Super Library Marketing: All kinds of marketing ideas for all kinds of libraries.



How to Hook New Cardholders and Make Them Loyal with Email

We talk a lot about emailing our cardholders with information about new products, services, and collection items. But you can also use your email list in a powerful way to reach people who have just signed up for a library card.

Most libraries take a minimalist approach to “on-boarding” a new cardholder.  Once a person fills out a library card application, we hand them a card, a welcome brochure, and send them on their way. We’re friendly and we’re genuinely excited to welcome them to our system. But we make a mistake that’s common for a lot of businesses and organizations. We know our system inside and out and we often forget that our new cardholders know nothing about what we offer. We assume they can find their way to the things they need.

It’s important to help those cardholders learn to navigate the behemoth number of resources and items available at the library. A solid on-boarding campaign retains new cardholders and turns them into lifelong loyal users of the library. The first 90 days of a new library cardholder’s experience is crucial to determining their feelings of connection and loyalty to the library.

It also makes good business sense. Studies show it costs five times as much to gain a new customer than it does to retain them. A library marketer practicing good stewardship will want to do their best to keep new cardholders coming back to use the library.

The most effective way to on-board a new cardholder is through email marketing. Many libraries create a campaign with specific emails sent to new cardholders at a pre-determined pace. Those emails slowly introduce them to new features and inspire them to try out all the library has to offer. It’s easy to do this using some mail systems, like OrangeBoy and MailChimp.

My library has a 90 day on-boarding campaign set to run automatically through OrangeBoy. Creating it was a bit of process. But the effort was worth it. In addition to retaining customers, the on-boarding emails reduce unsubscribes for future targeted promotional emails. Here’s how we did it and what we learned about doing it well.

First, make a list of the services, events, and collection types that get the most use at your library. You’ll want to include information about the most popular features you offer in your emails to new cardholders.

Then, make a list of the services, events, and collection types that are interesting or unique to your library but don’t get a lot of use. These are the gold nuggets of your on-boarding campaign. You’ll have the attention of your new cardholder. The relationship is fresh. Why not use that to showcase the hidden treasures at your library.

Finally, create an outline of your campaign, mapping out each message, when it will be sent, and what it will say. Look at the two lists you’ve created and narrow your focus. Try to promote no more than four things per on-boarding message. You don’t want to overwhelm your new cardholder. Rather, you’ll want to introduce people to the library in small doses. Pick a theme for each message with a specific call to action. Keep the language simple, conversational, and free of industry jargon.

Create, test, and release the messages. This part took me nearly as long as creating the plan did! But you’re almost there.

Track results. Of course, you’ll want to use a Google URL tracker or Bitly link to see which services and items get the most interest from your new cardholders. You can also track unsubscribe rates, and if you have the ability to divide cardholders into clusters, you can see where your new cardholders land after they finish the on-boarding process.

Here are a couple of examples of my library’s on-boarding emails so you can see what we do.

How do new cardholders react to these messages? They definitely don’t hate them. Our unsubscribe rate is 0%. We’re a large system and we’ve sent these for several years to thousands of new cardholders. Over the course of our campaign, we’ve had a couple of hundred people unsubscribe.

We send six emails over 90 days. The first email gets a lot of engagement, which is not a surprise.  The fifth email about using your neighborhood branch (see the image above) is the second most engaging email for us. Overall, about half of the new cardholders we sign up end up becoming loyal library customers. Most use our computers but the rest are checking out physical and digital items or using our MakerSpace.

If your library is doing something to on-board cardholders, I’d love to hear about it. Please take this poll and tell me about what you are doing in the comments.

Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on “Follow” button in the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on Twitter, Snapchat, and LinkedIn. I talk about library marketing on all those platforms!



Get More Library Marketing Reach on Social Media

Every library marketer I know is fighting a battle for the attention of cardholders on social media. Platforms don’t make it easy for us, do they? The kind of organic reach we enjoyed even five years ago is a nearly unattainable now. Plus, we’re all stretched for time. Social media can feel like an endless treadmill or a giant monster that needs constant feeding.

But there one thing you can do to stretch your library marketing efforts further each day on social. It’s called re-purposing. Basically, you take original content created by you or content created by your fans. You reshape it, then share it on different platforms. It’s easy and it’s fun. It saves time. And it helps you get the most effective library marketing messages in front of more eyes.

