We’re friends and I would feel negligent if I didn’t tell you this…
“Don’t settle for a slow-growth blog”.
This means, set a goal to attract bus loads of new readers rather than settling for 1 or 2 new readers a day.
Easier said than done I know, but, you have all the tools you need to be a Fast-Growth blogger. One of the most effective tools is the simple, often neglected, ebook.
Today, I’ll share with you a quick primer on why ebooks rock and if you are bought in then check out the sidebar for useful and fast way to get started with ebooks.
So let’s do a little prep work…
What is an ebook?
There are a bunch of ebook descriptions floating around so before we get started I’ll share my definition.
An eBook is:
An ebook is written with an online editor and is simply a text file or application. Although the ebook can be printed, it is meant to be read on a device like your laptop, tablet, or phone. eBooks are primarily packaged as a PDF which most users can read via a PDF readers. In the old days, we instructed eBook readers to visit Adobe and download the PDF reader, now the reader is packaged with the user’s browser and/or operating system.
An ebook can be downloaded to the user’s device and can be read at any time without requiring an internet connection.
An author can embed web links in the ebook connecting readers to online resources including their own blog, landing page, or blog.
The KISS (Keep It Short Stupid) rule is in effect. Keep your ebook to 20–30 pages. Your should be able to finish reading the ebook in 30–45 minutes. A longer book requires the reader to schedule time to read which may never happen.
Your ebook has two jobs
High-growth bloggers, people or businesses who want their blog readership to grow exponentially in a short time, focus on building an email list of fans and repeat readers. They use this list to build relationships, encourage post sharing on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook, and promoting new posts for repeat traffic.
As you know, people are stingy with their email addresses. Your readers are armed with a list of email aliases that would make James Bond proud. Their first move is to ignore any opt-in form. This is especially true if they see a generic “Sign-up for Updates” form. If they are unsure of what they will get they will give your their spam email address just in case.
But, a high-quality, well-designed, ebook with a relevant title will catch their attention and likely convince them to give you their “real” email address.
Demonstrate your expertise. Your ebook works like an 1-on–1 coaching session where you attack a problem and show the reader a comprehensive solution.
Here are some of examples:
Get More Clairity: Straight Up Startup Advice from Experienced Entrepreneurs
Notice the high-conversion landing page.
The Smart Guide to Lead Generation
This ebook is being used for lead generation. While I wouldn’t advice the mega optin form shown on this page, it is still a great example of an effective ebook.
Clairification Blogging Resource Guide
This book has a carefully curated list of blogging resources for nonprofits. This is an excellent way to demonstrate Claire Axelrad’s knowledge of the market.
(Full Disclosure: Claire is a client and I’m super proud of her!)
Credit Card Debt
Lou Rodriguez is an expert in the consumer finance niche and has a fantastic story to backup his knowledge of the market. This eBook demonstrates his expertise while delivering valuable information.
(Full Disclosure: Lou is a client whose quickly becoming “THE” authority in his niche)
eBooks seem to be the right length for readers to get the information they need to evaluate your background, expertise, and “like-ability”. That’s why high-growth bloggers use them when they want to identify prospects in their reader community.
Here are Those 7 Clever Tips
1. Explain Your Approach
Professional services businesses sell ideas, process, and methodology. An ebook helps educate their future clients about their problem while showing them the type of help available to them. If you are a consultant, broker, or sell ideas for a living then you need an eBook to get your lead generation process started.
2. Tell A Product Benefit Story
Consumers use the web to research products especially complicated and expensive products like iPads, DSLR cameras, cars, or a contractor for a home improvement product. An eBook is an effective way to share the benefits of a product/service by relating them to the customers immediate questions and needs.
3. High-Value Incentive
One of my favorite tactics is including an eBook as a bonus for another product. The ebook has high-perceived value and often nudges a person off the fence. Remember that this tactic works only if you have have a high-value ebook to offer.
4. Always-On Sales Tool
Each page of your ebook should have a link to a high-conversion landing page in the footer or header. This quick tweak turns your ebook into a Always-On Sales tool prompting your reader to visit your blog and take the next step.
5. Prove Your Expertise
Experts write books. This isn’t my rule, it’s your reader’s expectation. They use the process of planning, writing, packaging, and publishing a book as evidence of your skills. Anybody can talk a good talk but it takes an expert to fill 30–40 pages with valuable, actionable, and relevant content.
6. Repeat Traffic
eBook readers are more likely to regularly visit your blog. eBook readers have “bought in” and they want to follow your work closely motivating them back to return to your blog to read your latest posts. You can encourage this by adding a Blog Update sign-up form to ebook “thank you” and “confirmation pages.
7. Get Shared
eBook readers tend to share the ebook with friends, family, and colleagues that have similar problems. Information is social currency and a well crafted ebook will be enthusiastically shared with the reader’s audience. Don’t worry about missing out on email list sign-ups, if you’ve followed step #4, you’ll be getting new leads and readers.
Quick Tip: Consider turning your ebook into an online guide converting each page into a web page. This way you can add a share icon on each online page boosting the the book’s audience.
Your ebook will never work if…
You spend the next 2 years creating it! I’ve learned that 9 out of 10 people reading this post will say “great idea! I’ll put that on my list.” But six months from now, they still won’t have an eBook which means they will be working twice as hard for half as much.
If you feel you can build your ebook and launch it yourself then take action right now. Our brains have a funny way believing that a To-Do item is a completed action. Sidestep the procrastination trap by writing an outline, writing the introduction, or creating a list of topic ideas, but do something.
One out of 10 people will get my help. They will work with me to brainstorm ideas, get a professional cover, build a landing page that converts readers into subscribers and get a customized plan on how to use their ebook to grow their blog and business.