How To Design A Marketing Ebook That Wows Your Audience

Ever wanted to design a marketing ebook for your business? Well, you’re in good company! Marketers love ebooks. They can help with increasing brand awareness, building up trust amongst your potential customers, and building up your email list. 

Ebook Design

And the best part about these lead magnets is that they don’t look like marketing on the surface. That’s because ebooks solve a problem, explain a process, and/or reveal tips and tricks to your audience. Since they’re full of valuable content, the fact that they’re branded or point to your website for more information doesn’t come across as too salesy. 

And the way customers access your ebooks doesn’t feel like a complicated process either. They simply provide their emails in exchange for information they will benefit from.

When you offer your customers a helpful ebook, it comes across as a gesture of goodwill. This in turn earns you the trust and favour of your target audience, while helping with increasing brand awareness. These perks are why ebooks are one of the top 3 highest performing types of content to generate leads (behind in-person events and webinars/online events). And they’re one of the top 10 types of content B2B marketers use, overall.

As with all marketing strategies, design matters. You can have a great concept and content, but if you don’t translate that into a great design you’ll give your audience a bad impression about your brand.  

So let’s take a look at the dos and don’ts of designing an ebook that wows your audience!

Your Ebook’s Topic

Don’t panic about coming up with something completely original. When you’re thinking about the topic or topics you could cover in your ebook you’ve got 3 helpful sources at your fingertips. 

  1. Your top-performing content (e.g. your blogs, pages on your site).
  2. Your audiences’ questions. What does your team most often receive inquiries about? What is your audience often discussing? Or searching? Keyworddit is a handy tool you can use here. You just enter a subreddit from reddit (a specific online community) and Keyworddit will mine the threads within it to provide you with key word suggestions. Answer The Public is another useful tool that allows you to get insights into what people are searching for based on autocomplete data from search engines. Organize your results by country to get more specific insights.
  3. High performing content. Buzzsumo and Ahrefs’ Content Explorer are both tools that can help you with identifying content that’s already doing well with your audience.

The topic you choose should be appealing to your customers and be something that you can speak to with authority. If possible, try to put a unique spin on to it that your competitors have not. And present that unique spin in your ebook’s title.

Your Ebook’s Content

Now that you have a topic, let’s talk about content. Make sure that you have done enough research to answer your audience’s questions, and address the problems they are facing thoroughly. 

When you promote your ebook, no doubt you’ll be singing its praises and highlighting all the reasons it’ll be valuable for your audience. By writing your ebook after doing due diligence in researching your topic, you’ll live up to the promise you’ve made to your customers. This is one of the ways an ebook helps you build trust with your audience.

Especially when you include premium content that you haven’t published elsewhere and are making exclusively available to those who download your ebook.

Another way to gain trust with an ebook is through consistency with your brand. When you write out your content, it should be consistent with your brand voice. This way when your audience visits your site to learn more, it reinforces the values you have to offer.

Your Ebook’s Layout

There’s no one layout to follow when you design a marketing ebook. Ebooks can be designed in portrait or landscape orientations. Landscape is usually favoured by those who have a lot of visuals they’d like to include (think charts, pictures, infographics, etc). Depending on your layout, landscape orientation can also allow for 2 columns of text. This can keep your lines of text short, and easier to read.

Portrait orientation is usually favoured by those who have more text in their content, and want the typical book experience. The one word of caution here is that it’s important to design your ebook so that your margins keep your lines of text at just the right length. You want your readers to walk away feeling informed. Not that they’ve just tired their eyes out.

Once you’ve got your overall layout decided, you’ll want to consider the layout of your individual pages too. Be sure to include a table of contents so that your audience knows what will be covered in your ebook and can skip to relevant sections as they please.

Once you’re past the table of contents, keep in mind that you need enough variety in your ebook designs to appeal to your readers’ short attention spans. The sight of a wall of text will probably make them want to hit delete more than flipping to the next page.

Here are few ways you can add some variety to your page layouts:

  • Headlines! Try to limit your use of different font sizes. Typically we’d recommend 3, but there are some cases where you could use up to 5.  This includes your title headlines, subheadings, body text, smaller headings (if applicable), and image captions (if applicable).
  • Lists! They can be numbered or bulleted or even checklists. But include lists because they’re easy to scan and also a great way to summarize different sections.
  • Icons! Using icons is a great way to visually reinforce the key point in your text. Consider replacing bullet points with icons when you have long sections of text.
  • Images! Stock photos, custom illustrations – whatever is consistent with your brand, use it to keep your ebook design engaging. Get more mileage out of your pictures by including interesting captions along with them.
  • Screenshots! Yes, screenshots. They can easily help you display what you’re explaining to your audience. Or can refer to a video that you link the screenshot to. Just be sure to confirm that you can include the screenshot in your ebook and include the appropriate mention of the source.