Now, I want to say that I don’t recommend full cross posting… in other words, copy and pasting a post on one social media platform automatically onto another one. Always think about whether your audience really wants to see the same content on each platform. The answer is usually no. Different platforms have different audiences with different needs.

But you can take a post on one platform and re-craft it to work on a second or third social media platform. For instance, an Instagram story shot at a super-fun teen program probably won’t work on your library’s LinkedIn page but it could be re-purposed on Snapchat. You can also make minor changes to single posts to make them work on different platforms. Change the text or the captions of the posts, add or remove hashtags, and or use a different photo.

Here are some tips for spotting social media posts that can be re-purposed. First, make a daily habit of social listening. Essentially, that means you monitor mentions of your library on all social media platforms every day. It’s easiest to do when you use social media scheduling software. At our library, we use Sprout Social. We can see mentions of our library on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, which are the big three platforms where we spend most of our social media energy. For my personal blog promotion, I have a free version of Tweetdeck. I can add columns and get notices when readers mention me by name or through the hashtag #librarymarketing on Twitter, where I do my main promotion.

When you monitor and share mentions of your library, you are nurturing the relationship with people who are already fans of the library. By giving them some exposure on your social media channels, you’ll be generating exposure for them and creating more loyalty. However you decide to do social listening, set aside time every day to go through the platforms and look for mentions of your library. The complimentary ones can be turned into posts on other platforms. They can be shared directly with your followers in retweets.

Ask for testimonials from your cardholders through social media. Then share those posts in your print publications, on your website, in videos, and across other social media channels. My social media specialist likes to take mentions and turn them into testimonial graphics in Canva. Then she shares those posts on select platforms. Bonus tip: I also asked for testimonials using our email marketing list recently. I sent an email to the most active adult cardholders at all our branches and asked them to tell us why they loved their library. The email linked to a specific email address. I even populated the subject line. All the cardholder had to do was type a few sentences about why they love the library. I got back more than 400 responses… a gold mine of future content for all our platforms!

You can also turn all questions sent to you on social into re-purposed content. Cardholders will often choose social media to communicate with libraries. There’s a great book with lots of tips of social customer care. I interviewed the author earlier this year and you can read that post. You’ll learn lots of ways to make social media customer care work for your library. The trick again is to set aside time every work day to go through each platform. And to keep track of the platforms where your library is mentioned.

And now, I’m going to share a social media fail I suffered recently. I forget that Google Business existed! My boss checked our account and found dozens of questions posted on Google Business sites for our 41 library locations. Now, I go through the messages my library gets each day. With 41 locations, we get about five messages a day on that platform. Some are questions about things like branch hours or services. I try to answer all questions within 24 hours if possible. Many posts are people leaving specific reviews of branches. Those people are thanked by me with a personal message. The whole process takes maybe 10 minutes a day. But the quick interaction will leave cardholders who take the time to write to you feeling like they were really heard, and that’s extremely important. And now, I can take the best of those Google reviews and re-share them on other platforms. They work great because they often mention specific branches and staff members. They feel more personal to the people who live in those neighborhoods because they know that branch and staff.

Re-purposing content is a great way to stretch your library marketing reach. It’s relatively easy and it’s fun and it’s free. And here’s the big thing: many for-profit brands are not doing a good job of re-purposing content. That’s our advantage. Our cardholders love us, and they love to hear other fans rave about our work. So set aside a tiny block of time in every day to search for content that can be re-purposed.

And now, I have a favor to ask. If you didn’t see last week’s post, can you take three minutes to fill out my tiny little survey? It’ll help make this blog better in 2019. Thank you!

Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on “Follow” button in the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on Twitter, Snapchat, and LinkedIn. I talk about library marketing on all those platforms!

Tips to Have the Best Conference Ever


I love conferences. I think they’re a valuable way to learn new stuff. I love stepping away from my normal work space and meeting new people who are excited about libraries and marketing. It’s a great way to re-energize yourself.

But there’s more to conferencing than registering for sessions and booking a hotel. You’ll want to squeeze as much learning and fun as you can of any conference. These tips will help you maximize the experience.

