“I notice a lot of businesses online use ebooks on their websites. Is that something I can do as a portrait photographer? If so, how do I go about creating one? Why should I do it? I’ve had it in my mind now for quite a while – just want to know your take on this ebook thing.”
eBooks, or electronic books, have been around for a long time. You probably have many of them sitting on your hard drive somewhere. And with Kindle, Nook and other e-reader tablets on the market, you probably bring a bunch along with you every time you leave your home or office.
Yet even if you have a ton of them, read them on a regular basis, you may have never considered having one for your own business. Today may be the day you change your mind.
The purpose of an ebook is twofold. One, you can use it as a marketing tool to get your information into the hands of your prospects and clients. In this case your ebook would be for free, and used to direct people to take action in a variety of ways. Two, you can create information of value and sell it on the open marketplace. When you buy a book on Amazon and have it delivered to your Kindle, that’s an example of an ebook for pay and profit.
In reference to the question above, we’re going to stick with talking about a free ebook, one you use as a marketing tool to bring people in to your business.
The title of your ebook is the most important part of your marketing tool. Without a great title, one that jumps out and people and makes them want to download your information as fast as possible, it will be just another piece of content on your site.
In order to come up with a great title, think about your customers and their pain points. Why do they come to you? What are they looking for in this niche?
We’ll stick with the portrait niche for this example, and I’ll further define it by concentrating on the senior portrait niche.
Senior portraits are marketed to two people – the high school student and the parent. The high school student has to love the work so they will be happy handing it out to friends. The parent has to love it in order to be willing to pay for it. So marketing messages must speak to both. So your ebook title may be something like:
How Facebook Will Kill Your Senior Portrait And What You Can Do About It
It speaks to the kids, who want to share everything they do on Facebook. And it speaks to the parent who has some doubts about Facebook and obviously wants to keep their child safe. It touches on an unknown – which is exactly what your ebook title should do.
There are many ways to approach the title. The best is to come up with a concept your customer isn’t completely sure on and offer a little more information in an easy to get format.
The ebook itself doesn’t have to be a long format book. A 10 page ebook is perfectly acceptable IF it offers value. The key is value. Your title promises something; your ebook must deliver.
The goal of your ebook should be to motivate your customer a little bit more towards your business. You should bring them one step closer to taking action with you.
If you’re still unsure about what you want your ebook to do, study ebooks from other businesses online. Don’t look just at the photography field; study other industries as well. The key is to look at the process more than the content. Look at how the write their content, how they use photographs and graphics, and how they lead you to take action.
Why would you want a free ebook on your site? Good question.
When people visit a website, 99.9 percent of the time they will not take action at that time. Which means they leave your site and move on to other things. Even if they loved what they saw, chances are they won’t remember you in the future.
That’s where an ebook comes into play. If you have a great enough ebook for free, you can motivate them to give you their email addresses in exchange for the ebook. Once you have their email address, you can email them continually for as long as you choose.
And that’s the power of an ebook. They give you access to potential clients that are looking for what you do.
The Delivery Process
Getting an ebook to your client takes a little more than writing an ebook on a word document and posting it to your site.
First, you have to condense it into an ebook format. It doesn’t have to be sophisticated – I use Word or Pages for all of my ebooks, then simply PDF them so they stay in ebook format.
Next, make sure you create an ebook cover that you can use on your site and put at the front of your ebook. With Photoshop, its easy to create a good looking cover in minutes. Purchase a blank ebook cover from a stock photography site like istockphoto.com. This gives you predefined formats that are easy to fill in. With your title in hand and a simple photo from your portfolio, you can create a good looking cover that anyone will want to download.
Once your ebook is a complete package, you have to get it onto your site in deliverable format. It can be as simple as putting it on a back or hidden page on your site (one that isn’t visible from your navigation). Or you can password protect it on a page so no one will have access to it unless they have the proper credentials.
Next, you have to point people to your ebook once they provide their name and email address. I use an email program that allows me to set up automated messages to deliver the content as soon as people sign up for it. It allows me to create a variety of signup boxes that I can use on my site. I’ve used this system for years and love how flexible it is – at a very reasonable cost.
Finally, you must map out the process to make sure you are delivering the right content to your requesters at the right time. So:
A visitor comes to your site and puts in their name and email for your ebook.
They are taken to a thank you page, which tells them to expect their ebook in a moment.
They receive an email with a link to download the ebook.
Of course you can continue on from there. You can create dozens of emails with free tips, information and resources, and of course specials from you trying to motivate them to book your services.
Should you use an ebook? If you are ready to take your business to the next level, and are ready to rev up your marketing efforts, it may be the perfect choice for your business. eBooks take your marketing process to the next level. They help you build a system that works with or without you. It helps you connect and build relationships with potential customers, even if you aren’t there.
Sounds good? Then get started today.