Step aside, Clark Kent. Put away the bat-signal, Bruce Wayne. Librarians are the real superheroes, fighting for literacy, community, and knowledge each and every day. But every superhero needs a sidekick, and that’s where Mango comes in. We know that librarians are tasked with a lot of responsibilities, chief among them promoting library events, offerings, and resources.
It can be overwhelming and downright daunting to continuously innovate ways to spread the word about your library’s awesome offerings, and often, e-resources will fall to the bottom of the list. Maybe it’s challenging to find the time for promoting, maybe some of these resources are outside of your wheelhouse - or maybe you simply feel like you’ve exhausted your options.
Never fear, librarians. Consider this your promotions spa day: sit back, relax, and let us do the work of rounding up inspiring strategies to reinvigorate your promotions game. As a leading e-resource in libraries across North America, we know this topic inside and out - and we’ve put together a fun, easy guide for promoting e-resources at your library.
Interested in more insights on branding your library - from social networking to connecting with the media? Download our white paper to read insights from top librarians and get some fresh new ideas.
Energize and educate your staff.
The most organic promoting happens through word of mouth, so get your staff talking. Start by making sure all staff members are trained and well-versed on your library’s electronic resources. They should know what’s offered, how they work, and even recommend their favorite to use.
Kick-off the e-resources lovefest during a professional development day by creating an easy, fun way for staff to get to know the resources - like a scavenger hunt that will send them deep into the library’s interwebs, learning about the resource while competing at the same time. Connect your staff to e-resources that align with their existing interests and passions - they’ll be that much more likely to spread the word to patrons who share their interests.
Mind your metrics.
Numbers don’t lie! Let statistics tell the story for you by measuring usage before starting a promotions campaign and after. You may be surprised by the impact of your efforts - and if the numbers aren’t so impressive, you’ll know that it’s time to try a new approach.
Keeping tabs on your metrics will prevent you from wasting any precious time and keep your approach efficient. Looking for some inspiration on how measuring digital usage works for libraries? Get your juices flowing and peruse the Digital Inclusion Survey, which collected data and identified trends around internet usage and public libraries.
After you’ve reviewed your usage, you’re now fully-equipped with the data you need to set realistic goals for increasing usage of e-resources. Once you get in the habit of reviewing metrics, aim to set goals at the beginning of every year (or quarterly, if you’re ambitious!). This way, you can avoid that notorious scramble around renewal time - you’ll already know whether or not a certain resource is right for your library.
Even better, sharing your goals with your staff and vendors will level-set expectations and encourage everyone to find ways to increase usage and bring in new patrons. Putting your heads together to reach your goals will make them that much more attainable.
Host in-library competitions.
We already know that librarians love to have fun. Gamify your promotion crusade by turning it into an all-staff competition or contest. For example, after a staff member introduces a certain number of patrons to a new electronic resource, they can drop their name in a jar for a weekly prize drawing.
Or, borrow one of these creative sales-boosting techniques from Blitz - we love “The Balloon Pop,” where the names of different mystery prizes (think movie tickets, gift cards, and even cash!) are written on scraps of paper and stuffed in blown up balloons. Every time a staff member reaches their set goal, pop the balloon to reveal the prize!
Keep the lines of communication open and stay in touch with your patrons. An easy way to do this is by ensuring there are clear, accessible feedback channels so you can meet your patrons where they are. Include a quick “how are we doing?” survey at the bottom of library email communications, and keep a suggestion box and paper surveys at the circulation desk, in relevant departments, and high-traffic spots in your library. Staying in constant conversation with your patrons will help you discover what they love, what they’re not crazy about, and what kinds of e-resources they’d like to see at the library.
Partner with the community.
Amplify your message and expand your reach by capitalizing on relationships with community organizations and businesses. Build and maintain a connection with community institutions like the local newspaper, area schools, recreation departments, and community centers. Don’t forget to seek out organizations relevant to the e-resources you’re promoting, like area cultural groups and community colleges. This will help you reach new audiences and attract new patrons. Plus, it’ll take some of the burden of promotion off of your shoulders.
Whenever possible, promote more than one resource at a time. When promoting for an upcoming event or a newly-acquired resource, think creatively about other resources that may be relevant. For example, if you’re promoting an upcoming Cinco de Mayo celebration, multi-promote your English language-learning resources and your Mango courses for Spanish learners. Combining resources for one, multi-pronged promotional effort makes your job easier and requires less time.
If you’re looking for a creative, fun way to promote many of your e-resources at once, make a game out of it. We love when libraries turn discovering resources into a game of Bingo - where each square is an activity in an electronic resource. Send your patrons on an e-adventure, digging up their name in a genealogy database, downloading a song using Freegal, and learning to introduce yourself in Swahili.
Looking for new ideas for promoting Mango all year round? We have a Mango-themed events calendar packed with ideas for promoting Mango any day of the year, from book club tie-ins to ideas for the best holiday ever – all while promoting one of your premiere online resources.
Now that you’re feeling motivated, keep the inspiration flowing by downloading our white paper on branding your library. Read insights from creative librarians who are reinventing their library’s branding, learn how to embrace social media and interact with patrons online, and much more! Download the White Paper by clicking below.
Sources: http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2014/03/opinion/not-dead-yet/professional-development-whats-it-to-you-not-dead yet/#, http://www.ala.org/offices/library/alarecommends/recommendedwebsites