5 Reasons Why You Should Add Ebooks to Your B2B Marketing Mix

Last week, I ran an article on white paper best practices. Although white papers can be powerful tools for attracting B2B leads, especially if you sell technology products or services, sometimes you may not want to work within a traditional white paper format. This can be because:

  • You want to do something more fun and less formal
  • Your audience doesn’t find white papers valuable
  • Your message doesn’t fit into a standard white paper format

If this sounds like you, consider creating an ebook. Here are five ebook advantages:

1.  Ebooks are quick and easy. You can spend a lot of time developing a white paper, especially if you need to conduct third-party interviews, find obscure research or get approvals from analysts to use their content. In     comparison, an ebook can take much less time to create. While some research is necessary to lend credibility to your ebook, you can probably get the bulk of your content from your in-house subject matter experts, which will save you a lot of time.

2.  You can play with different formats. While white papers follow standard formats, ebooks can take on any number of forms. For example, you can provide your audience with step-by-step instructions, a handy guide or a list of things to consider. This flexibility can work to your advantage if you don’t want to force your message into a white paper’s strict format.

3.  One ebook can feed your content machine for a long time. If you want a large piece of content that you can break down and share across different channels, you don’t need to start with a white paper. An ebook can provide you with tons of reusable content. For example, you can turn parts of your ebook into blog posts, slide presentations, emails, tweets and more. You can also create a webinar or course based on your ebook. The possibilities are endless!

4.  You can give leads extra incentive to get on your list by offering them a bundle of ebooks around a related topic. How many times have you seen someone offer a bundle of white papers? Probably never. That’s because most people would be overwhelmed at the thought of having to read multiple white papers. However, a bundle of ebooks can come across as a light, fun and educational incentive.

5.  An ebook can help you attract a wider audience. Let’s face it. Some people don’t like white papers, especially if they equate them with boring sales pitches. While many white papers provide value and keep the sales talk to a minimum, many people perceive ebooks as being more educational. If you create ebooks for these people, you can increase your downloads and get your content in front of a wider audience.

Another benefit of ebooks is that you can make them as long as you want. While research from IDG revealed that the ideal length for a B2B white paper is seven pages, ebooks that are much longer in length have gone viral. I’d just advise you to be as concise as possible to hold your readers’ attention.

What about you? Do you think ebooks are useful tools for B2B marketers? If so, when would you want to create an ebook over a white paper? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

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3 Comments

  1. I dunno Rachel…I can’t help but think that this comparison is ultimately a function of semantics. I’ve written countless ebooks. And I’ve written countless white papers. I would say that the single greatest difference between the two is tone. But that’s it. 

    Both speak to thought leadership; both tend to rely on data and trends; both are generally used for lead gen. 

    Granted, an eBook is typically more engaging, fun and high level. But at the end of the day, it’s really just a white paper in disguise. Don’t you think? Perhaps the ultimate value is in repurposing a white paper for use as an eBook – that way, you get double bang for your buck.

    1. Hi Ruth,

      Thanks for commenting! I like your idea about starting with a white paper and then turning it into an ebook. I think there are some structural differences between a traditional white paper and most ebooks. However, yes, they are minor differences. It all comes down to what your audience wants. Some people won’t download a white paper, but they’ll read the same content in an ebook. So, it’s just about giving your audience what they want.

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