Archive for December, 2010

E-books: Effective marketing tools

December 11, 2010 Leave a comment

This fall, my wife and I added another tool to our social media marketing toolkit: Free e-books.

Basically, these are pdf files with lists of helpful information. They consist of a cover page, an index, and one page devoted to each item on the list. Each page has lots of whitespace and a graphic element or two, as well as a paragraph or two of helpful information.

With an e-book, you get the opportunity to position yourself as a leader and/or guide readers to a call to action — in a paragraph on the index page or, perhaps, a credits page at the end. Be sure to include your logo and other branding elements.

We created these e-book for the Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services: 10 Tips for Keeping Kids Safe and 5 Online Resources for the Long-Term Unemployed. My wife crafted an e-book that shares free resources for cancer survivors. You’ll have to visit her blog ( to request one.

If you’re looking for more examples, see David Meerman Scott’s Web Ink Now blog.

At Hamilton County JFS, we primarily promoted the e-books through social media — the agency director’s blog, Facebook, Twitter — and the organization’s newsletter and website. We tracked downloads using WebTrends.

My wife, author/blogger Tami Boehmer, used her e-book as a tool for building her mailing list. For example, we got more than 40 e-mail addresses at our table at a breast cancer walk by asking people if they wanted to sign up for the e-book. Otherwise, traffic to our table at the chaotic walk attended by thousands of people — who not there to buy books — would have been minimal. (It helped to have our 11-year-old daughter ask passers-by if they would like to sign up for her mom’s free resource guide for cancer survivors!)

We found that it’s really important to pack your e-book with information of value to your target audience. It’s a took for getting (or keeping) people engaged in the process that leads to the desired action — such as supporting your organization’s tax levy or buying your book about cancer survivors who beat the odds.

What has your experience been with e-books? Please feel free to share in the comments.