B-to-B Insights: Is a Free Book the Answer When It Comes to Lead Generation?
I’m working for several marketers whose campaigns are centered on the offer of a free book. But in an age where it seems everyone is publishing a book, is a free book still an effective offer? In my opinion and experience, yes. Let me share with you why.
It’s All About the Perceived Value
While the proliferation of PDF e-books and Kindle e-books has challenged the traditional book publishing industry, a book still has a perceived value that many other lead magnets do not.
For instance, marketers all know that the price tag of whitepapers is zero, and people tend to value free advice according to what they paid for it — nothing. I actually don’t believe that free whitepapers and special reports have no value, but they do have a perceived low value.
A book, by comparison, can sell for anywhere from $10 to $40, or more. So when you offer prospects a free book, they grab it because people like getting something of value for free.
My colleague, Jeffrey Lant, famously said that “A book is a brochure that will never be thrown away.” People click away whitepapers and file sales brochures without a second thought. But they have a harder time tossing a nicely produced book in the trash, because they hesitate to throw away something of value.
Also, despite the explosive increase in the number of print books and e-books, being a book author gives you a certain cache that a whitepaper or technical paper does not. But which is better: a PDF e-book, a Kindle e-book, or a paperbound book? Each has its pros and cons.
The Players and Their Strategies
PDF e-books can be short and hone in on very narrow topics. So when you offer them in emails, banner ads, and other promotions, you can get a significant number of downloads and inquiries. The request for the book is fulfilled right away, so prospects don’t wait for their content.
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at www.bly.com or call (973) 263-0562.