Pick your sessions in advance. Sit down and form a strategy for which sessions will offer the most value for you. Most conferences offer sessions in tracks–those are a series of related sessions designed to give you an in-depth and multi-layered education about one area of your business. But unless your library is sending more than one person to the conference, I recommend that you not marry yourself to one track. Rather, choose your sessions based on the needs of your library. Think about the coming year and the kinds of challenges that may lie ahead for your organization. Then pick the sessions that will help you to meet those challenges. If you’re on the fence about a session or are having trouble choosing between several speakers running at the same time (don’t you hate that problem?!) look on YouTube for video of the speakers and research their blogs to help you make the most informed decision. You can usually tell how valuable a session will be by a past speaker’s performance or blog posts.

Sign up for alerts and reminders from the conference host. Most organizations will send you notices as often as you like with helpful info, including places to eat and have fun when you’re not in a conference session. They may also alert you when sessions are added or dropped from the agenda.

Connect with fellow attendees and speakers on social media. Start checking the conference hashtag on Twitter and Instagram a few weeks in advance to see who’s buzzed to go. Send personal (not auto generated) DM’s to fellow attendees to let them know you’ll be there too. You might also find Facebook and LinkedIn groups connected to your conference where you can meet attendees in advance. Update your LinkedIn profile while you’re there, because you can bet people you meet at the conference will be checking you out. Connecting with conference attendees ahead of time makes it less intimidating to walk into a hotel full of strangers if you already “know” someone from social media. You can recognize them from their profile photo and social conversations and start a real conversation with all the awkward small talk already out-of-the-way!

Practice how you’ll introduce yourself to new people and have a few “small talk” conversation starters in your back pocket. You’ll be surprised how fast you can freeze up in a room of 1000 strangers. So even though it feels weird, figure out what you’ll say to introduce yourself and then come up with three questions you can ask someone you’ve just met to help get a conversation going.

Figure out where you are going. If the conference is held in another city, I try to arrive on the day before the conference begins so I can go to the venue and get the lay of the land. I get nervous and excited on that first day and knowing where my sessions are held before I arrive on that first day is a big confidence boost. It frees my brain up to do more important stuff… like meet new people and take notes!

Take notes in sessions. You might be tempted to skip this step, given that many speakers make their slides publicly available after the presentation or write blogs about their sessions after they’ve given them. (I totally do that–here’s one!) But you’ll absorb more of the information long-term if you take notes.

Give yourself a break. The first time I attended Content Marketing World, I made one big mistake. I went from session to session without any breaks… all day long! It was exhausting and I never had a chance to take a breather and reflect on what I was learning–nor to catch up on emails from the office. (Let’s all just admit right now that those will chase you, even when you’re at a great conference.) So this year,  I took a lunch break. I actually took my food outside and ate while reading a book for 20 minutes. The dose of fresh air and sunshine helped me to focus during my afternoon sessions. Be sure to give yourself space to breathe in your conference schedule so you don’t end the day exhausted and overwhelmed.

At the end of each day, go through your notes and compile a summary.  You can take this back to your library to share with your boss and your co-workers. That time you spend putting your notes in order will also help to reinforce what you learn and will prompt you to start thinking about ways to put those new nuggets of knowledge into practice at your library!

Do you have other tips to help fellow conference attendees? Please share in the comments! Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on “Follow” button on the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on Twitter and Snapchat–it’s where I talk about library marketing! I’m @Webmastergirl. I’m also on LinkedIn, Slideshare,  Instagram and Pinterest. Views in this post are my own and do not represent those of my employer.


Why Libraries and Content Marketing Make the Perfect Couple: A Content Marketing Institute Interview

A crazy thing happened to me this week. Content Marketing Institute published a profile I did a few weeks ago with them. Each week, they highlight attendees of their big, fabulous Content Marketing World conference and I was lucky enough to be in the spotlight this year. Libraries and content marketing are the perfect combination!

You can read the interview here. Thanks CMI!


Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on “Follow” button on the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on Twitter and Snapchat–it’s where I talk about library marketing! I’m @Webmastergirl. I’m also on LinkedIn, Slideshare,  Instagram and Pinterest. Views in this post are my own and do not represent those of my employer.

Social Media Works! Positive News for the Naysayers



I feel compelled to respond to a post by the amazing and insightful site Nonprofit for Good, which I follow religiously. Because I completely disagree. In the post, 12 Not-So-Great Realities About Nonprofits and Social, the author lays out a dozen negatives that many nonprofits (and businesses for that matter) have to deal with every day on social media.

