Guest Post: Why Snail Mail is Still Effective in the Age of the Internet

Guest Post: Why Snail Mail is Still Effective in the Age of the Internet Marketing

Now that brands can reach consumers through emails, texts, and social media, the idea of sending a physical postcard or promotional letter is obsolete, right?

Actually, the above statement couldn’t be more wrong. It’s precisely because of the prevalence of emails and social posts that physical mail has become a more effective marketing tool than ever before. With the average worker receiving 121 emails a day and nearly half of their inbox considered spam, it’s no wonder that many use instant deletion to clear out messages without ever opening a single communication.

Phishing scams pretending to be from secure sites like Apple or Paypal have also led consumers to assume emails are yet another attempt to steal their information. A pause inside the distracting world of electronic messages, mail is a more personal—and trustworthy—way to communicate.

Even though adults under 40 under the age of 30 grew up in an era of smartphones and texting, 36% were still found to enjoy their checking their mailbox each day, according to a Gallup Poll. The number for older demographics is even higher—up to 56% for ages 65 and over.

The U.S. Postal Service conducted a survey that discovered, although participants process digital ads quicker, they spend more time with physical ads, and remember their content better. Survey participants who interacted with physical ads were more emotionally engaged and interested, allowing them to retain the information for much longer. Items promoted in these ads were seen as more desirable and valuable to the consumer.

The tactile quality of touching a piece of direct mail can lead to a deeper level of engagement, making a stronger impact than sight or sound alone. A recent Eagleman Lab study discovered that paper quality heightened this impact. Simple elements such as a handwritten font, physical stamp or unique packaging can make your message feel important. To elevate your offerings above the competition, consider including a sample or small gift that promotes your business.

But don’t think of snail mail as the only way to reach your customer base—consider it as a crucial element in a series of channels that relay your message. Direct mail can push traffic to your website, highlight a special promotion or coupon, even serve as a well-designed, personal way to engage your customers and keep your brand top of mind.

image by TimothyJ via Flickr

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Morning Coffee – 4 January 2019

Morning Coffee - 4 January 2019 Morning Coffee

Here are a few stories to read this Friday morning.

 

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Kindle Android App Now Supports Vertical Scrolling

Kindle Android App Now Supports Vertical Scrolling e-Reading Software Kindle (platform)

Teleread brings our attention to the news that Amazon’s Kindle app for Android now supports continuous scrolling.

Users of the Kindle Android app can now join Kindle Fire tablet users and iOS users in scrolling their way through their latest books – well, most of them, anyway. This feature doesn’t work with PDF or fixed layout ebooks, just regular Kindle ebooks.

Even so, this is still a useful addition. I am reading a lot of non-fiction right now, and a single topic in a chapter might span 3 or 4 screens. With the scrolling feature I can quickly scan an entire topic without having to wait for the page turns.

I wish I had known my Kindle tablet supported this feature; it would have been so useful.

P.S. It’s not clear when this feature was added (the changelog for the last update mentioned only that you could store ebooks on your phone’s external storage) but in the past day or so users on MobileRead and elsewhere have reported that their devices had been updated, after which they were prompted to test the new feature.

Coincidentally, the Kindle app’s listing in Google Play does indicate that the app was updated on 2 January, but it still mentions the old changelog. Also, my app wasn’t updated, but I too have the feature, so we really don’t know when it was added.

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How to Cancel a Kindle Blog or Magazine Subscription

How to Cancel a Kindle Blog or Magazine Subscription Kindle (platform) Tips and Tricks

For as long as Amazon has sold ebooks on the Kindle, they have also sold subscriptions to blogs and other periodicals.The blogs usually cost $0.00 to $1.99 per month, and were automatically every day.

Or at least that is how things  are supposed to work. I just discovered that starting in October, Amazon has been billing me for two subscriptions to my own blog while at the same time neglecting to deliver the content as promised. While this is my own fault (I did place the orders when testing the system), I will also add that I was surprised to learn Amazon has no way to check for duplicate subscriptions or if the content is actually being delivered. (Another unpleasant surprise was the realization that Amazon wasn’t sending me email receipts, either.)

