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How to Create an Ebook From Start to Finish [Free Ebook Templates]

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How to Create an Ebook From Start to Finish [Free Ebook Templates]

Learning how to create an ebook can be overwhelming. Not only do you have to write the content, but you also need to design and format it into a professional-looking document that people will want to download and read.

You might already be familiar with fiction or non-fiction ebooks, but what exactly is an ebook in the marketing industry, and why do they deliver such great results for marketers?

In this post, you’ll learn:

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36 Free Ebook Templates – Download Now

ebook templates from hubspot

Download HubSpot’s 36 free ebook templates to create an ebook on PowerPoint, Google Slides, or Adobe InDesign.

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Ebook Benefits

In 2021, ebook sales increased 38% for publisher HarperCollins, following a trend of increased revenue earnings for the company. Although this is a snapshot of one publisher’s success, it speaks to a more significant movement toward digital content consumption among marketers.

Lead magnets come in many forms, but the ebook still reigns supreme. They give the reader:

  • In-depth digital content in an environment largely overrun with quick headlines and soundbites
  • Visual data that compliments the editorial content
  • On-demand access to the ebook content

Your business benefits from publishing an ebook, too. Turning a profit, acquiring new customers, generating buzz, and becoming an industry thought leader are just a few advantages of this type of content.

Let’s say, however, that you have a fantastic blog full of long-form content. Why in the world would you want to offer your readers an ebook? Is it even worth your time?

Here are some advantages ebooks offer content creators:

  • Unlike long-form printed publications purchased in-store or shipped, an ebook is immediately accessible whenever you’re ready to read.
  • You can put it behind an opt-in or “gate,” incentivizing your website visitor to become a lead if they want the information.
  • In some ways, ebooks have design capabilities like in-depth charts, graphs, and full-page images, which you may not be able to achieve on your blog.
  • After the initial creation of the ebook, you can distribute the file a multitude of times with no additional production cost. They also have no associated shipping fees.
  • You can embed links to other media in the ebook file, encouraging the reader to engage with your content further.

Perhaps more importantly, ebooks offer several advantages for your audience:

  • Ebooks are incredibly portable and can be stored on many devices without any associated physical storage space.
  • The reader gets the choice to print the ebook out if they want to consume the information in a traditional physical format. Otherwise, the digital format is environmentally friendly.
  • Ebooks are more accessible, giving readers the ability to increase font sizes and/or read aloud with text-to-speech.
  • They’re also easily searchable if the reader is looking for something specific.

Moreover, with lead generation being the top goal for content marketing, ebooks are an essential part of a successful inbound marketing program.

In this post, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of creating an ebook by, well, creating an ebook. And if you’re worried about your lacking design skills, we’ve got you covered.

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Got your free ebook templates? Ready to make an ebook? Great — let’s get to it.

What ebook file format should you use?

Ebooks can be saved in one of several formats. Depending on your end-user, though, you might find a use for any of the following file types:

PDF

PDFs are likely the most well-known file type. The “PDF” extension stands for “Portable Document Format,” and is best for ebooks that are meant to be read on a computer (digital marketers, you’ll want to remember this one). We’ll talk more about how to save your ebook as a PDF later in this article.

EPUB

This file type stands for “Electronic Publication,” and is a more flexible ebook format. By that, I mean EPUB ebooks can “reflow” their text to adapt to various mobile devices and tablets, allowing the ebook’s text to move on and off different pages based on the device’s size on which a user is reading the ebook. They’re particularly helpful for viewing on smaller screens, such as smartphones and the Nook from Barnes and Noble.

MOBI

The MOBI format originated from the Mobipocket Reader software, which was purchased by Amazon in 2005 but was later shut down in 2016. However, the MOBI file extension remains a popular ebook format compatible across the major e-readers (except the Nook).

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While the format has some limitations, such as not supporting audio or video, it supports DRM, which protects copyrighted material from being copied for distribution or viewed illegally.

Newer Kindle formats are based on the original MOBI file types.

AZW

This is an ebook file type designed for the Kindle, an e-reader device by Amazon. However, users can also open this file format on smartphones, tablets, and computers.

ODF

ODF stands for OpenDocument Format, a file type meant primarily for OpenOffice, a series of open-source content creation programs similar to Microsoft Office.

IBA

IBA is the proprietary ebook format for the Apple iBooks Author app. This format does support video, sound, images, and interactive elements, but it is only used for books written in iBooks. It is not compatible with other e-readers.

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Ebooks can increase the visibility and credibility of your business while positioning your brand as a thought leader in your industry. However, these ebooks can sometimes be hard to write, even though they offer many benefits.

Here are some proven tips to help you write excellent ebooks.

1. Choose a topic that matches your audience’s needs.

Remember: The goal of your ebook is to generate leads for your sales team, so pick a topic that will make it easy for a prospect to go from downloading your ebook to having a conversation with your sales team.

