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Charlene Bose
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How Books Went Digital & Why Your Business Should Too

Change is inevitable in the ever evolving digital era we live in today. However, there are many individuals that feel apprehension and anxiety over embracing new digital technologies — and understandably so. There’s so much new information, a whole different approach to things, brand new systems and tools that can seem intimidating.

Even the most traditional media – like books – have found a way to embrace the digital revolution and its led to new success. Taking books as our example, we explore how digital technology changed their industry, but how ultimately channel diversity is the most important thing.

The story of digital books

It’s hard to pinpoint the first ever digital copy of a book. However, a notable one was when author Peter James, posted his novel, Host, on two floppy disks in 1993. This act caused massive outrage in the literary community — many saying he was destroying the culture of reading and the prestige of literature.

Peter James was however thinking with an innovative mind. He predicted a future where reading on screens and devices would be made easier and more accessible to a larger audience. And despite the huge backlash he received, went on to stand his ground on the value of having digital copies of novels. According to James, his digital version of Host sold 12, 000 copies.

In November 2007 Amazon launched its e-reading device, Kindle. From 2008 – 2010, the sale of e-books increased exponentially — up to 1260%.

And while the data on e-books to this day keeps fluctuating and changing, what we do see is that more and more people are embracing digital books as a valuable and necessary tool for education and reading. It’s being used in classrooms and on morning commutes into work. It’s given the opportunity to smaller publishers and new authors a better chance for distribution and capturing new audiences.

Have digital books plateaued?

Recent data shows that the sale of e-books has dropped by around 4% in 2017, while hardback and paperback books have seen an increase. Meanwhile audiobook sales have continued to show consistent growth and remain the fastest growing segment in digital publishing.

It’s interesting to see how the disruption of digital technologies has impacted the way we consume books. By now, publishers have recognised that consumption patterns will keep changing as the years pass and technology innovates.

The best way to deal with these changes is by ensuring you are on the front lines of change by diversifying your channels. Meaning, it’s great to still have physical copies of your novels but you don’t want to miss out on the thousands of potential customers that won’t realise your book even exists if it’s not available as an audio book or e-book.

The same can apply to any small business who are considering whether digital marketing is for them. Avoiding digital channels means missing out on huge portions of the population that prefer to find information about products and services online.

Benefits of digital in business

Much like the publishing industry, businesses are considering diversifying their marketing channels by investing in digital marketing.

More businesses — even small, local ones — have started to turn towards social media and online technology to help with their sales and brand awareness.

Understandably, for many business owners this a completely new and foreign area with many layers to get through. However, once they welcome these technologies as an extension of existing practices, most business see the enormous value in them.

Improve the effectiveness of your advertising

With social media platforms developing tools to give businesses more insight into their customers, business owners can now have online ads that target people with varied levels of interest in what they do. This include:

  • Users who have directly interacted with their page
  • Users who have liked pages with similar topics or themes
  • Other demographics like age, income and interests

You can find customers who are already looking for you and customers who don’t know they need your services yet with services like Google AdWords, Bing advertising and social media posting.

Increased ability to educate customers

A quality website and up-to-date social media are vital resources for helping potential and existing customers find the information they need. Pew Research Center conducted a study on search engine use that showed 91% of online adults use a search engine to find information on the web.  Having the right website content, making sure your webpages are search engine optimised and having blogs to show you’re a thought leader in your industry are all ways to lead our customers on a fruitful buyers journey.

Build your brand reputation

Online reputation is a key factor in getting customers to trust in your products and services. A local consumer review survey found that 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and that 50% of those people will visit your website as their next step after reading a positive review. And it’s hard to take ownership of your online presence and narrative if your business isn’t online.

Research also shows that if consumers google your company and find negative articles on page one you could lose potential customers depending on the amount of negativity. With an online business profile, you can post case studies, testimonials and request reviews from customers who you feel have had a positive experience with your brand. You can ensure that when people are looking up your business online, you are there to push them in the right direction with as much positive reinforcement as possible.

Take the first click to bring your business online

If you’ve considered taking your business online and are unsure where to start, don’t worry! WME have digital marketing experts who can help you understand how to use digital technologies to enhance and grow your business. We take the time to get to know you and your business and help you find digital solutions tailored to your company and industry. Click here to begin.

By Charlene Bose

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