aerial shot of a wooden desk with an open book, notebook, ereader, and pair of glasses.

Three Tips for Marketing in a COVID World

As we approach two years of COVID restrictions and guidelines, we’re coming to terms with the fact that going back to “normal” may not happen, or at the very least, it will take longer than we originally thought. Being mostly virtual for the past two years has affected multiple industries, and publishing is no exception. Where book releases and author tours were once in-person at local bookstores, they are now virtual (or canceled), among other changes. This also means that the way marketers advertise books has changed as well. Marketing books has always been an ever-changing field, but now this fact rings even more true. Here are three tips to help you market your books during COVID that will help you reach a wide audience.

Social Media

Social media campaigns have seen much success in recent years, even more so with the increased use of social media during the pandemic. Instagram stories and well-made graphics tend to get a lot of views, comments, and likes, especially if a story is interactive. Snapchat stories also receive some interaction, but not as much as they used to. Short tweets on Twitter, especially with images or polls, also work, as do some Facebook posts. The key is to space your posts out between platforms and days so that you don’t spam anyone’s feed.

Virtual Events

In lieu of in-person book launches or tours, hosting events over Zoom or on other live streaming platforms has been successful. People still want to celebrate the release of new books, interact with authors, and attend readings, and while this can’t be done in the same way, an in-person event can happen, and virtual events can still pull in large audiences. Similar to a book tour, scheduling more than one date may be beneficial depending on how wide an audience you wish to reach. You may also want to consider running a giveaway during the event for books and other collateral or offering a limited number of signed copies online.

(E)Mailing Lists

Many publishers and authors send out emails a few times a month to advertise new releases, events, giveaways, and more. Email lists can be a great way to market your books and events as long as the emails have attention-grabbing images and headers, aren’t too long, and aren’t sent out too frequently. Email lists are great places to advertise book events, promote giveaways, and offer exclusive sneak peeks of book covers and previews of the first few chapters of a book.

Given the extended switch to virtual that we are all facing due to COVID, many marketing strategies within the publishing industry have had to become virtual as well. Finding the right combination of digital marketing strategies can be tricky, but this list is a good starting point when marketing your book or bookish event.

Text reading "Promote your book on social media like the experts, for free." next to two books with covers that say "Book Promotion"

Book Mock-Ups for Beginners

Do you want to elevate your book’s marketing aesthetic, but you’re unsure how to make marketing materials and social media graphics like an expert? The answer is 3D book mock-ups! Less intimidating than it sounds, a “book mock-up” is the general term for a number of online templates that are designed to turn your cover image into 3D promotion graphics just like the professionals make. Keep reading to learn more about how to create book mock-ups, where to find them online, and suggestions on where to use them in your book’s marketing materials.

Luckily for marketing beginners and experts alike, most book mock-up generators are incredibly easy to use, free, and only have three steps. Usually, you just choose a 3D mock-up, upload your cover image, and download your mock-up. However, finding good quality, free versions of online tools like book mock-up generators can sometimes be challenging, not to mention that it’s nerve-racking to visit and download files from unfamiliar websites—but don’t worry! I’m sharing several tried-and-true 3D book mock-up generators in the hope of saving you that trouble. In no particular order, my trusted mock-up generators are:

Although each of these mock-up generators is a good option, not all generators are created equal. For example, Book in Motion’s Mock-Up Tool offers mock-ups that incorporate your cover image into an alternative setting in addition to making the cover 3D. Boxshot’s 3D Book Cover Maker, on the other hand, only provides users with a 3D image of their cover (with a transparent background), but their generator offers users more control over the final product’s camera angles and lighting. In other words, Boxshot’s 3D Book Cover Maker constantly renders a realistic model of your book, which allows for more camera, light, and shadow flexibility. Boxshot’s generator is definitely advanced and offers more options than some of the other mock-up generators listed above, but don’t be intimidated. After just a few minutes of playing with your cover in Boxshot, even those with no design or marketing experience will quickly grasp how easy it is to use the tool.

