It probably won’t surprise you to know that people do most of their reading online. Newspapers, blogs, even full-text magazines, and books are being digitized for electronic reading, making paper media ever more obsolete. In fact, many print publications are in a dire situation. They are scrambling to figure out how to monetize their publication through online means.
So it makes sense that if you are going to write a free guide to give away to your customers, you should always have the material available electronically, whether or not you publish a paper copy. For many of your potential clients, e-books will be their preferred reading method.
E-books have some advantages over printed guides. They are free to create, cost nothing to disseminate to the public, and they are paperless—making them the most powerful of marketing tools for law firms.
In addition to taking much less of your marketing budget, your law firm’s e-book can add to your:
- Expert validation. When someone introduces you, they usually follow it with “of so-and-so law firm”—just to give someone a frame of reference as to what you do and where you work. However, after you have written a book, people may refer to you as “author of Guide to Getting Full Custody after a California Divorce,” establishing what you do and how well you do it. You wrote a book on it, after all!
- Name recognition. If you submit articles and blog posts to other websites (and you should), members of the media will add your book title to your byline, adding to your credibility and spurring potential clients to click on the free book link (via your website, of course).
- Multi-media campaign. How do people choose what to read? The same way they choose anything else: recommendations. By integrating the book with your social media accounts, you’re offering your customers a way to share, like, and link your book to their friends.
E-books are one of the best gateways to your law firm because the barrier to entry is very low for the potential client. If you are sending them a printed book, you will need their full name, home address, and probably their phone number. Few potential clients will be willing to give you that information before they learn more about your law firm and your practice. If you offer them a free PDF first, they will be more likely to come back to your website and order one of your print books.
Remember: it’s not enough to offer your customers free information; they have to want to read it. Everything about your book should make the customer feel like he would be a fool not to order a copy.