By Robyn Levin, President
R. Levin Marketing Group
We’re all experts at something, so why not package and brand your expertise in the form of an educational product like an e-Book? After all, you’re in the business of educating clients about important information. Considering the fact that people are bombarded with 600-3,000 marketing messages a day, how do you cut through the clutter and stand out from everyone else? I can tell you from experience that it’s not by direct mail, seminars or printing a new brochure — that’s old-school marketing. There are many new, cost-effective ways to reach your targeted audience, and you’ll stand a greater chance of distinguishing yourself from the competition by trying a few new marketing tools, like an e-Book.
If you want to expand your business, attract better clients and elevate your professional image, e-Book marketing may be one of your smartest tools to use.
For years, the word “free” has been successfully used in advertising for the sheer fact that it works. When you combine the word free in your advertising with education, you’re really talking about giving away value in return for high-quality leads. I’ve been using e-Books (both free and for sale) as a marketing tool since 2004 and have obtained excellent results. If you’re asking yourself, who has time to write an e-Book? Don’t worry. I’ll walk you through a simple process to help you complete your own book in one week. If you dread the thought of writing, I’ll show you how to use someone else’s e-Book for your own marketing goals and skip the book project entirely. Either way, e-Books are a smart and cost-effective way to attract qualified prospects and quickly elevate your expert status. They’re also a much appreciated gift to give to existing clients to strengthen your relationship and keep your name in front of these valued clients. Remember, smart marketing is all about getting your message in front of the right audience at the right time using the right medium.
Why are e-Books expected to make a comeback? It’s a fact that the Internet has changed consumer behavior and we spend enormous amounts of time online consuming electronic data. e-Books are easy to find on the Internet, and you can either download one on your computer for online viewing or print them out later. You can also read them using an e-Book reader like the one Amazon.com recently introduced, called the Kindle. These e-Books are the perfect digital tool to use as a lead generator and consequently, are making a comeback for these very reasons — plus, they are easy to produce and distribute without spending a lot of money. When you self-publish your book, it’s a painless process and, if you do choose to sell it, you keep the profits. There are no fulfillment costs either since it’s a digital product rather than a printed, heavy book.
10 ways to increase your visibility and attract more clients with e-Books:
1. Brand your e-Book on a CD or MP3 with your company name, logo and contact data
2. Post it on your Web site to attract more sign-ups for your newsletter and you’ll capture their contact information
3. Give it away to promote a seminar to increase attendance
4. Offer it to other professionals to hand out to their prospects
5. Offer it as a free bonus with another service you sell
6. Give it to your customers as a special gift
7. Get referrals by suggesting others share your e-Book as a link
8. Advertise it on your signature line in all e-mails
9. Announce your e-Book in a press release
10. Create a Google pay-per-click advertising campaign to promote your free e-Book. This is another great lead generator, and it’s measurable. You can easily set a daily budget and test the response.
You should also post your e-Book on your blog and offer it to other industry bloggers and news journalists as a pitch for an interview or feature story idea. Educational content is always well received in the media and this will help boost your Internet visibility.
How to write an e-Book in one week
I was having lunch with a financial planner recently, and she was so excited about her new niche for getting referrals — Realtors and mortgage brokers who are struggling right now. Daurene explained how they have direct access to investment money and clients right under their nose that they haven’t considered — their retirement money. As a registered investment advisor, she could educate their clients about investing in alternative assets, like real estate, and subsequently gain the rest of their portfolio. This knowledge opens more doors to Realtors to sell investment properties and they can direct their clients to her for financial advice. Then, she rattled off her top five financial tips by age range in a very succinct style. I asked her how she was going to market this great information. And, like many professionals, she was stumped. I suggested an e-Book and her eyes lit up: a combination of excitement and dread of the amount of work involved. Within an hour, we had an outline for her brief e-Book and she had a new marketing tool to differentiate her business. She also formed a team of Realtors, attorneys and CPAs that will cross-promote her information. They can stamp their company name and logo on her e-Book with compliments of her company. This is a win-win for everyone.
The fastest and easiest way by far to write an e-Book is to think of the top frequently asked questions you get from your prospects or clients or common scenarios you encounter. Make a brief outline of your top 10-50 most frequently asked questions — depending on the size of the book you want to produce. Brief is better in today’s hyper-busy world and most people want the golden nuggets of useful information. Write about your area of expertise and condense it into a “Frequently Asked Questions” format or a “Top 10 List.” For instance, you could write about the top five high-dividend paying stocks in a bear market, or the top 10 FAQs baby boomers ask about long term care insurance (LTCI.) Study market trends to make it timely and relevant, as this will help make it more attractive and increase your distribution.
Four years ago, I suggested the idea of an e-Book to help one of my bank clients improve their brand awareness, get more leads and garner media attention. This alleviated the amount of time spent on the phone answering the same routine questions and, instead, directed callers to their Web site to get better educated and download the book. Investors and professionals jump-started their education and found answers to their questions. I helped my client draft an outline for their e-Book using the same format mentioned above and they completed the project in one weekend. Today, they are still using it as a valuable lead generator from their corporate Web site and from a pay-per-click advertising campaign we’re running. They get thousands of high-quality leads as a result. We simply request a name and e-mail address to download the free product. Once they are in the database, we’ll send them periodic e-mails to continue the communication and build a relationship. On a side note, it’s important to explain up front that if you require an e-mail sign-up, they may get periodic e-mails and be sure to give them an option to opt-out.
You’ll need a program like Adobe Acrobat that will automatically format your table of contents and insert hyperlinks. There are other programs on the market, but this is the one I’ve used in the past and found it very easy to use. In fact, I recently completed my e-Book using this software (Cocktail Napkin Marketing Plan(TM)). It’s a good idea to make your book more interesting by adding graphics, MP3 files, video, pictures and just about anything else to create a more interesting product. Sprinkle links back to your Web site so people have immediate access to your company and contact information. I’d recommend you hire a professional copywriter to proof your work and give it a nice flow — it’s well worth your investment. Other considerations are the name you select and the cover image. There are programs available to design a nice cover at very affordable prices. Just do a search on google.com. You may decide to sell your e-Book and there are many ways to promote it online, including getting your e-Book listed on Amazon.com. One final note — you can easily copyright your book at the U.S. Copyright Office Web site at: www.copyright.gov/forms/ by completing the short form.
Remember: Give the gift of education and you’ll reap the rewards.
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