Your Ebook’s Design

Your ebook’s cover should be simple but striking. You can achieve this with a great image or through the use of an eye-catching font. Think about the different placements your ebook will have when considering which option to go with (e.g. the thumbnail where it will be downloaded, banners, any other promotional materials).

In general, visual elements play a large part in the success of an ebook. We’re talking fonts, images, elements, colours – pretty much everything you’d find in your brand style guide

This isn’t just because of how engaging visuals are. But because they’re how you’re going to link your ebook to your brand. So it’s important that you edit every element to complement and reinforce your branding. You can do this by colour correcting images, for example. Or redesigning charts or graphics to include your fonts and primary or complementary colour palettes.

Try to follow these tips:

  • Use a light background if possible, especially if you’ve got a lot of text. It makes it easier to read off of.
  • Use a dark colour for your body text. You can opt to include additional colours as accents for headlines or keywords, but use your discretion. Too many accents can make your design cluttered.
  • Be sure to add a link colour for hyperlinks. You want your suggestions for more resources or special offers to stand out!
  • Try to use 3-4 colours, max. And try to use them consistently (i.e. use the same colours for the same types of elements) so that your audience doesn’t have to figure out what’s going on each page.

Another way to incorporate strong visuals when you design a marketing ebook is to include custom graphics. Your custom graphics can be images, illustrations, or stylized representations of your statistics, quotes, and other forms of data.

The important thing is that each element has enough negative space around it to make it stand out, clearly. And that the hierarchy between pieces of information is clear (i.e. the biggest, boldest elements are the most important and/or the ones you want your reader to focus on first).

When it comes to fonts, you can strictly follow what’s in your brand style guide. Or you can consider incorporating a complementary font. Especially if you’ve never created an ebook before and you don’t have a set of fonts that are just right in your style guide. Just be sure that all your fonts are readable, and to use your font sizes to prioritize the importance of the information presented on each page (e.g. headlines should be your largest text, and body text, and captions the smallest). 

Your Ebook’s CTAs

Interestingly enough, promoting your ebook starts with what’s on the inside of your ebook. While it shouldn’t be too salesy, it should definitely have links to helpful resources and a call to action within it. 

Your links to helpful resources can and should include your own offerings of course. And links to helpful external services or products that aren’t your direct competitors. If you can negotiate a discount for your audience, that they can access through your exclusive link, even better.

Be sure to make screenshots link to the related content on your site or landing page. And the same goes for images of your products or services.

As for your CTAs, you can include them in a couple of ways. One is including a summary at the end of each section, including the phrase “learn more here”. Then simply link to the relevant content or landing page.

Your final CTA has only one place. Since it’s what you want your audience to do after reading your ebook, it’ll be at the end. Make sure it’s something specific. Then provide information on how to take that action in a way that’s relevant to your ebook content.

Some ideas for ebooks CTAs include – buying a product, booking a consultation, signing up for a free trial, subscribing to a YouTube channel or podcast, or accessing a limited time offer.

Promoting Your Ebook

First thing’s first. Make sure your ebook is shareable, by including links within it to share on social platforms. Have the links direct to your landing page and not the book itself. This is important so that you can gather more insight into those who are accessing your ebook and grow your email list.  

And speaking of your landing page – be sure to have one ready to go! It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but is an important part of an ebook campaign.

Repurpose the content in your ebook to entice your audiences to learn more. A few ideas are blog posts, emails, infographics, explainer videos, and/or podcasts that are based on your ebook.

Use this promotional content on your owned media and in paid ad opportunities. Your owned media,  means your website, blog, and social channels. You can use a combination of banners, links to your content, or directly upload your content.

Run social and email marketing campaigns with your existing email list. For the email marketing campaigns, test out different series of emails to see what gets tractions. And for the social campaigns, try out different creatives and captions to see what gets more clicks.

You can also try out guest blogging and including links to your ebook for readers to learn more about the particular topic. And paid opportunities to run banner and email marketing campaigns to relevant audiences.

Now that you are armed with tips on how to design a marketing ebook that wows your audience, try it out! Sharing your expertise is about to pay off in more engagement and leads!