This means your ebook shouldn’t deviate much from the topics you cover in your other content distribution channels.

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Rather, it’s your opportunity to do a deep dive into a subject you’ve only lightly covered until now, but something your audience wants to learn more about.

For example, in listening to sales and customer calls here at HubSpot, I’ve learned that creating ebooks is a massive obstacle for our audience, who are marketers themselves. So if I can provide not only this blog post but resources to make ebook creation easier, I’m focusing on the right topic that will naturally lead to a sales conversation.

Here are some sample ebook titles to consider to get your creative juices flowing.

  • X Best Practices for [Insert Industry/Topic]
  • An Introduction to [Insert Industry/Topic]
  • X Common Questions About [Insert Industry/Topic] Answered
  • X [Insert Industry/Topic] Statistics For Better Decision-Making
  • Learn From The Best: X [Insert Industry/Topic] Experts Share Insights

(Note: Replace “x” with an appropriate number.) You can also use our free Blog Topic Generator tool to develop more ideas. Most blog topics can be comprehensive enough to serve as longer-form ebook topics.

For this blog post, I will use the PowerPoint version of template two from our collection of five free ebook templates. Through each section of this post, I’ll provide a side-by-side of the template slide and how I customized it.

Below, you’ll see my customized cover with my sales-relevant ebook topic. For help with writing compelling titles for your ebooks, check out the tips in this blog post.

an ebook template side-by-side with the customized version of that template

2. Outline each chapter of your ebook.

The introduction to your ebook should set the stage for the book’s content and draw the reader in.

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What will you cover in your ebook? How will the reader benefit from reading it? For tips on how to write an effective introduction, check out this post.

Some ebook creators say that an ebook is simply a series of blog posts stitched together. While I agree you should treat each chapter as an individual blog post, the chapters of your ebook should also flow fluidly from one to the other.

The best way to outline your ebook is by thinking of it as a crash course on the sales-relevant topic you selected. In my example of creating an ebook, I know I need to cover how to:

  • Write effective copy
  • Design an ebook
  • Optimize ebooks for lead generation and promotion

While my example has a few chapters, keep in mind that your ebook does not need to be lengthy.

Here’s a golden rule to follow regarding ebook length: Write what is needed to educate your audience about your selected topic effectively.

If your ebook requires five pages, great! If it requires 30 pages, so be it. Just don’t waste words thinking you need to write a lengthy ebook.

Let’s now move on to the actual copy you’re writing.

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an example of ebook copy within an ebook template

3. Break down each chapter as you write.

Get writing! Here, you can approach each chapter the way you might write a long blog post — by compartmentalizing each chapter into smaller sections or bullet points, as shown in the picture below.

This helps you write simply and clearly, rather than using sophisticated language to convey each point. It’s the most effective way to educate readers and help them understand the new material you’re providing.

Be sure to maintain a consistent structure across each chapter, as well. This helps you establish natural transitions between each chapter so there’s a clear progression from one chapter to the next (simply stitching blog posts together can rob you of this quality).

These practices should hold true for all your other marketing efforts, such as email marketing, call-to-action creation, and landing page development. “Clarity trumps persuasion,” as Dr. Flint McGlaughlin of MECLABS often says.

Want to make sure you’re keeping your ebook exciting for readers? Here are some key tips to keep in mind:

  • Use keywords in the title that emphasize the value of your offer. Examples include adjectives like “amazing,” “awesome,” or “ultimate.”
  • Keep your format consistent, so you create a mental model for readers and enhance their understanding of the material.
  • When appropriate, use formatting — like bulleted lists, bold text, italics, and font size changes — to draw people’s eyes to your most important content or emphasize specific points you want readers to remember.

an example of ebook formatting

4. Design your ebook.

Our downloadable ebook templates are offered in both PowerPoint and InDesign. For this example, we’ll show you how to do it in PowerPoint, since more people have access to that software. (If you need a refresher, here’s a beginner-friendly guide on how to use PowerPoint.)

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We only have one “chapter page” in the template (slide three). To create additional chapter pages, or any pages really, simply right-click the slide and choose Duplicate Slide. This will make a copy of your slide and allow you to drag it to its proper place in your ebook via the sidebar or Slide Sorter section of PowerPoint. You can then customize it for any subsequent chapters.

an example of duplicating ebook pages in a template

5. Use the right colors.

Ideally, our free ebook templates would magically match your brand colors. But they probably don’t; this is where you get to truly personalize your work. However, because ebooks offer more real estate for color than your logo or website, it’s good to consider secondary colors within your brand’s color palette. Ebooks are where this color scheme can truly shine.

To learn how to add your brand’s colors to PowerPoint, check out this blog post. That way, you can customize the color scheme in our ebook templates to match your brand!

