Whenever you hear a blogger mentioning a free ebook, you think “Oh, I have to sign up for another email newsletter“. But this doesn’t have to be the case, and the way most bloggers are functioning now – it can actually be a great way to differentiate yourself from others.
The first thing you want to start with, is giving your ebook a good name. Depending on your niche and the topic, you may want to name it “a guide”, “a handbook” or something else. That may make a difference in how people perceive it. See this tutorial that shows how to create an ebook for extra tips.
As I mentioned, often, the free ebooks are used as bribes for people to get on your email list. But lets see some other ways to use free books to get the max out of your writing efforts.
Build trust and establish yourself as an expert – If you create an informative ebook of great value and give it away to your readers, as well as send it to your peers and potential market, they will start seeing you as an expert in the niche.
Be active in promoting it, so don’t rely only on people who land on your blog. Ask bloggers to guest post on their blogs so you can give away the book to their readers. And not in return for email sign-ups, I mean completely free via direct download link. This is an awesome viral marketing strategy that is not used enough.
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If you find blogs that aren’t directly competing with you but are in the same market, giving away your book to their readers will increase your exposure and give more material to those bloggers. You never know how they may thank you for it!
You can actually use these books to still build your list as a secondary result, by adding a link to an additional book or something else that may interest them, which your readers will get by subscribing to the newsletter.
But do not create a free ebook only as a teaser for another one. Give people all the info they need to solve a specific problem and don’t worry about them not signing up. If your ebook was useful, they will sign up without being tricked into it.
Important thing when creating these free books
Make sure you are deep into your niche and you can find a very specific problem they need help with, that hasn’t been written about to death. Also, try to make the problem as “narrow” as you can. Create your book with a lot of attention to details, providing a complete solution for the said problem.
An example: You have a gardening blog. Instead of writing a book on “Which plants to plant in September”, write something like “How to keep your fall planting veggies alive during winter”. (Obviously I have no clue about gardening, but you get the point.)
Another example: The free eBook pictured to the right looks enticing. The cover has been professionally designed and the title is catchy. Don’t forget that writing eye catching titles is also important for your blog posts.
Your free ebook can be a great starting point for a sales funnel. Adding links to your newsletter where you sell a service, or offering bonuses for those who read the book, and so on, can be a great start.
Make a big note at the beginning of the book inviting people to share it with their friends, send them to their email lists or share them on your blog, as long as they don’t change anything in the book. People love sharing great stuff and if the guide is useful, everyone will want to share it with their readers. This just creates more opportunities for people to take that first step in your sales funnel.
Getting more out of it
If you can create a few of these books and release them over time, every time guest posting and promoting it on a new list of blogs, your name and visibility will grow fast.
Also, you can implement one of the “share to get” options like the ones from Premise plugin, so you will get more social media exposure for your download.
Now, make sure you add links to your ebook, put your name on it, blog logo and so on, because you want people to know who is the author and find you easily. Also, you can ask bloggers who want to share the book with their readers to point them to your download page instead of giving the book directly as a file. But make it a direct download on your page!
Extra tip: Make a launch of your free ebook. Sure it is free and you aren’t making any money directly, but establishing yourself as an expert, building a list and potential client acquirement is worth putting some extra work and resources into launching your book. Plus, it will give it more perceived value.