CommentaryFebruary 27th, 2017
Turning browsers into buyers. Highlights from the IPG Spring Conference.
Find your readers, engage them and sell. It’s a simple enough three-point plan for publishers, but as the IPG’s recent Annual Spring Conference made clear, it’s easier said than done.
The packed Conference showed the independent sector to be in robust health, full of passion, ambition and creative publishing. The winners of the IPG’s Independent Publishing Awards highlighted many examples of digital innovation too—from overall winner Edward Elgar’s hugely successful Elgaronline platform to Bloomsbury’s Fashion Central portal to How2Become’s energetic online marketing. These three independents have set the standards—so what can other publishers do to master that three-pronged mission?
First, the finding. As several Conference speakers pointed out, sitting back and hoping people will stumble across your books isn’t enough any more. Instead, publishers need to work out what it is that their potential buyers want—and, just as importantly, how they look for it.
In the age of digital discoverability, this means staying right on top of the workings of Google and other search engines. Glynn Davies of Pi Datametrics told the Conference about some of the ways in which search handling is changing, including a move away from conventional keywords to prioritise ‘conversational’ and voice-led searches. A fifth of all mobile-based queries are now made by voice, which makes it important to remember how people talk when they want to find out about something, as well as how they write.