Regardless of which mock-up generator you choose, make sure that your mock-up choice is the best fit for your end product. For example, if you’re designing a tipsheet, it’s better to use a mock-up that makes the title 3D and gives it a transparent background rather than using a mock-up that nestles your book under a tree in a well-lit forest. The latter would be perfect for a social media post, though! Wherever you use them, book mock-ups are sure to elevate your book marketing graphics on social media, in launch emails, and in advertising campaigns so that your promotional materials are one step closer to looking like an expert’s.

forest full of green leaves

Asian American Authors of the Pacific Northwest

Exclusionary policies and widespread discrimination have historically made the Pacific Northwest unwelcoming for immigrants of every generation, often creating spaces where Asian Americans are unwelcome and unsupported. Recently, an uptick of hate and xenophobic violence has called attention to charities such as Stop AAPI Hate and #HATEISAVIRUS, which work to end systemic violence and protect Asian communities in America. A list of charities to support, including the ones above, can be found here. In the meantime, you can help uplift Asian American voices by supporting the works of Asian American authors who create and contribute to the richness, diversity, and culture of the Pacific Northwest.

Nicole ChungAll You Can Ever Know

Born in Seattle and raised in Oregon, Nicole Chung writes on adoption, identity, and her experiences growing up in a predominantly white town as an adoptee from Korea. According to Time magazine, “Nicole Chung delved into her own cross-cultural adoption to unpack our collective strengths and weaknesses when it comes to responding to our differences . . . opening readers’ eyes to the complexities of cross-cultural adoption, Chung makes a resounding case for empathy.”

Michelle ZaunerCrying in H Mart

Not only an acclaimed writer but also a musical performer under the moniker Japanese Breakfast, Michelle Zauner’s debut novel, Crying in H Mart, is a memoir about grief and connection through the lens of food and culture. The Seattle Times called the novel a “warm and wholehearted work of literature, an honest and detailed account of grief over time, studded with moments of hope, humor, beauty, and clear-eyed observation.”

Jamie FordThe Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Author of Songs of Willow Frost and Love and Other Consolation Prizes, Jamie Ford delivers a “tender and satisfying” story of the parts of Seattle history that “we would rather not face,” according to Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain. The New York Times best seller, The Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, follows Henry Lee, the Chinese American narrator, as he navigates his past through the streets of Seattle. Ford himself grew up in Ashland as well as Seattle.

Linda TamuraNisei Soldiers Break Their Silence

Raised in Hood River, Oregon, Japanese American author Linda Tamura’s sophomore novel, Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence, explores the history of Japanese American soldiers in World War II who returned to Hood River after the war and were imprisoned in camps despite being American citizens. Tamura, author of Hood River Issai: An Oral History of Japanese Settlers in Oregon’s Hood River Valley, is a professor at Willamette University and works to “[celebrate] the history of Japanese Americans and inclusion in Oregon,” according to her website.

E. J. KohA Lesser Love

Poet, translator, and winner of the Pacific Northwest Book Award for her memoir, The Magical Language of Others, E. J. Koh lives in Seattle and was raised in and around diasporic Korean communities, according to LSU Press. The poetry collection A Lesser Love touches on romantic, platonic, and familial love, as well as the parent-child relationship.

Ruth OzekiA Tale for the Time Being

Described by the author as a “particularly Pacific Northwest kind of book,” A Tale for the Time Being follows teenagers Nao in Tokyo and Ruth in British Columbia as they piece together mysteries of the past, unraveling family history and the conflicts of Japanese culture. Ozeki, the author of All Over Creation and My Year of Meats, is a Japanese American filmmaker and Zen Buddhist priest. According to The New York Times, A Tale for the Time Being is a “delightful yet sometimes harrowing novel . . . many many of the elements of Nao’s story—schoolgirl bullying, unemployed suicidal ‘salarymen,’ kamikaze pilots—are among a Western reader’s most familiar images of Japan, but in Nao’s telling, refracted through Ruth’s musings, they become fresh and immediate, occasionally searingly painful,” with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch calling it “beautifully written” and “intensely readable.”

Shawn WongHomebase

Homebase, a coming-of-age story set in California during the 1950s, follows Chinese American teenager Rainsford Chan as he comes to terms with the truth of the Chinese American experience after the death of his parents. Shawn Wong, a Chinese American author and professor at the University of Washington, also wrote American Knees and has co-edited several anthologies.

How BookTok Made Me Fall in Love with YA Fiction

In March of 2020, when the world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I (like many others) planned to use my extra time to do something productive. I thought it would be a time to self-reflect, try new things, and explore new hobbies that I had otherwise never found the time to enjoy.

More than a year later, the guitar I bought and planned to learn how to play is still leaning against my bookshelf untouched. I quickly abandoned my ambitious daily quarantine workout routine and never learned how to make banana bread, or any other new dishes for that matter. I did, however, download TikTok, and in the past year, the side of TikTok termed “BookTok” has inspired my newfound interest in YA fiction.