6. Incorporate visuals.

Images and graphics in ebooks are hard to get right. The key to making them fit well is to think of them as complementary to your writing. Whether you add them during or after you’ve finished writing your ebook’s copy, your visuals should serve to highlight an important point you’re making or deconstruct the meaning of a concept in an easy-to-understand, visual way.

Images shouldn’t just be there to make the ebook easy on the eyes. Rather, they should be used to enhance the reader’s understanding of the material you’re covering. If you need help gathering visuals, we have three sets of free stock photos that might help you along the way:

And if you’re compiling a data-heavy ebook, you might want to download our free data visualization ebook for tips about designing compelling charts and graphs for your content.

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an example of using visuals in ebook template

7. Highlight quotes or stats.

Another way to enhance your ebook is by highlighting quotes or stats within your design. Just be sure the quote or stat you’re using genuinely adds value to the content.

Whether you’re emphasizing a quote or adding a visual, keep all your content within the same margins. If your copy is consistently one-inch indented on your page from both the left and right sides, keep your designed elements aligned using that same spacing.

an example of a highlighted quote on an ebook template

8. Place appropriate calls to action within your ebook.

Now that your content is written and designed, it’s time to optimize it for lead generation, reconversion, and promotion.

Think about how you got here — you clicked on a call-to-action (CTA) in an email, on a social media post, or somewhere else. A CTA is a link or visual object that entices the visitor to click and arrive at a landing page that will get them further engaged with your company.

Since your ebook readers have probably converted into leads to get their hands on your ebook, use the CTAs within your ebook to reconvert your readers and propel them further down your marketing funnel.

For instance, a CTA can lead to another offer, your annual conference’s registration page, or even a product page. Depending on what this next action is, CTAs can be an in-line rectangle or a full-page teasing the next offer (see both images below).

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To hyperlink the CTA in your ebook (or any image or text in your ebook) to your destination URL, simply go to Insert >> Hyperlink in PowerPoint.

examples of using hyperlinks in ebook template

example of including a call to action within an ebook template

We’ve even designed 50 customizable calls-to-action in PowerPoint you can download and use in your ebooks. You can grab them here.

Now, we don’t have a dedicated CTA template slide in the PowerPoint ebook templates … but it’s still simple! You just have to duplicate the Header/Subheader slide and customize the copy or add images as needed. You can also go to Insert >> New Slide and work from there.

9. Convert it into a PDF.

Once you’ve finished writing your ebook — CTAs and all — it’s time to convert it to the right file type, so it’s transferable from you to your recipient.

To convert your ebook to a PDF, click File >> Save As in the ebook template you have open. Then, under File Format, select PDF and select a destination on your computer for this new file.

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Why can’t you just attach what you have to a landing page and be done with it? Word documents, PowerPoints, and similar templates are perfect for creating your ebook but not for delivering it. Because these templates are editable, the contents of your ebook are too easily corrupted, distorted, or even lost when moving from your computer to the hands of your future leads. That’s where PDFs come in.

You’ve seen these letters at the end of files before. Short for Portable Document Format, the .PDF file type essentially freezes your ebook so it can be displayed clearly on any device. A popular alternative to PDFs is the .EPUB file type. See a comparison of EPUB to PDF here.

10. Create a dedicated landing page for your ebook.

Your ebook should be available for download through a landing page on your site. A landing page is a web page that promotes/describes your offer and provides a form that visitors need to fill out with their contact information to access your ebook. This is how you can convert your visitors into business leads that your sales team can ultimately follow up with.

For instance, you went through this landing page to access this ebook template.

If you’re still not sure how to get started, download this free ebook to learn more about optimizing your landing pages for conversion.

how to create an ebook - header customization

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11. Promote your ebook and track its success.

Once your landing page is all set, you can use that destination URL to promote your ebook across your marketing channels. Here are five ways you can do this:

After your content is launched and promoted across your marketing channels, you’ll also want marketing analytics to measure your live product’s success.

For instance, you should have landing page analytics that gives you insight into how many people downloaded your ebook and converted into leads and closed-loop analytics that show how many of those people ultimately converted into opportunities and customers for your business.

And with that, we’ve built an ebook, folks! You can check out the packaged version of the example I built here:

an animation that scrolls through several pages of an ebook template

After your content is launched and promoted across your marketing channels, you’ll need to have marketing analytics to measure your ebooks’ success. For instance, have landing page analytics that gives you insight into how many people downloaded your ebook or show how many of those downloaders converted into opportunities and customers for your business.

Ebook Ideas

So, what should you write about in your ebook? I’ll answer that question with another question: What do you want your readers to get out of this ebook? To identify an ebook idea that suits your audience, consider the type of ebook you’re trying to create. Here are a few ideas.

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New Research

Conducting an experiment or business survey? This is a great way to develop proprietary knowledge and become a thought leader in your industry. But how will you share your findings with the people who care about it? Create an ebook that describes the experiment, what you intended to find out, the results of the experiment, and what these findings mean for your readers and the market at large.

