The Marketing Word | Differentiation Marketing

Are Ebooks Dead as Opt-In Bribes?

As most of you already know, your opt-in bribe is that freebie that you offer to people in exchange for their name and email address. If your opt-in bribe sounds interesting enough, people will gladly fill their information in the form. For years, marketers offered a “special report” (or it’s much sexier cousin, the white paper) or an ebook. It eventually evolved into audios and videos. The typical freebie was downloadable because there was no cost to the marketer.

Then someone upped the game by offering a “Free DVD” (just pay shipping and handling). The shipping and handling usually covered the cost of the DVD and people got something tangible, something they could hold in their hot little hands. Unfortunately, whether they got a DVD or downloaded a video, the content was the same.

I think the real problem with ebooks is that most of them, particularly the freebies, really suck. The information is superficial at best. The “authors” use a huge font and lots of pictures to make it look like there’s more to the book than there is. (Kind of like those 100 word reports you had to do as a kid: “I liked the book because it was very, very, very, very, very, interesting. 13 words. 87 to go…”)

I remember attending a seminar given by a woman whose product was a series of letters (this was very early on in marketing days). Supposedly, these letters worked “like magic” to get a higher response from a direct mail list. She would put the letter up on the screen (using an overhead projector and transparencies – remember those?) and then quickly cover it up so people in the audience couldn’t see (and copy down) the letter. My conclusion? She had nuthin. She had somehow managed to stretch a few letters into a course on direct mail, but the heart of her product was the series of letters. She may have sold some, but I am sure her return rate was fairly high.

People search the internet for information. If you want people to become your fans and buy your stuff, then you can’t give them crap. They are looking for quality information. Your opt-in bribe, in whatever form you serve it, needs to show people that you have the information (or product) they are searching for. You need to be confident enough to share some of your best information. An ebook gives you the space you need to showcase your knowledge and the benefits you bring to your clients. And if “ebook” isn’t sexy enough, call it The Universally Magic - Banned in Boston -Secrets THEY Don’t Want You to Know – Underground and Undercover Chronicles. Just make sure you give people information they want and can use. They’ll come back for more.

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