TikTok uses an algorithm to connect users with content that they will enjoy. This has created different “sides” of TikTok, like a video game with different worlds that are uniquely catered to a player’s niche interests. When videos catered to a specific topic routinely pop up on a user’s feed, that user is said to be on that side of TikTok. “BookTok” is the name of a specific side of TikTok where TikTokers recommend books. Typically, a user uses their short video to talk about books they’ve enjoyed, often piling one book on top of another as the camera zooms in on the cover with music playing in the background. While TikTok has been utilized by publishers, authors, and bookstores, I have found that most of my BookTok book recommendations have come from laypeople or avid readers who love books but do not have any vested interest in book sales.

Because TikTok is most popular among young people, BookTok is dominated by YA fiction recommendations. Here are my top three YA recommendations based on BookTok recommendations:

  • The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn BarnesI heard someone on TikTok say that The Inheritance Games was Cinderella meets Knives Out, and I was immediately interested. The Inheritance Games kept popping up on my TikTok feed, and it was well worth the hype. I found each character to be vivid and colorful, and it felt like I was in Hawthorne House with them, navigating its puzzles and secret passageways. The sequel, The Hawthorne Legacy, was released on September 7, 2021, and I’ve been impatiently waiting for my copy.
  • Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia LevensellerIn this YA fantasy series, Levenseller weaves an intricate and fast-paced tale of female pirates on a search for an island of siren treasure. Captain Alosa Kalligan is the powerful female character at the center of both Daughter of the Pirate King and its sequel, Daughter of the Siren Queen, and it was invigorating to read a fantasy book so focused on women and female relationships.
  • The Cheerleaders by Kara ThomasThis was the first BookTok book I read, and it heralded a new era of YA reading for me. I read it in one night, staying up past midnight to finish the teenage thriller, and then re-read it again a year later. Whenever someone asks for book recommendations, this is the first book I tell them about.

All three of these books are well worth the read and were great recommendations. I have found that the short length of TikTok videos makes them very engaging and helps me remember a few book recommendations, rather than overwhelming me with an entire list. Prior to BookTok, I had been in a reading slump, but a year later, I have a robust list of books on my “to read” list, most of which are YA fiction books and many of which I have already crossed off.

A Brief History of the Oregon Book Awards

Every year, the community-based non-profit, Literary Arts, presents ten awards for excellence in writing to the resident authors, poets, and publishers of Oregon. Submissions range from poetry chapbooks to graphic literature, and each award category is evaluated by three out-of-state judges who have experience in the genre. All of the awards have been named after a stand-out Oregon writer from the genre:

  • The Ken Kesey Award for Fiction
  • The Stafford/Hall Award for Poetry
  • The Frances Fuller Victor Award for General Nonfiction
  • The Sarah Winnemucca Award for Creative Nonfiction
  • The Eloise Jarvis McGraw Award for Children’s Literature
  • The Leslie Bradshaw Award for Young Adult Literature
  • The Charles Erskine Scott Wood Distinguished Writer Award
  • The Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award
  • The Walt Morey Young Readers Literary Legacy Award
  • The Angus L. Bowmer Award for Drama
  • The Graphic Literature Award
  • The Readers Choice Award

In the last five years, winners of the Ken Kesey Award have sold as many as sixty thousand book copies, but the award is not a guarantee for commercial success. Even three-time nonfiction awardee John Daniel sold just over one thousand five hundred copies of his 2011 winner, The Far Corner. Daniels has gone on to say, “Oregon Book Awards and Literary Fellowships have brought solace, encouragement, and modest material sustenance to scores of us, and to the famous and virtually unknown as well.”

Both funding and visibility were the primary goals for Brian Booth, who founded the Oregon Institute for Literary Arts in 1986 and held the first Oregon Book Awards the following year. Booth, a lawyer and fourth-generation Oregonian, was tireless in his advocacy for the preservation of both art and nature. Though the Oregon Institute for Literary Arts struggled, and later merged with Portland Arts and Lectures to become Literary Arts in 1993, the Oregon Book Awards and the Literary Fellowship program continue to flourish. Two years after Booth’s death in 2012, Literary Arts established a two million dollar endowment in his name: the Brian Booth Writer’s Fund. This isn’t Booth’s only legacy—a state park in Lincoln City, Oregon, also bears his name.

