Content offers, like ebooks, can convert your existing traffic and even attract new traffic. However, if your ebook isn’t getting too many downloads or leads, your marketing might be the problem.
In order to be successful, your offer must be compelling enough that it practically begs users to opt-in. Read on to discover the best techniques for marketing your ebook, whitepaper, guide, or other lead-generating resource.
1. Consider a co-marketing campaign.
Before you create your helpful content offer, consider if there’s any partnerships that you can leverage. Co-marketing provides an opportunity for cross-collaboration on content so that two parties “own” that content and benefit from it.
Here are some reasons why co-marketing is a good idea:
Sharing resources for the offer’s creation doubles the value of the content and diminishes the cost/effort of its production
Promoting to two networks increases the reach of the campaign exponentially
Both partners have vested interest in the results of the promotion because both reap the benefits (the leads generated from it)
Pro Tip: Look for partners that have similar audiences, values, and goals. If you are not aligned, neither party will receive the expected results of the collaboration.
2. Utilize industry influencers for their thought leadership and reach.
Whether you decide to do co-marketing or not, you can’t deny the power of influencer marketing. Think through your existing partnerships as well as other major players in the industries or social circles you want to reach.
Consider these thought leaders’ goals: finding relevant articles to share with their fan base, increase their reach, and further establish themselves as an authority.
You can appeal to these goals by featuring them in your content offer. For example, ask them for a quote that you can incorporate into your content offer or link to another article they wrote. When you finish the piece, send them a complimentary copy. I’d suggest telling them how much you’ve appreciated their expertise and that you were delighted to include them.
The key to this tactic is to make your personalized outreach unique and worth their while. After all, they likely get bombarded with messages asking them to share content.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to mention that you’ll be promoting the offer to your network. Because they’re featured in the content, this acts as an incentive for them to share your offer to their audience as well.
The key to this tactic is to make your personalized outreach unique and worth their while. After all, they likely get bombarded with messages asking them to share content.
3. Use email marketing to promote the ebook with your existing audience.
Admittedly, outreach is arduous. Don’t forget about the network you already have. Your email subscribers have already expressed interest in similar content offers, and if this new ebook continues to provide value for problems they need help with, this is another opportunity to continue engaging them.
As you continue to provide value, you’re establishing more credibility and authority in their eyes. As you stay top of mind in this way, you’ll be first on their list when they are ready to make a purchasing decision.
To achieve maximum success with this tactic, it helps to have a segmented audience so that you’re always providing relevant, timely, and personalized content.
You don’t want to email a specific ebook to your entire contact database because it probably doesn’t relate to all your contact lists. When you don’t segment emails, your engagement will be lower and your success will be diminished.
Here’s what I mean:
On one of your opt-in forms, you could have visitors identify what they need help with. For an inbound marketing agency, it might say, “What Does Your Business Want to Improve?” with options to select:
Grow our web presence
Rank higher on Google
Generate more leads
That way, if an ebook was created around SEO, it could be sent to all the subscribers who have already shown interest in ranking higher on Google.
Pro Tip: Use HubSpot’s free email marketing tools to create and optimize compelling email campaigns.
4. Create a compelling call-to-action.
Your website visitors will likely find out about your ebook through call-to-actions (CTAs), which is the part of a webpage that encourages users to take action.
In this case, that means clicking on a button, banner, or link that will take them to the landing page where they are able to learn more and download the content.
A poorly designed or placed CTA could be the thing that’s preventing your ebook from generating leads, so it’s important to invest the time in optimizing them.
To create a strong CTA, you’ll want to utilize the following:
Professional, yet bold design that stands out on the page
Short, yet specific messaging
A/B testing to determine what copy and design best resonates with your audience
Pro Tip: Use HubSpot’s call-to-action tool to create, test, and optimize engaging CTAs for your website.
5. Craft an engaging landing page.
Well designed landing pages are the key to getting conversions.
When users click on CTAs for your ebook, they will be directed to a landing page that will include additional details about the offer. It will also include a form that requires users to insert their contact information in exchange for the ebook.
Even if users make it to your landing page, it doesn’t guarantee a conversion. Your landing page must be engaging and communicate your offer’s value or else users will bounce. To avoid this, let’s go over some best practices:
Write a headline that focuses on the benefits of your offer
Include images that illustrate what to expect
Write active and compelling copy
Make the lead form visible and above the fold
Only ask for the information you need, like a name and email
Pro Tip: HubSpot’s free landing page builder has everything you need to quickly create and test a landing page for your ebook.
6. Promote your ebook on your highest trafficked (but still relevant) blog posts.
In addition to your other methods of promotion, you want to make sure that you’re converting organic traffic as well. But here’s the problem: A user can’t convert on a landing page they never land on. They can never be interested in a content offer they don’t know about.
Content offers aren’t an “If you build it, they will come” scenario. Instead, see how you can capitalize on the traffic you’re already getting for its promotion.
By putting the CTA (call to action) on new blog posts, all you’re doing is making a gamble. Mainly because you don’t know if that blog post will ever generate traffic. After all, it’s brand new.
