One of the first things I learnt about digital marketing (a long time ago now) was a two-step process that ‘supposedly’ encapsulated everything anybody needs to know about online marketing:
- Build the list
- Email the list
Sounds simple, right?
Back then, social wasn’t nearly as popular as it is now, content was created by the few and networks like TikTok felt like the stuff of distant nightmares.
But despite all the changes in digital – the extra noise and new platforms, those two factors still ring true. If you want to succeed online you need to build the list and email that list.
In simpler terms, get a direct line to as many relevant people as possible and send them communications.
History Has a Way of Complicating Things
As an industry grows, so do opportunities. These two steps have evolved into 100s of options, with 1000 different names, which are operated by 1,000,000 different experts.
History has a way of complicating things.
It’s time to leave all that at the door. In this article, I’m going to walk you through a really simple process that has limitless lead generating potential.
This is the knowledge that’s going to ‘build your list’.
A Quick Overview
When I talk about ‘building the list’ – I mean capturing the contact details of people who are interested in your industry.
For example, if you operate a business that sells IT training, those contact details would come from businesses who are heavily reliant on tech and IT, and regularly take on new employees.
A great list isn’t necessarily dependent on size, it’s populated with the right people – those who are most likely to take action after becoming a lead. This doesn’t mean converting into a customer on day one, but it does mean converting at some point.
In order to capture the contact details of the right people, you need to use bait. We call this bait a ‘lead magnet’.
Lead Magnet Definition:
An irresistible offer that is given to a prospective customer in exchange for their contact details.
Lead magnet’s come in many shapes and sizes, a few examples include:
- Video lessons
- Free Trials
^^^This is just a short list of examples, there are tons of different types of lead magnet^^^
The lead magnet that suits your business depends on your customer journey (particularly where they’re going to end up), brand, industry and customer expectations – but, in this article, I’m going to walk you through the process of creating ebooks that generate 1000+ leads every month.
Why Do eBooks Work As Lead Magnets?
To help you understand why ebooks make awesome lead magnets, you need to see a few relevant images:
Other than the shameless plug for my own book – what did you notice?
Pssst…the big pink arrows are a clue…
All of those eBooks cost money. Every single one of those images is highlighted with their ‘Kindle Edition’ price.
As consumers we’re conditioned to pay for information products like books – this elevates our perception of their value. So, when we’re offered something like this for ‘FREE’ it feels like an irresistible offer.
They Qualify Interest
Ebooks aren’t just great as an irresistible offer, they also do something else that’s crucial to that ‘build your list’ stage of digital marketing – they qualify an audience’s interest.
It’s time for another visual explanation:
^^^This is an eBook that we have used as a lead magnet on the Einstein Marketer website. It has generated more than 20k leads for our business.^^^
Look at the title of this ebook – who do you think would download something like this?
The only people who would exchange their contact details for this ebook are people who want to improve their Facebook Audience’s knowledge and performance, so they can increase the ROI of their Facebook ads.
As a business, we offer the creation, management and/or strategy of Facebook ad campaigns to our clients, as well as Facebook ad training – one of our customer avatars is somebody who wants to learn more about Facebook ads.
This ebook acts as a qualifying bridge – drawing our most valuable prospects out of the crowd and onto our radar.
Your lead magnet must do the same.
How Is It Done?
An ebook that converts high numbers of qualified leads might sound like an enormous project, especially if you’re working in a small team (or as a solopreneur) but it’s actually quite simple.
I’ve broken the journey down into 5 chunks. Walk through each of these small steps and you’ll be on your way to a business-changing piece of content that converts.
This is how to build your list with an ebook:
Know Your Audience
‘Know your audience’ is probably the most overused 3-word combination in the short history of digital marketing – and that’s because they’re crucial.
Cost-effective digital marketing is all about targeting, and the best way to target is to know as much about the people you’re targeting as possible.
Knowing your audience doesn’t mean guessing or taking vague estimations – it means really understanding your ideal customer and their needs. This requires research, conversations, feedback, reviews and a detailed customer avatar.
When you know what your target market wants, where they hang out, what time they hang out there, what gets their attention and how to communicate with them – everything else is straightforward.
Never stop learning about your target market. I know a lot about the people who read these blogs, but that doesn’t mean I’m ever going to stop building on my knowledge. Things change, aims alter, solutions are found and new problems arise – stay on the pulse.
The Venn Diagram
The more you know about your target market, the easier this step is.
If you want to build a list with an ebook, and you want that list to convert a high number of qualified leads, you’re going to need to find a sweet spot between two points.
On one side you must help your target market. This means providing value. The best way to do this with an ebook is to solve a problem or educate your audience on a subject they’re struggling with.