Case Study

People love success stories, especially if these people are on the fence about purchasing something from you. If you have a client whose business you’re particularly proud to have, why not tell their story in an ebook?

Ebook case studies show your buyers that other people trust you and have benefited from your product or service. In your ebook, describe what your client’s challenge was, how you connected with them, and how you were able to help your client solve their challenge and become successful.

Product Demo

The more complex your product is, the more information your customers will need to use it correctly. If your product or service has many use cases or it’s hard to set up alone, dedicate a brief ebook to showing people how to make the most out of it.

For instance, in the first section of your ebook, you can explain how to launch your product or service. The second section can break down the individual features and purposes your product is best used for.

Interview

Are you interested in interviewing a well-known person in your market? Perhaps you’ve already sat down with an influencer to pick their brain about the industry’s future. Package this interview into an ebook, making it easy for your customers to read and share your inside scoop.

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Playbook

A “playbook” is a document people can use when taking on a new project or concept that is foreign to them. Think of it like a cheat sheet, full of tips and tricks that help your customers get better at what they do.

When done right, a playbook equips your customers with the information they would need to excel when using your product. For example, a software vendor for IT professionals might create a “virus protection playbook” that makes support teams better at preventing viruses for their respective companies.

Blog Post Series

Sometimes, the best ebook for your business is already strewn across a series of blog posts. If you’ve spent the last month writing articles all on the same subject for your business, imagine how these posts would look stitched together?

Each article can begin a new chapter. Then, once this ebook is created, you can promote it on a landing page, link to this landing page from each blog post, and generate leads from readers who want to download the entire blog series in one convenient ebook.

Ebook FAQs

Are ebooks profitable?

Yes, they can be.

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Ebooks are high-volume, low-sales-price offers. This means you’ll need to sell many of them at a relatively low price point to compete in the market and turn a significant profit. Depending on your industry, ebooks can range from free to more than $100.

Before setting a price for your ebook, do some research. Determine who your audience is, what they’re willing to pay, and how many people within your target market might be ready to buy it. Then, determine the platforms you’ll sell your ebook through. Amazon? Apple Books? Your website? You can research how much ebooks usually go for on these sites and incorporate this insight into your pricing strategy.

How is an ebook structured?

There’s no set rule for organizing your content into an ebook. It generally mimics the structure of a novel or textbook (depending on what it is you’re writing about). But, you should be sure to adhere to some aspects of an ebook.

Ebooks typically have a system of chapters and supporting images. Like a blog post, they also do well when further segmenting their text with subheaders that break down the discussion into specific sections. If you’re writing about professional sports, for example, and one of your chapters is about Major League Baseball (MLB) in the U.S., you might want to establish subchapters about the various teams belonging to the MLB.

What can an ebook be about?

Anything. Well, within reason.

Ebooks are simply a marketer’s way of delivering lots of critical information in a form their potential customers are most willing to read.

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For example, an environmental company might write an ebook about water conservation. They might also focus an ebook entirely on using their water-saving product or how it helped a customer solve a problem.

Research is a significant part of ebook creation, no matter your ebook’s topic. Contrary to short-form content like articles and videos, the content of an ebook is predicated on trust and evidence. A user who obtains (or requests access to) your ebook wants the full story, not just the bullet points. That includes all the content and testing you went through to produce the ebook.

Can you edit an ebook?

Nope.

An ebook can’t be edited once it’s been saved in one of the major file formats, so it’s best to ensure you have an editable version saved in a program like Microsoft Word.

But why would you want your ebook to be uneditable? Making ebooks uneditable ensures the content remains unchanged — both the format and the information — as it’s shared between multiple users.

You can edit ebooks if they’re saved using an editable PDF, a feature that is specific to Adobe Acrobat — the founding program of the PDF file type. Learn how to edit PDFs in this blog post.

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How do you read an ebook?

You can read an ebook on many different devices: iPhone, Android smartphones, a Macbook, PC, and e-readers such as the Nook and Kindle. The latter two devices are typically used to read novels in digital form. Nook and Kindle owners can store thousands of books (literally) on a single Nook or Kindle.

Share Your Expertise in an Ebook

Ebooks are one of the top converting lead magnets a business can offer to its audience. Creating an ebook is all about delivering high value at a low price point to generate a high sales volume.

Ebooks work well for new businesses looking for brand awareness and established companies securing a spot as an industry thought leader.

So long as you and your team have outlined what success looks like for your ebook launch, you’ll reap the rewards of this stand-alone asset for months — or even years — to come. So get started on your ebook using the free template available in the offer below.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Only 6% of global marketers apply customer insights to product and brand

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Only 6% of global marketers apply customer insights to product and brand

While many brands talk about focusing on the customer, few do it. Less than a quarter (24%) of global brands are mapping customer behavior and sentiment, according to Braze’s 2024 Customer Engagement Review. What’s worse, only 6% apply customer insights to their product and brand approach.

