Search

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

Tag

flexible marketing

How a Last Minute Idea Can Lead to Amazing Library Marketing Results

I have a theory about the kind of person who becomes a journalist. The general news reporter who gets sent to the drug busts and homicides and fires and tornadoes is a junkie of sorts. They like the high that can only be found when you’re racing at breakneck speed to get to a scene before your competitor. They do their best thinking when they’re working on a deadline…a really tight deadline. They love that adrenaline rush.

I was just such a junkie. In fact, my addiction to the breaking news high was one of the reasons it took me so long to leave the business. Even after I was worn to the bone, dog-tired, and miserable, I stayed in TV news because I thought I could not get that high in any other profession. I was wrong.

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a former news colleague. He was covering a major event at my library. He said to me, “I never thought you would leave news for a laid-back job at a library.” And I laughed, out loud. I may have even sounded maniacal. My library is definitely not laid back. And I’m certain, from my many conversations with my dear readers, your job isn’t either!

It’s true that, on most days, I have more time to plan and organize than I did in TV news. Overall, things move at a slower pace through the funnel at my organization–and that’s a good thing. There’s more time to think, be creative, and consider marketing from all angles. There is time to make sure all the pieces of a promotion are in place and crafted as perfectly as possible.

But being a little agile, a little willing to do some marketing on a rushed deadline, is also a good thing. I wish more organizations would open themselves to last-minute marketing. It can be fun and challenging to take ideas that come at the last-minute and bring them to life. You may do some of your best work when you are formulating promotions in a few days or a few hours! A good deadline can push you and your staff to be creative in ways you’ve never imagined.

It’s easy to recognize these quick promotional ideas if you are open to them. Seize an opportunity from a vendor or a partner organization. Recognize when your library has a connection to an event in pop culture. Look for pieces of user-generated content that are so fun and engaging you can’t want to wait to promote them. If it makes sense, if the promotion aligns with your library’s overall strategy, and if you have the time to do it, there’s value in turning a promotional opportunity around in a few days.

You don’t have to be a formal journalist to do this. Anyone can include some flexibility in their marketing schedule. The key lies in planning–which sounds contradictory. But the trick is pretty simple.  When you’re laying out your regular marketing schedule, be sure to deliberately leave holes where you might be able to drop in promotions.

For my library, this drop-in marketing usually happens when we have a great event that’s been planned by a branch at the last minute. This year, I was looking at the calendar and I realized there was a series of anti-bullying puppet shows for young children scheduled at several of our branches. I realized the event was in line with one of the core elements of our library’s overall strategy. I also did about ten minutes of online research and discovered programs of this nature were not available anywhere else in our community. I quickly put together a social media and email promotional plan and launched it in the span of a week. Our emails had a 30 percent open rate, a ten percent click-through rate, and attendance was high.

Most libraries will find it easiest to create a drop-in marketing campaign on social media. Sometimes the idea will become a creative outlet that can drive engagement on your platforms. This was the case when one of our marketing department co-workers noticed that the front covers of many old books compliment or match clothing! She grabbed some books and some staff and posed them together. Her Instagram posts drew new followers and engagement for the library’s account.

Of course, to execute drop-in marketing, you need the approval and trust of your supervisor. So, have the talk ahead of time with your superiors.  You won’t have to turn a last-minute campaign around every week or even every month. But when you do… it will be worth it. Sometimes the gold nuggets of promotion are the ones you can’t plan ahead of time!

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!

Advertisements

Be Flexible: The Benefits of Drop-In Marketing

Title

I have a theory about the kind of person who becomes a journalist–in particular, the local or national general news reporter without a beat… the one who gets sent to the drug busts and homicides and fires and tornadoes.  They’re a junkie of sorts.  They like the high that can only be found when you’re racing at breakneck speed to get to a scene before your competitor, to get the interview, to get a soundbite pulled and edited and sent back to the station five minutes before a live shot. They do their best thinking when they’re working on the fly and they do their best work on a deadline… a really, really tight deadline. They love that adrenaline rush.

I was just such a junkie. In fact, my addiction to the breaking news high was one of the reasons it took me so long to leave the business. Even after I was worn to the bone, dog-tired and miserable, I stayed in the business because I thought I could not get that high in any other profession for which I was qualified.

Fast forward two years and I’m now a full-fledged library marketer, no looking back. One of the hardest adjustments for me was forcing myself to SLOW. DOWN. I’ve built a reputation in my organization for being quick on my feet and in execution, if necessary but on the whole, things move at a slower pace through the funnel at my organizations–and that’s a good thing. There’s more time to think, be creative, consider a tactic from all angles, and to make sure all the pieces of the customer experience are in place and working properly.

But being a little agile, a little willing to do some marketing on the fly, is also a good thing. I wish more organizations would open themselves to what I call Drop-in Marketing Campaigns–those pushes that come at the last-minute and sent to your audience in a few days–or less! Maybe you’re seizing on an opportunity from a vendor or a partner organization.  Maybe you’ve got a connection to an event in pop culture or maybe you find a piece of user-generated content that’s so fun and engaging that you don’t want to wait to promote it.  If it makes sense and the timing is right, there’s a worth to getting it out there in front of your audience without over thinking it.

You don’t have to be a formal journalist to do this. Anyone can include some flexibility in their marketing schedule. They key lies in purposeful planning. When you’re laying out your regular marketing campaigns, including your email messages, be sure to deliberately leave holes where you might be able to drop in promotions. Keep in mind which promotions have drop-dead dates and which ones could be shuffled and released to the public later, in favor of a more timely, drop-in message. Then… go for it!

At my library, we’ve done this kind of promotion probably a dozen times in the last year. Recently, my library turned around a movie promotion sent to us by a vendor, who offered a free first-run movie streaming on their site on the same day that the movie released into theaters. We got word a week before the movie premiere. The movie wasn’t a dud or a foreign film either… it was a movie with a great cast that I thought might actually be popular with our cardholders. We seized on it, turning out graphics for our website, social media, and an email campaign to let users of our digital services know about the promotion and got it approved. On a normal day, we stream about 25 movies to cardholders. After this promotion, we streamed 244 copies of this first-rate movie alone.  Success!

This kind of plan is easiest when you have administrative agreement ahead of time, so have the talk with your superiors. You won’t have to turn a last-minute campaign around every week but when you do… it will be worth it. I promise.

Have you executed a drop-in promotion? What has worked for you–and what hasn’t? Please share in the comments section!

Subscribe to this blog for updates every time I post. Click on the little “Follow” at the top left of this page.

Connect with me on Twitter. I’m @Webmastergirl. I’m also on LinkedIn,  Instagram and Pinterest.

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

A WordPress.com Website.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: