New Marketing Trends

Marketing Ideas for Non-Profits and Libraries

The M Word helps librarians learn about marketing trends and ideas.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Is your library looking to increase usage and attract new audiences?

Source: via Nancy on Pinterest

Are you looking for ways to bring new users into your library and increase the usage of those who already come through your doors? Looking at behavior trends and connecting the dots with the your library's relevant resources can provide a path to success.

While many libraries are promoting Banned Book Week, most Americans are busy planning trips. According to a survey conducted by by Orbitz, 68% of Americans are planning a trip before Thanksgiving. That's great information for libraries looking to engage families and attract new audiences during the hectic fall months. Yes, defend our rights to read but you may want to focus on targeting your services to those travelers.

All libraries are in the habit of targeting their services to a children and families with the summer reading programs. It's really easy to keep that momentum going throughout the year by curating collections, resources and programs geared for a specific audiences based on behavior. Orbit's study tells us there are lots of people looking to travel before Thanksgiving so our challenge is to connect the dots between what we offer and what people will be doing.

The study indicates people will be going to the Disney destinations, Las Vegas for sports, London and Paris. We also know that foliage trips are huge (anytime you hear news casters reporting on something, its a good bet there is huge interest in that topic.) I'm also adding tailgating because that is also big.

So let's connect the dots.

Pick the group that is a natural partner and work with them to develop the programs and suggest collection ideas. 
  • Rotary Club
  • Travel Agents
  • Community and local colleges
  • High School Athletic Association
  • Local Sports Groups
  • PTA
  • Mini workshops geared to show the best apps, tips and tricks for taking photos with smartphones.
  • Any photo workshops for digital cameras- specific to great vacations, landscape, family photos
  • Travel themed book clubs.
  • Travel tips for traveling to Europe from local travel agent or group
  • Creating online photo books, scrapbooking, hanging photos in your home, photo mat cutting
  • The list is so long here- I know you all have tons of ideas
  • Storytime featuring local coaches 
  • Free tote bags to families that want to take pictures of themselves with bag while traveling 
  • Online map where people can post pictures from travels - low tech versions, hang a map up and let people hang pictures 
  • Community tailgate party at library - college, professional, high school - whatever your community is involved in- let families set up their favorite tail gate parties- make it a contest- 
  • Invite tailgaters to submit photos of their actual tailgate parties post in house and online
  • Create ebooks created by community members with photos and short comments, stories around a theme and add to collection. Great way to start community content specific for your community. Start simple with just the photos you gathered from above events. 
  • Family survival kits- books, music, DVDs (include extended checkout time to fit length of trip) 
  • Lists of best foliage spots and travel books, biking books, etc
  • Booklists around each topic - cross promote with relevant online resources and upcoming programs
  • Book displays - Keep the creativity going- set up a tailgate scenario, make the fall foliage, use foam board to make a larger than life photo album and post pictures of people and books
  • Create itunes music lists by staff and invite residents to add theirs
  • Create top ten lists of anything (books, music, vacation spots, autos, camara types, cheerleading teams) for a specific year - post online and as posts to social media - make sure you lead back to something they'd be interested in your website.
  • Create Pinterest Boards around topics include those coffee table books - can you scan a photo of a page and post (anyone know if that's copyright infringement?) 
  • Cookbooks- attach cookbooks to everything! 
  • All coffee table books - very few people have access to collections of those incredible oversized books - connect and promote!!! 
  • College resources- make the connection with parents now that you have resources and programs to help their kids find colleges, financial aid, etc. 
Get the Word Out
In addition to the usual promotional efforts you may want to:
  • Work with partners to cross promote through personal, social media, email and web channels
  • Cross promote resources with programs
  • Set up a library tailgate party- have fun - showcase the cookbooks, set up download area so folks can download ebooks of best local breweries, etc. 
  • Post relevant fun facts, top lists, pictures around theme to all social networks
  • Create opt-in pages for email notifications for each activity so you can start targeted email lists- this is an absolute must. Segmented mailing lists are the number one way to make sure you are able to communicate directly to people about the specific topics they are interested in. This is especially helpful in keeping the connection with people who may not be your usual users. 
  • Promote on your webpages that match the interest. LJ's Patron Profile report indicated that power users that visit your library through the website not only checkout the most books, they also attend the most activities. 

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