How to Make Your Ebook Marketing Campaign *Almost* Perfect

Almost Perfect Email Marketing Campaign

Sometimes I respond to marketing campaigns just to see how they’re put together. Perhaps there’s something in the subject line that makes me sit up and take notice. Perhaps it’s an unusual offer.

But whatever it is, it builds enough curiosity to get me to click all the way through.

Recently, a campaign by Easypurl got me clicking, and I wanted to evaluate why. So I went back and reviewed the entire campaign, from the first touch to the last. What I found was a good reminder for all of us: how one mistake can undermine an otherwise outstanding campaign.

So here it is: the good, the bad, and the lessons learned.

Touch 1: The Email

The campaign starts in the prospect’s inbox with this email.

Easypurl Email Campaign

As first touches go, this is a win.

The subject line is good. It’s descriptive and includes the keyword, PURLs (personalized URLs). It also promises more effective marketing, which could capture the attention of people who don’t have PURLs on their radar now.

The format is also good. It’s colorful, easy to understand at a glance, and has an outstanding headline. Any time you can put specific numbers in your headline — especially if they’re as impressive as 375% — do it. My only caveat is that 375 sounds like it may have been rounded. A number is more believable if it’s precise, like 374% or 377%.

All this — the subject line, headline and format — are enough to make this email work. But it’s the call to action that especially caught my attention.

This email doesn’t just talk about PURLs. It uses one. Notice the link: it has my name in it.

As a marketer, I know this URL doesn’t magically make the ebook more relevant to me. And to be honest, I probably would have deleted this email if I hadn’t seen my name in it. But that PURL was so effective at making me look at the email, I wanted to see what else Easypurl does right.

I clicked on the link and landed here…

Touch 2: The Landing Page

Easypurl Email Campaign Landing Page

The first thing you’ll notice is that this landing page has the same look and feel as the email. This tells me without a doubt that I’m in the right place: The colors and design are the same, and the headline echoes the one that originally caught my eye.

Clear instructions tell me what to do next, so there’s no struggle to understand the page: Fill the form below to download your free e-book.

Notice that “free” is underlined in those instructions. Easypurl makes it clear that there’s no obligation. That builds my confidence and removes a barrier to my response.

I also like the layout of this page. The picture of the ebook helps me know what to expect. The personalized note details what I’ll get in the ebook. Best of all, the form is already filled out for me.

Easy. All I have to do is click “Download Now.”

Notice also that the call-to-action is an accent color in the brand. Blue tends to recede, but since the banner is orange, an orange button might get overlooked. The blue stands out and is easy to find.

Touch 3: The Verification Page

Easypurl Email Campaign Verification Page

My preference is to be able to download the ebook immediately. So I’m a little disappointed that I have to wait for an email. Still, this page does the job.

Once again, the look and feel of this campaign is carried through. I see the picture of the ebook, so I’m confident I’m going to get the information I seek.

The thank-you message is clear and appropriate. I know to watch my email for the download link.

Touch 4: The final email

Easypurl Email Campaign Final Email

While the colors are stripped down in this email, the overall impression resembles the original campaign. As a result, it’s easy to identify this email in my inbox and complete the transaction.

The subject line does a good job of letting me know that this is the email I’m expecting. In particular, I like how they call it “your PURL ebook.” This signals ownership and creates a subconscious desire to collect what’s mine. So I’m predisposed to click “Download.”

As I mentioned above, my inbox is full, so I’d rather have the option to download the ebook from the verification page, with this email as a follow-up, but this oversight isn’t a deal-breaker.

I clicked the download button and here’s what I got…

Touch 5: The ebook

Easypurl Email Campaign ebook

Here’s where the campaign fell apart for me.

This isn’t an ebook.

Maybe that’s just semantics, but if you’re going to call it an ebook, I want to see a cover page, a table of contents, and some in-depth information. I’d also like to see more than eight pages.

Furthermore, this doesn’t look like the picture in the email and landing pages. I feel disappointment, not satisfaction. After a stellar marketing campaign, this ebook was a let-down.

