I’ve said it over and over — build an email list.

If you are launching a new website or business, have a call-to-action in place from the very beginning to attract subscribers. A newsletter, a downloadable content asset or some other bribe, like a coupon code.

One of the oldest and most effective ‘bribes’ to attract email subscribes has always been an eBook and to this day they still do an amazing job. There are multiple ways to create an attractive eBook that is packed full of information that will not only help you secure another email address, but also act as a selling tool.

A great eBook will help convince the reader to take the next steps to convert, as either a lead or sale, depending on what your conversion steps are and how to create the eBook in terms of soft-selling.

Use the info below to teach yourself how to make an ebook that will build you a massive subscriber list!


Most Common eBook Format & Delivery Method

The easiest type of eBook to produce is a PDF document, and you can create one with zero experience. Create your document in a Word file and then “save as” a PDF document.

It’s that simple. You can embed links into the eBook, which can help you send the reader back to specific pages and or CTAs on your website.

You can either set up an auto-delivery system that sends the email as an attachment after someone confirms his or her email address after opting in, or you can use a plugin to slow the user to instantly download the eBook from your website once an email address is submitted.

The best option is always one that requires an email address to be validated (confirmed) prior to granting access. This will greatly improve the quality of your list. Without this safeguard in place many people will enter fake email addresses.

Bad email data in your list will kill your deliverability rate, which over time can lead to many of your messages being classified by spam and filtered accordingly.


Why eBooks Work So Well

There are several reasons why eBooks are still a great email list building tool, and one that I suggest many clients use. In fact, we had a client publish a very high quality eBook that was an in-depth case study. Over the course of two years it was responsible for helping build an email list of more than 100,000 subscribers.

This client was attracting 1,000 subscribers a week who wanted to download and read the contents of the eBook. When you break that down, that is 200 new people per day that they could now market to, which they could do at no additional cost.

Yeah, email marketing is powerful, especially for e-commerce brands, and an eBook is the ticket to massive list growth. Here are a few reasons why the work so well.


They are Considered High Value: Physical and Tangible

A well-designed eBook in terms of topic and contents can be easily perceived as high value, which makes it that much easier to attract emails, as your audience will be more willing to give you that piece of information in exchange for a copy.

Tip: Always have a picture of the eBook on your landing page or near the call-to-action. Even though they are downloadable, consumers still consider them to be physical and tangible, even if they only exist on their computer. A picture of the eBook helps to reinforce the physical and tangible element.


eBooks Can Be Promoted Easily on Social Media (Organic and Paid)

You could publish an amazing eBook that is packed full of great information and is designed to convert a high rate of sales, but if nobody sees your offer it won’t help you build your email list.

Social media is a great place to promote your eBook. You can easily market it to your following and it’s a great offer to run via paid ads. Most social media ads are trying to sell something. When you put an offer out there trying to give away something for free the response is usually very high when you use good creatives and ad copy.


How to Create an eBook That Will Deliver Results

There are a lot of things that need to happen in order for a great eBook to come together and produce results like it did for our client. Are their results typical? Well, not everyone is going to attract 50,000 subscribers a year — some will attract less because they are in a smaller industry and some businesses have the potential to build a much bigger list.

I’ve put together a list of seven components that all work together to create a great eBook. If you are ready to take your email list building to the next level I highly encourage you to create an eBook.



1. Pick a Topic with a Huge Audience

This should be common sense, but your eBook needs to have a very wide audience and demand within your niche. For example, if I were to create an eBook for my SEO agency, we wouldn’t want to create one titled, “How to Rank Your Law Firm on Top of Google.”

That would only appeal to law firms and would severely limit the number or emails we could attract. Instead, an eBook titled, “10 Things Every Website Can Do to Increase Organic Traffic in Less Than 30 Days” appeals to everyone that has a website and wants to improve traffic.

It needs to be a very wide topic and have mass appeal in terms of the topic so someone is willing to give you their email address in order to access it. If you have several good ideas create multiple eBooks and offer choices. There is nothing wrong with giving options — it will only help you build a larger list.


2. Map Out the Content Structure

Even though an eBook is a “book,” you don’t want to just pump out a bunch of content alone. It needs to be structured correctly that not only makes it easy to read for the potential customer or lead, but also in a way that allows you to insert images and graphics that help pre-sell your offer.

Yes, you want to provide great information, but at the same time you cannot lose sight of the fact that your eBook is a marketing tool. If someone reads your eBook and says, “Wow, what an informative read,” but doesn’t convert, it was useless.

Map out your eBook’s content in a way that delivers your message and has the potential to get the reader to take action.


3. Determine Your CTA Strategy

Your product or service offering and the type of conversion funnel you have set up will determine what type of call-to-action is best suitable for your eBook and how you will want to implement it for the best possible results.

