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The 5 Best Ebook Formats for Marketers [Free Templates]

Some argue that in the world of marketing, ebooks are dead. Others say they are not. But the fact is that ebooks — when written, designed, and marketed properly — can generate thousands upon thousands of contact submissions for your business.

Whether you’re just getting started with ebook creation as a marketing tool, or you’re reconsidering the role of ebooks in your existing content strategy, you’re likely asking yourself an important question: What is the best ebook format for the ebooks in my marketing library?

It’s important to note that this question can be answered in two different ways:

  • What is the best ebook format for content creation?
  • What is the best ebook format for content consumption?

Here, we’ll cover best practices for both of these topics — and explain how HubSpot’s Ebook Templates can help you achieve your marketing team’s lead generation goals.

Featured Resource: 18 Free Ebook Formatting & Creation Templates

Download Free Ebook Templates

Need help formatting your ebooks? Our collection of 18 free ebook templates will help you create and format your ebook content for an incredible reader experience in Microsoft PowerPoint, Adobe InDesign, and Google Slides so that you can format your ebooks in the way that best suits your marketing team and your content readers.

The 3 Best Ebook Formats for Content Creation

1. Adobe InDesign

Adobe’s advanced design software gives content creators a myriad of options for creating and formatting their ebooks.

These advanced features do come at a price, but experienced marketing designers rely on Adobe InDesign because of those features.

Click Here to Download 6 Adobe InDesign Ebook Templates.

Pros:

Adobe is known for being feature-rich. As a result, you can expect your ebooks to look their best when made with InDesign, as you’ll be able to create and incorporate original design elements right in your document.

Cons:

For an inexperienced designer or for the marketer who just needs to get a serviceable offer released, the bells and whistles that InDesign offers might not be necessary. InDesign’s interface and usability aren’t the most straightforward, and could require you to put in more effort than is needed for your final deliverable.

2. Google Slides

Google Slides is a simpler tool for making an ebook when compared to InDesign, and the fact that documents live online mean you can collaborate in real-time with your team members to make a fantastic deliverable. Oh — and it’s free, which is helpful if you have a limited marketing budget. 

Click Here to Download 6 Google Slides Ebook Templates.

Pros:

Google Slides is a great tool for marketers who need to make a good ebook quickly — especially if you’re working alongside team members and are sourcing feedback from them. The interface of Slides is arguably more straightforward than InDesign’s, meaning you can move and edit creative elements faster if you’re new to both tools.

Cons:

Because Google Slides is primarily a presentation tool rather than an ebook creation tool, you may miss out on some necessary features that would help make your ebooks the quality they need to be in order to warrant your leads’ attention.

Conversely, you might need to make design elements elsewhere, such as an Adobe software or Canva, and later import these creative elements into your Slides deck. This could create an inconsistent creation experience if you need to track down design elements after you’ve created them.

3. Microsoft PowerPoint

A slightly more advanced option than Google Slides — but not quite as advanced as Adobe software — PowerPoint is another presentation-making platform that can be used to design an ebook.

Pros:

PowerPoint has some features that Google Slides does not, such as better effects for designing. PowerPoint is also an offline software, meaning you can build your ebooks without wifi.

Cons:

PowerPoint is a paid software, as opposed to a free tool available in G Suite. You’ll also be in asynchronous communication with your team if you’re collaborating with them on edits and additions. Lastly, while it has better creative features than Slides, it doesn’t come close to the advanced features of InDesign.

Click Here to Download 6 Microsoft PowerPoint Ebook Templates.

The 2 Best Ebook Formats for Consumption

1. Interactive PDF

The best ebook format for ebook consumption is an interactive Portable Document Format, or PDF.

PDFs are the go-to option for content marketing ebooks for many reasons — among them the consistency of their design and readability on different devices.

We at HubSpot use PDFs for our ebooks because we can embed links to relevant pages and sources in them, can upload them right into our content library and File Manager, and trust that the design will appear as intended if our leads open the ebook in Chrome, Safari, Preview, on their phones, or on a desktop.