My response? I glanced through the ebook and immediately forgot it. I wasn’t impressed. And I wasn’t inclined to contact Easypurl. Sadly, by under-delivering on the ebook, Easypurl lost me as a prospect.

Touch 6: The follow-up phone call

A few days after the download, I received a phone call from Joe, an account executive at Easypurl. This was a touch I didn’t expect, and it definitely improved my perception of this campaign.

Joe asked me what I thought of the ebook, so I told him. He was gracious enough to thank me for my evaluation, then set up a phone call where he could fill in the gaps left by the ebook.

Nice job, Joe.

Lessons learned

In multi-channel, multi-touch campaigns, it’s easy to let one or two of the pieces fall through the cracks. It takes a lot of planning and oversight to get every detail right.

In this campaign, the only real fail is the ebook. Coming on the heels of such a great email and landing page, though, the ebook should have been much higher quality. Here’s what I’d recommend to fix it:

  • The ebook should have a cover that has a similar look as the email and landing page. It doesn’t have to be exact, but the same color scheme and style would be nice.
  • The image in the email and landing page should show the actual cover of the ebook.
  • Either the ebook needs to be called an “information guide” or “special report,” or it needs to be beefed up and formatted as an ebook.

Overall, I give this campaign high marks. It was well planned, with high attention to detail. In particular, I like:

  • The first call to action was a PURL, my name in the link. That’s unique enough to get me clicking. And as you know, once people start clicking, they’re inclined to keep clicking.
  • There was a consistent color and design scheme through most of the campaign. That made it easy for me to recognize all the different touches as part of a bigger message.
  • Each piece of the campaign was clear and easy to navigate. I always knew what was happening, what I needed to do, and what to expect.
  • The final piece was an unscripted human connection. Joe didn’t just read a marketing message when he talked to me. He engaged me in a real conversation, which gave him far more information about my needs than he would have gathered otherwise.

One thing I would have liked to have seen: This campaign is about PURLs. The final email should have used a PURL to stay consistent with the first email.

How you can do it

Getting all the pieces right in a multi-touch campaign can be a challenge. The fact that Easypurl lost me with a low-quality ebook doesn’t mean they didn’t do a good job.

It does make you realize how important it is to get the details right.

So how do you ensure you can do that? Focus on these four things and you’ll have a good head-start:

  • Structure your campaign from a high level first, designing the flow and overall message first. Once you can see the big picture, you can drill down to the details.
  • Create a design that will apply to every piece in the campaign. Then stick with it. By branding the entire campaign, you help people see at a glance how everything fits together. (As a bonus, it tends to generate higher trust too.)
  • Provide clear instructions that tell people how to respond and what to expect at every stage of the campaign.
  • Make sure you deliver on your promises.

What would you add? Do you find it difficult to keep all the pieces together in large campaigns? What tips would you offer?

— Kathryn Aragon

About Kathryn Aragon
Kathryn Aragon is a content strategist, consultant, and author of The Business Blog Handbook. Her unique combination of content and conversion strategies will help you get more subscriptions, traffic, and conversions. Follow her on her blog and Twitter.
» More blog posts by Kathryn Aragon


  1. Chris

    Great post. Found a couple of things that need to be changed because of it!

  2. Kathryn Aragon

    Thanks, Chris! Hope you get good results from those changes.

  3. Sharon Hurley Hall

    Excellent advice, Kathryn. There are a couple of lessons I could apply to my next ebook promo.

  4. Art Remnet

    Thanks for the walk through Kathryn. Your clean walk through really highlights the importance of planning the full campaign from start to finish. The importance of “brand” or feel consistency cannot be understated when building new relationships. It shows authenticity.

    Nice work!

    • Kathryn Aragon

      I agree, Art. You need a bird’s eye view of the whole campaign before you can focus on any single piece. That includes messaging, branding, design, and more. Thanks for commenting. :)

  5. Andrae Palmer

    Nice post learnt something i can use in my future campaigns thanks for sharing.