“At the end of the day, a lot of companies operate based on their structure and not how the consumer interacts with them,” Mariam Asmar, VP of strategic consulting, told MarTech. “And while some companies have done a great job of reorienting that, with roles like the chief customer officer, there are many more that still don’t. Cross-channel doesn’t exist because there are still all these silos. But the customer doesn’t care about your silos. The customer doesn’t see silos. They see a brand.”

Half of all marketers report either depending on multiple, siloed point solutions to cobble together a multi-channel experience manually (33%); or primarily relying on single-channel solutions (17%).  Only 30% have access to a single customer engagement platform capable of creating personalized, seamless experiences across channels. This is a huge problem when it comes to cross-channel, personalization.

The persistence of silos

The persistence of data silos despite decades of explanation about the problems they cause, surprised Asmar the most.

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Screenshot 2024 02 27 140015
Source: Braze 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review

“Why are we still talking about this?” she said to MarTech. “One of the themes I see in the report is we’re still getting caught up on some of the same stumbling blocks as before.”

She said silos are indicative of teams working on different goals and “the only way that gets unsolved is if a leader comes in and aligns people towards some of those goals.”

These silos also hinder the use of AI, something 99% of respondents said they were already doing. The top uses of AI by marketers are:

  • Generating creative ideas (48%).
  • Automating repetitive tasks (47%).
  • Optimizing strategies in real-time (47%).
  • Enhancing data analysis (47%).
  • Powering predictive analytics (45%).
  • Personalizing campaigns (44%). 

Despite the high usage numbers, less than half of marketers have any interest in exploring AI’s potential to enhance customer engagement. Asmar believes there are two main reasons for this. First is that many people like the systems they know and understand. The other reason is a lack of training on the part of companies.

Dig deeper: 5 ways CRMs are leveraging AI to automate marketing today

“I think about when I was in advertising and everybody switched to social media,” she told MarTech. “Companies acted like ‘Well, all the marketers will just figure out social media.’ You can’t do that because whenever you’re teaching somebody how to do something new there’s always a level of training them up, even though they’re apps that we use every day, as people using them as a business and how they apply, how we get impact from them.”

The good news is that brands are setting the stage for the data agility they need.

  • 50% export performance feedback to business intelligence platforms to generate advanced analytics.
  • 48% sync performance with insights generated by other platforms in the business.

Also worth noting: Marketers say these are the four main obstacles to creativity and strategy:  

  • Emphasis on KPIs inherently inhibits a focus on creativity (42%).
  • Too much time spent on business-as-usual execution and tasks (42%).
  • Lack of technology to execute creative ideas, (41%).
  • Hard to demonstrate ROI impact of creativity (40%).
Screenshot 2024 02 27 135952Screenshot 2024 02 27 135952

Methodology

The 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review (registration required) is based on insights from 1,900 VP+ marketing decision-makers across 14 countries in three global regions: The Americas (Brazil, Mexico, and the US), APAC (Australia, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea), and EMEA (France, Germany, Spain, the UAE, and the UK).

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MARKETING

Crafting Effortless Sales Through ‘Wow’ Moments in Experience Marketing

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Crafting Effortless Sales Through 'Wow' Moments in Experience Marketing

Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing

In an era where consumers are bombarded with endless choices and digital noise, standing out as a brand is more challenging than ever. Enter experience marketing – a strategy that transcends traditional advertising by focusing on creating immersive, memorable interactions. This innovative approach leverages the elements of surprise, delight, and reciprocity to forge strong emotional connections with customers, making the sale of your core product feel effortless. But how can businesses implement this strategy effectively? This guide delves into the art of crafting ‘wow’ moments that captivate audiences and transform customer engagement.

The Basics of Experience Marketing

Experience marketing is an evolved form of marketing that focuses on creating meaningful interactions with customers, aiming to elicit strong emotional responses that lead to brand loyalty and advocacy. Unlike conventional marketing, which often prioritizes product promotion, experience marketing centers on the customer’s holistic journey with the brand, creating a narrative that resonates on a personal level.

In today’s competitive market, experience marketing is not just beneficial; it’s essential. It differentiates your brand in a crowded marketplace, elevating your offerings beyond mere commodities to become integral parts of your customers’ lives. Through memorable experiences, you not only attract attention but also foster a community of loyal customers who are more likely to return and recommend your brand to others.

Principles of Experience Marketing

At the heart of experience marketing lie several key principles:

  • Emotional Connection: Crafting campaigns that touch on human emotions, from joy to surprise, creating memorable moments that customers are eager to share.
  • Customer-Centricity: Putting the customer’s needs and desires at the forefront of every marketing strategy, ensuring that each interaction adds value and enhances their experience with the brand.
  • Immersive Experiences: Utilizing technology and storytelling to create immersive experiences that captivate customers, making your brand a living part of their world.
  • Engagement Across Touchpoints: Ensuring consistent, engaging experiences across all customer touchpoints, from digital platforms to physical stores.

