Most of you must be well versed with E-Books. You must have read electronic versions of books which you would have received through Whatsapp or purchased them to read in your Kindle. But E-Books play an important role when it comes to B2B content marketing. Before elucidating on their benefits, let us check out the history of E-Books.
You would be surprised to know that prototypes of E-Books were created from 1949 onwards. You could read about innovators like Angela Ruiz Robles (a school teacher who patented the Mechanical Encycopedia), Roberto Busa (who prepared the Index Thomisticus in the 1970s) and Doug Engelbart along with Andries Van Dam (who started the NLS project in the 1960s).
But Michael S Hart is widely considered to be the inventory of the E-Book. Way back in 1971, he received access to the Xerox Sigma V mainframe from its operators at the University of Illinois. He went on to create his first electronic document by typing the US Declaration of Independence into a computer and founded Project Gutenberg which is the oldest digital library.
By mid-2000, Microsoft had launched its first e book reader called Microsoft Reader. Incidentally Amazon partnered with Microsoft to sell e-books as the latter’s software enabled the former’s customers to download e books into their PCs and handheld devices.
With the advent of online marketing, e-books became a popular tool among marketers. E-Books have also enabled marketers to embark on content curation. Here are 13 benefits of E Books in B2B content marketing strategy:
From your perspective, this is one of the most important reasons to create an e-book. The E-Book could have links to your website as well as credentials about your business. If the content of the E-Book is good enough, it might be even shared with those who don’t know anything about your business. Customers and prospects might be impressed about your efforts. And those who aren’t aware about your business would be curious to know how you could help them.
The likelihood of getting leads from this activity significantly increases if your E-Book is shared with more and more individuals from your target segment.
Clients perceive you as an expert
One thing that I have understood throughout my journey of selling to marketers is that they love reading reports. It helps them be a few steps ahead of their peers. Therefore marketers love to engage with thought leaders who can keep offering them new insights.
Marketers refer to experts as thought leaders. According to the 2019 Edelman Linkedin B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study, 55% of decision-makers use thought leadership to evaluate potential vendors or partners.
Even for B2C businesses, building a perception of being a thought leader is helpful. Imagine that you are planning to invest in mutual funds and are searching for the suitable financial distributor to help you out. While researching, you managed to get hold of an e-book which not only explains how to pick the right mutual fund but also serves as a handy guide to help you understand how mutual funds work. If the author of this e-book is a mutual fund distributor, you would be highly likely to purchase mutual funds through this distributor.
Now a days, individuals are a part of different Whatsapp Groups. A useful e book is most likely to be shared across different Whatsapp Groups – Personal as well as Professional. The advantage of getting your E-book shared across professional Whatsapp groups is that you will be able to amplify your reach and get the attention span of several suitable prospects.
Needless to say, e-books can also be shared over social media platforms.
Long tail effect
The biggest advantage of compelling content is that it gains credibility as time passes. For instance, if you had written an e-book about the importance of B2B content marketing before the advent of Hummingbird update, you would have seen an uptick in the consumption of this e-book after the Hummingbird update came into force. This is because Hummingbird update ensured that Google’s search algorithms offered favourable search engine rankings to websites that had long-form exhaustively compiled content.
Also as written earlier, e-books keep getting shared and re-shared which keep them relevant. Other websites or blogs may also provide a link back to your e-book since they would want to provide useful resources to their readers.
Can be quickly created
A 5000 word E-Book with appropriate illustrations can be easily created within a week. All you need is a content agency or a freelance content writer along with a graphic designer to help you out.
Can be conveniently consumed
Information published in an E-Book can be conveniently consumed. One can easily download it and read it on a tablet or phone. An E-Book can also be easily disseminated over platforms such as Whatsapp. And B2B content marketing leaders are certainly aware of the number of times we end up checking Whatsapp!
Have you ever faced a situation when you met a prospect or a client and they informed you that there was something you could have helped them out with but they forgot that you could do it? There could also be a scenario in which your clients or prospects aren’t aware that you can provide a particular service
An E-Book would also enable your readers to understand more about your work. If shared regularly with your target audience, it is likely that you would be at the top of your customer’s mind when it comes to choosing a vendor or seller.
Promotes your business without coming across as ‘Selu’
While interacting with a few of my industry peers in North India, I came across a term called ‘Selu’. An enthusiastic sales person who is always on the look-out for closing a sale at any cost is termed as ‘Selu’. An e-book ensures that you can promote your offerings without coming across as a pesky sales person.
Opportunity to plug in your success stories
Nothing builds credibility like success stories or testimonials. You can share some of your success stories or even include customer testimonials in your E-Book. A couple of them from customers who are well- known brands should be good enough.
Your e-book should have clickable links and call to actions that take readers to relevant pages on your website. For as long as your e book is in circulation, you will keep receiving traffic. Ensure that your website is mobile optimized as most of the traffic from e-books would be from individuals using mobile devices.
Opportunities to collaborate
There would be firms which cater to a target audience which is similar to yours. For example if your firm sells a cloud based software which enables marketers to create animated videos, you could collaborate with an offline B2B marketing agency that also needs to reach out to marketers. The content of the EBook can be created by your firm whereas the marketing agency, which might have a wider reach, could help you reach out to more marketers.
This is perhaps the most important purpose of an E-Books. Firms are always looking out to increase their revenues, improve their profit margins, raise customer satisfaction levels and scale their business. Decision makers understand that learning something new or re-learning an important lesson is critical to achieve these objectives.
For firms in the B2C space, their customers would like to learn about things which could make their lives better. For instance, an e-commerce portal which sells apparel must invest in creating e-books about the latest fashion trends as its customers would really appreciate this.
They act as giveaways
Who doesn’t like to receive something for free?
E-Books can act as fantastic giveaways. You would be surprised to know that not all recipients might read your e-books but they would still like to own them. They might either wish to read or refer to it at an opportune moment.
B2B content marketing firms and top digital marketing companies in India have already started investing in creating E-Books and recommending the same to their clients. Is your business investing in creating E-Books too? If not, give us a shout out here.