Get Out of the

It is hard to believe that in a building filled with the stories true and imagined, a library marketer would need inspiration.

But alas, we are human. And sometimes we are stuck in a rut. We struggle to inspire our cardholders, both old and new. We want our customers to use our collection and enjoy our services every day, but we can’t seem to figure out a way to make them take action. The tried and true methods of marketing no longer work and we’re frustrated, angry, and probably a little worried. How do we get the train back on the tracks again?

Inspiration, my friends.  First, you need to get inspired. Then, we can inspire our customers! Here’s my method.

1. Stalk your customers. It helps me just to take a walk around the library or to visit the branches. I pretend to be browsing the books but really I’m watching the way the cardholders browse the shelves, interact with staff, work the self checkout machines, use the public computers. Do they look for a map? Do they look confused? Are they drawn to a particular book display? Do they linger over the new books or do they dash in for their holds and dash out? Watching how they actually behave inside the building can give you an idea of what customers love and what problems they encounter during their interaction with you. Also, take a walk around your website! Look at Google Analytics. To see which services your cardholders love and hold valuable, list the pages where people land and stay for long periods of time. Conversely, are there pages where the average visit lasts for mere seconds? Perhaps it’s time to focus effort on improving the customer experience on those pages.

2. Check your statistics.  Our library makes circulation and programming stats available on our intranet. This little piece of data helps inspire me to find ways to help make their interaction with the library more worthwhile. Sometimes a surprising trend emerges that I can latch onto. Sometimes a service takes a dip in usage, and it becomes clear that we need to shift our marketing focus to re-educating the public about that service. Data is such a valuable inspirational tool. Use whatever stats you can get your hands on!

3. Pick a focus. Can you help your customers solve a particular problem? If you do, will that grow your circulation and programming? If you have a concrete “yes” answer to those two questions, its time to lay out a strategy. What content will you create? How will you distribute it? How will you measure success?

4. Make them feel all the feels. Now, take your strategy and infuse it with emotion. What emotional memory do you want your cardholders to have? Pick one of the 21 inspiring kinds of content in this fantastic infographic and build around it. Solve your customer problems and leave them feeling something memorable!


How do you find inspiration for your library marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Views in this post are my own and do not represent those of my employer.