Understanding Your Audience

Before diving into the intricacies of crafting ‘wow’ moments, it’s crucial to understand who you’re creating these moments for. Identifying your audience’s pain points and desires is the first step in tailoring experiences that truly resonate.

1709033181 544 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing1709033181 544 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing

This involves deep market research, customer interviews, and leveraging data analytics to paint a comprehensive picture of your target demographic. By understanding the journey your customers are on, you can design touchpoints that not only meet but exceed their expectations.

  • Identifying Pain Points and Desires: Use surveys, social media listening, and customer feedback to gather insights. What frustrates your customers about your industry? What do they wish for more than anything else? These insights will guide your efforts to create experiences that truly resonate.
  • Mapping the Customer Journey: Visualize every step a customer takes from discovering your brand to making a purchase and beyond. This map will highlight critical touchpoints where you can introduce ‘wow’ moments that transform the customer experience.

Developing Your Experience Marketing Strategy

With a clear understanding of your audience, it’s time to build the framework of your experience marketing strategy. This involves setting clear objectives, identifying key customer touchpoints, and conceptualizing the experiences you want to create.

  • Setting Objectives: Define what you aim to achieve with your experience marketing efforts. Whether it’s increasing brand awareness, boosting sales, or improving customer retention, having clear goals will shape your approach and help measure success.
  • Strategic Touchpoint Identification: List all the potential touchpoints where customers interact with your brand, from social media to in-store experiences. Consider every stage of the customer journey and look for opportunities to enhance these interactions.

Enhancing Customer Experiences with Surprise, Delight, and Reciprocity

This section is where the magic happens. By integrating the elements of surprise, delight, and reciprocity, you can elevate ordinary customer interactions into unforgettable experiences.

1709033181 790 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing1709033181 790 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing
  • Incorporating Surprise and Delight: Go beyond what’s expected. This could be as simple as a personalized thank-you note with each purchase or as elaborate as a surprise gift for loyal customers. The key is to create moments that feel special and unexpected.
  • Applying the Principle of Reciprocity: When customers receive something of value, they’re naturally inclined to give something back. This can be leveraged by offering helpful resources, exceptional service, or customer appreciation events. Such gestures encourage loyalty and positive word-of-mouth.
  • Examples and Case Studies: Highlight real-world examples of brands that have successfully implemented these strategies. Analyze what they did, why it worked, and how it impacted their relationship with customers.

Best Practices for Experience Marketing

To ensure your experience marketing strategy is as effective as possible, it’s important to adhere to some best practices.

  • Personalization at Scale: Leverage data and technology to personalize experiences without losing efficiency. Tailored experiences make customers feel valued and understood.
  • Using Technology to Enhance Experiences: From augmented reality (AR) to mobile apps, technology offers myriad ways to create immersive experiences that surprise and engage customers.
  • Measuring Success: Utilize analytics tools to track the success of your experience marketing initiatives. Key performance indicators (KPIs) could include engagement rates, conversion rates, and customer satisfaction scores.

Section 5: Overcoming Common Challenges

Even the best-laid plans can encounter obstacles. This section addresses common challenges in experience marketing and how to overcome them.

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  • Budget Constraints: Learn how to create impactful experiences without breaking the bank. It’s about creativity, not just expenditure.
  • Maintaining Consistency: Ensuring a consistent brand experience across all touchpoints can be daunting. Develop a comprehensive brand guideline and train your team accordingly.
  • Staying Ahead of Trends: The digital landscape is ever-changing. Stay informed about the latest trends in experience marketing and be ready to adapt your strategy as necessary.

The Path to Effortless Sales

By creating memorable experiences that resonate on a personal level, you make the path to purchase not just easy but natural. When customers feel connected to your brand, appreciated, and valued, making a sale becomes a byproduct of your relationship with them. Experience marketing, when done right, transforms transactions into interactions, customers into advocates, and products into passions.

Now is the time to reassess your marketing strategy. Are you just selling a product, or are you providing an unforgettable experience? Dive into the world of experience marketing and start creating those ‘wow’ moments that will not only distinguish your brand but also make sales feel effortless.


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The Current State of Google’s Search Generative Experience [What It Means for SEO in 2024]

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The Current State of Google's Search Generative Experience [What It Means for SEO in 2024]

SEO enthusiasts, known for naming algorithm updates after animals and embracing melodrama, find themselves in a landscape where the “adapt or die” mantra prevails. So when Google announced the launch of its Search Generative Experience (SGE) in May of 2023 at Google/IO, you can imagine the reaction was immense.

