Trading an e-book for a potential customer’s contact information is one of the purest forms of content marketing. This is an effective way for B2B sellers to find their next customer.
B2B companies deliver the products that e-commerce and omnichannel vendors sell to the general public.
I was recently reminded how a simple e-book can be a great B2B customer acquisition tool when I downloaded one from Affirm, the personal loan company, in exchange for my LinkedIn profile information and email address.
Here are some of the things I learned from Affirm’s e-book.
Using an eBook for B2B Lead Generation
1. Create a lead. Affirm’s e-book was believed to have been developed as a lead capture device. Look at the evidence.
- It was featured in an ad on LinkedIn.
- The title “5 Customer Acquisition Tactics You May Be Missing” capitalizes on the fear of missing out.
- Lists attract clicks; Listings are sometimes viewed as link bait.
- The ad was almost certainly directed at me because of my e-commerce work.
- The fifth tactic in Affirm’s e-book is your own service. It prepares the reader for Affirm’s follow-up.
2. Combine with ads. I define content marketing as the process of creating, publishing and promoting content with the aim of attracting, retaining and retaining customers.
In practice, marketers often make a point of creating and posting content, but not promoting it. This is a mistake if your goal is lead capture. So I welcome Affirm’s decision to buy e-book ads.
This doesn’t mean that you should promote every new blog post. However, if you have a lead capture ebook, you can buy great ads with compelling graphics and a clickable title.
3. Your e-book can be short. This affirm e-book is short. The PDF is just eight pages, including a title page and an “About Confirm” page. There are fewer than 1,100 words, 107 on the About Approve page. This article is approximately 700 words long.
In my opinion, Affirm’s e-book was too short. But the point is, you don’t have to build a massive grave to get leads. Your e-book can be short and focused. Provide enough content to keep the promise in your title and advertising. That’s all you need
E-books are within reach of your company.
4. A small value is still worth. Offer something of value when you ask a prospect for an email address and, implicitly, permission to contact them. This is reciprocity – trading in valuables for the mutual benefit of two parties (your company and your potential customers).
However, the value you offer should be proportional to what you ask in return. My email address is worth something. But it is not worth creating an entire encyclopedia, for example. A list of sensible customer acquisition tactics that Affirm has offered seems fair.
Make sure that the value you are providing is worth your potential customers.
5. Automation. Even though I downloaded the e-book directly from the LinkedIn ad after sharing my email address, I still received an email from Affirm with a link to the e-book and a marketing message.
I suspect Affirm was initiating a marketing automation workflow when my email address was captured. I will probably get a few more emails on the show.
You should also take this into account for your e-book. Develop an automation flow that leads your new prospect to be more engaged. The content opened the door to a new relationship with your company, but you still need to nurture it.
Borrow from others
Affirm’s marketing team did a pretty good job with the e-book. It captured my contact information and intrigued me enough to write this article. But it wasn’t perfect. You can do better than that.
Build on Affirm’s example for your next lead capture campaign.