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Turning an eBook download lead into a customer

Turning an eBook download lead into a customer

So you’ve just put the finishing touches on some fantastic ebook content, you’ve got it up on your website – and hey presto someone has downloaded it! Great stuff, now that you have a supply of new leads coming your way, what can you do with them next to convert all your hard work into actual business?

Let’s take a look at how applying a good inbound strategy can do just that.

What’s the difference between normal leads and ebook leads?

We get it, ebooks are a huge amount of work. Not only do you have to write some really good content, there’s then the formatting element and maybe even some graphics work to make them look really smart.

So why bother? What is so special about ebook leads compared to any other?

Quite simply ebook leads come to you red hot. These are people who have organically discovered your content on a topic (hopefully) related to your business offering. Not only that, but they were so interested in the area that they made the effort to download your ebook.

This is potentially the most engaged lead form you are going to get, other than those who have already opted to buy or have a demo of their own accord. They are certainly leagues ahead of any cold calling list or people who mosey over to bag a free pen at an event – and the likelihood of making a successful conversion is higher.

So how can you make the most of these valuable leads?

Ask the right questions in your gating process

The first essential point here is that you need to gate your content. This means placing any assets behind some sort of form, where lead information is captured in return for access. This form is the key to getting value from your leads – 100 downloads means nothing if you have no way of ever tracing those people again.

Which leads us to the big question – what should you include on your gate form to get the most value from your leads?

At first glance this can seem pretty simple; surely all you really need is a current email address so that you can contact leads in the future? From a very narrow perspective this is technically true and an email address is undoubtedly an essential component of the form. However using gate forms only to get contact information misses a huge opportunity to increase your conversion rate.

The best way to approach your gate form is to see it as an opportunity to learn as much relevant information about your leads as possible. Think how much easier it will be to gear your marketing process towards someone’s business needs when you actually know what those are!

With this in mind let’s have a look at the key organising principles behind your gated form:

  • How many questions? You want to hit a sweet spot here between not overwhelming potential leads while also capturing enough information to make the lead useful. This will probably fall somewhere between four to six basic questions (name, job title, email), or fewer if you want to ask something more in-depth (like what are your business priorities for 2018?).
  • Prioritise high value questions: This involves working out what it’s most important for you to know – and this will vary for every business. Basics like name and email address should always to be high on this list for the first time someone downloads an asset, but take time to think outside the box. If you had to call this person and convert them into a customer, what information would help you most?
  • Alter questions for different assets: Remember that you don’t have to ask the same questions for every asset. Different topics may make certain information more useful. Similarly by utilising cookies on your site you can ask repeat downloaders different questions each time to build up a more in-depth picture of who they are.
  • Remember to opt in: In the age of General Data Protection Regulations it’s never too early to get people opted in. You can also use this method as a way of getting people to opt into further assets or nurturing campaigns such as newsletters or even a demo.

Nurture, nurture, nurture

The golden rule of any successful inbound strategy – nurture your leads. It’s a process that is always essential, but with quality, engaged ebook leads, it’s even more so.

What exactly is the point of a nurture campaign?

A nurture campaign is a process designed to move leads down the inbound marketing sales funnel by keeping them continuously involved and engaged. This comprises of developing relationships with your potential buyers by continuously delighting and delivering them value. Value usually comes in the form of insights and useful content that applies to their business needs.

A successful nurture campaign should:

  • Not be a sales pitch – don’t just talk about your company and how wonderful you are. If you only talk about yourself people will tune out
  • Be helpful – provide value upfront, give contacts something that helps them before asking for something from them in return.
  • Be customer-centric – customers should feel empowered and valued by your business.
  • Be continually improved – constantly test, learn, and iterate to create an ever-better experience. Don’t just flick on autopilot.

For some more information on inbound marketing, check out our Inbound Marketing Best Practices in 2018 – the complete guide.

Setting up a nurture campaign

Once their information has been captured all of your ebook leads should be moved into a nurture campaign that you have set up. One of the easiest forms of nurture campaign to link to ebook leads is the email nurture campaign. This usually comprises of a number of emails sent out to leads at key intervals depending on their level of engagement.

There are a few key steps to setting up an email nurture campaign.


  • Identify your prospect’s biggest challenges
  • Determine which challenges your business can solve for them. These will be the CTAs (call to actions) you will use in your first email of your nurture campaign.
  • Identify which of your pieces of content could help prospects tackle the challenges you’ve identified and provide them with continuing value. If you don’t have content for a specific challenge this is a great exercise to identify opportunities for new content creation.

When a new prospect downloads an ebook and enters your database:

  1. Send them the first email in the nurture campaign. Ideally this will include three specific challenges they can choose from, and one “catch-all” – each should be a CTA.
  2. Based on which CTA the lead clicks, enroll them into a distinct nurture campaign associated with a specific challenge. If they don’t click a CTA, enroll them in the “catch-all” option.
  3. Once enrolled in the unique campaign, send a series of emails with the content you outlined above.
  4. When crafting your emails, think about providing value up front and focus the first few emails on addressing their specific challenge.
  5. Once you’ve provided value, aim for your goal, whether that’s encouraging them to book a demo, scheduling a consultation call, or something else.
  6. Collect data, analyse, and iterate.

Our top tips

To finish off let’s take you through some of our top tips for converting ebook leads into fully fledged customers:

Stop assuming you know what your customers want, ask them!

With all the technology at our disposal, marketers no longer have to stab around in the dark to fathom what a customer needs and wants – we can simply ask them. Whether it’s via email, using gated ebook forms or even on social media channels, make sure you are asking the questions that matter so you can help people solve problems.

Create strong persona templates

In a similar vein, make sure you are putting the work into create informative persona docs based on real data from your target audience. This lets you make sure that your nurture campaigns and content are relevant and useful to your audience.

Solve people’s problems, don’t just talk about your product

The key to converting your inbound leads is showing them how you will solve THEIR problems. Mindlessly advertising how wonderful you are impresses no one. Show people how you are relevant to them.

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Cathy Breed
Cathy Breed About the author

With a degree from Downing College at Cambridge University and experience as a Marketing Executive in London Cathy comes to the Castleford Blog with a reputation for deep research and high-level subject-matter expertise. Her current writing portfolio covers artificial intelligence, financial services, the property sector and not-for-profits. Clients include Stackchat, Surf Life Saving New South Wales, Fiserv and Investa.

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