Although SGE has the potential to be a truly transformative force in the landscape, we’re still waiting for SGE to move out of the Google Labs Sandbox and integrate into standard search results. 

Curious about our current take on SGE and its potential impact on SEO in the future? Read on for more.

Decoding Google’s Defensive Move

In response to potential threats from competitors like ChatGPT, Bing, TikTok, Reddit, and Amazon, Google introduced SGE as a defensive maneuver. However, its initial beta release raised questions about its readiness and global deployment.

ChatGPT provided an existential threat that had the potential to eat into Google’s market share. When Bing started incorporating it into its search results, it was one of the most significant wins for Bing in a decade. In combination with threats from TikTok, Reddit, and Amazon, we see a more fractured search landscape less dominated by Google. Upon its launch, the expectation was that Google would push its SGE solution globally, impact most queries, and massively shake up organic search results and strategies to improve organic visibility.

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Now, industry leaders are starting to question if Google is better off leaving SGE in the testing ground in Google labs. According to Google’s recent update, it appears that SGE will remain an opt-in experience in Google Labs (for at least the short term). If SGE was released, there could be a fundamental reset in understanding SEO. Everything from organic traffic to optimization tactics to tracking tools would need adjustments for the new experience. Therefore, the prospect of SGE staying in Google Labs is comforting if not entirely reliable. 

The ever-present option is that Google can change its mind at any point and push SGE out broadly as part of its standard search experience. For this reason, we see value in learning from our observations with SGE and continuing to stay on top of the experience.

SGE User Experience and Operational Challenges

If you’ve signed up for search labs and have been experimenting with SGE for a while, you know firsthand there are various issues that Google should address before rolling it out broadly to the public.

At a high level, these issues fall into two broad categories including user experience issues and operational issues.

Below are some significant issues we’ve come across, with Google making notable progress in addressing certain ones, while others still require improvement:

  • Load time – Too many AI-generated answers take longer to load than a user is willing to wait. Google recommends less than a 3-second load time to meet expectations. They’ll need to figure out how to consistently return results quickly if they want to see a higher adoption rate.
  • Layout – The SGE layout is massive. We believe any major rollout will be more streamlined to make it a less intrusive experience for users and allow more visibility for ads, and if we’re lucky, organic results. Unfortunately, there is still a decent chance that organic results will move below the fold, especially on mobile devices. Recently, Google has incorporated more results where users are prompted to generate the AI result if they’d like to see it. The hope is Google makes this the default in the event of a broad rollout where users can generate an AI result if they want one instead of assuming that’s what a user would like to see. 
  • Redundancy – The AI result duplicates features from the map pack and quick answer results. 
  • Attribution – Due to user feedback, Google includes sources on several of their AI-powered overviews where you can see relevant web pages if there is an arrow next to the result. Currently, the best way to appear as one of these relevant pages is to be one of the top-ranked results, which is convenient from an optimization standpoint. Changes to how attribution and sourcing are handled could heavily impact organic strategies. 

 

On the operational side, Google also faces significant hurdles to making SGE a viable product for its traditional search product. The biggest obstacle appears to be making the cost associated with the technology worth the business outcomes it provides. If this was a necessary investment to maintain market share, Google might be willing to eat the cost, but if their current position is relatively stable, Google doesn’t have much of an incentive to take on the additional cost burden of heavily leveraging generative AI while also presumably taking a hit to their ad revenue. Especially since slow user adoption doesn’t indicate this is something users are demanding at the moment.

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While the current experience of SGE is including ads above the generative results now, the earliest iterations didn’t heavily feature sponsored ads. While they are now included, the current SGE layout would still significantly disrupt the ad experience we’re used to. During the Google I/O announcement, they made a statement to reassure advertisers they would be mindful of maintaining a distinct ad experience in search.  

“In this new generative experience, Search ads will continue to appear in dedicated ad slots throughout the page. And we’ll continue to uphold our commitment to ads transparency and making sure ads are distinguishable from organic search results” – Elizabeth Reid, VP, Search at Google

Google is trying to thread a delicate needle here of staying on the cutting edge with their search features, while trying not to upset their advertisers and needlessly hinder their own revenue stream. Roger Montti details more of the operational issues in a recent article digging into the surprising reasons SGE is stuck in Google Labs.

He lists three big problems that need to be solved before SGE will be integrated into the foreground of search:

  1. Large Language Models being inadequate as an information retrieval system
  2. The inefficiency and cost of transformer architecture
  3. Hallucinating (providing inaccurate answers)

 

Until SGE provides more user value and checks more boxes on the business sense side, the traditional search experience is here to stay. Unfortunately, we don’t know when or if Google will ever feel confident they’ve addressed all of these concerns, so we’ll need to stay prepared for change.