  6. Spaze New Commercial Project

    Great post learnt something i can use in my future. Thanks

  7. Denyse Drummond-Dunn (@Denysech)

    Thanks for the post and walk through through of the great example Kathryn.
    One thing that shocked me at least, although no-one else mentioned it, was the phone follow-up. You said it was a positive experience for you, but I would not have appreciated such a strong sales pitch, unless I had specifically mentioned I wanted or agreed to it.
    I noticed in the sign-up form that the phone number was not a mandatory field; do you know if the follow-up was by email in those cases where it was not provided?
    Somehow an email is less intrusive for me, as I then have the choice to answer or not.
    Thanks again for these learnings.

    • Kathryn Aragon

      Hi Denyse. You make a really good point, but I need to clarify. The phone call wasn’t actually a sales pitch. I’m usually pretty reserved when I get calls like that because they are kind of pushy. But Joe just asked me what I thought of the ebook. I decided to be honest and told him just what I wrote in the article above. Believe it or not, he took notes and asked for more of my reaction. He did offer to set up a separate call where he could talk more about PURLs, but we still haven’t done that yet.

      I’m not sure if they’re emailing everyone who doesn’t put a phone number in. That’s a good questions. But if it’s as low-key as my conversation with Joe, I’m okay with it.

      Great comment. Thanks!

  8. Darek

    Awesome post Kathryn. I seriously never saw anyone giving their subscribers a free phone call and a free help about specific topic, that’s so nice of Joe that he tries to help his subscribers as much as possible.

    • Kathryn Aragon

      Thanks, Darek. I’ve seen the follow-up phone call before, but it’s usually a final push to sell. What I liked about Joe’s approach was that he was genuinely interested in what I had to say. So, yes, he came off as helpful, not pushy.

  9. Sidharth Patnaik

    Really Nice Post Kathryn. I’m Came from google and this post is just…..
    Anyways thanks for This Guide :)

  10. Rick Noel

    Great case study Cathryn. Signing up and studying great campaigns is my favorite way to learn. One of the things that was impressive was the landing page personalized with your name on it. Pretty slick. Nice touch to have personalization from email with personalized URL through landing page and follow-up email. The hardest part for these campaigns is also the most important part and that is to deliver on the promise that the marketing touch points build up to. The offer, in exchange for your attention and personal information, “ebook” in this case, should be the crescendo of the campaign. The offer is what moves the opportunity and your brand forward in the process or kills the momentum. Some how the ebook has to connect back with the original hook (375% lift from personalization), otherwise it feels too much like a bait and switch. Thanks for sharing.

    • Kathryn Aragon

      Well said, Rick, that the ebook (or offer) should be the crescendo of the campaign. It’s always easier to analyze it after the fact than to catch these things when you’re planning… so overall, I’m still impressed by Easypurl’s ebook campaign.

  11. Randall Magwood

    My “thank you” page leads straight to my OTO page. And then of course, my subscribers have the option of downloading my free ebook via email when it is automatically sent to them.

  12. Dilraaj Singh

    Kathryn Thanks for sharing such a wonderful case,The best part of the case was the personalized touch,I think this really works for a successful campaign.

  13. Pamala

    Hello there! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from an established blog.
    Is it very difficult to set up your own blog?

    I’m not very techincal but I can figure things
    out pretty fast. I’m thinking about setting up my own but I’m not sure where to start.
    Do you have any tips or suggestions? Appreciate

  14. Stephen Black

    Thank you for the great analysis. It’s too bad they dropped the ball when they should have scored a goal. To be consistent with color and design and then drop the consistency when it matters most…? How did that happen? And I agree that what they sent was not a proper ebook.

    • Kathryn Aragon

      To be fair, it’s an easy mistake. As content marketers, we’re taught to recycle content, so we can end up pulling bits and pieces from a variety of previous campaigns. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to the details. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Sarabjeet Singh

    Hey guys, anyone with some follow up email formats?