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Does Anyone Still Read E-books?

posted by Michael Epps Utley Michael Epps Utley
Dodgeball seo ebooks blog

Who has time to download and read e-books these days?

The truth: It’s possible to produce an e-book people in your target market will give up their contact information to read. And once they’ve read it, they’ll find it irresistible to do business with you.

Here’s how.

1. Figure Out What People in Your Target Audience Can’t Live Without

There must be some piece of business intel or insight that will help them do their jobs better, make them more effective in the workplace, or turn them into the smartest person in the room. What will earn them their next raise or promotion?

All you have to do is figure out what it is and connect it to the products and services you offer.

The biggest mistake businesses make when they produce e-books is that they make them about what they want to say, not what consumers care about. It’s why so many e-books go nowhere.

Flip the paradigm and make the book about the people you’re targeting. This isn’t difficult to do.

You regularly talk to your clients, who are representative of the people in your target audience. Ask them:

  • What keeps you up at night?

  • What will earn you a promotion?

  • What’s the worst part of doing your job?

The answers to these questions will point to the topic of your next e-book.

2. Align Your E-book Topic With Your Business Goals

As we’ve said, it’s great to write an e-book about something the people in your target audience care about. But if it doesn’t generate sales, it’s a waste of time and money.

Your next challenge is to find a way to connect the topic of your e-book to the value proposition of your business, and the products it sells and services it offers. It has to make a compelling case for why readers must do business with your organization.

3. Make Sure Your E-book Offers Valuable Information

The promise of your e-book has to pay off in its content. It must provide readers with helpful information. Providing informative, useful content will elevate you into a knowledgeable leader in your industry. Fail at that, and it will tear down your brand.

As you develop and evaluate your content, keep asking yourself:

  • Is it relevant?

  • Is it valuable?

  • Is it unique?

  • Is it detailed?

  • Is it actionable?

As you develop your e-book, if you can honestly answer “yes” to these questions, you likely have a winner.

4. Write Good E-book Copy

An e-book isn’t a blog article. Some of the things that make blog articles good — clarity, conversational style, conciseness — are valid, but e-books require an additional layer. They need a through narrative that links together all the chapters so the reader keeps reading and has a revelation at the end.

It may seem old-fashioned, but it’s a smart idea to create an outline before writing an e-book. It will help you envision the complete story and figure out how it will all come together in the end. It will go a long way toward writing an e-book that has a point. It will help prevent a lot of unnecessary and expensive rewrites.

E-book writing is a skill that many authors have lost. If you’re planning an e-book, partner with someone who has experience writing them and can provide you with examples of successful e-books they’ve been involved with.

5. Optimize Color, Imagery, and Design

Of course, words are the most critical components of an e-book. Images, color, and type are key elements, as well. Unfortunately, too many e-books, because they’re thought of as static digital assets, are poorly designed.

Here are some key design factors you should consider when putting together your e-book.


Of course, you should leverage your branding, including your color palette, in your e-book. However, it could be a good idea to go beyond your company colors when designing it.

Color is one of the most powerful visual factors impacting emotions. There is a large amount of research that shows it’s a key thing that people connect with and a major driver of purchase behavior. Leverage accent colors outside your brand palette in your e-book to encourage emotional responses.

For example, blue is a good color if you want people to feel calm while reading your book. They may want to continue to feel that calmness by taking advantage of the services you offer. Red could leave them feeling excited or anxious, which could drive them to take action to feel relaxed again because they’re doing business with your firm.

These are just two examples of how color could get e-book readers to take action after finishing it.


In today’s visual world, a picture or other image could be worth far more than 1,000 words.

Start by selecting images that enhance your text. They should help people feel and see what you’re saying. Ensure that images complement the words and don’t conflict with them. Too often, pictures in e-books stop people in their tracks because they simply don’t make sense. If you’re not sure if your images support your messages, get a fresh pair of eyes on them. Someone new may be able to see things you are not able to.