The interactive nature also means if we include an open text box for readers to complete an activity in the book (like in our Content Marketing Workbook), readers can complete the activity in whatever application they’re consuming the content.

2. EPUB

EPUB, short for electronic publication and saved with an .epub file extension, is another way for you to save your ebooks.

EPUBs rose in popularity after becoming a prominent ebook format for e-readers, but given its accessibility on Apple macOS and iOS products via Apple Books, the format is also a viable — though somewhat limiting — option for content marketing ebooks.

epub-3One unique feature of the .epub file format is its scrollability. To mimic the reading of an actual book, readers can view one page at a time and must scroll or swipe horizontally, as opposed to vertical scrolling with PDFs, which gives your readers the feeling of reading a book as opposed to interacting with website content. However, this also means readers might have to do more work to navigate the content and find the information they are looking for.

Additionally, video and audio files can be embedded in the .epub format, unlike PDFs, which means your readers can consume more interactive content without leaving the ebook.

If you’re tired of the PDF option and want to spruce up your content format, you can save your InDesign ebooks as an .epub file – just be prepared for some readers being unable to read your content, which is something you likely don’t want to be the case.

Formatting Your Ebooks

There’s no one perfect ebook format, but that just means there’s more options for your team to work with.

If you’re just getting started, we recommended using Google Slides – since you’ll be able to collaborate with your team more easily, create your content for free, and see how your audience reacts to ebooks before making a major investment in time and resources.

As you scale, and if you’re able to work with a designer, we suggest formatting your ebooks in InDesign.

When it comes to saving your ebooks, it’s best to stick with the interactive PDF format for wider accessibility.

Either way, make sure you check out HubSpot’s 18 Ebook Templates for free InDesign, PowerPoint, and Slides templates to build, format, and design your ebooks.

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9 Product Category Marketing Examples to Inspire Your Own

Stores and websites aren’t a mishmash of products with no discernible organization for a reason. People want a sense of direction and a positive customer experience, even when they are “just browsing.” They also want to know they are in good hands when it comes to the product category they’re exploring — whether that’s kitchen tools, breakfast cereals, or winter coats.

Product category marketing helps your brand stand out among related items, so your company’s products wind up in the shopping cart — whether real or virtual.

What is a product category?

A product category is “a particular group of related products,” according to the Cambridge Dictionary.

Your distinct offerings and customer personas should guide the organization and grouping of your product categories.

For example, REI Co-Op offers a wide range of outdoor gear. To guide customers, they split their products into interest-based categories, such as running, climbing, and snow sports. For fashion retailers, it makes more sense to organize categories by product type, such as shoes, shirts, and pants.

Product category marketing amplifies why a company is the best choice within that group of products. Why should customers opt for your offering rather than your direct competitors?

Gaining brand recognition and appreciation across a product category means greater returns for your marketing efforts. When consumers have positive experiences with a specific product category it also builds brand trust, which often expands to other categories through the halo effect.

Product categories are sometimes confused with product classification. Both are organizational strategies and both help guide marketing decisions, but classifications are much broader (think convenience goods, shopping goods, and specialty goods).

Let’s take a look at nine product category marketing examples to inspire your own.

9 Product Category Marketing Examples

1. Fenty Beauty

Product category: High-end foundation makeup

Admittedly, it helps to have singer and business powerhouse Rihanna at the helm. But Fenty Beauty innovated the idea of foundation makeup “for all,” and its commitment to inclusivity made the brand an instant hit.

Beyond foundation, the Fenty Beauty Face products include bronzer, highlighter, powder, and concealer in shades that work for everyone. The launch was an industry transformer, with established brands expanding their foundation color lineup in response.

The marketing for Fenty Beauty Face products zooms in on the wide palette of available colors, and features models and influencers across the shade spectrum.

2. Orvis

Product category: Dog beds

This Vermont-based retailer has been a big name in fly-fishing and outdoor gear since 1856. But they’ve also carved out a product niche with dog gear — and dog beds in particular. The brand draws people who want comfortable dog beds for their furry pals in styles that enhance their home decor.

