In December, we did a webinar focused on some simple ways to drive up electronic resource utilization. This post is a summary of that presentation. You can watch the recorded webinar here: http://www.nicheacademy.com/simplifying-library-marketing.
We need better results
Generally speaking, public library marketing is not yet achieving the results we want, particularly when it comes to our electronic resources. A study released by the Pew Research Center last September found that only 38% of the public was aware that their library offered eBooks. The same study asked people whether the closure of their local library would have a major impact on their community and their own family. 65% said it would have a major impact on their community as a whole, but only 32% felt it would have a major impact on their own family. This indicates plenty of general good will towards libraries, but shows the public is not connecting the library with their own real needs.
Lower the cost, make it routine
A majority of libraries still see marketing as an expense they can't afford. A few large and well funded libraries invest in marketing personnel and high-profile campaigns. Niche Academy believes that with just a slightly different perspective, effective marketing can simply become part of the daily operation of the library. Resource promotion and patron instruction can become as routine as cataloging, circulation, and acquisitions. Very small libraries can lean on consortia for support with these functions just as they do with other core functions.
A simplified process
The process we propose uses simple but effective promotional graphics to spark interest in library resources, particularly electronic resources. To make it easy to incorporate into your routine, we've broken it down into 5 actionable steps.
Step 1: Identify the resources you want to promote
To increase utilization of a resource, you need to have in mind a specific audience that will benefit from the resource and then craft a clear message that highlights that benefit for that audience. A promotional graphic is one of the most effective ways to highlight a benefit for an audience. Each of the following steps uses a promotional graphic that highlights a resource. Check out the recorded webinar to see some sample promotional graphics.
Step 2: Schedule social media posts
Use your graphic in social media posts. The graphic serves to spark interest and it should link directly to a quick tutorial on the resource so patrons know exactly how to access and use the resources.
Step 3: Send emails that include promotional graphics
The more focused your email can be in terms of the audience it targets, the better. Using the same promotional graphic used in social media posts increases the likelihood that people will see it more than once. Repetition increases the likelihood of a response.
Step 4: Print tent cards
Tent cards that feature your promotional graphic are an inexpensive and effective way to connect with people already visiting the library. They can spark interest in resources that patrons don't use as frequently as they could. Tent cards should direct patrons to your website.
Step 5: Place graphics and tutorial links on your websiteMake the tent card promotional graphic easy to find on your website. This will be an easy connection for people referred by the tent card. Link from the graphic to a quick tutorial so people know how to use the resource once they find it.
The Niche Academy platform provides a set of tools that aim to help libraries promote their resources more effectively. If you'd like to learn more about Niche Academy, you can click the link below to schedule a 15 min demo for your library.