The Brian Booth Writer’s Fund is managed by the Oregon Community Foundation, and in 2021 it distributed two ten thousand dollar fellowships and thirteen additional fellowships of three thousand five hundred dollars. Since its founding, the program has honored over six hundred local writers and publishers and distributed more than one million dollars in fellowships and awards. While the Oregon Book Awards seeks to share financial support and recognition with writers throughout the state, Literary Art’s larger mission to inspire the next generation also plays a role.

In addition to receiving the award, winning authors attend a book tour to connect with readers across Oregon: they go to indie bookstores, libraries, and schools to do public readings and attend writing workshops. By connecting with readers and aspiring writers of all ages, Literary Arts uses the Book Awards to facilitate excellence throughout the state. Submissions closed on October 1 for the 2022 Oregon Book Awards—the winners will be announced next May—but it’s never too early to plan next year’s submission!

Casting the Spotlight on Third Eye Books, Portland’s Only Independent, Black-owned Bookstore

About once a month I visit Third Eye Books, Portland’s only independent, Black-owned bookstore. Located right off Division Street and 33rd Ave in inner SE Portland, this delightful bookstore is tucked away inside an old Portland house. Owners Michelle Williams and Charles Hannah have created a comprehensive book-buying experience. The store opened at this location earlier this summer, in June of 2021. The bookstore does a brisk walk-in business from Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., attracting folks from the busy Division Street area. Parking is available on the streets around the shop; be sure to allow some time for browsing because you never know what you will find!

Michelle and Charles give book-buyers a warm welcome when entering the store. In their own words, “our vision is to be the number one supplier of African-centered books, accessories, and gifts in the Portland Metro area.” Whether you are looking for classics written by Black writers such as Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, or Audre Lorde (to name a few), or a new fiction written by N.K. Jemisin and Nnedi Okarafor, or books on anti-racism, you will not be disappointed. The selection of books is large and well-stocked, including a section for children and YA as well as Black-centered cookbooks and culinary books.

Every time I visit, I end up leaving the shop with three to four books. In my most recent visit, I picked up Caste by Isabel Wilkerson, Robin di Angelo’s new book, Nice Racism: How Progressive White People Perpetuate Racial Harm, Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor, and Witches Seeped in Gold, a debut novel by Ciannon Smart. Often I go in looking for a specific book, but I always allow myself to explore and pick up books that I know nothing about. Often the books I discover are fantasy books, but I’ve also picked up Amanda Gorman’s new children’s book, Change Sings, as a gift for my great-niece and great-nephew.

Third Eye Books also offers a rewards program on their website, as well as a robust online ordering system that allows for special book orders and bulk orders. Third Eye Books also works closely within the local community and is currently sponsoring a “Children’s Book Blitz” on their website. Hosting a list of twelve books for purchase, these books specifically “support a local Girl Scout’s mission to collect one thousand books.” The bookstore lists virtual events happening monthly and gives visitors the option to shop specific book collections such as “Black Freedom,” “New Arrivals,” and “White Accomplice” collections. Co-owner Michelle Williams has also recently been named to the Advisory Board for Ooligan Press and Portland State University’s Book Publishing program.

As I am preparing for my monthly visit to the store, I am wondering what treasures I might find. I have no agenda—I’m only looking to pick up a few books to add to my ever-growing collection. Perhaps fiction, perhaps a cookbook, perhaps some nonfiction. Who knows what I will find? Whatever the case, I never leave without at least one book because this gives me a way to not only support Third Eye Books as a Black-owned business but also to continue to enrich my own reading life with more books by diverse authors. Visit the store, stop in and say hi, and make sure you leave with at least one book.

SHORT, VIGOROUS ROOTS: A Brief Account of a Project Team’s Blurb Journey

A lot of progress has been made in recent months as we near the pub date for Short, Vigorous Roots: A Contemporary Flash Fiction Anthology of Migrant Voices! With the support of our entire press, it is the project team’s mission to prepare this dynamic book for a successful launch and future sales. Book blurbs are one tool we have to help us invite that success.

If you’re a reader, you’ve encountered many blurbs in your lifetime and will most likely come across countless more. Blurbs are, according to Merriam-Webster, “a short description that praises something (such as a book) so that people will want to buy it.”

Sometime in the nineteenth century, Ralph Waldo Emerson received a copy of Leaves of Grass by the then-unknown author, Walt Whitman. Colin Dwyer from NPR reports that “on reading the first edition…Emerson had mailed Whitman back a glowing note…” Later, Emmerson, “a nationally esteemed intellectual,” gave consent for Whitman to publish the full letter in the New York Tribune. A year later, “one line of that letter…[was] printed in gold-leaf lettering on the spine of the book’s second edition, sharing space only with the title and Whitman’s name,” resulting in the first book blurb: “I greet you at the beginning of a great career.” Pretty beneficent! I would have bought that book!

