Ebooks are still one of the highest converting and easiest lead magnets to create.
They are a good way to create massive value for your audience, establish yourself as an expert and build demand for your products or services.
In this blog post, we’re going to cover how to create an ebook as an opt-in offer, including:
- choosing a topic
- creating your outline and writing it
- proofreading and editing
- creating your design
Pick a topic
There is no point writing a great ebook on a topic if the topic doesn’t matter to your audience. That’s why choosing the right topic is one of the most important parts of the process.
So ask yourself this:
- What is the number one thing that my audience would like to learn more about?
- What are their main challenges and problems that I can help them solve?
- What are their primary goals that I can help them achieve?
Answer these questions and it will be easy for you to pick a topic for your ebook that matters to your audience.
Be sure to collect data with:
- Your sales and support calls/chat/emails
- Google analytics and find your top performing content
A great example is AdEspresso’s ebook: The Definitive Guide to Lead Generation with Facebook Ads.
The company knows very well that the primary reason their customers use Facebook Ads is to generate leads.
That’s why writing a definitive guide on the topic makes a lot of sense.
Outline and write your ebook
Never start writing an ebook until you have created a clear outline. The lack of structure will kill it.
What you really want is to make a list of everything you’re going to cover in your ebook. It is preferable that you do that with bullet points and sub-bullets.
Once you have all your points, filling it with content will be much easier.
Keep in mind that the idea behind writing your ebook is not simply to teach someone about a certain topic.
You can also use this opportunity to build demand for your services or products and move your subscribers down your sales funnel.
That is why you should outline your ebook like this:
Problem – this is a one- or two-page section in which you agitate the problem in their minds.
Start by stating the problem like this: “Right now, 90% of small businesses are struggling to make a profit.”
Be sure to validate it by using data and statistics: “According to Gallup, 470,000 companies are dying each year.”
Elaborate on the problem:
“This is due to a multitude of factors. First, they seem to make products no one really needs.
Second, the loss of focus, distractions and trying to do everything at once stops them from moving their business forward.
Third, not being able to grow fast enough and running out of cash. The companies that don’t get enough new customers or don’t secure enough funding simply go out of business.”
Agitate and substantiate the problem:
“If you’re like most startup owners, you’re probably struggling with finding new customers. This worries you because you need cash to secure your future and, with time, investors are slowly losing faith in you.
You’re doing a lot of marketing and sales but these efforts are going to waste and you still aren’t seeing the results that you want.
You simply don’t know why people are not converting and what would be the best marketing strategy for you.”
Opportunity – with this section you want to direct the attention of your reader to the positive result that they want (more money, customers, etc.). You also want to pre-frame the content in a way to make the reader more open to it.
Make the transition by saying:
“But despite these setbacks, some startups are growing faster than ever, getting thousands of new customers and securing all the funding that they need.”
Then you need to paint the picture and let the reader imagine what it would be like if his problem is solved:
“No matter where you are with your startup right now and no matter the situation, you can get new customers and secure the money that you need to grow your business. You can do this simply by using little known but effective techniques I’m about to teach you in this ebook.”
You can use stories to build their demand and interest for what you’re about to present them:
“Imagine what your startup would look like if you have a thousand new customers by the end of the month.
That’s exactly what happened to Ross Green, founder of SaaSPro, who got 1000+ new paying customers in less than 30 days.”
It’s important to substantiate the opportunity by mentioning other successful examples:
“And Ross Green is not the only one. In fact, there are hundreds of startups like HubSpot, InfusionSoft, GetResponse and others that use this stuff to grow their businesses fast.
They all point out that content marketing is their #1 contributor for growth. In this ebook we’re going to show you how you can use it yourself to make more money and grow your business.”
The Content – not many people will read the content of your ebook, but it needs to be really good for those who do.
Be sure to outline and include what’s important for them to solve their problem and achieve their goal.
It should look something like this:
Define your purpose:
- Content for traffic
- Content for engagement
- Content for conversion
How to create great content:
- Solve the big problem/achieve the big goal
- Create a step-by-step guide
- Show examples
How to promote your content:
- Choose the right distribution channels
- Allocate time to promote your content”
Close – the best closing technique is a simple question you can ask at the end:
“What do you think your business would look like if you actually used content marketing for your startup? Do you want to find out?”