Here’s my big problem with the post.–it offers no solutions to these problems, which does a disservice to readers. Anyone who has worked in social or uses it for their nonprofit or business knows that social media, like many other business activities, has negatives and positives and the best way to mitigate the negatives is to find solutions. I felt it was overly pessimistic and I’m worried the post will dissuade nonprofits and libraries from investing in social media. So let me offer some positive feedback on the points in the post.

Nonprofits have spent years promoting Facebook and get rewarded with a 3% organic reach. True. Businesses have had the same experience. That’s the way the cookie crumbles, my friends. As Joe Pulizzi says, you should never build your audience on rented land. Unfortunately, many nonprofits and libraries fell into that routine and now have a very hard time changing course. Facebook, like every other social platform, has every right to change the rules whenever they want. It’s their platform. As Joe further points out, you should operate under the assumption that, when you wake up every morning, the rules of any or all the social media platforms may have changed. So what do you do? Create a social media strategy. Armed with that, you’ll be able to focus your efforts on the social platforms that will work best for your audience, set performance goals, and keep your workload efficient. My library has clear objectives for what each post should do. And we meet our goals more than 90 percent of the time.

Nonprofit social media managers are bombarded with depressing content and nonprofit social media managers have to deal with weird, random, mean people on Twitter.  So does everyone else. And it is manageable, as the post mentions in passing. You can’t control what everyone else is doing… you can only control what your organization is doing. Focus on the positive. Hug your haters.

Nonprofits have to pay full price for advertising on social media. The author and I agree on this point, although the cost of ads for Facebook and Twitter is relatively inexpensive and totally worth it to get to the targeted audience–the people who will really want to see your message.

Instagram and Snapchat have no tangible ROI. They will if you have a social media strategy. Also, as marketing expert Jay Acunzo points out, the constant need to seek a tangible ROI may be the downfall of marketing strategies. Building a loyal audience takes time and sometimes can’t be measured by traditional means. The bottom line isn’t always the end of the line.

You are not a videographer or broadcast reporter, but to be good at the Next Big Things you have to be. Not necessarily. There are, without a doubt, some people in your nonprofit or library who are naturals on camera. If you’re not comfortable with that role, find people who are. They’ll shine, it’ll build morale, your cardholders will get a chance to get to know your staff better, and your videos will be memorable. It’s not hard to learn the basics of video production these days, thanks to and YouTube. I suggest you subscribe to Amy Schmittauer’s fantastic channel, which is all about video and social and easy ways to incorporate both into your library marketing strategy. There are also a number of free webinars with great pointers on how to create videos. You can turn to Social Media Examiner‘s blog, podcast, and YouTube channels for inspiration and practical tips. Finally, as a former broadcast TV journalist, I can tell you that practice makes perfect. The more you do it, the easier it gets.

Nonprofit social media managers live, work, and play social media 24/7. That’s easily manageable. And not necessarily true. Most social managers I know do go offline once work is finished. Unless they love social and stay on all day. Then, good for them!

Social media often distracts nonprofits from other more important, more ROI-producing online tools. Here we are with the ROI again. If you have a social strategy, this isn’t a problem for you anymore. I do agree with the author about targeted email messaging. I’m a huge fan of email marketing, also done within a specific strategy.

Your nonprofit doesn’t have the budget to invest in social media staff or premium social media tools. Tools are not that important. my library spends a couple of hundred bucks a year for a Sprout Social account. If you’re really strapped, you can use Tweetdeck. It’s free. Use Twitter Analytics, also free, to help you figure out the basics on engagement. Expensive tools don’t make for a good social media outcome. A staff is important. Even if you don’t have the money for a full-time social staffer, I bet there is someone within your organization who is willing to help. Or get an intern! Then empower that person to post the right content. You don’t have to pay to do that. You just need a strategy! I may be banging the drum repeatedly here but it’s important.

Posting on social media day after day can become monotonous and boring. It’s clear the author isn’t really a fan of social and doesn’t have a passion for it. He or she might want to consider another job.

Going viral only exists for the .0000001%. Which is why this should never be your goal. Going viral is a lightning strike. It rarely happens to anyone. Please get a social media strategy and, armed with that, you’ll never have to worry about winning the lottery because you’ll build your social audience, driving them to your owned properties, and that, my friends, is job security.

Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on “Follow” button on the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on Twitter and Snapchat–it’s where I talk about library marketing! I’m @Webmastergirl. I’m also on LinkedIn, Slideshare,  Instagram and Pinterest. Views in this post are my own and do not represent those of my employer.

