When the idea for an eBook marketing strategy post popped up in a team meeting, it was discussed, unanimously approved, and quickly put on the content calendar. Once it was deemed I should write it, I began thinking about my intro (or my hook, as the youngsters like to call it).
A quote, I thought. Quotes are fun and intriguing. But then I started researching strategy quotes and realized choosing the right quote is sometimes as hard as writing the post!
In the end, I settled on a quote from the great Chinese general, military strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, because how can you go wrong with the dude who wrote The Art of War?
Kidding aside, many of Sun Tzu’s teachings and beliefs are as relevant today as they were 2000 years ago, especially on the extremely competitive business battlefield. I chose this quote because many marketers and marketing teams ultimately decide to invest in a strategy when they discover the truth in Sun Tzu’s words:
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
For companies out there doing a little bit of everything just to see what sticks, this is your cue to stop, step back, and assess what you’ve actually accomplished. According to Sun Tzu, it’s unlikely you’re winning.
For us here at WSI, we’ve always had a strategy, but what we realized – and this is something we talk about often on the blog – that excess and speed are not the greatest attributes of a marketing strategy. In retrospect, we may have fallen victim to the idea that more is better.
The results of us trying to stuff too much meat into our strategy were good but not great numbers. We knew we could improve, which is exactly what we set out to do in 2017.
Instead of a strategy with too many tactics, we wanted a way to narrow our focus and trim down the overall output. After much discussion, we launched an eBook marketing strategy – and here’s how we did it.
For our eBook marketing strategy, the main goal is to generate qualified leads. In this case, a lead is “qualified” when they fill out a contact form, essentially telling us, “Hey, we need your help!”
Simple, right? Every business needs qualified leads. But we’re constantly surprised by how many businesses take a lackadaisical approach to filling their marketing funnel.
Granted, it takes time and a lot of research to put together a great marketing strategy, but it’s well worth the effort. By outlining our eBook marketing strategy, we hope to provide a blueprint for businesses wondering where to start.
With any strategy, there’s a main goal – in our case, those qualified leads! – but there are also stepping-stone goals that advance potential customers toward the finish line.
The first and biggest one of these stones is to get users to download our 30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips, Tricks & Ideas eBook. This is a free offer – sometimes called a carrot – that provides free, actionable lead generation advice for businesses and marketers. It’s our way of showing our audience, instead of just telling, we really do know what we’re talking about.
The hope is the free value of the eBook is enough to get potential customers to download it, thus entering our marketing funnel. Once there, it’s second star to the right and straight on to filling out a contact form and getting in touch with us directly!
Remember Sun Tzu’s words about tactics and strategy? Here’s where they come in handy.
When you have a goal – a clear, well defined and attainable goal, not some willy-nilly pipe dream – the tactics fall into place in order to achieve that goal. I don’t want to outright say that a goal is a strategy, but knowing what you want your audience to accomplish, instead of merely hoping they do something good, makes marketing easier.
Our eBook marketing strategy is straightforward. We use the tactics and channels our audience is interested in and active on to drive them to download our eBook. Then provide those who download the eBook with an easy way to ask for our help if and when they decide they need it.
Admittedly, there are a ton of moving parts in order to execute those tactics and stay active on those channels, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
For now, here’s a brief snapshot of the tactics we use to drive our eBook marketing strategy forward:
As you can see, social ads, blog posts, remarketing, email, social media and PPC all work together in unison to help drive as many interested people as possible into our marketing funnel. These tactics, along with our main goal, are an eBook marketing strategy.
So, those six tactics at the top of the marketing funnel – are you thinking they’re too much? Heck no!
We discussed overuse earlier, but when each tactic has an active purpose and doesn’t put your team on overload (this is a huge no-no) then fire away! In fact, we use even more tactics during the re-engagement process when a lead doesn’t download the eBook (but we can’t give away all our secrets so that’s a story for another day).
Ah, the most important phase of any marketing strategy: execution. More than the strategy and tactics phases, this is where things can go awry, mainly because it involves the doing.
That image of our eBook marketing strategy laid out on paper? That’s easy to do. Technically, you could do that in MS Paint.
Executing that strategy, however, is another story.
We had a designer, a campaign coordinator, a writer and a social media marketer work on the initial components of the strategy, like email content, design layouts, social posts and spreadsheets with timelines and responsibilities. Each of these team members continues to work on the strategy, writing and scheduling blog and social posts, running ad campaigns, tweaking landing pages, troubleshooting ad hoc issues and, most importantly, handling qualified leads as they come in.
If that sounds like a lot of work, trust us, it is. But you know what? It’s worth it, and we believe the results will speak for themselves.
What Can You Do?
For marketers and teams who have never attempted a strategy of this scale, there’s no shame in starting smaller. Especially if you have fewer available resources. If you have the means though, the more people you can attract and dump into the funnel, the better.
To businesses without the time or resources to implement any kind of dedicated marketing strategy, don’t let that get in your way. Before you go running for the hills, consider this: marketing is an investment, not an expense. A strategy doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective, but in any case, the whole idea is that you'll get your investment back.
Rather than assuming you can’t afford it or waiting until next time, it can’t hurt to find out what we can offer you right now. We’d love to help you create and deliver a strategy, all you have to do is ask!