David Meerman Scott's New Rules of Marketing book and seminar have made the ebook my favorite new promotional technique. It's an incredibly effective method for getting your message into the hands of the customer...for beginning a conversation about issues, not products.
An ebook is akin to a whitepaper, except that it's designed to be read on computer screen rather than read from printed paper. E-books tend to be in color rather than the black and white text and graphics associated with whitepapers. And ebooks are focused on industry issues, not product features.
Why write an ebook? An ebook addresses a specific pain in your industry and gives suggestions on how to deal with the issue--without trying to sell anything! Amazing, isn't it? For instance, what do your customers need to know about FERPA or ISO 9001:2008 or HIPAA or SAS 70 or Sarbanes/Oxley? Your guidance now will undoubtedly lead them to you when they need additional help.
Karma is the law of moral causation. It states that nothing in this world happens to a person that he does not for some reason or another deserve. Use an e-book to give value to your community, and you'll have it come back to you tenfold. Otherwise, you can continue with your old sell-sell-sell ways, and customers will turn away, just as they have in the past.
Some ebook ideas:
- The executive recruiter who explains how to hire the best talent (and how to showcase your talent) ultimately gets more searches and more candidates.
- The dry cleaner who explains how to care for fragile garments (like grandmother's wedding dress) gets more business than he can handle.
- The rock band that explains to venues how to be a better host gets more bookings from those venues.
- The product management training company that explains the strategic role of product management gets more training business.
Give your customer and your industry your counsel, your recommendations, your insights... and you'll find them returning to you for your expertise in solving their problems.