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3 Reasons Why Prospective Customers Aren’t Downloading Your Ebook - And How to Fix It

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by Elena Velikova
November 13, 2017

Elena Velikova
Elena Velikova has written 17 articles for PromotionWorld.
View all articles by Elena Velikova...

It’s an extremely familiar scenario. In fact, it’s the norm rather than the exception. You’ve crafted or commissioned an ebook that was supposed to generate a steady stream of website visitors — and ultimately, generate a roster of happy, loyal and profitable customers.

However, instead of seeing download numbers surge and bottom-line numbers rise, you’re wondering why the inbound marketing gods have forsaken you. Yes, this is frustrating. Yes, this is costly. And yes, this is common. But no, this isn’t necessary — because it’s probably due to one, both or all three of these fundamental mistakes: 

1. Your contact form is asking too much, too soon.

A decade or so ago, in exchange for an ebook it was fine to ask prospective customers for their name, email address, budget (i.e. how much they plan to spend), and even for their phone number and address. But that was then, and those days are long over.

Today, prospective customers — just like everyone else — severely guard their contact information; and given the fact that cyber criminals sometimes don’t need more than a victim’s phone number or date of birth to set their data breach machine in motion, there’s some wisdom in this paranoia.

As such, at the beginning of the buyer’s journey (more on this in a moment), asking for anything more than a name and email address is usually fatal as far as inbound marketing goes. That’s all that prospective customers are willing to trade, and it’s all that your business is going to get.

2.  Your ebook isn’t mapped to the buyer’s journey.

Prospective customers generally follow a process — called the buyer’s journey — that starts with research and investigation, and moves forward as specific vendors are shortlisted. It’s a bit like dating: first it’s a “getting to know you” coffee, followed by dinner and a movie, and if all goes well, wedding bells and baby showers. How lovely.

The problem, however, is that many businesses offer ebooks at the beginning of the buyer’s journey that is too brand-specific — i.e. it is mostly about (or sometimes all about) their various products and services. However, as noted above, prospective customers are initially interested in educating themselves about key issues and options. They aren’t ready to pick and choose a product or vendor.

With this being said, it’s fine — and in fact, it’s often strategic — to include some brand-related information in an ebook that is targeting prospective customers at the beginning of the buyer’s journey (which is where most ebooks are — and should be — positioned). However, the ebook has to be information-driven and not advertising-driven. That is, it must “stand on its own” as an objective resource, like a white paper.

3.  You aren’t targeting buyer personas.

Prospective customers come in all different psychographic and demographic shapes and sizes. For example, if you run a roofing company then your prospective customer group — a.k.a. buyer personas — could be comprised of new homeowners, established homeowners, real estate professionals who recommend roofers to clients who are buying and selling homes, and so on.

This doesn’t mean that you need an ebook to target each specific buyer persona (although that’s ideal). However, it does mean that your ebook needs to clear focus on the needs, goals and pain points of a legitimate, profitable buyer persona. For help in this area, make sure that you work with a good market research agency. The ROI of this relationship is enormous.

The Bottom Line

Using an ebook — or better yet, a series of ebooks — to turn leads into prospects, and prospects into customers is smart, strategic and very cost-effective. Avoiding the above mistakes will go a long, long way towards putting your business on-track for inbound marketing success!


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