With so much content available finding answers is typically not the problem. Finding them is. Let’s take a look at a few ebook marketing techniques from B2B SaaS companies that highlight their market expertise and get that content in front of their prospects.
Moz – SEO Software, Tools and Resources
Founded in 2004, Moz is a SEO software company specializing in products supporting search marketing, local search marketing, content marketing, and social media analytics. Part of the way they promote their online tools is by offering free webinars, quizzes, ebooks, and other learning materials.
Moz has a lot of expertise to share and they’ve embraced simplicity as a way to guide users to it. A quick tap or click on the Learn & Connect button at the top of the page drops down a quick list of learning options to get started with.
Topics are sorted into the three SEO categories that Moz excels at: local marketing, content, and social media. “Learn” buttons are sprinkled throughout the site in connection with these categories. Clicking one brings you to the relevant Learning Center and opens up the depth of knowledge available.
Surfacing related information is a major focus throughout Moz’s learning experience. Just about every page has a side bar offering other relevant topics and articles that the reader may want to move onto next.
Articles are tagged using no more than three clear key words such as on-page SEO, mobile, and copywriting to better sort blogs for Moz community users.
Like the rest of Moz’s site, most lessons are laid out using plain language. Topics are broken down into short paragraphs which are supported by infographics, colorful images, or short comics following company mascots Carl the Content Cat and Boss Penguin.
I’m especially impressed by the way ebooks are laid out on this site. The team at Moz makes e-learning especially easy by hosting their beginner guides online as web pages. Each guide is split into short, easy to consume chapters that link back to previously published Moz blogs for readers interested in getting deeper into the topic at hand.
Also offering each publication as a printable PDF right up front without requiring an email address or sign up is a big win in my book. It’s an easy way to put branded teaching materials in the hands a company’s SEO expert who’s just been asked to do a quick lunch and learn.
Demandbase – ABM Software Platform
DemandBase uses their B2B marketing technology to enhancing advertising campaigns using cloud-based solutions. While the DemandBase site sounds a little unfriendly (come on guys, use simple language!), it does an excellent job of sorting and curating content for the curious reader.
Having resources sortable by both content category and content type is incredibly helpful, especially as DemandBase has built quite the library of webinars, ebooks, case studies, and white papers.
Once you’ve found a desired ebook, all DemandBase asks for is a few pieces of key information. Why ask for this much? Simple! They’ll be using the data you fill in to better understand your needs when they follow up with more information about their products and industry.
Shortly after hitting the ‘Get the ebook’ button, Demandbase sends you an email with a direct link to view/download the ebook.
Success! DemandBase has excellent content and a fantastic way to help qualified prospects find it.
ContentMarketer.io – Influencer Research and Outreach Platform
ContentMarketer.io offers tools and training for content marketers in addition to their Connector and Notifier email and blogger outreach products.
Anyone looking for content marketing tips and tricks can find them sprinkled throughout ContentMarketer.io’s articles and how-to guides as tid-bits. The real meat here seems to be the ebooks and training courses offered for a small fee.
With so much visual space devoted to each article on their blog’s main page (http://blog.contentmarketer.io/) having a list of their most popular posts is a smart idea on ContentMarketer’s front. It helps to show a variety of topics, how popular their most current article is, and gives easy access to more content.
Training on ContentMarketer.io is offered in the form of a 10-week content marketing bootcamp. Each week, subscribers listen to an hour long seminar and are asked to apply the lessons to their business.
Their ebook The Content Marketer’s Guide to Data Storytelling is prominently displayed as free throughout the site. A few clicks later and you’re offered to pay what you want for the book on Gumroad.
Similarly, site visitors are encouraged to download the Content Marketing Playbook through sidebar ads, but a click on the learn more button takes you to a splash page to buy the book. Scrolling down reveals a preview button (offering a full third of the book) and calls on the power of social proof testimonials to boost its effectiveness.
Clicking on the How-to guide button drops down a menu listing several ContentMarketer.io blog posts curated for entry-level marketers. It’s a great way to surface blog content for someone looking to get their feet wet in the content marketing pool.
There’s lots of great information to be had on ContentMarketer.io. They do an especially good job at building trust with new readers by posting testimonials throughout the site.
Intercom – Customer Communication Platform
Intercom provides services that collect communication channels together to better connect customers with companies. By combining social and support channels, their products help keep messages consistent across web and mobile platforms.
A header dropdown menu is the chief way to navigate both Intercom’s main site and their blog. Under Products we’re prompted to Learn More about each of Intercom’s four major services.
Rolling over to Resources shows support documentation, customer testimonials, and more. Including a footer call to action that advertises their latest ebook, Intercom on Customer Support. This is a simple, attention-grabbing way to get the book in front of any visitor who uses the bar.
Intercom does an excellent job of keeping their latest ebook in front of visitors through call to action banners. However, previously published books can feel buried under everything else they’re throwing at you. For example, I recalled seeing a good piece on product management here awhile back, but after much digging the only link I could find to it on the site was from the current promoted ebook’s page.
Getting my hands on their latest book was quite simple though, it’s as easy as entering an email address and tapping a button. Two things occurred after tapping the Get it Free button:
- The ebook appeared in my inbox within seconds
- I was asked politely to share that I’d downloaded it on Twitter and/or Facebook
The ebook that I’d chosen to download, Intercom on Product Management, came wrapped in a simple email from Des at Intercom. Yes, it’s automated, but giving the sender a personality is one of those small touches that help build relationships with your brand.
There’s a few cool things going on here. First off, this ebook is available in ePub, Kindle, and PDF formats. Having those options available for eReader fans is a big plus. As it shows you’re thinking about your audience and the different ways they digest content.
Secondly, they’ve embedded shareable links to Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin into the email. When first downloading the ebook I may not be interested in sharing as I may be unsure about the quality, however now if I ever go back to download this ebook again though my email (presumably because I’ve read it and need to reference something) I can share it with friends and contacts.
Overall, Intercom offers a great ebook experience for the promoted book, but could do some work to highlight older successful content.
Here’s a few things you can do to guide potential readers on your site to the ebooks they need:
Make it shareable. Take advantage of the reader’s initial excitement and let them share the location of your book (or the book itself). Double down and add the ability to share after each chapter. The read is fresh in their mind and they’ll want to tell folks about it.
Break it down. Describe what the book has to offer by displaying chapter headers and infographics on the preview page.
Ask for less. The more information you ask for from a potential reader, the less I am in giving it. Do you really need to know my phone number and job title? If you can’t get a hold of me by email, a cold call isn’t going to help.
Link it. Don’t send me to another service to get your book.
Keep things simple. The more I have to dig to find your book, the less I want to read it. Surface your ebook as soon as possible and offer a direct link to the page highlighting it.
Offer suggestions. If a reader has clicked on an article, you’ll likely have another they’d be interested in. Why make them search for it?
Show value up front. You are an expert in your field. Show off a little using previews, testimonials, and excerpts.
Brandon Gains is the Growth Marketing Lead at Referral SaaSquatch. He uses a mix of analytics, design and development to work on the growth of our company. You can connect with him via email brandon at saasquat.ch, Twitter @brandongains and LinkedIn