Max Tucker, the co-founder of Scribe Media, states that blurbs can be a way to “add credibility to your book” and describes the who, what, where, why, and how of blurbs in his article, “How to Get Incredible Blurbs for Your Book.” Tucker explains that book blurbs can be used in several ways. Aside from going on the front cover, blurbs can be placed on the back cover, the inside flap, before the title page, on the book’s websites, pages, profiles, press materials, and even in the metadata.

Short, Vigorous Roots has inspired several literary and industry professionals to blurb for us, and I am truly grateful. I want to acknowledge those generous people who accepted my invitation to read an advanced copy of the book and provide Ooligan Press with a blurb, as well as those who weren’t able to yet were gracious enough to help spread the word about this important title.

The process of requesting blurbs begins with a massive contact sheet—a focused list of people who may be interested in writing a blurb for the book. It involves reaching out to a lot of people: “the more names, the more likely you are to get a yes,” Tucker says, adding that we want to ask people who have a “strong connection with both [the] audience and the material…because the more focused the blurb list is on your audience, the better.” In our case, this all proved true.

The project team spent time researching and collecting contact information for about a hundred potential blurbers. As the project manager, I surveyed the two editors, Mark Budman and Susan O’Neill, and our thirty-two contributing authors to obtain the names of anyone they suggested we connect with, which was a terrific way to cast a wide net and grow our network of folks who care about this book.

The next step was to create an email template for the blurb requests. The template leaves space for personalization; we want the people we reach out to know that we know who they are and that we chose to request a blurb from them because we respect their work and believe they have a connection to our title. It’s a lot of work, but the team steps up and even enjoys it; becoming familiar with literary professionals and important names working in immigration and global industries is really rewarding. Once these letters are written, they undergo a deep approval process, ultimately being sent out by the project manager.

The response has been humbling and powerful. The literary community is excited about Short, Vigorous Roots, and people agree that this is an important collection of stories! All of the blurbs we receive are added to our metadata, and we choose which blurbs to feature on our book jacket. We have strategies and campaigns planned for featuring these beautiful, buzzworthy words to promote the book and attract readers.

BookTok: The New Platform for Independent Bookstores

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been looking for ways to keep their minds busy. TikTok, a relatively new social media app, began growing in popularity during this time. As a result of this growth, a group of book-loving enthusiasts has started sharing and creating “bookish” content on the app.

“BookTok,” as the community followers call it, is the latest space for people to share their favorite reads. Like its close competitor Bookstagram, BookTok is where people come together to show off the books they are currently reading. Creators also help other readers explore genres they are unfamiliar with and participate in different reading and book challenges.

Personally, I have never been a fan of the book communities on other platforms like Instagram, but when quarantine forced us all indoors, I found myself delving into the world of TikTok, and I quickly found BookTok creators that I loved and have been following ever since. I soon noticed a trend in my regular feed: there were TikTok accounts showing up that were run by bookstores who wanted to promote their shops.

According to The Bookseller, many independent bookstores have taken it upon themselves to use the social media platform as a way to promote their stores and bring in a new consumer demographic. Their accounts, which are generally run by managers and other employees, use all of the platform’s tools to their advantage. Some of the main trends seen on the stores’ accounts are promotional videos that highlight manager book recommendations, new books entering the store for the week, book giveaways, and demonstrating the COVID safety protocols that are in place to ensure a safe customer experience. Many of these accounts also offer small tours of their store’s location and even show off specialized sections that have been created for the books that are trending on BookTok.

The content on these accounts gives customers a firsthand account of the shop’s current selection while also attracting consumers who are unaware of the shop’s existence in the first place. This type of exposure will most likely bring in customers from the local area while also attracting people from across the country who love to visit local shops.

From a marketing perspective, TikTok is an excellent platform for everyone, whether you’re a store, an author, or a publisher. The key to these promotional videos is that the content on TikTok is randomized—this means that anyone can stumble upon the store’s account, which makes reaching new customers relatively simple. By reaching out and establishing a presence in communities like BookTok, independent bookstores can definitely increase sales and establish more loyal customers.

It would not be surprising to see more independent bookstores adopting these trends and creating BookTok accounts to attract more customers. I can not wait to see what other hidden gems are hiding in the indie scene!

