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Generate Leads with eBooks

August 07 2012

ebookThis morning, I downloaded an eBook related to online marketing. And then, a thought hit me: "Wait a minute . . . real estate agents or brokers could be creating these eBooks and using them to generate leads!" I'm probably not the first person to have thought of this, but I do believe it's an idea that has potential. So let's explore it a bit.

eBooks Defined

There are many different kinds of eBooks. You may be familiar with eBooks as digital versions of your old favorite novels, to be read on your Kindle. However, an eBook can also be much shorter than War and Peace, used for business rather than pleasure, and, if it is the right file type (i.e. PDF), can be read on any electronic device – such as your iPad, laptop, or desktop computer.

The kind of short, sweet eBook I'd encourage real estate agents to create should be printable (thus, you should avoid adding animation and video). However, it's important to take advantage of the digital format – the primary benefit being the ability to add links, enriching the reader's experience and providing more traffic for your blog/website/etc. Of course, a great eBook will also use a large font size and images (which must be legally obtained).

HubSpot is an example of someone who publishes professionally-focused eBooks regularly – I'd recommend taking a peek at one of their eBooks to get an idea of what you should be aiming for.

How to Leverage eBooks for Marketing

How can eBooks help you build your business? I see two main uses:

  • Generating Leads. A great way to attract new leads is to provide some sort of value up front. If you post a link to download your eBook on your website, you can require that readers submit basic contact information in order to complete the download. You can tell what they're interested in by which eBook they've downloaded and can reach out to them to offer further assistance. You can even print out your eBook and use it when you're door-knocking or have it up on your iPad during showings.
  • Retaining Existing Customers. Email your eBook to existing customers as a reference during the real estate purchase/sales process. Haven't heard from one of your contacts in a while and want to breathe new life into the relationship? Use your eBook as an excuse to reach out to them.

eBooks for REALTORS®

An eBook has to have a topic, right? There has to be a reason for your current or prospective customers to want to download it. Here are a few topics that I see for real estate agents or brokers:

  • "Guide to Preparing Your Home for a Showing" (for sellers)
  • "10 Tips for Finding Your Dream Home" (for buyers)
  • "10 Things to Expect During Your Closing" (for sellers)
  • "10 Key Factors of [Your Community]'s Real Estate Market" (for buyers)

Do you have a blog? Use your analytics to determine which of your blog posts were most popular and use that as inspiration for topics. You can even pull some of the content directly from your blog. And, of course, you can link to your blog from within the eBook.

Creating an eBook

There are loads of free or low-cost tools for eBook creation out there. But the simplest way to create an eBook might just be to compose the pages in a design/publishing application (such as Adobe InDesign) and then export them as a PDF file to Adobe Acrobat, where you will add the hyperlinks and navigation. As these eBooks I'm encouraging you to create won't be sold for the Kindle (which would cost you money and make the process more complicated), I think this is probably the way I'd recommend getting started. However, if there's an eBook creation tool you use and recommend, please comment below and spread the love.