SHARJAH, The ‘Publishers Club’, a virtual discussion initiative jointly organised by the Sharjah Book Authority, SBA, and the Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone, SPCFZ, has recently held its first session to highlight how publishers can leverage technology-driven marketing techniques and social media platforms to drive their businesses.
The virtual series is a part of SBA’s ongoing efforts to support and advance the publishing sector by bringing together industry professionals on a unified platform to present effective solutions for both common and unique issues being faced by businesses since the coronavirus, COVID-19, outbreak.
The inaugural session was held via the Zoom video conferencing platform and moderated by Dr Emad Eldeen Elakehal, Founder and Director of the United Kingdom and Egypt-based ibiidi Publishing.
Kicking off the session, guest speaker Magdy Mohamed Abdalla Ibrahim, Chairman of Mahy for Publishing & Distribution, said while COVID-19 had severely disrupted the publishing sector, it had also pushed industry professionals to think of innovative solutions and ensure business continuity.
“Studies have revealed that there are around 380 million internet users in the Arab world, and if a publisher can attract just 10 percent of them, he would have a large customer base,” he added.
Ibrahim noted that there are some basics that they should follow for their businesses to succeed. “The most important one is having a clear vision to increase the customer base because it is a very competitive market. The wide outreach of online paid advertising platforms can be effectively leveraged to lure thousands of readers to the publisher.”
“Emails can be a useful and robust tool for publishers to send marketing material and flyers to millions of users at the click of a button for free, in contrast to physically sending them via post. It also helps in ensuring a direct communication channel with your customers,” he added.
He also advocated using social media influencers to promote business. “A single picture of a famous football player reading a book has contributed to the sale of millions of copies of the title. This highlights the importance of influencers in promoting books just like any other product. However, the publisher should select the right influencer to deliver to the intended audience.”
Concluding the session, Ibrahim emphasised that publishers must establish a strong online presence to strengthen their business, “When a reader finds an author or a publisher on social media, it helps build a relationship between them. A lot of readers talk about and discuss online the books they are reading. This helps in creating an environment where readers, publishers and authors meet and start a conversation which is beneficial to all parties.”
Source: Emirates News Agency