Experts Chime in on Search Generative Experience

Our team has been actively engaging with SGE, here’s a closer look at their thoughts and opinions on the experience so far:

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“With SGE still in its early stages, I’ve noticed consistent changes in how the generative results are produced and weaved naturally into the SERPs. Because of this, I feel it is imperative to stay on top of these on-going changes to ensure we can continue to educate our clients on what to expect when SGE is officially incorporated into our everyday lives. Although an official launch date is currently unknown, I believe proactively testing various prompt types and recording our learnings is important to prepare our clients for this next evolution of Google search.” – Jon Pagano, SEO Sr. Specialist at Tinuiti

“It’s been exciting to watch SGE grow through different variations over the last year, but like other AI solutions its potential still outweighs its functionality and usefulness. What’s interesting to see is that SGE doesn’t just cite its sources of information, but also provides an enhanced preview of each webpage referenced. This presents a unique organic opportunity where previously untouchable top 10 rankings are far more accessible to the average website. Time will tell what the top ranking factors for SGE are, but verifiable content with strong E-E-A-T signals will be imperative. –Kate Fischer, SEO Specialist at Tinuiti

“Traditionally, AI tools were very good at analytical tasks. With the rise of ChatGPT, users can have long-form, multi-question conversations not yet available in search results. When, not if, released, Google’s Generative Experience will transform how we view AI and search. Because there are so many unknowns, some of the most impactful ways we prepare our clients are to discover and develop SEO strategies that AI tools can’t directly disrupt, like mid to low funnel content.” – Brandon Miller, SEO Specialist at Tinuiti

“SGE is going to make a huge impact on the ecommerce industry by changing the way users interact with the search results. Improved shopping experience will allow users to compare products, price match, and read reviews in order to make it quicker and easier for a user to find the best deals and purchase. Although this leads to more competitive results, it also improves organic visibility and expands our product reach. It is more important than ever to ensure all elements of a page are uniquely and specifically optimized for search. With the SGE updates expected to continue to impact search results, the best way to stay ahead is by focusing on strong user focused content and detailed product page optimizations.”  – Kellie Daley, SEO Sr. Specialist at Tinuiti

Navigating the Clash of Trends

One of the most interesting aspects of the generative AI trend in search is that it appears to be in direct opposition to other recent trends.

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One of the ways Google has historically evaluated the efficacy of its search ranking systems is through the manual review of quality raters. In their quality rater guidelines, raters were instructed to review for things like expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (EAT) in results to determine if Google results are providing users the information they deserve. 

In 2022, Google updated their search guidelines to include another ‘e’ in the form of experience (EEAT). In their words, Google wanted to better assess if the content a user was consuming was created by someone with, “a degree of experience, such as with actual use of a product, having actually visited a place or communicating what a person has experienced. There are some situations where really what you value most is content produced by someone who has firsthand, life experience on the topic at hand.” 

Generative AI results, while cutting-edge technology and wildly impressive in some cases, stand in direct opposition to the principles of E-E-A-T. That’s not to say that there’s no room for both in search, but Google will have to determine what it thinks users value more between these competing trends. The slow adoption of SGE could be an indication that a preference for human experience, expertise, authority, and trust is winning round one in this fight. 

Along these lines, Google is also diversifying its search results to cater to the format in which users get their information. This takes the form of their Perspectives Filter. Also announced at Google I/O 2023, the perspectives filter incorporates more video, image, and discussion board posts from places like TikTok, YouTube, Reddit, and Quora. Once again, this trend shows the emphasis and value searchers place on experience and perspective. Users value individual experience over the impersonal conveyance of information. AI will never have these two things, even if it can provide a convincing imitation.

The current iteration of SGE seems to go too far in dismissing these trends in favor of generative AI. It’s an interesting challenge Google faces. If they don’t determine the prevailing trend correctly, veering too far in one direction can push more market share to ChatGPT or platforms like YouTube and TikTok.

Final Thoughts

The range of outcomes remains broad and fascinating for SGE. We can see this developing in different ways, and prognostication offers little value, but it’s invaluable to know the potential outcomes and prepare for as many of them as possible.

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It’s critical that you or your search agency be interacting and experimenting with SGE because:

  • The format and results will most likely continue to see significant changes
  • This space moves quickly and it’s easy to fall behind
  • Google may fix all of the issues with SGE and decide to push it live, changing the landscape of search overnight
  • SGE experiments could inform other AI elements incorporated into the search experience

 

Ultimately, optimizing for the specific SGE experience we see now is less important because we know it will inevitably continue changing. We see more value in recognizing the trends and problems Google is trying to solve with this technology. With how quickly this space moves, any specifics mentioned in this article could be outdated in a week. That’s why focusing on intention and process is important at this stage of the game.

By understanding the future needs and wants SGE is attempting to address, we can help you future-proof your search strategies as much as possible. To some extent we’re always at the whims of the algorithm, but by maintaining a user-centric approach, you can make your customers happy, regardless of how they find you.

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