Then move to your offer (a service, product, etc.). It’s important to explain the benefits of your offer and why you’re offering it:
“With our software tool, you can find the exact content you need to develop for your audience. You will also learn how to promote it to them and you will be able to measure how it performs.
This means you will no longer need to guess the right content strategy for you. You can simply know what’s going to work and receive your results in advance.”
It’s good to remove the risk for the user here by offering a free trial or consultation and include a strong call-to-action to increase your conversions.
Proofread and edit your ebook
There are only three ways to go about this – do it yourself, pay someone to do it for you and/or get some software help.
In this chapter, I’m going to explain the pros and cons of each one and how you can combine them to create a better ebook for your audience.
Do it yourself – the worst thing you can do is start editing your ebook right after you have finished it. You won’t really do a good job at editing and polishing it if you decide to do that.
Instead, leave it for a while and go do something else. When you get back to it, it will be much easier to see how you can make it better.
Make sure that your copy is easy to read and understand.
The pros of editing your ebook yourself are that you will save the cost of hiring an editor.
At the same time, you need to keep in mind that it is usually very hard to see your own mistakes and improve your work. Writing and editing are two completely different jobs, and it’s very rare for a person to be able to be good at both.
That’s why I highly suggest that you hire an editor if you can afford it. It’s totally worth it.
Hire an editor – a great editor can do miracles with your book. He or she can improve your style, make it easier to read and fix all your grammar mistakes.
Of course, finding a good editor is not always easy, so you need to know how to do it.
The two most common ways to do that is to ask for referrals and use freelance websites.
Keep in mind that simply asking your friends to recommend an editor to you can be very risky.
Many times they will tell you about someone simply because they know him, not because he’s a good editor. So only trust the suggestions of people who have used an editor for their business, and with whose work they are satisfied.
Then take a look at the ebook he edited. Is it edited well? Look at more than one piece of work to be sure he can do a good job.
Another way to find an editor is to use freelancing websites like Upwork.
The key to finding top talent here is to do an excellent job writing your job post.
This is an example of a way to write your post:
You need to be super clear that what you want is “editing and proofreading of an ebook,” and it’s good to include the main topic.
That way you are more likely to attract people who have experience and interest in the niche. They are likely to do a better job than editors that work in all kinds of industries but are not really familiar with yours.
Your description might look like this:
Here you can give more details, like the exact topic of your ebook and the length of your ebook (this is really important for editors because they need to know how much effort is required for the project).
It’s super important to ask for examples of ebooks they have edited to check out the quality of their work. Otherwise, you will never know if they can do a good job.
Preferably, your ideal candidate should be someone who has done a great job editing ebooks in your niche and who is familiar with the topics that you cover.
Search for people with not only good reviews and ratings, but also with a high percentage of job success. Lower than 90% is usually a bad sign.
This means that this editor is someone who is likely to give up on projects because they are more complicated than he thought they would be.
Keep in mind that even if you hire a great editor, he’s only human, so he is likely to still make mistakes. So check your work after he makes the edits to be sure that everything is fine.
Use software – I recommend you use Grammarly, an awesome tool that helps you eliminate most grammar mistakes, contextual spelling errors, and poor vocabulary usage. It also puts commas in the right places.
It’s great to have it when you’re editing your ebook yourself and even when you’re using an editor (you can easily see if he didn’t correct some mistakes).
Make a nice design
A well-designed ebook increases the perceived value of the information presented inside. That’s why it’s also super important.
eBook cover – a nice ebook cover that you can put on your landing page and site will boost your conversions and it will get you more email subscribers.
The simplest place to find help here is at Fiverr where you will see thousands of freelance designers ready to design your cover for as little as $5.
Usually, you’d need to pay a little extra for faster delivery or things such as 3D images and source files. But it’s totally worth it.
You can also use Upwork the same way you do for finding editors. It will cost you a bit more, but in general, you’re likely to get higher quality work done than with Fiverr.
Another option is to use 99designs where their community of designers will present you with their ebook covers and you can pick the one you want.
That way you can get hundreds of possible ebook covers and choose the design that you like the most.
The next steps
Once you know how to create your own ebook for the purpose of generating leads, the next step is very obvious.
Start writing your ebook as soon as possible.
The more time you waste delaying and procrastinating on your project, the harder it will be to do it.
Start today, and within a few days, you can have a great ebook that can help you grow your business.
Do you have any ideas for a free ebook you can offer to your audience? What are your ideas? Let us know in the comments below.