4 characteristics of effective marketing eBooks
If you're looking for a good marketing eBook, head on over to Echelon SEO where Brent Carnduff, Echelon's principal and founder, is running a marketing eBook contest.
He's already narrowed the submissions down to 25 semi-finalists, making it easy for readers to find the right book to suit their needs.
While you’re there, make sure you vote for your favorites. The ten books that receive the most online votes will be reviewed by Gini Dietrich, Marcus Sheridan and Craig McBreen who will select the top three winners.
The overall winner will receive fame and glory, as well as being featured in a BrightTalk webinar.
Brent selected one of my eBooks (How to avoid 7 common mistakes marketers make when hiring a PR firm) as one of the semi-finalists. I was intrigued by the contest (and, of course, thrilled to make the list) and wanted to learn more about Brent's own views on what makes a good marketing eBook.
He was happy to oblige.
According to Carduff, an effective marketing eBook has the following characteristics:
#1 The right length
Carduff likes his marketing eBook to be thorough, but not longer than necessary.
I agree with his assessment and personally believe there’s no definitive rule on length. I know I've read a number of marketing eBooks and enjoy both long and short ones. Some topics can be covered in fewer than ten pages, while others require 30 or more.
#2 Teach, don't sell
It's frustrating when you download an eBook and it only offers the solution that the author sells, says Carduff.
Some folks hold back, afraid to give away their "secret sauce." They're nervous readers won't require their services if they give everything away in their book.
When reading ebooks, I've actually found the opposite is true.
Marketing is complicated and time consuming, especially if a company is adopting a content marketing strategy. When consultants freely share knowledge, prospects develop trust in their capabilities. These prospects soon realize they can't do it all themselves, and will often hire the company that’s already provided useful information.
#3 Professional writing
A marketing eBook can only be effective if it's professionally written and edited. Carnduff rightly recognizes that the book represents your organization and the work you do.
He prefers a more casual, conversational tone in a marketing eBook and advises that industry jargon should be avoided.
#4 Good design
It's true you can't judge a book by its cover. But an attractive cover certainly helps establish the book's legitimacy and encourages downloads, says Carnduff.
He also adds that charts, colours and images are important design elements that break up the copy and make the book easier to read. It’s also helpful if the eBook is well organized with chapters, headers and small chunks of content.
Here are some examples of well-designed marketing eBooks (some from Carnduff’s list of 25 semi-finalists plus others):
7 Steps to successfully redesign a website by Adhere Creative (cover and internal layout):
The new rules of viral marketing by David Meerman Scott (cover):
29 secrets about content marketing & the undercover agents who shared them by Top Rank Online Marketing (cover and internal layout):
What characteristics do you think are important in a marketing eBook?