When you read about the best ways to generate leads for your business, creating an ebook is always near the top of every list.
Indeed, lead generation using ebooks is a proven way to build your email list. (Once you have your email list, you should send out personalized emails every so often, which you can easily do with Yocale’s email marketing feature).
Why are ebooks so effective?
People always want to gain expertise in their particular field and the e-book allows them to do that. This is only one of many reasons why the e-book is such an effective lead magnet.
An ebook also allows you to attract people that are specifically searching for the type of information in your ebook. You come off as an authority on the subject and your brand is more trusted as a result.
But beyond lead generation, ebooks also increase exposure due to the fact that they can come in the easily sharable form of a PDF.
Now, there is one little problem when it comes to creating an ebook. That problem is the fact that so many businesses are well-aware of how powerful the ebook can be. As such, the market is saturated with them. Don’t worry – we have a solution.
You just have to create a great ebook that sets you apart from the mediocre ones – the ones that stay on the (virtual) shelf, gaining dust.
This ebook creation guide will not only show you to how to create an ebook, step by step, but each step will highlight the ways in which you should optimize your ebook to get the most from it you can, including how to make it look professional so that your ebook never gets dusty.
Step 1: Target Market Research
Before you can even think about the topic of your ebook or even how to create an ebook at all, you need to research your target market. You want to know every last detail about who the book is designed for.
For example, what are the popular keywords that people are using to find your blog?
Also consider your most popular blog posts and even your competitor’s most popular posts.
If you have a blog, the majority of the blog posts you have already written can actually serve as potential ebook topics – you will simply expand upon them in your ebook. Use your own posts to determine what has been, and is likely to continue to be, popular.
Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income speaks more about this topic and offers a great ebook creation guide in general. We highly recommend it. You can download it for free, here.
Consider that although you may think you know what your readers want, there is only one real way of knowing. What is that? By conducting a survey.
Give your audience a list of three or four potential options and then write the one with the most votes. This has the added benefit of creating interest before you even write the ebook!
Step 2: Decide on a Topic (+ Title Tips)
You want to apply everything you learned from your target market research and use it to develop a topic. You want your title to solve a specific problem. Ideally, your title would have a unique spin.
When developing a topic, consider whether or not you can offer your own story of success on the topic. This builds authority and is an important consideration. It can be particularly helpful for marketing purposes.
Wouldn’t you want to read something from someone who has gotten actual results?
Here are some additional tips when it comes to creating your title. (Spoiler: Your title is very important). It needs to be super, awesome, amazing, out of this world – you get the idea.
Use Specific Titles
Just like all headlines, the title is one of the most important things about your ebook. Whether you are writing a blog post or an ebook, a specific title is always going to outperform a vague title. Numbers are a great way to accomplish this specificity.
Pro Tip: Remember how we mentioned surveying your audience about what ebook topic they would like to read? You can also survey them on a list of potential titles, too.
Use Words Like “Amazing” or “Ultimate”
Using words like “amazing” or “ultimate” in your title can also create excitement and thus entice your readers to sign up to receive your ebook.
Consider a Subheading
While a subheading isn’t 100% necessary, it can still be effective. For example, if your primary heading is 15 Ways to Create an Amazing Ebook, the subheading can provide even more description and/or establish it as an interesting read.
The subheading in this particular example might look something like “How To Avoid The Most Common Ebook Mistakes.” The subheading is additional real estate to really sell your ebook.
Before we go any further, you might want to also bookmark this article on ebook rookie mistakes so you can avoid them.
Step 3: Write and Format the E-book
When it comes to the actual writing of the ebook, there are many articles out there on this topic already, so we won’t go into much detail here. However, what we will tell you is that your ebook should have designated chapters just like a traditional ebook.
In fact, before you even begin writing, you should create an outline of your book. One way to do this to break up your ebook by chapters along with some accompanying notes of what you will cover in each chapter.
While this may change as you write, this provides some structure so that you stay on topic.
