By Heather Wied, Pubsoft
While ebooks have long been a part of the content marketer’s arsenal in creating awareness and driving the lead acquisition process, developing aesthetically pleasing and effective ebooks can be a timely and cost-prohibitive endeavor for some marketers. It can also be disconcerting to spend the time and money to create beautiful, content-rich ebooks only to be given away for marketing purposes and not be able to see specific results of all of your hard work.
The good news is ebook technology has changed over the years and continues to improve. Now it’s easier than ever to not only produce ebooks that can be delivered across multiple devices, but also provide your visitors with branded ebook experience on your own website in order to capture potential leads. Further, some marketers can even monetize specific content for a new revenue stream as opposed to the advertising and ppc revenues from blogs.
Software companies are pioneering the ebook delivery space and teaching traditional trade and print publishers the value of data-driven publishing decisions. The ebook analytic and marketing techniques leveraged by the publishing industry can also be translated into useful methods for content marketers. Now content initiatives such as blog posts and videos can be used in conjunction with ebooks in new ways as a part of an integrated marketing approach.
The current ebook marketing standard
Blog posts promoting the use of ebooks will inform you that the standard method for using ebooks to capture warm leads is to offer an ebook in one of the three formats (mobi, epub, PDF), and use it as an opportunity to capture an email. The theory is that if a potential customer is putting in the effort to make that simple exchange during the information search of the purchase process, then that individual is a qualified and warm lead. Once you have a method of contacting prospective clients, making a sale to an interested party is easier than making a sale to someone reached through outbound methods. Inbound customers come to you seeking information and solutions for their problems.
The benefits and drawbacks of different file formats
While each format of ebook has its own benefits and drawbacks, epub is making great strides in becoming the frontrunner because of new opportunities in the reading experience as well as the ability for epub 3 to support multimedia content: images, audio, and video.
Epub - Epub standards have changed, and while epubs are not device specific (while they cannot be rendered directly on Kindle devices, there are work around, however the average customer will not take the time to follow these unwieldy processes), companies must still have a way to deliver the file, and readers need a way to render the file, which can be accomplished through online cloud readers or reading apps on mobile devices. Additionally, as previously mentioned the new epub 3 standard support multimedia, and advances in software can give content marketers book level analytics.
One drawback about the epub format includes the DRM debate, which makes sharing difficult but vigorously protects copyrighted information often to the point of consumer frustration. We feel that books will soon follow the music industry in that epub will be the universal standard, and DRM will cease to be an issue.
Mobi - Mobi files are limited to Kindle users only, and while this exposes publishers to a wide audience, mobi files cannot be easily shared, which depending on the goal of the document can be a good thing or a bad thing. Also, the Kindle experience does not support and also do not support multimedia files yet.
PDF - While PDFs are static and provide for the maintenance of complex and beautiful formatting, they can be limited in their ability to provide useful reading level data, as well as multimedia experiences.
The advantage of book level data
Not only does new ebook technology allows for multimedia-rich epubs to be read immediately in a browser or mobile experience, but it also allows for the interpretation of book level data, and as a marketer understanding consumer behavior is paramount. Book level data can show marketers a whole spectrum of information including basic data such as where readers are coming from and conversion from impression to preview to purchase, which all indicate macro trends of what graphic and written content readers respond more favorably to. Even more granular, book level data can show marketers how far readers have progressed through a book, which links they are clicking on within the book, and how much time they are spending at a specific point. All of these data points can be used together to create more compelling and engaging content that gets the results marketers want to see.
Heather Wied is the Marketing Director for Pubsoft. Follow @Pubsoft on Twitter.
Pubsoft is a digital publishing engine that is empowering the next generation of great publishers with an array of intuitive solutions to manage multiple facets of publishing and sales. The easy-to-use administration portal lets publishers instantly create and manage an ebook store for direct sales to consumers, drive social media-enabled marketing campaigns, deliver ebooks to mobile devices, manage authors and distribute royalties. With backend solutions that streamline administration and a unique interface that connects publishers, authors and readers with unparalleled transparency, Pubsoft is poised to change the way publishers operate in the 21st century. Learn more at www.pubsoft.com. Read our blog at http://pubsoft.com/pubsoft-university/.
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