How to market your startup with an ebook

Creating an ebook to market your startup is growing increasingly popular. As making your business stand out online becomes harder, ebooks are a way of positioning yourself as a thought leader in your industry, educating your audience, and gaining their interest. However, don't fall into the trap of thinking that an ebook should just be something of an instruction manual for your product or service. The best ebooks go much further, providing interesting and high-value content for your audience and establishing your position as a startup that knows what's what.

Creating a good ebook can take up a significant amount of time, once you've drafted amazing copy and put it together in a way that's well-designed and professional. But they are resources that you can hopefully use long-term, items you can use to incentivise sign-ups to mailing lists and competitions, and ways to raise awareness about the problem that your service or product is solving.

One startup that's created an awesome ebook is TextDater, an innovative dating app where photos are only revealed after you've gotten to know somebody. They collaborated with dating bloggers and experts to create an ebook full of hilarious dating stories, useful dating tips, and more. Here's how founder Jon Pellington went about the process of creating this ebook (which you can download here.)

Ebook cover

What made you decide to create an ebook for your marketing strategy?

TextDater is a dating app - there are tons out there, and even with our unique selling point it’s easy to get lost amongst the rest.  We needed something a bit different.  With lots of ties to people in the world of dating, it seemed like a good idea to try to get some of them in one place and share their wisdom on the topic.  There is so much out there in term of opinions, experiences and help, and we wanted to be a part of it.  TextDater is serious about dating, and I the people featured in our current ebook think so too.

 How long did it take to create?

Longer than expected - much longer than expected!  Getting the length right, balancing the stories, opinions, advice, layout etc. It took months. I had originally thought it would be a two-three week project, but boy was I wrong.

How did you approach contributors?

We already had connections to the contributors. Some we’d made friends with on Twitter, such as Linda, Natalia and Mitz; some I met in person, such as Hayley and JamesJohn and Jade are good friends of mine.  So approaching everyone for help wasn’t at all daunting or a problem.  In fact, getting the help (articles/blogs) for this was relatively easy, as everyone featured is friendly down to earth and genuinely wanted to help.  Friends always want to help.

ebook 2

Did you use the services of a designer or DIY? If DIY what software did you use?

I had an idea of what I wanted and I did consult a designer to give me a second opinion on the layout.  Jade featured in the ebook did the editing. She said that what I did wasn’t bad, but having an expert to call on is invaluable.  We used Google Slides to create it (cringe).

How have you promoted it?

Mainly on Twitter, and we’ve given it away free to anyone who signs up to the TextDater app, or registers on the website.  Our online friends and connections have been happy to spread the word, and the contributors have been kind enough to share it too - after all, it does contain their articles.  Linda featured in the eBook actually did a short blog on it over at

What’s the reaction been like?

Really positive - shockingly positive!  I’ve only had good comments about how well it’s laid out and how interesting the stories are.

You’re working on your second ebook now – what are you doing differently (if anything?)

The next eBook is something I hope to share more on entrepreneur and startup websites – it’s about the startup journey, rather than dating.  It’s a compilation from entrepreneurs who have roughed it, some of who have now ‘made it’ and other who are still ‘roughing it’..  I want to show the not-so-fun side to this whole process.  There are some falsehoods out there that pretend everything about entrepreneurship is fantastic and that you just need to keep going - but it is hard, and can sometimes feel a bit depressing and alienating.  But don’t get too down - there really is a silver lining, and at worst it’s an adventure!

Download the TextDater ebook here.

Get the Virgin StartUp Business plan