive light.

If you're going to invest in social media, you may wish to consider creating an awe-inspiring video. At the moment, video content is the biggest trend. Audiences crave entertainment in the form of a teaser. They want to feel as though they have something absolutely magnificent to look forward to.

Online vs Offline Marketing... It's a Balancing Act, Not A Choice

The focus of the modern marketing environment has become increasingly online-based, with all types of campaigns running simultaneously via multiple channels – unfortunately leading to the inevitable neglect of an ‘old faithful’ marketing style. Offline marketing has big potential to be coupled with online marketing strategies in order to produce a holistic corporate presence that transcends an urgent dependence on the Internet. Unifying your Marketing Strategy is your Best Chance for Survival

In 2013, Andy Lombard posted an article on MarketingLand.com that is even more pertinent today than it was then. Lombard pointed out a major problem facing companies that adopt separate strategies for online and offline campaigns, often run by completely different departments; “Those silos only exist inside marketing departments. The customer’s mind perceives one continuous brand.” The key challenge here is the need to retain the customer’s attention, despite the fact that modern consumers experience multiple marketing channels within moments of each other.

Real-World Events Offer an Opportunity to Make a Lasting Impression

There are multiple combinations that can be explored to find the right balance between online and offline presence for individual businesses, however there are a few tips that remain universal. The best advice in the current climate is to combine online and offline marketing strategies into a unified message. Manobyte.com highlights the importance of real-world, offline events, which can be promoted online via social media or other such marketing channels. It’s also important to bring examples of your real-world customer interactions back to the online environment, to build interest in your offline events once again. The nature of this approach is reasonably cyclic, with one aspect feeding into another. The beauty of offline events is that they are a great content creation opportunity, building public interest on a level clients and potential clients can relate to.

Stop Hiding Behind Automation and Get Personal

Another great notion by Manobyte.com is to remove those impersonal automated email responses, and take the time to respond physically to enquiries, which can then be summarised in a follow-up email. The rapid shift to the online world seems to have left a somewhat bitter aftertaste in the mouths of customers, who are beginning to yearn for a more personalized customer service experience.  Another key example of including an offline touch in an online sale comes from eyewear retailer Warby Parker (Tintup.com), who pioneered the tactic of posting a number of frames for their potential customers to try on at home, to ensure proper fit and comfort. This made all the difference for the company who are now valued at approximately $1.2 billion.

Become Dependable on Multiple Channels

The concept works the other way around as well, as pointed out by Socialnomics.net who say, "Your websites should carry social media buttons, so that people are encouraged to share, implant, tweet, and email to help your website gain social traction.” The idea is to gain as much real estate within the customer’s circles as possible, retaining prominence in their mind and growing in influence. A high social media presence can be combined with offline reliability to create a sense of trust in your brand, in turn building customer loyalty. Over time, customer-relationships can be deepened as they learn that your company is dependable via any channel, whether online, or in the real world.

The Power of SEO Article Writing

With roughly 75% of the Internet's "window shoppers" using search engine keywords to source products, it would be a dire mistake to pass up the opportunity to take a slice of the “profit pie”. SEO article writing is the best way to drive traffic to websites, and convert that traffic into purchases. A survey by Forrester Research shows that that 60% of marketers around the globe are increasing their online marketing budgets rather than investing in more traditional forms of advertising. Regular print advertising is vastly more expensive and unsurprisingly ineffective in the fact of targeted SEO-optimized content.

SEO article writing demonstrates a certain trustworthiness that consumers are looking for. Creating informative content allows companies to show that they are knowledgeable; they have a certain amount of authority in their industry. Clever use of SEO optimized content allows companies to expand their collection of high ranking keywords, pulling even more users to their websites. This careful balance of high ranking keywords simultaneously improves the quality of the site and makes it easier for search engines to find.

Perhaps the cleverest aspect of SEO marketing is the fact that the client finds the product in question by actively looking for it. Psychologically, there is an element of the “hunt” to the process. Consumers need to believe that they have led themselves to the product, rather than being accosted by random print ads that are completely uninteresting to them.