For example, an e-commerce company that sells health supplements might produce an eBook that is a fat burning diet plan and workout plan. Within it, they might link to specific products, in an attempt to drive readers directly to their website to make impulse purchases. At the end of the eBook there might be a call-to-action that is a discount code for a percentage off the entire shopping cart, along with a link to the homepage of the website.

No matter what type of CTA you use, if you link out from your eBook make sure you use Google’s UTM tracking capabilities for your URLs or use a URL shortening service that will allow you to track click data.

This is an easy way to see what CTAs perform the best and how your eBook is generating the most revenue for your business. You can then take this data and make changes. Once you master this and see a significant amount of revenue coming from your eBook you will want to turn on the traffic volume at the front of the funnel and get as many people as possible to opt-in and download the eBook.



4. Design Your eBook Cover, Footer and Header

I mentioned above that you could take a simple Word document and convert it into a PDF. Sure, that will work, but I would suggest hiring a graphic designer to create something that is eye appealing.

An eBook that looks professional will provide better long-term results that something that looks like it was thrown together with minimal effort. Remember, anything a potential customer receives from your company, from email newsletters to eBook downloads is a direct representation of your company.

Make every effort to impress them. You can find freelancers on Fiverr, Upwork, or Freelancer.com. The most important aspects are the cover, footer and header areas. Simple, clean, and professional is key to making a good impression.


5. Design and Optimize Your Website CTA and Landing Page

Great now that you have your eBook all ready, stick a sidebar CTA on your website and watch the emails pile up.

Stop! I am joking. Please do not just throw a sidebar offer up and expect magic to happen. You have to get a little creative and put some effort in. I would do two things. First, use a popup plugin like Optin Monster so you can create several different locations, like side-out, floating bar, exit popup, etc. and split-test them all, for location as well as design.

Second, I would also create a dedicated landing page for the eBook offer, complete with a large image of the eBook and selling points, highlighting why the information inside the book is so great.

Then, push traffic from social media to the dedicated page, rather than a random page and hoping they convert on one of the CTAs. If you are going to make the effort to funnel social media traffic, you will increase your conversion numbers if they are sent directly to an offer page.


6. Lay Out a Promotional Strategy for Your eBook

There are three areas where you are going to convert eBook downloads:


  • Regular Traffic: These are visitors that are coming to your website via regular channels, like organic Google searches or referral links. They will potentially convert into eBook downloads if they see your offer (popup, slider, floating bar, etc.) and it entices them to opt-in.


  • Social Media: In the beginning you can put your eBook offer in front of your social media audience. If you send them to the dedicated landing page you will see some convert. But remember, if you put the offer in front of them too often some may unfollow you because they view it as spam.


  • PPC/Facebook Ads: You can also test paid traffic from Facebook and Google PPC, sent directly to your landing page. If you are able to convert email opt-ins at a low enough rate this can be a never ending source of subscribers.



7. Track Your Performance and Adjust Accordingly

I mentioned using tracking links within the actual eBook, and that is a must-do, but you also need to set up goals in Google Analytics, so you can see where your most valuable traffic from a conversion perspective is coming from.

You might notice that a particular referral source converts abnormally high, and if that is the case you would want to explore options to tap into that source more and scale its incoming traffic.

Likewise, if you see that Facebook traffic just doesn’t convert at all you will want to pull back those efforts or attack that source from a different angle. The data available to us as marketers allows for unlimited testing and scaling opportunities.

You just have to be willing to dig through it and take the time to really understand and analyze it. Remember, even if an email subscriber doesn’t make a purchase right away, you can still market to them for the duration of time, as long as they are subscribed.

The effort you put into understanding your performance and then making changes to improve it can give you the biggest return in relation to the time invested. Don’t sleep on this — the opportunity potential is huge.


Final Thoughts

Know what is funny? I talk to a lot of people that tell me they are thinking of creating an eBook but just haven’t gotten around to it or still haven’t come up with a topic yet.

The trick is just to start, and throw something together. The actual content inside can be adjusted and tweaked as you go along. You can’t expect to write one version and have it produce outstanding results.

Guess what? The person handing over his or her email address has no idea what’s inside the eBook until they read it. You are going to get the email address, so just get version one done ASAP.

Then, you are able to test how effective the actual eBook content is by analyzing referral traffic, funnel response rates and conversion rates. If the data shows poor results, then adjust the eBook copy or test different titles and topics.

But you have to start somewhere and it’s never going to be the perfect time. Those that just go for it and adjust after are the ones that see the wildly successful results.

Have you used an eBook in the past or do you currently have an opt-in offer with an eBook as the reward or bribe? I’d love to hear about your experiences using them. Drop a comment below and let me know what you think of eBooks.

Tommy McDonald

Tommy is an SEO professional with years of experience running highly successful SEO companies, founded SerpLogic after noticing there was a major void when it came to options for SEO agencies needing a reliable and professional one-stop outsource solution.You can read all about me in the “About” page here on our blog!

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