The marketing images of dogs sleeping or lounging on Orvis beds is enough to inspire a nap. They’ve made their site a resource for dog health and behavior topics. And their social feeds are chock full of irresistible images and videos of dogs, including puppies in a hammock (!).

3. Ikea

Product category: Bedding

Putting together their furniture may be a tough task, but at least Ikea supports your relaxation too. The marketing of their bedding shows off playful sheets and prints for the kids and a mix of bold designs and neutrals for adults. The bed linens product category is grouped under ‘home textiles’ together with curtains, quilts, pillows, and towels.

A playful Ikea ad campaign in the UK even featured bottled bedding and pillows, connecting the dots between a restful night’s sleep and health. In the current pandemic, the company marketed the idea that comfortable bedding was essential — especially when your bed is doubling as your office.

4. Swarovski

Product category: Jewelry

For more than a century, Swarovski has put the sparkle in gowns, tiaras, jewelry, and decorative sculptures. For their jewelry product category, Swarovski puts luxury within reach with a mix of modern and classic crystal necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and watches.

They sustain brand awareness with seasonal collections, collaborations with designers and celebrities, such as Karl Lagerfield and Penelope Cruz, and pop culture-inspired releases. This fall, their #SparkDelight social media campaign featured influencers sharing tips for finding joy in the little things since big events were off the social calendar.

5. Target

Product category: Grocery essentials

Target is known for its positioning across product categories, including affordable fashion, electronics, and cleaning supplies. Though they’re grocery section is smaller than most supermarkets, they cover all of the ‘must-haves’ on any shopping list — from milk to salads to pasta.

In 2019, Target added its own brand of grocery essentials with their Good & Gather line, which includes frozen berries, cereals, snack foods, and eggs. Their Instagram Stories showcase easy snack and meal ideas, and feature foodie influencers like TikTok and Instagram sensations Tabitha Browne and Lisa Lin.

6. Dove

Product category: Skin care

Launched in 2004, Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ campaign was far ahead of other brands in promoting body positivity and self-acceptance. Their ad campaigns for body lotions and soap have long featured women with a wide variety of body types and skin colors.

Rolls, wrinkles, cellulite, and stretch marks are all on proud and beautiful display across their social channels. Today, their skin care brand identity is equated with self-confidence, and Dove body lotions and soaps are frequent flyers on ‘best of’ lists for affordable skin care.

7. Michaels

Product category: Holiday and seasonal decor

The company known for DIY is also a go-to spot for holiday and seasonal decorating. Michaels stores transform every month or two with festive decor for spring, summer, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, July Fourth, Mardi Gras, and Pride Month.

Their social media and weekly ads herald each season with ready made decorations galore.

8. Patagonia

Product category: Eco-friendly outerwear

Patagonia’s tagline is “We’re in business to save our home planet” and the company’s marketing efforts lead with their commitment to sustainability across product lines. Their website urges consumers to “Buy Less” and prominently features a section of “Used Gear.”

When you visit their Facebook or Instagram pages, you have to hunt a bit to find posts highlighting particular products. Instead, the feeds focus on pressing issues, such as environmental stewardship and fair labor practices.

When you do need to purchase a new (or used) piece of outerwear, consumers know they are supporting a company actively minimizing their negative impacts.

9. Grove Collaborative

Product category: Green household cleaning supplies

Grove Collaborative is another company focused on sustainability. Their goal is to make it simple and affordable for people to choose green household products that are non-toxic, sustainable, and cruelty free.

The company offers eco-friendly cleaning supplies, including concentrated soap and detergent refills and reusable glass bottles, which they send out in recurring monthly shipments.

Their marketing reflects their minimalist ethos, with images of their cleaning products at the ready in pristine kitchens and bathrooms. Grove uses Instagram Stories to attract new customers with product images, cleaning tips, and even humorous videos.

The company also shares ideas for holiday meals and decorating, and releases a monthly ‘Sustainability Snapshot’ of their environmental impact, such as the number of single-use plastic bottles they keep out of land-fills.