Why Transparency Matters in Marketing

When it comes to marketing, the way we choose to communicate and present ourselves plays a huge role, especially in the current age of technology where consumers are inundated with ads and information every five seconds. As marketers, we want to make sure that the consumers within our targeted demographics choose to come to us for their needs, wants, and interests. If we want consumers to choose us, then we need to give them a reason to choose us. Many professionals have found that “playing it safe” with professional language and business jargon can actually alienate their audiences. If you are considering your audience for your social media posts, articles, and other marketing platforms, it is important to be able to engage with them. With the onslaught of advertising, the most successful businesses and individuals are the ones who engage with their patrons in ways that are authentic and fun. Consumers often choose companies that they can trust and that they feel connected to. Transparency goes a long way with current and future customers.

The marketing industry has a bit of a bad rap for being sneaky and manipulative, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, you are probably going to get a lot more long-term business by being upfront and honest about your business practices than you are if you leave your consumers feeling hoodwinked because they didn’t read the fine print. So what is transparent marketing? Shel Holtz defines transparency as “the degree to which a company shares its leaders, employees, values, culture, strategy, business processes, and the results of those processes with its publics. It’s the opposite of opacity, in which companies operate behind closed doors and shuttered windows.”

We all know of situations when companies have been less than transparent in their businesses. One example might be when Wells Fargo created millions of accounts on behalf of their clients without their consent. The company addressed these concerns with an ad called Earning Your Trust that came across as being less than sincere to consumers. When Uber was associated with sexual harassment charges, they released their video, Moving Forward, to address these issues. The more Uber’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, engaged with the issue head-on, the more consumers were able to trust that their concerns were being addressed and taken seriously. According to a study done by Label Insight, “94 percent of those surveyed are more likely to be loyal to brands that are transparent. The study also found that 56 percent of respondents would stay loyal to a brand for life if it was completely transparent.” Transparency is always important, not just when faced with negative publicity.

Think of all the brands and companies that you love. I can bet that near the top of the list of reasons why you love them is the fact that you love what they stand for and what they do. People love Starbucks because they strive for ethically sourced coffee. Toms grew in popularity because not only are the shoes comfortable, but they represent a cause that people can get behind (while getting something for themselves as well). Another example is the Spark Notes Twitter account, which has branded itself with a humorous, snarky tone that lends itself to authenticity. Transparency is becoming the standard of marketing—it’s what consumers want to see.

Marketing Emails and Their Effectiveness in 2021

With more people staying indoors because of the COVID-19 pandemic, marketing practices have made some slight changes. Continuing to live normally during this time has been a learning experience for everyone, with a lot of trial and error taking place in order to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Businesses have struggled during this pandemic, and many of us don’t have the time or money to do this trial and error work. The majority of consumer consumption is now done online, making it logical for marketers to focus their efforts there.

Because so many businesses are operating online right now, online marketing is essential, and promotional emails are one approach that businesses continue to use. According to HubSpot, 99 percent of people check their email every day.

The first challenge with promotional emails is getting people to subscribe to your email list, and the only reason anyone would go as far as to type their lengthy—or even embarrassing—email address is if they are getting something out of it. You would have to be selling more than just the latest news or the latest trendy item, which can probably be found elsewhere. To offer something free or exclusive may be the way to go, because who doesn’t love free and exclusive content?

Email marketing is not dead, but the way it has been traditionally approached might be. The design and personalization of emails matter, and people will know the difference because inauthenticity is easy to pick up on. Many people get hundreds of emails in their inboxes every day, and this is the exact reason why personalization matters so much. This can be hard to do with long email lists. Some sites have included a more personal and in-depth way for people to be included in their email lists by asking the kind of content they prefer and what they like seeing.

The subject line of an email is a person’s first impression of the content they are supposed to be viewing, with 33 percent of people deciding whether or not to open an email based on that first line alone. The more relatable, compelling, and eye-catching the subject line is, the better. Emojis are one way to make an email stand out while also making it feel like a little more time was spent on creating it. Another thing to keep in mind when creating email marketing material is compatibility with mobile devices. Most of us check our emails on our phones, so it should be easy to scroll through and shareable.

While sending promotional emails might seem outdated, they continue to prove that they work. They are cost-effective, measurable, increase brand recognition, and are far more targeted compared to other produced advertisements. In fact, the Direct Marketing Association estimates that email marketing brings in $40 for every $1 spent. Email marketing has more benefits than faults, making it one to continue to stick around.