An easy way to think of it is that each chapter should read something like an actual blog post. The difference when writing an ebook, however, is that each chapter is related to all of the other ones.
Follow the Appropriate Ebook Structure
Just as traditional paper books have a table of contents and chapters, e-books also have their own (but similar) format. This includes a traditional table of contents and an introduction, for starters.
The table of contents provides a structure for your ebook while the introduction gives a little insight into what is in store. Ideally, you would also include a little story about the origins of the book or make it personal to you or your company in some way.
Keep in mind that introductions only need to be brief (in fact, they should be). After all, readers are eager to get into the actual content itself.
There are many articles dedicated to the topic of crafting a great ebook introduction. But still, be sure to keep it brief!
Many people also argue that an author page, something like an About the Author section, is also a good idea. This would go at the end of the ebook. Not only is it a nice touch, but it allows your readers to get to know you, building upon your connection.
Lastly, adding helpful tools (such as checklists, practice questions or any other kind of helpful tool) can not only make your e-book seem more professional, but it also can improve the reading experience.
Write Great Copy
How do you write great copy, you ask? By writing simply and with clarity. That should be your absolute priority above all else. Forgo complicated language.
At least ensure that you don’t have spelling or grammar mistakes but also avoid writing passive sentences. You can do that by ensuring that the subject is at the beginning of the sentence.
For example, “Yocale (the subject) has an upcoming ebook on lead generation that you should check out” – as opposed to “A great ebook by Yocale is forthcoming.” Active sentences are much easier to read and help to prevent confusion on the part of the reader.
Also, consider that it is really in your best interest to have your ebook edited by a professional when you have completed the ebook. In fact, you aren’t likely to come across many ebook creation guides that don’t recommend hiring a professional editor.
Here is a great resource for writing great copy if you want to read more on the topic.
Use Headers, Paragraphs, Lists, Etc. (And Keep it Consistent!)
People do not want to read large blocks of text. The key to writing an ebook (and any blog post!) is to make it easily scannable. This means using headers, paragraphs, lists, etc. You can also bold text or make some text in italics to draw attention to important parts of the text.
While doing so, it is very important to keep your format consistent throughout the ebook so that readers can understand your content easier.
Consider Highlighting Quotes or Stats
While you certainly don’t need to do this, highlighting quotes or stats within your ebook can add additional value. However, don’t simply add quotes or stats for the sake of it – they are there to expand on points you’ve made.
Links to previous blog posts, for example, can certainly be used throughout your ebook and this is a great way to direct readers back to your blog.
While your ebook is always meant to provide value to your customers, most agree that is okay to include a link to your product if it makes sense to do so. However, any product mentions should be very subtle and be used very sparingly if you want to maintain your credibility.
The Appropriate Ebook Length?
Fun fact: there is no appropriate ebook length. While a traditional novel is roughly 80,000 words, e-books can be quite short. If you can cover your topic in a handful of pages, that’s how long your ebook should be. Don’t try to make your ebook longer for the sake of making it longer
Many ebooks are only five pages long!
Step 4: Design the Ebook
Choose an Ebook Software
Once you have written your content, you will have to choose software to actually formulate your content into an ebook.
There is no shortage of possibilities, but we recommend that you choose something a bit more professional than simply exporting a Google Docs document into a PDF, at least if you want to create a professional looking ebook.
It should be noted, however, that you can create a professional looking ebook with entirely free software. Common examples are PowerPoint and Adobe InDesign, both of which will make your final product very professional looking. Keynote is another option.
Calibre also comes highly recommended.
It should be noted that using ADobe InDesign is more advanced, but there are many tutorials online that will specifically show you to how to create an ebook using this (and other) software.
There are also free, customizable templates available online for use in programs like Adobe Indesign or PowerPoint, available here.
Use Simple Fonts and Colours
Use simple, classic fonts like Arial, Verdana or Georgia. Times New Roman tends to read like an essay, so we recommend that you avoid this type of font. Whatever you choose, it should be easy to read.
