19 Reasons Why Your eBook Promotion Is a Fail

Content marketers love earning page views. There’s nothing that feels better than putting hours of hard work and mental elbow grease into a blog article, and watching it pay off as the content make the rounds on Twitter and rack up thousands of hits.

However, I’ve got some news that’s probably no surprise for you.

Your CEO is probably more interested in leads. Not just any leads, either. Sales-qualified leads with an interest in buying your company’s product.

What if you’ve written a brilliant eBook, sent a link to your entire email list, engaged in hardcore eBook promotion, and no one is downloading it? It’s a heartbreaking feeling.

We’ve compiled some of the most common reasons marketing offers fail, as well as insights on how you can take your eBook promotion from fizzle to sizzle:

1. Your Covers Are Terrible

Even if your eBook was created in a single workday on a shoestring budget, your cover design should never reveal the fact you can barely use Adobe InDesign.

It doesn’t need to resemble a classic novel sold in a bookstore, but it should look professional, and consistent with the rest of your company’s branding.

There’s nothing wrong with repackaging your current offer with a new title or cover design.

In fact, this eBook promotion tactic could add an enormous element of charisma to an offer that’s struggling to gain notice.

2. Your CTAs Aren’t Enticing

If your CTAs are hastily-thrown together, there’s a strong chance that they won’t even get noticed by visitors to your website. CTA design and optimization for eBook promotion is a complex art, but best practices dictate that you should invest in buttons which:

  • Resemble a Clickable Button
  • Clearly Stand Out from the Rest of the Page
  • Convey Value
  • Communicate With Action-Driven Text

The following example of HubSpot is visually-stimulating, and communicates the value of their content offer:

eBook Promotion - Hubspot

Image source: HubSpot

3. You’re Not Using Enough CTAs

Finding CTAs on your website shouldn’t feel like a challenging treasure hunt. Make sure that your buttons don’t interfere with the overall user experience of your website, but are available as resources for visitors who are willing to engage on a deeper level. You should have at least one CTA on every blog article and email you produce.

4. Your Landing Page Copy Is Flawed

There’s a serious art to landing page copy. You can’t just excerpt your eBook, or approach your page like you’re writing a fresh blog article. Brian Clarke of CopyBlogger recommends the following tips for delivering on-page copy for eBook promotion that converts:

  • Deliver an Engaging Headline
  • Use Simple, Specific, and Sparse Language
  • Outline Benefits and Present Compelling Proof

Don’t distract your page visitor from their mission of downloading by writing too much. Keep your content spare, and distill your value into a quickly-readable page by using bullet points and numbered lists.

5. You’re Not Using Social Proof

Consumers still trust their friends, family, and even virtual strangers more than any form of content marketing from companies. Sometimes, the most effective way to execute eBook promotion on your landing page is by displaying the logos of companies you’ve worked with, or sharing a video testimonial from a current customer.

The example below from project management software Basecamp includes several examples of social proof, including the percentage of current customers who’d recommend the product, and the image of a current client:

eBook Promotion -  Basecamp

Image source: Basecamp

6. Your Landing Page Forms Are Too Long

Chopping down your landing pages to the bare number of forms possible, like just first name and email, will probably result in easier eBook promotion and more downloads. But more importantly, you won’t even know if these new contacts are qualified leads. Conversely, building long landing page forms could scare off perfectly-qualified prospects.

Eloqua research has found that the ideal number of fields for your landing page forms is 7:

eBook Promotion - Eloqua

Image source: eloqua

7. Your Landing Page Forms Are Too Personal

There are types of questions you can, and should, ask on your landing page forms, and there are others that are almost guaranteed to ruin your efforts of eBook promotion. With exceptions, asking for social security number, age, or phone number will cause conversions to plummet.

8. You’re Not Providing Value in eBooks

If you’re overselling your eBooks, word will probably get around. No one has time to read through an eBook that’s poorly designed, sloppily edited, or hastily researched. Write eBooks that are so incredibly brilliant, your prospects want to tell their friends about your free resources.