Advice for Jedi Library Marketing from Luke Skywalker


I was in the same room as Luke Skywalker.

When I heard Mark Hamill was keynoting Content Marketing World, I may or may not have squealed out loud. Repeatedly.

When he walked onto the stage, the energy in the room went up by about 1000 megawatts. 4000 marketers got to their feet and cheered. I could not post anything on social media for 20 minutes, there was such a drag on the WiFi from everyone else!

What the heck was Luke Skywalker doing at a marketing conference? Show business is all about marketing and actors are more than men and women who stand up in front of a camera and read lines. They have to know how to appeal to audiences through unique storytelling and emotional engagement. That’s the oldest and purest form of marketing.

Hamill is every bit as gracious as you would imagine. And he had five great insights that apply to library marketing.

Love your job or don’t do it. Mark Hamill loves making and marketing films. He told us about how he enjoyed coming to the publicity department to watch the studio create marketing materials to promote the Star Wars series. During the latest movie, he thought of new ways to market the movie on Twitter, including a funny incident where he promised to unveil the trailer for Star Wars: Episode VIII on a certain day. When the day arrived, he shared a video of his trailer… his dressing room trailer. “How they thought we’d have a trailer ready for a movie we hadn’t even begun to shoot yet, I don’t know,” said Hamill.  Hamill said he was fascinated by the creative process involved in marketing a movie series with super fans who salivate, analyze, memorize, and deconstruct every single line. He says that energy made the work he had to do on camera more exciting. When you love your job and you are passionate about it, your library will benefit. If you have the privilege of hiring staff, make sure they’re passionate and energetic too.

Don’t be afraid of change or learning new things.  George Lucas told Hamill, “The thing is, in show business, nobody knows anything. The business is always changing and evolving.” That’s true for libraries too and Hamill says that’s a confidence booster for all of us. You need tenacity in any business, including library marketing. Said Hamill, “Sometimes I think tenacity is more important as talent, or at least as important. Can you survive all the failures?” In the end, Hamill says you must believe in yourself, work hard, never give up, and you can do anything.

If you hit a creative wall, take a break from it. You don’t have to have all the answers all the time. The answers will come to you when you aren’t thinking about it. Try to imagine what people want, keeping in mind that those wants may be very different from what your library is planning to promote.  Your marketing should create an emotional response in your cardholders. If it isn’t doing that, go back to the drawing board and keep thinking! Hamill says he also always tries to find a way to re-purpose old ideas with his own lens. Everyone comes at things with a different perspective. Follow your instincts. Trust yourself.

Understand the different facets that go into your library’s operation and function. If you’ve never worked on the front line with staff, take a few hours to job shadow someone at a branch. When you have a chance to sit down with a senior leader, ask questions about their job, the concerns, their hopes, and the direction they want to see the library take. Hamill wants us to remember that what we do is composite art. Marketing isn’t a disconnected endeavor. It supports and is supported by countless other people within the library system. You’ll do your best work when you know how all the pieces fit together.

Know that you’ll never be satisfied. Just aim to be less dissatisfied. Your work will never be perfect. The best you can hope for is to improve with each promotion. You never know what great thing is waiting for you around the corner. Hamill left us with this parting thought: “I never expected to be in a galaxy far, far away as I rocket toward Social Security, that’s for sure.”

Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on “Follow” button on the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on Twitter and Snapchat–it’s where I talk about library marketing! I’m @Webmastergirl. I’m also on LinkedIn, Slideshare,  Instagram and Pinterest. Views in this post are my own and do not represent those of my employer.

Are You All In? How To Make Sure Your Library Marketing Thrives!


I returned from Content Marketing World, an amazing two-day marketing conference in Cleveland, full of energy and drive to do this marketing thing and to do it better. I spent 48 hours absorbing information and furiously taking notes in sessions with some of the smartest and most creative people in the industry. You can look forward to posts over the next several weeks sharing what I learned about how to make space in your day for creativity, Snapchat engagement, tools for better writing, how to improve your website, and tips for internal communications. I can’t wait to share with you!

But the key takeaway from this year’s conference is commitment. Content marketing is the focus of the conference. I’ve written about it often. It’s a marketing tactic that every library needs to incorporate into their overall marketing strategy. Joe Pulizzi, who is the founder of the Content Marketing Institute and who started this conference six years ago, recommends your library actually create a separate content marketing strategy. It helps to center your efforts and makes it easier for you to make decisions about where to spend your time and money. It doesn’t have to be complicated. You can learn how to create a content marketing strategy here.