While you’re thinking about images, figure out whether everything you’re putting into words could be better presented as a chart, infographic, flow chart, diagram, or video. Embedding these things could better convey what you have to say.


e-book design isn’t digital design, although it leverages aspects of it. It’s also not print design or a pdf. E-book design is a unique discipline.

Similar to hiring people who have experience in e-book writing, it could be smart to partner with an expert in virtual book design. They’ll know the best ways to incorporate and position things to keep people reading and get them to take action no matter what device they view the e-book on.

6. Make Sure Your E-book Has a Clear Final Call to Action

Check that your e-book comes to a conclusion that drives readers to take action. In reviewing countless e-books, we find that too many just peter out at the end, leaving the reader questioning why they downloaded it in the first place.

An awesome e-book takes its readers on a journey that lands them at an ultimate destination. Once they get there, they must want to explore your website and learn more, so they ultimately contact you.

Make sure the e-book call to action is clear. Don’t depend on readers finding a little link buried in the text. It should be its own e-book page or a prominent button that makes it clear to readers what they should do next.

7. Create a Landing Page as Good as Your Book

A great e-book isn’t great if no one reads it. Make sure you create a landing page that no one can say “no” to. It should explain as clearly and concisely as possible what your book is about and why people should give up their contact info to read it. It must explain how it will make their lives better in a way that gets them to make the big commitment.

Once you have actual traffic on the page, start monitoring it immediately by using Google Analytics and a user tracking software. It will give you the power to see how page visitors are responding to it in real time so you can optimize it quickly and prevent wasted traffic to your site. It could also be a smart move to do some A/B testing on your landing page. Even when you’ve come up with a winner, you never know if there’s one that could perform better.

8. Promote Your Book

So, how are you going to get traffic to your e-book landing page? Here are some of the tactics we’ve found effective:

  • Email nurturing campaign: Use a series of newsletters or informative emails that drive interest in your e-book. Often, sharing short chapters can get people to want to read the whole thing.

  • Social media: Social media provides a great way for you to test different ways to position your e-book to get the most people to want to check it out. You may find that people in different customer segments respond to different messages about — and positioning for — the e-book. Imagery may even have an impact on whether people click to your landing page.

  • Paid ads: Paid ads can be expensive, but they could be effective on the right industry website.

  • Blog: Develop blog content that points to your e-book. It should make people want to learn more about the blog topic by reading the e-book.

  • Website banners: Some visitors to your website aren’t ready to do business with you but may be interested in your company. They could be willing to provide their contact information to read your e-book. This will allow you to continue to market to warm leads and reading the e-book may be what it takes to get them to call you, make an appointment or place an order.

  • Influencer marketing: Most people think of influencers as social media superstars who promote makeup, jewelry, and shoes. The reality is that every industry has influencers. If your e-book is really good, they may be willing to recommend it to their followers.

  • Podcast: Interview the experts who contributed to your e-book in a podcast. People hearing a conversation with the expert contributors will want to learn more by reading your e-book.

Don’t limit your promotional ideas to these. They’re what we’ve found effective. If other marketing channels work for the people in your target audience, try them out for promoting your e-book.

9. Monitor Results

How will you know if your e-book is effective? It’s important to come up with key performance indicators (KPIs), and metrics that ladder up to them, prior to launching your e-book effort. Ask yourself these questions to get started:

  • How much do you need to earn from each person who downloads an e-book?

  • How many people who download your e-book need to become customers for it to be successful?

  • How much can you afford to spend for each click, e-book download, and sale?

  • What are your advertising benchmarks?

  • How will you figure out which marketing channels are the most effective?

  • What does success look like by the numbers?

Each e-book marketing effort is unique. You’ll need to work with your team to come up with your KPIs and metrics. Monitoring them will help you optimize your e-book marketing campaign, and understanding your final results will help make the next one more successful.

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