Text should also be black, although you could use one additional color. Ideally, you would use colors of your own brand, but the choice is yours. Avoid using a bright red color, however, because this tends to read like spam.
In terms of page sizes, 8.5 x 11 inches or 6 x 9 inches are most common because they are easily readable on computers.
A Great E-book Cover is Necessary
Your ebook cover can mean the difference between an ebook that people want to sign up for and one that people don’t.
A well-designed e-book cover will increase the value of your ebook and, as such, it is important you put effort into it.
Your cover should coincide with your brand, in terms of colors, fonts, and/or your brand style guide if you have one. And be sure to also include a high-quality image (more on that below).
Here is a guide on creating a great ebook cover.
Use High-Quality Visuals
Visuals, whether images, headers, graphs or charts, should serve to illustrate a particular point you are trying to make, or to draw attention to an important part in your e-book. You should certainly include images in your ebook.
They shouldn’t, however, be used simply for the sake of using them. Feel free to place your logo on pages throughout your ebook, but do so sparingly.
Images should also be high-quality. High-quality images are going to make your ebook look a lot more professional. Whether you hire a photographer or not, you want to avoid using stock photographs.
You can even consider inserting videos throughout your ebook to make it even more compelling.
Keep Your Margins Consistent
Your margins should be consistent throughout the ebook, regardless of whether you are adding text, an image or a quote.
Convert to a PDF File
Regardless of whether the user has a Mac or Windows computer, or they reading your e-book on an e-reader, they will be able to open the PDF file on any computer or device and it will always look the same.
PDFs can also be easily read on mobile phones. This is important and why, of course, you want to have your ebook in a PDF format over something like a Doc file.
Make Your Ebook Mobile and Printer Friendly
There are many people who still prefer to read paper as opposed to reading on screens. To accommodate this subset of your audience, make your ebook printer-friendly.
This also means you should avoid double-page layouts that are horizontal. In fact, we advise you to actually print out your ebook yourself to get an idea of what it looks like and to identify any potential problems.
Also double check that your ebook looks great on smartphones and tablets. You want to have all of your bases covered.
Include a Version Number
Including the version number of your ebook allows you to update its contents at a later date and to potentially gain a lot of new leads without having to write an entirely new ebook.
Step 5: Optimize Your Ebook
Now that your ebook is written, it’s time to optimize it.
Now that readers of your ebook are officially leads, you want to use your ebook as an opportunity to propel them further down the marketing funnel.
You can do this by inserting calls-to-action at the end of your ebook by hyperlinking to another offer. This call-to-action should be relevant to everything you’ve discussed throughout the ebook.
Here’s how to write a compelling call-to-action in minutes.
Insert Social Media Sharing Buttons
You can increase the likelihood that others will share your ebook and therefore create more exposure without utilizing a lot of resources by inserting social media share buttons throughout your ebook, making it easy for your readers to share your ebook with others.
People always like to show off what they’re reading, so invite them to do so. You can add such buttons to each page, either in the header or the footer. So many people overlook this great ebook space!
Create a Landing Page for your Ebook
As we’ve discussed previously on our blog, a landing page is a type of webpage that has a form on it (to capture visitor information such as an email address). Its sole function is to capture information and it is designed in such a way as to make people want to fill out their information.
We’ve covered how to create high converting landing pages before.
Promote Your Ebook
The final step is to promote your ebook. There are many ways you can do this, but here are a few ideas.
You could write a blog post by including an excerpt of your ebook in the blog post; or, you could write a blog post on the same topic of your ebook and then include a call-to-action at the end of the blog post for your ebook.
You could also send out an email about your ebook to those on your email list. You can (and should!) also publish content on your social media channels about your new ebook as well.
Don’t take it from us. Lead generation using ebooks is tried, tested and true. Don’t miss out on arguably the best lead magnet out there!