9. Your Blog Isn’t Amazing

eBooks are essentially an extension of your content marketing strategy. If you’re skimping on blog content to focus on eBook promotion, you’re probably not doing yourself any favor. You’ve got to really invest in quality blog content in order to build an audience that’s willing to convert to leads.

10. You’re Not Promoting Your eBooks on Social Media

If you’re not posting your eBooks on social media, you’re potentially missing out on connecting with the 1 in 7 individuals worldwide who actively use Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other major networks. Not only is social sharing a valuable tool for eBook promotion, it’s a powerful way to drum up social signals, which can affect the SEO of your landing page.

11. You’re Not Guest Posting

The best marketers know that a campaign is no small effort. Effective eBook promotion requires a landing page, thank you page, email marketing, social media, relevant content, call-to-action buttons, and potentially even guest posting.

Ask blogs you’re pitching to whether you can include a link to the landing page in your author bio to gain even more attention from a new audience.

12. Your Email Headlines Are a Snooze

Email marketing has the highest ROI of any form of marketing, and experts believe that subject lines are the most important component of email. Could it be argued that email subject lines are the most important piece of content you’ll ever write? Quite possible.

Avoid being spammy or overly familiar, never write a headline in all-caps, and focus on conveying the value of your offer in 40 characters or less.

13. You’re Not Cleaning Your Email Lists

A messy email list isn’t just lazy marketing. It’s bad, self-destructive marketing. To protect consumers from Spam, the filters of major email clients have gotten significantly smarter. They can tell if you’ve got a track record of emails marked as Spam, or messages which “bounce” from closed or full email accounts.

These factors determine your sender score, which will affect whether your contacts are even getting your emails in the first place. Checking your score is easy, and free with registration to ReturnPath. Without getting too technical, ensuring email deliverability before you launch a campaign is a critical part of email promotion.

14. You’re Picking the Wrong Topics

Would you download an eBook about using MySpace for marketing? Or something about social media and the 2012 London Olympics? Probably not, because these topics have lost their sparkle. They’re old news. Content marketers have to work fast when it comes to writing offers and eBook promotion, to ensure they’re covering topics which are so fresh and relevant, they beg to be downloaded.

15. You’re Not Using Keywords in eBook Titles

29% of marketers believe that organic search is the most effective channel for generating leads. Ensure your offers are optimized to get found on Google, Bing and other search channels by keyword optimizing your titles, landing page titles, and copy.

16. Your Website Seems Spammy

It’s not 1999 anymore. The average consumer has received thousands of Spam emails, and is wisely cautious about giving their email out to just anyone. A website which seems sketchy can quickly destroy any eBook promotion progress, so convey the fact you’re a legitimate business by including a link to your Spam policy, and visual elements which communicate trust to consumer like the images below:

eBook Promotion - Spam Policy

Image source:  Trust GuardValidSafeMerchant Safe,TRUSTeVeriSignMcAfee Secure

17. Your Buyer Personas Don’t Dig eBooks to Begin With

Not everyone loves digging into a great, big PDF document of charts and graphs, and that’s okay. If every aspect of your eBook promotion is stellar, and you’re still not seeing the lead generation you want to, the problem could lie with your formats. Explore other types of content offers, like video tutorials, checklists and webinars, to ensure you’re delivering value in the way your buyer personas want to consume content.

18. You’re Not Examining Metrics

Good marketers check the page views of their blog articles to pick topics that will perform best. Great marketers dig a little deeper and examine call-to-action click-throughs to see the topics which result in lead generation.

Brilliant marketers? They look at closed-loop analytics, to determine the topics which convert first-time visitors into customers. Your metrics are the single best gauge of the types of offers you should be writing.

19. You’re Not Original Enough

Did your competitor release the exact same eBook last week? Sorry, but no amount of eBook promotion can cover up the fact that you’re late to the party. Focus on conveying value in a way that no one in your niche has previously.

A little originality can go a long way in positively affecting SEO, website traffic, and lead generation metrics.

How have you improved the lead generation results of your eBooks and other content offers?