I love the New Year. The turn of a calendar can be the push you need to get you into the spirit of trying something new. And I’m celebrating the one year anniversary of this blog so I’m doubly in the mood for new beginnings!
This is a great time to be a library marketer, don’t you agree? There is so much going on and so many libraries are finding new and interesting ways to connect with their cardholders. But we still have lots of room to grow and improve. I fervently wish to see some changes in the industry as we head into 2016.
- Libraries need to do less programming–but more quality programming. We have a lot of little programs centered on crafts, music, and lectures. And attendance at those programs keeps dropping. What if we stopped doing tons of small programs and created deeper, richer experiences for our guests by doing a few top-quality programs a year? For marketers, fewer programs would mean more thought could go into the marketing of those programs. We’ll have time to create compelling and innovative promotions, attendance will rise, and the brand and customers will benefit.
- Libraries must get comfortable with email marketing. Face it guys–we are really behind in this area. Email is an easy way to reach your customers in a one-on-one environment–their inbox. A monthly email to print lovers with a list of three compelling new books takes such a small amount of time to create and has such a positive impact on circulation numbers. Plus, cardholders love it! An email to cardholders who frequent a specific branch to let them know about a program that aligns with their interests feels personal and drives attendance. It’s not hard, it’s not intrusive, and it is cost effective. We need to do more emailing.
- Libraries must realize the impact of advertising on Facebook. We’re working with tiny budgets and we’ve got to make sure our efforts count by reaching targeted niche audiences. There’s no easier way to do that then with social media advertising. For pennies on the dollar, you can create an advertisement or boost a post on Facebook and make sure it is seen by a specific target audience who will act on that ad, rather than scroll past it. Facebook’s insights make it easy to track the effectiveness of your ads and if something isn’t working, it’s easy to change course halfway through the campaign to make your ad more effective. I’m not sure why libraries are still buying ads in newspapers and spending enormous amounts on billboard advertising… neither of which are trackable or effective. I’m not being paid by Facebook to say this, by the way. It’s worked for my library and for my church. I just spent $20 advertising our Christmas Eve services on Facebook and we had more than 800 people in attendance, which is a significant gain over the previous two years. What are you waiting for?
- Libraries must become practitioners of content marketing. This could be a real point of differentiation for libraries. We should publish blog posts and create magazines and newsletters that actually add value to our cardholders lives with information that answers the questions and pain points of our cardholders. We don’t have to publish a ton of content–just publish really good content that can be distributed over a number of marketing channels.
I’ve learned so much from you, my reader. You’re down in the trenches with me and your feedback makes this job feel less daunting. I hope you feel the same way about this blog. Library marketing is tough–but sharing trials and triumphs makes it so much easier.
In the spirit of the season of new beginnings, I’ve set some goals for this blog in the coming year. I want to do a better job of including you in the conversation. That means I’m looking for contributing writers! I invite you to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have an idea for a post or if you would like to write a guest post. There is more value in advice from many people working in many different settings. So please, if there is something you’ve wanted to talk about, let me know.
I also hope to recruit more expert guest bloggers. I’ve already reached out to several people in the industry and you’ll see articles from them in the coming year. If you know of anyone whose advice or insight will be helpful to fellow library marketers, let me know.
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