I would like to save my readers from making my mistake, so here’s how you can check your Amazon Kindle account for subscriptions and then cancel the ones you don’t want (but only on Amazon.com; the other Kindle Stores might work differently).

Manage My Content & Devices

As you may know, if you buy Amazon hardware or have bought digital content from Amazon, Amazon has a menu on its site where you can manage your purchases. This menu started out as a single page when Amazon launched the Kindle in 2007, but it has since grown to be a complex and confusing collection of menu pages, tabs, filters, and dropdown menus.

You blog, newspaper, and magazine subscriptions can be found on three different screens which can be accessed via a dropdown menu on the Manage My Content page:

How to Cancel a Kindle Blog or Magazine Subscription Kindle (platform) Tips and Tricks

What you need to do is visit each of the three pages and check to see if you have any active subscriptions that you either don’t recognize or no longer want.

You can cancel a subscription by clicking on the 3-dot menu next to the subscription, and selecting the “Cancel subscription” option.

How to Cancel a Kindle Blog or Magazine Subscription Kindle (platform) Tips and Tricks

 

When I checked, I found that I had two blog subscriptions I didn’t want, so I went ahead and canceled them.

How about you? Did you find any unexpected subscriptions?

 

 

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How to Use Kindle’s New Custom Font Feature

How to Use Kindle’s New Custom Font Feature Kindle Tips and Tricks

In June 2018 Amazon released an update for the Kindle ereaders that gave users the option of installing their own fonts.

This feature is available on all current Kindles from the second Kindle Paperwhite (2014) to the new Oasis (2017) and fourth-gen Paperwhite (2018) that are running firmware version 5.9.6 or later.

If you have one of those Kindles, here’s how you can install fonts.

Note: This is for the E-ink Kindles, not the Kindles running Android.

The first thing you need is one or more fonts to install. There are many sites where you can download them, but luckily for you back in 2016 I collected a bundle of fonts that had been developed for E-ink screens. You can download them as a ZIP file from the link below.

Font bundle.zip

I assembled that collection so that it would be easier to find and install fonts on the Kobo ereader, and now it can serve double duty by saving Kindle owners the hassle of finding the fonts on their own.

Download the ZIP file, unzip it, and you are halfway to installing the fonts on your Kindle.

The process could not be simpler.

  • Simply plug your Kindle device into your computer over USB, and then use your computer to navigate to and open the folder labeled fonts in the root folder of the device.
  • Select one of the folders in the bundle folder, and open it.
  • Copy all the font files from your chosen folder to the fonts folder on your Kindle. A font family usually comes in sets of four, and they all have to have similar names otherwise they won’t all be found by the device. (I took care of this detail when I assembled the bundle, don’t worry.)

Once you have copied the files to your Kindle’s font folder, unplug your Kindle from the USB cable.

Pick up your Kindle, open an ebook, and select the “Font & Page Settings” menu. If everything went the way it should you will find a new custom option setting in the Kindle’s font selection screen.

The Kindle should automatically detect all compatible fonts and display them for you to choose from.

I just tried this, and successfully installed Roboto, AndikaInk, and Liux Libertine fonts. The latter two had been customized to look better on E-ink screens. I am rather fond of the Linux Libertine font; it might actually displace Bookerly as my preferred font.

Which one do you prefer?

How to Use Kindle’s New Custom Font Feature Kindle Tips and Tricks
How to Use Kindle’s New Custom Font Feature Kindle Tips and Tricks
How to Use Kindle’s New Custom Font Feature Kindle Tips and Tricks

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The Very Slow Movie Player Runs at 24 Frames Per Hour (video)

Both hackers and ereader companies have devoted many hours to tweaking E-ink screens in order to get the highest refresh rate possible. This next project takes things in the opposite direction.

The VSMP, or very slow movie player, combines a Raspberry Pi with an E-ink display to device that plays a movie at about 24 fph (frames per hour). This is about 1/3,600 the speed that movies usually play at, and as a result a traditional epic-length movie is now going to take more than 8,000 hours to play on the VSMP.

