For a few years now I’ve been commenting from time-to-time that I think email is going to dwindle in importance. Not entirely. There will be some cases where email still makes sense and it will be used, but for the most part there are simply too many other options for reaching people.
This may not be the case on an individual basis, so don’t panic. But again, I am always looking through the lens of book marketing, publicity, and promotion, so we are looking at reaching media for promoting your book.
Email is actually considered slow now in a world of instant messaging and texting, and thanks to the recent pandemic with many working from home, the slowness of email was amplified even further. Adding to that slowness is the fact that so much ends up in spam filters. Even mail that may have been “safe listed” still can end up in spam. (Check it daily.) Coupled with the fact that many want to protect their email addresses, I think that time has come sooner than I thought.
Maybe this isn’t something you’ve experienced yet. That is entirely possible, but in the work I do, I have been watching this transition happen and it’s hitting major proportions now. My work with media is taking place far more in other communication channels than email. Email is good once you land a story or an interview, e.g., sending headshots and book covers, press kits and one-sheets, but for initial contact? Not so much.
Perhaps it’s all the email marketing that is going on. We’ve all signed up for newsletters and opt-in gifts. We’ve been put on other people’s lists and the onslaught continues. Each of us is the recipient of a deluge of information every single day; Perhaps we are training ourselves and every one else to just ignore as much as possible.
What does this mean for book publicity and marketing? Email marketing still works, so I’m not suggesting it’s time to stop that. I am simply underscoring the importance of not only watching these kinds of trends, but also testing what you’re doing and making adjustments and changes when necessary.
One obvious but often overlooked way of doing this is paying attention to what we, ourselves, pay attention to, and what we just ignore. We can be our own focus group by watching what we will put up with. Don’t like all the newsletters? Tired of all the misdirected email? Ignore it. Delete it. So the question becomes, if you’re doing that to what others send you, what are others doing when they get your email or pitch or newsletter or whatever you’re sending out?
Why are you ignoring and deleting some things, and paying attention to others? What is it about the latter that captures your attention? And what can you gather from that, apply to your own outreach, and make sure your audience sees what you have to say?
These are important questions, and it’s why watching the trends and paying attention to what is happening is so important. You want to be aware and be part of the next step or next solution. Otherwise, well, otherwise you become irrelevant. I know you don’t want that.
Never in the history of the Universe has it been so important to know exactly who you’re trying to reach, and then speak to them in such a way as they stop and actually pay attention. I wish I could tell you this is easy, but it’s really not. On the other hand, it isn’t hard, it’s just tricky. No one has time — or will take the time to read some long rambling email. Impatience is the new reality. You need to be able to get to it and get to it quickly. You must be clear. You must be compelling. And you have to hit them with something that they need.
You need to know you have something others want, and you need to be sure those you’re targeting are those people. What are some effective strategies and tactics to capture this?
Ever been captivated by a good story? When it come to writing one, just remember to start with the action. Taking a few paragraphs to warm up to it is the wrong approach.
Oh, how we love them. We do. Sound bites capture full, robust meaning in very few words. A sentence to two and you’ve got them. I wrote an entire piece on how to create sound bites that you might find helpful.
You may have a heavy, important topic, but sometimes you need to initially capture people with brevity. How can you do this?
Test and explore all of this yourself. Is email obsolete? Maybe for some. Remember, we’re looking through the lens of capturing media attention for your book. You will always be able to email your best friends and family…probably. If you’re marketing and publicizing your book, then you need to know how best to reach others. Test the waters and see what channels are most effective, and then keep testing.
To your success!
P.S. I suspect one day we will be reaching out and meeting people in virtual reality, and it may not be that far into the future. It’s not something to be afraid of, but to be inspired by…
P.P.S. The future is now…
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