However, you can put a CTA on an existing blog post that has proven success, pushing that ebook to a known source of demand.
Promote your offer on relevant blog posts that already get traffic to put your ebook in front of the audience you have.
Pro Tip: Routinely analyze blog post performance and update content to ensure your most visited posts don’t lose out on traffic.
7. Follow SEO best practices.
In order to increase your chances of organic traffic, all of your web content should be optimized for search engines — including ebooks and their landing pages.
Conduct keyword research with tools like Ahrefs to find the best keywords to include in your ebook’s title, meta-title, meta description, URL, and image alt texts.
Make sure you only use keywords that are relevant to the content of your ebook. Targeting irrelevant keywords may result in a penalty from Google. For example, if I was writing an ebook about “beekeeping for beginners”, I wouldn’t optimize for a keyword like “pollinator garden.” Even though users searching for beekeeping content may be interested in gardening, the two search terms have very different user intents.
Pro Tip: Learn more about SEO through HubSpot’s SEO certification course.
8. Create a PPC campaign to advertise your content offer.
If you know your content offer has a clear path to revenue, organic plays alone are not always the best route for promotion, especially if there is clear demand as people search for resources just like yours.
PPC is a quicker tactic than SEO. Plus, it’s a great way to promote not just your company and its services, but also campaigns and offers you create. A successful PPC campaign boosts visibility and downloads to your offer by driving high-intent users to the landing page.
Pro Tip: A/B test your PPC campaigns to increase CTR and conversions. Just a small adjustment to your ad’s title, description, or target keywords can make a huge impact on your results.
9. Announce your content offer on social media.
Email is a great tactic for promoting to an existing audience, and so is social media. An additional benefit is that social media promotion can reach beyond that existing audience much more easily.
Be sure to post on your social channels once your offer is live, conveying the value it contains for the reader and including an image to attract their attention. Mix these posts in with your other content so that your readers aren’t put off by too much promotional content.
Pro Tip: Use HubSpot’s free social media content calendar template to coordinate your promotional campaigns with ease.
10. Consider putting advertising budget behind it.
On some social channels (I’m looking at you, Facebook), organic reach isn’t what it used to be. Boosting posts helps to increase reach to both your followers and beyond. Alternatively, you can also create an ad that promotes your ebook and do paid promotion to a targeted audience.
Just keep in mind that people don’t browse social media with buying intent, so you’ll have to ensure that the offers you promote and the way you promote them piques interest and conveys value. Otherwise, they’ll just see it as an ad and scroll on past.
Pro Tip: You can manage all your Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google ad campaigns in one place by using HubSpot’s ads software.
11. Promote your ebook before launching.
Pre-launch marketing campaigns can help build excitement for your ebook while it is in the final stages of production. Plus, they can give you an idea of how interested your existing audience is in the content.
Here are some ways you can promote your ebook before it launches:
Reveal the cover and title of the ebook
Publish a short snippet to get readers hooked
Write a quick summary of the ebook and what users will gain from it
With each pre-launch campaign, you’ll want to include a link to a landing page that communicates all the details of your ebook and allows users to pre-order it.
Pro Tip: Include a special offer, like a discount code or exclusive content, to users who sign up for your ebook in advance.
12. Repurpose your content into different formats.
The first time they see your post, they may not click and convert right away. Like with anything, it can take multiple “impressions” to attract attention and pique interest. At the same time, if you continue posting the same thing over and over, your content gets stale.
Your ebook can easily be turned into a slideshare, infographic, quiz, or other format. By having multiple “versions” of your content for promotion, your ebook can go farther while getting more eyeballs on it.
Pro Tip: HubSpot Academy repurposing content course is a great resource on how recycling content can benefit your ebook marketing strategy.
13. Create related video content.
In addition to repurposing your ebook into written content, consider creating companion videos as well. Not only do most people prefer watching videos over reading, you may reach new audiences on video apps like TikTok and YouTube that you wouldn’t have otherwise gotten to on other channels.
Although video marketing may seem intimidating or time consuming, it’s worth the investment. In fact, 92% of video marketers in 2023 said that video gives them a positive ROI. As video becomes more widespread, it will be essential to include it in your marketing strategy.
Think carefully about how your ebook will translate into video format. Write an outline of the key points from each chapter you want to discuss, then develop your script. Because of the visual component of the video, your script doesn’t need to be too in-depth. Instead, opt for writing a script that is clear, concise, and conversational.
Pro Tip: Short form videos (under three minutes) have higher ROI, lead generation, and engagement compared to long form videos, videographics, webinars, and livestreams. Consider making a multi-part video series, rather than cramming your entire ebook into a single video.
14. Connect with niche readers on social media.
Look on Twitter and LinkedIn for users that have been sharing similar content to what you have created. Just by searching on Twitter for #inboundmarketing, I can see who is sharing inbound marketing blogs, guides, and resources. Plus, I can see who is getting the biggest reach in terms of likes and retweets.