Each of these brands has clarified where their products fit in larger retail categories. This helps them market their distinct value to target customers and, ultimately, earn a greater market share within these product categories.

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Google’s December 2020 Core Update: By the Numbers

Posted by Dr-Pete

On December 3rd, Google announced that they were rolling out the latest Core Update. Initially, the bulk of the impact seemed to arrive on that date, with MozCast spiking at 112.4°F:

We measured above-average ranking flux in the three days prior to the update announcement, and a few days after the announcement, but the bulk of the flux seemed to occur on the roll-out day. (The dotted line represents the 30-day average prior to December 3rd.)

How did December 2020 compare to other Core Updates?

While technically the third largest named core update, Google’s December Core Update was very close in measured impact to the May 2020 Core Update and the August 2018 “Medic” Update.

Winners and more winners

Back in May, I came down pretty hard on winners and losers reports. I don’t want to discourage all core update analyses, but our rush to publish can produce misleading results, especially with multi-day updates. In May, I settled on a 7-day update analysis, comparing the full week before the update to the full week after. This helps better reflect multi-day roll-outs and also cleans up the noise of sites with naturally high flux, such as news sites (which often wax and wane on a weekly cycle).

Below are the top 20 overall winners in our MozCast data set, by percentage gain:

Note the 1-day comparisons (December 4th vs. December 2nd) vs. 7-day and in particular the orange values — five of our top 20 picked up considerably more gains after the bulk of the update hit. We also saw some reversals, but the majority of sites recorded their wins and losses early in this update.

Another challenge with winners and losers analyses is that it’s easy for large percentage gains and losses from small sites to overshadow larger sites that might see much larger traffic and revenue impact. Here are the top 20 winners across the 100 largest sites in our tracking set:

Note that New York Magazine picked up considerably more gains after December 4th. Of course, for any given site, we can’t prove these gains were due to the core update. While Apple’s App Store was the big winner here, a handful of big sites saw gains over +20%, and eBay fared particularly well.

Winningest content / pages

We tend to focus on domain-level winners and losers, simply because grouping by domains gives us more data to work with, but we also know that many of Google’s changes work at the page level. So, I decided to try something new and explore the winners among individual pages in our data set.

I stuck to the top 100 most visible pages in our data set, removed home pages, and then looked only at the 7-day (before vs. after) change. Here are the top 10 winners, along with their 7-day gain (I’ve opted for a text list, so that you can click through to these pages, if you’d like to explore):

  1. +126%https://www.cashnetusa.com/paydayloans.html
  2. +65%https://www.trulia.com/rent/
  3. +58%https://www.customink.com/products/t-shirts/4
  4. +53%https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/calculators/taxcaster/
  5. +41%https://www.whitepages.com/person
  6. +40%https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/gardening/advice/…
  7. +38%https://www.nerdwallet.com/mortgages/mortgage-rates
  8. +33%https://www.bankrate.com/calculators/mortgages/…
  9. +26%https://www.wellsfargo.com/mortgage/rates/
  10. +23%https://smartasset.com/mortgage/mortgage-calculator

It’s interesting to note a number of shifts in financial services and especially around mortgage rates and calculators. Of course, we can’t speak to causality. It’s entirely possible that some of these pages moved up because competitors lost ground. For example, https://www.mortgagecalculator.org lost 23% of their visibility in the 7-day over 7-day comparison.

While it’s interesting to explore these pages to look for common themes, please note that a short-term ranking gain doesn’t necessarily mean that any given page is doing something right or was rewarded by the core update.

What trends are you seeing?

Now that the dust has mostly settled, are you seeing any clear trends? Are any specific types of pages performing better or worse than before? As an industry, analyzing Core Updates has a long way to go (and, to be fair, it’s an incredibly complex problem), but I think what’s critical is that we try to push a little harder each time and learn a little bit more. If you have any ideas on how to expand on these analyses, especially at a page level, let us know in the comments.

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