There are quite a few books on the topic of library marketing, and OCLC’s Geek The Library Campaign is definitely getting people talking, but this post is the first in a weekly series talking about marketing text messaging reference services in your library. We think they work well for any other services you offer, use what you like. The mobile channel isn’t going away, people in the U.S. every day are texting more than they are talking and they’re using text messaging in more ways than simply communicating with friends. Maybe you know this, have decided to implement text messaging reference at your library, it’s finally ready to go and now what? Start promoting the service!
Libraries as a Marketing Vehicle?
Less than 2 years ago, an agency in the UK considered libraries a new channel in direct marketing. Regardless of what your personal reaction to this is (let me guess: not positive?), the idea is worth mentioning: placing marketing materials inside the book will get at least one view or impression. I’m sure plenty of folks were pleased to find that the idea didn’t take off too well. I’m one to appreciate creativity even when execution might be hard to pull off, but execution is 99% of the battle in marketing and great execution requires great planning. That said, we can learn something from those whose job it is to think of new ways to grab people’s attention.
Just because you print up posters does not mean they’ll get seen and just because you create a Twitter account does not mean people will follow (or even read) your tweets. Sorry, but it’s true. (Side note: we love Twitter, use it daily and it’s ok by us that teens don’t tweet). In the end, it’s about deciding what gets you the most for your budget, time and resources. So what to do? Whenever possible, do something different from what has been done. Write a list of what is usually used to promote news, updates or services and then choose something new and unusual. If you have strict guidelines about how new services can be marketed, no problem, there’s still room for flexibility and creativity or you wouldn’t be reading this post. This isn’t about skipping all methods used in the past, some can be great, the point is to avoid the noise.
A few quick tips on what to consider when avoiding the noise:
1) Avoid the Noise.
Yeah, tough one, right? Seriously though, it’s simple enough. If you see stacks of postcards on a table, placing more postcards there isn’t going to help. One of my favorite stories is about Arizona Iced Tea during their initial roll out to grocery stores: they were looking at slotting/shelving fees and noticed that it would be cheaper to be near the fruits and vegetables than on the drinks aisle. Pay more and be one of many drinks in an aisle (noise) or pay less and be near healthy fruits and vegetables? Seems like a no brainer.