In his opening keynote this year, Joe told us that only 20 percent of for-profit companies are fully committed to using content marketing. 80 percent are somewhat committed.This is why many of our brand friends are failing at content… they’re not all in.  This is where libraries can beat brands to the punch and get ahead of competitors like Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

In your personal life, how would it work if you were only somewhat committed to your relationships? It would be a disaster! The same is true with content marketing. For the tactic to work, you have to be completely committed. That means we say no, all the time, to mediocre content, which will hurt your library more than doing nothing at all. This is difficult for some library marketers, I know. Libraries are highly bureaucratic. There’s a belief in libraries across the country and around the world that we have to keep doing things the way we’ve always done them. There is a fear of change in the library world that I don’t see in many other businesses.

Library marketers are insanely smart with varied backgrounds and experiences. Some of you have degrees in library science. Some have a marketing background. Still others, like myself, come from other professions including journalism. But we’re all driven by one core value… we want the library industry to thrive. We worry about the state of the library world. We worry about funding and time and attendance numbers and circulation. We are, honestly, a little scared of the future.

When an industry is in the midst of a shift, as I believe the library world is right now, there are two paths you can take. You can give in to fear and fight tooth and nail to stay on the traditional path. Or you can choose to change course and look for new ways to strengthen your library.

What have you got to lose? Be all in or get out. There is no halfway. Start by picking one audience and target them consistently with one message or mission. Telling a story over time will build value outside the products and services you offer. Then, your library will become the community center and the trusted source for information for everyone who lives in your service area.

There is a reason that 3500 marketers from 60 countries gather in Cleveland each year. This guy knows what he’s talking about and he has a plan that can work for your library. We’ve been working content marketing into my library’s marketing efforts for more than two years now and our circulation and program attendance numbers continue to rise. Our brand image is strong.This stuff works. All you have to do is decide to be a little different, a little nontraditional. I’m here to help. Let’s make libraries strong again!

Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on “Follow” button on the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on Twitter and Snapchat–it’s where I talk about library marketing! I’m @Webmastergirl. I’m also on LinkedIn, Slideshare,  Instagram and Pinterest. Views in this post are my own and do not represent those of my employer.

What I Learned About Library Marketing From an Amusement Park


I recently spent the day at Cedar Point, one of the largest and most renowned amusement parks in America. Nestled on the shores of Lake Erie near Sandusky, Ohio, this park is known as America’s Roller Coast because of its amazing array of death-defying thrill rides.

I find myself viewing every experience with an eye toward marketing. I’m always looking to see what other businesses, both big and small, are doing right and wrong and what I can learn that will help my library marketing.

That's me in the purple pants.
That’s me in the purple pants.

There are huge differences between the inner workings of a library and an amusement park. But I took home more than a sense of adventure and a photo of myself screaming like an idiot while riding the world’s first floorless coaster! Here’s what I learned:

