What is an e-book and how can it help your small business grow? There are so many answers to these questions that it’s hard to give just one. E-books in their most simple form are just digital books, typically in PDF format, that you read on your computer or for the dedicated, on a portable PDF reader. As someone that collects e-books, however, I’d have to say they are far more than that. To me they are instantly transferred ideas, a viral collection of someone’s thoughts that can literally spread across the world in moments. Looking at e-books from that perspective should hopefully give you some idea on how they can help you grow your business.
The first e-book I ever downloaded was “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. That was at least 8 years ago, and I still have it. Many people deny that e-books have relevancy because they are disposable, but I completely disagree. If you write something of value, people will treat it as being valuable. E-books are no different. I have downloaded some e-books, read them and deleted them immediately thereafter, but I’ve also read books I’ve bought, read and immediately donated to local used book stores. Some e-books have changed who I am as a person and others have changed my professional outlook. I reread several of Seth Godin’s e-books ever year and couldn’t fathom getting rid of them. As a result of his e-books, I have become a huge evangelist of and for Seth. Written correctly, your e-book could have this same affect on your prospects.
How can I make my own e-book?
- First you need to figure out what you are going to write about. You should have a very concise plan before you begin writing and try to focus solely on one idea if possible. The more your e-book solves one specific problem for your prospects, the more valuable it will be
- Write your pages in a professional manner. Use Word or any other Office program, keeping in mind to use titles and bullets to improve scanability
- Convert your pages to PDF with Adobe Acrobat. PDF files are compatible with both PC’s and Macs, and are smaller and transfer faster than other file types
What do I do with my e-book once it’s finished?
- Implement an opt-in mechanism on your blog so that prospects can sign up to receive your e-book. Your opt-in mechanism will allow you to build up your e-mail list and allow your prospects to download your e-book immediately after signing up
- Upload your e-book to your web host and copy down the link location
- Create an autoresponder message that those that sign up will receive. This message should thank the reader for signing up, promise them that you will not sell their e-mail address or in any other way use it for spamming purposes and include the link to your e-book. You may also want to include some information about your business, though extra information should be saved for future messages
What things can I do to help my e-book grow my business?
- You should definitely include links to your site throughout the e-book. Use them sparingly, but use them in key locations that will drive traffic to specific pages on your web site or blog. You may also want to include affiliate links or those to some of your joint venture partners
- Invite your readers to share your e-book with anyone they like. The more people that read your information and gain use from it, the more publicity and credibility your company will gain. Because many of these new readers will have bypassed your opt-in mechanism, it’s a good idea to have another information product available to capture their e-mail addresses once they visit your site
- Publicize your e-book in various places like forums, social networks, social media sites, other blogs, on partner sites and most of all, on your own site. Give your e-book some prominent placement on your blog and it will attract more attention than just having a sign-in box
A well-crafted e-book can be a huge driving force for your company. They create instant credibility. They get a lot of attention. They solve problems. They drive laser-focused prospects to your site. They are saved for long periods of time and referred to often by their readers. Take your time and figure out a problem your prospects have. Then solve it with the information within your e-book. It’s not anywhere near as hard as you think. Just get started or outsource the writing to someone else. It’s an investment well worth your time.