The VSMP is programmed it to load a new frame on the screen every two and a half minutes, in effect changing the movie from an experience or an event into something that can “be noticed, glanced-at, or even inspected, but not watched”, and is the work of Bryan Boyer.

“Can a film be consumed at the speed of reading a book?” he asks.  “Yes, just as a car city can be enjoyed on foot. Slowing things down to an extreme measure creates room for appreciation of the object, as in Brasília, but the prolonged duration also starts to shift the relationship between object, viewer, and context.”

In a way, he has created a real-life example of the time dilation effect found in science fiction.

Medium via Hackaday

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Morning Coffee – 31 December 2018

Morning Coffee - 31 December 2018 Morning Coffee

Here are a few stories to read this Monday morning.

  • When you try to teach an AI to write holiday movies, hilarity ensues
  • Someone has come up with a Sabermetrics for publishing (this is a fancy way of saying they wrote an algorithm to calculate optimum price, production volume, etc).
  • Legacy publishers’ refusal to go digital bites them in the ass this holiday season as paper shortages cause back orders for popular titles. 
  • Like a computer virus, Author Solutions clones are cropping up all over
  • This is not exactly ebook or publishing news, but I am leading a workshop in Arlington, VA on 23 March

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Someone Was Impersonating My Blog on Facebook in 2012

I learned two things on Facebook this morning. The first is that I apparently won an award in 20102 for being one of the 50 best blogs for authors. This is literally the first I have ever heard  about that award, but while it is very cool to win an award the news was overshadowed by how I learned about it.

It seems that back in 2012 some helpful soul created a page on Facebook for this blog. I was already on Facebook, yes, but someone thought my blog needed a second page so they scraped my about page for content, and crafted a header image touting that award.

Someone Was Impersonating My Blog on Facebook in 2012 blog maintenance Social Media

While it is possible I might have forgotten making that page, I would certainly remember the banner. It is partially made from a screensnap from the site’s then-current theme. Also, there’s no way I would use that profile photo, or the text on the bio page.

I still do not know why someone did this, or who, so I am hoping someone will be able to help me chase down the origins of that page.

Who’s up for solving a mystery?

 

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On the Care and Feeding of Your Favorite Blogger

On the Care and Feeding of Your Favorite Blogger blog maintenance

Editor’s Note: The following post was originally written on Twitter by @SuperWendy. I edited it and republished it here because I agree with the sentiment.

Over the past few years many blogs, both independent and run by Big Business, have shut down. This leaves many readers sad and wondering what they can do. Well, here’s an idea – how about the care and feeding of your favorite bloggers?

Here’s the thing – support comes in all shapes and sizes and doesn’t necessarily mean $$$$. Acknowledgment, a “well done you” every now and then – these are small things but deeply appreciated.

When was the last time you:

  • Commented on a post?
  • Signal-boosted a link on Twitter or Facebook?
  • Bought something using the blog’s affiliate links?

You can’t be sad about bloggers disappearing and then do nothing about it; it would be like mourning the death of local retailers while shopping at Amazon.

O O O

I have always wanted to say this but have never found a tactful way to do so. In fact, I feel so strongly about this that I have tried to turn the post into a graphic for other bloggers to post on their site. (My efforts have not been successful.)

Alas, there aren’t that many bloggers left. Most of the really interesting people I follow are writing on either FB or Twitter. That is fine except if you don’t catch what they are writing  when they are writing it then you will probably never see it. And since both Twitter and FB now decide what you get to see, chances are you won’t see someone’s clever writing in the first place.

That shortcoming is a good reason to support writers who still keep up their own blog, wouldn’t you agree?

P.S. The above text was edited and shared with permission of the original author. Neither of would mind if you reshared the text so long as you give credit.

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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas blog maintenance

Merry Christmas from my family to yours.

The blog will (mostly) be on hiatus until the new year. I will be using that time to perform long-needed maintenance on things such as the mailing list, and to meditate on how on how the blog can better serve its audience by fulfilling the principles of the five pillars of web publishing.

P.S. If you know of a contracts attorney that could help me develop a service contract in trade for tech services, that would be great.

image by hazelnicholson via Flickr

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