  1. Make your website easy to navigate and put the information that guests want front and center. There are several ways to buy tickets on the Cedar Point homepage…all are in plain sight and are easy to spot. Everything else is divided into categories with headlines that reflect the way real guests would talk. If you have trouble figuring out how to organize your website for the ease of your customers, it’s a good idea to ask your staff to make a list of the questions which guests ask throughout the day. Then turn those into website pages.
  2. Signage should be clear and minimal. Cedar Point has signs marking the entrances of rides… and that’s it! That might seem counter-intuitive. The park is huge and the map is, frankly, not much help. But there was no wayfaring signage anywhere and it didn’t slow us down. In fact, it encouraged us to roam and explore. And we knew when we saw a sign, it meant something. Libraries put too many signs in too many places, making it confusing for customers who eventually tune out all that visual overload. Choose your sign placement carefully and strategically, and when in doubt, minimize. If you’re worried that people will get lost, then remember the next lesson…
  3. Staff members should always be available to help customers! Every staff member at Cedar Point appears to be trained to answer a variety of questions, from how to find rides and restrooms to height restrictions to food booth locations.  If we needed any help, all we had to do was ask. What a treat! This easy, comfortable staff interaction made the day so much better. We knew if we had any problems, the staff would have our backs.
  4. Monitor social media all the time–no excuses. Now we come to the part of our visit that was a little disappointing. My family chose to buy VIP viewing tickets for the fireworks show in the evening. We decided to go on July 3 because frankly I thought the park would be crazy busy on the 4th! We got admission, parking, a seat on the beach for the fireworks and an all you can eat hamburger and hot dog buffet for a great price.  However, the fireworks show was disappointing. It only lasted ten minutes. We had watched the show the night before from our rental cottage and it was at least 20 minutes long. So I tweeted the park’s official account, asking why the show was so short. I got no response. I tweeted again the next day. No response. On July 5, I tweeted one more time, suggesting the social media folks read Jay Baer’s Hug Your Haters. That finally got a response from the Director of Communications.The fact that it took three days to get a response on social media is inexcusable.  Your customers will expect an answer from you in a reasonable amount of time. A recent study by Eptica shows 64 percent of customers who use Twitter to communicate with companies expect a response within the hour. Assign someone to watch social media accounts regularly throughout the day and evening, every day of the week, even on holidays. That’s the only way we’ll be able to compete with, and beat, big-box book and media stores and give our customers with the experience they demand.Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on “Follow” button on the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on Twitter and Snapchat–it’s where I talk about library marketing! I’m @Webmastergirl. I’m also on LinkedIn, Slideshare,  Instagram and Pinterest. Views in this post are my own and do not represent those of my employer.


These Are the Five Metrics Library Marketers Should Care About


We talk a lot about metrics in marketing. We’re all under pressure to prove that our efforts are moving cardholders to action. And metrics help us to prove that.

Metrics also help us gain valuable insight into our cardholders–what they want from us in terms of customer service and circulation and what they love and don’t love about their library.

Confession: I love data. Data is clear and concise and it usually doesn’t lie. It can help you make the case when you need an increase in your marketing budget or permission to do something extraordinary. Tracked over time, data will help you to take the 30,000 foot view of your library marketing and see the big picture.

I do a lot of data gathering in my library marketing efforts. I’m sure you do too! But it’s easy to get lost in the quagmire of numbers and analysis. So I want you to focus on five data points that really matter to library marketers. These are the pieces of information we must gather to manage our marketing workflow and connect with our audience. Use these metrics to determine whether your messages are connecting with your audience and promoting your library’s overall strategic goals.

Actual circulation (increase of holds/checkouts). Pay attention not only to monthly and yearly circulation trends, but to how your marketing efforts directly affect pieces of the collection. If you send targeted email messages with links to certain items in your catalog, it behooves you to track how circulation increases by your efforts. I record the number of checkouts and holds before I send the message and then again for three days after the message. In general, I find that cardholders who want to take action on an email will do so within a three-day period of receiving it. This lets me see how well the message about this particular item resonated with the audience and, over time, I can compare efforts every month to determine which titles are most likely to pique the interest of my cardholders.

Percentage increase in circulation. It’s important to also keep track of the percentage increase of any circulation item you promote. Raw holds and checkout increases are great, but to get the bigger picture of how an item is really affected by your message, you need the percentage increase.  I use to help me calculate the percentage increase in circulation. Then I can compare results between titles as apples to apples, and not apples to oranges.

Conversion rate( number of people who click on a link and then place a hold). This is a new metric to me but it’s so helpful.  When I send a targeted email, I calculate the number of people who open the email, the number of people who click on the email, and the number of people who place a hold or checkout. The conversion rate is the percentage of people who clicked on the message and then placed a hold or checkout. On, it’s the middle calculator option.

Program attendance. Clearly, if you are promoting a program, you want to see if attendance increases. I email the branch manager one day after the program to ask for the numbers. Attendance numbers at my library are entered into a main statistical system and I could get access to them there, but only at the beginning of the month. I’m a little more impatient!

Amount of traffic driven to website via social media. Our library tracks how much traffic is funneled to our main public website via the three main social media networks–Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. We use Google Analytics to help us analyze how efforts on those platform are translating into action by our cardholders. This is an important metric to share with administration, because it clearly demonstrates how investing time and energy into social media can reap returns for your library. If you’ve never worked with Google Analytics, here is an easy guide to get you started.

Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on “Follow” button on the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on Twitter and Snapchat–it’s where I talk about library marketing! I’m @Webmastergirl. I’m also on LinkedIn, Slideshare,  Instagram and Pinterest. Views in this post are my own and do not represent those of my employer.



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