Reach out to these individuals with a simple message that encapsulates “Hey! I saw you shared [this article] and I thought you might like [this related content offer]”. This way you know that the individual is probably interested in what you’re writing because they’ve been interested in similar content before.
This tactic might not work as well as the influencer tactic in tip #3 since you’re not providing mutual value, but many of these individuals spend a lot of time curating content for their audience, and you might just be helping them out.
Pro Tip: When connecting with niche readers, personalize each message so you don’t come across as spammy.
15. Submit to a content community or online group.
Chances are, search engines and their social feeds are not the only places your audience hangs out. If your ebook contains specialized or niche information, you might be able to target these niches through content communities and online groups. For example:
Niche Facebook groups
Niche LinkedIn groups
For example, if you’re a roofer in St. Louis, join your community group on NextDoor.com and offer your content there. When your neighborhood gets hit by a hailstorm, your infographic on “Assessing Storm Damage as a Homeowner” can come in handy to the community’s residents.
Pro Tip: Content communities are also a great resource for getting feedback, starting discussion, and sharing your passion for your services with others.
16. Find other linking opportunities.
Using tools like Ahrefs, you can see other websites who have linked to content like yours. Reach out to them with your content offer link and see if they want to include a link to your resource. I find that this is most helpful when you can find a broken link that your new link can replace. Webmasters generally appreciate when someone lets them know of a problem with their website links, and if you can provide a link to replace the broken one, it might get placed.
Alternatively, use a tool like BuzzSumo or Mention.net to find mentions of your company online. You’ll be able to see who has mentioned you or your content offer and determine whether they have linked back to you or not. If they haven’t included your link, reach out to that website and explain it might provide their readers a better experience if they could find the article that is being mentioned.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for more backlink opportunities, I highly recommend Backlinko’s resource on backlinks to find other places you could get a link from!
17. Guest blog on popular websites with your ebook as CTA.
You may also have an opportunity to capitalize on a third party website’s organic traffic and promotions through guest blogging. If your buyer persona goes to a popular website that provides solutions to the problems they’re experiencing, your content offer should be there too (as long as it’s similarly relevant and helpful, of course).
Once you nail down which websites your buyer persona is reading to get information, see if these websites offer the opportunity for industry leaders to guest blog. Some websites will require an application or an article proposal, but once you get accepted blogging for one website, it becomes much easier to get accepted on other websites.
At the conclusion of the article, use your ebook as a next step CTA so if a reader finishes the article and wants more information, your content offer is there.
Pro Tip: When you write your articles, keep them educational and don’t self-promote. Remember, you’re trying to help the reader solve a problem with your expertise and industry knowledge.
18. Set up podcast interviews.
Getting interviewed on a popular podcast can be a great way to gain exposure for your ebook. Try reaching out to podcasts with large audiences, and offer to be a guest on their show and talk about your expertise.
Like guest posting, you’ll want to narrow your focus on contacting podcasts that are both relevant to your ebook’s subject matter and buyer persona. For example, a financial advisor who wrote an ebook on how to save for a down payment on a house would want to reach out to a podcast that focuses on financial advice.
When preparing for your interview, take inspiration from the information listed on your landing page to create talking points and focus on the things your buyer persona will benefit from by reading your ebook.
Pro Tip: Make sure you provide the podcast producer with a link to your landing page to put in the show’s description so listeners are able to easily access your ebook.
19. Speak at industry conferences.
Do you attend any annual conferences that are unique to your industry? Consider applying to be a speaker at it.
Think about your knowledge and unique perspectives in your subject area and how sharing your expertise would be valuable to your buyer persona. Then, use those big picture ideas to create a speech to present at the conference.
While your presentation shouldn’t be focused on advertising your ebook, you’ll likely be able to plug it at the end.
Pro Tip: Speakers are usually able to attend the rest of the conference for free. Use that access to your advantage and network with others in your industry.
20. Publish a printed version.
Believe it or not, there are still people out there who prefer print media over digital media. So, why not meet them where they are and publish a printed version of your ebook?
A small batch of physical copies is probably all you need, since most people will opt to download the ebook instead. Still, the printed versions are great to have for when you go to networking events and want to build better relationships with other professionals.
Pro Tip: If you extra printed copies of your book, consider doing a giveaway on your social media accounts.
21. Give your ebook away for free.
As we’ve already discussed, ebooks are a fantastic way to generate leads — especially if you offer them for free.
People will need to submit their contact information in order to receive their copy of the ebook, whether or not they have to pay for it. When collecting their information, you can also include a field that allows them to subscribe to your email list.
Then, once you have their details on file, your sales reps can nurture and convert them into paying customers down the road.
Pro Tip: Preview your ebook’s first couple chapters on your landing page in order to entice them to download the whole thing.
Content that just sits on your website can’t properly do its job and bring in leads. But worry not, by using these promotion tips you’ll see a little bit of extra effort can really take a content offer from zero to hero.
If you’re interested in creating attractive ebooks that capture attention and bring more leads to your business, check out the FREE resource below (see what we did there?).
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in September 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.