Your aim is to find one big problem and provide them with the answers to it. Do not try to tackle every issue in your industry, just aim at one.
A perfect example of this is the Facebook Audiences eBook I shared a little earlier. This eBook is NOT the complete guide to Facebook ads, it’s only FB Audiences.
On the other side of the Venn Diagram, you have your business’s products, offers and solutions.
Think about one of your business’s products or services, and consider one element of it that best aligns with one big problem in your target market’s lives. This is the sweet spot in your Venn diagram, providing you with the topic of your ebook.
A cross-over point like this converts a lot of leads because it provides value to people (by helping them) and qualifies prospects for future offers (by aligning with your product/services).
Make the Thing
When you’ve found your perfect topic, it’s time to make the thing.
I consider myself a project worker – when I start working on a big project like this, I set aside a chunk of time and go at it from start to finish. In the case of an ebook, that might mean taking up the majority of my time for a week.
For many of you, that might not be possible and for others, it isn’t appealing.
You have a couple of options at this point:
- Make a little every day – set aside one or two hours a day and work on it.
- Hire somebody to do it for you – as with most things, you get what you pay for. Somebody who costs pennies is probably going to provide you with something worth the same.
There is no wrong answer at this fork in the road.
Some fundamental rules:
- 5000 words as an absolute minimum – more than 2.75 million blogs are published every day on WordPress websites alone. Your eBook has to be more valuable than this free content. Selling your lead short will leave a bad taste in their mouth.
- Speak in your target market’s language – write your lead magnet for the level of people that you’d like to work with. If they’re beginners, explain everything, if they’re advanced, use technical terms.
- Add value– share everything you can to solve your audience’s one big problem and then add value on top of this. Give them more than expected – provide bonuses, tips and extras.
- Use visuals- relevant images act as explainers for visual learners, use them wherever and whenever possible.
When the content is ready, it’s time to have it designed.
A lead magnet can convert leads for years to come, so it’s well worth the investment.
Design is so crucial to a lead magnet’s success because it elevates the perceived value of the offer. The perceived value is how highly a member of your target market values your offer without seeing it.
The better the design, the higher its perceived value.
^^^Use a free tool like diybookcovers to transform a 2D image into 3D and increase the value even more!^^^
A well-designed front cover and catchy title can make all the difference to your cold audience to lead conversion rates. And if you really want to build your marketing list with an ebook, you should not take design lightly.
We use a variety of design services and options, depending on the lead magnet and its marketing purpose.
Here are a number of tried and tested design routes for people of any budget:
- DesignPickle: We pay a monthly subscription for the DesignPickle service. These guys set a fixed monthly fee for unlimited designs, including ebooks, blogs, social media, ads etc. The cost of their service is low in comparison to a full-time designer, they’re efficient and they’re designs are good.
- 99Designs: This service is more expensive than DesignPickle and there’s good reason for it – 99Designs are better. Pay a single fee for a competition and pick a design winner from the professional designers who reach out to you.
- Freelance: There are a lot of freelance websites out there – those that I can recommend are Upwork, Freelancer and Behance.
- DIY it: Tools like Canva now come with eBook templates installed, ready for editing. Alternatively, you could try Designrr, who specialise in lead magnet ebook templates.
Market Your eBook
The very final step in this guide is to market the eBook.
As with all types of content marketing, it’s one thing to create the content, but another altogether to market it. Your aim should be to keep people moving through your content marketing funnel, towards the end goal of becoming a customer.
I could write an entire guide to marketing a lead magnet (and I will) but for now, let’s just cover the basics.
The first is pretty self-explanatory. You’re on this page because I created this blog to entice you here. While you’re here, I can make a relevant offer to you.
You can market your lead magnet with blogs, podcasts, videos or valuable images– publish content regularly, provide value and leave gaps in your content to make lead-generating offers.
You should also have data tracking pixels installed on your website, so you can build custom audiences and run retargeted ads. You can also build lookalike audiences from your custom audiences and show these ads too!
And finally, you can also use a service like OptinMonster to create lead generating forms on your websites in the shape of pop-ups, slide-ins, floating bars and locked content (you’ll probably see one when you try to exit this page!).
If you want to build your list, a lead magnet like an ebook is a huge opportunity for your business.
This type of content converts at high numbers, allows you to show off your expertise, builds trust and qualifies a lead’s interest.
Follow the 5 steps in this article to build your list with an ebook!
Want more content marketing advice and guidance? Check out:
- The Content Strategy: A Forward-Thinking Approach
- Evergreen Content: A Guide to Content That Achieves Long Term Results
- 9 Reasons Why You Need Content Marketing
- How to Create Months Of Social Content From One Blog
- How I Never Run Out of Content Marketing Ideas