We just had a customer ask for an updated business card template to market their Text a Librarian service, so we wanted to share it here. As always, there are a handful of digital assets and templates in the patron marketing materials section of your account, but here’s a business card template. It uses our Text for Instructions feature, which encourages patrons to engage with your service at the “point of experience” as they say in advertising and marketing.
We always wear our Text a Librarian T-Shirts (especially because we just got them in new colors). To work, on the weekends, whenever. Other than my “You Don’t Like Clowns?” tee from Headline Shirts, my Text a Librarian shirt starts the most conversations of any I wear. People always smile, some understand it immediately, some ask what it is and how it works, but the number one thing we hear is “I didn’t know you could do that!” Then, when we explain the context of it, being able to ask reference questions, see if a book is available and put it on hold, get notices about events happening in the library, the next thing always said is “what a great idea” followed by asking us which libraries offer the service.
Whether you use our service or someone else’s, we encourage you to keep letting everyone know you can Text a Librarian. More people will be pleased to know!
Experiential Marketing Ideas for Libraries
Ingesting information online is, for the most part, a visual experience.Â Books deliver information to us visually, but in a more tangible way.Â In a similar vein, its the palpable nature of a library that gives it a distinct advantage over info-fishing, researching or reading online.Â If more librarians looked at this distinction as a marketing advantage, than a cross they’ve been chosen bear, they may see a resurgence in traffic.Â Well… maybe.
This is not a “Let’s make Libraries cool to everyone!” post.Â Â This is a collection of experiential ideas libraries could use (or may have used) to make them current, fun and generally approachable to more people.Â Brands can always use more customers and libraries can always use more patrons. I suppose that makes this a “Let’s make libraries relevant to anyone who may consider them irreverent and dated!” post.Â For best results, please print this and tape it to the first page of your favorite book before reading.
1) “Love Thy Theater” (Co-Brand)
Since people are never going to just stop going to movies, the best thing libraries could do is collaborate with them.Â A perfect opportunity to really illustrate that almost all movies start out as (drumroll please)… BOOKS! Whether this is in a literal sense where a film has been adapted from a novel or in cerebral sense where characters, scenarios, plot-points or just general ideas have been “borrowed” from a book, this is an opportunity to show kids that the majority of the movies they watch are actually derived from the “dead” papers (standby for a “NO WAAAY!” moment here).
Here’s how you make the experience meaningful – work with local movie theatres to give away movie passes to kids who read the book from which the movie was adapted (or within the same theme.Â The idea here is to get kids reading books of the movies they already love.Â By tightening the parallel between the two you not only get people reading more, you enhance the experience they have with the book AND the film.
2) Scavenger Hunt (Community Branding)
Millions of characters, locations and plots, mountains of cataloged information and all of it spread out in a single venue.Â Let’s face it, libraries are the most natural place on the planet to have a scavenger hunt.Â Bring in kids of all ages in the community, have them form teams and set them loose on a half day adventure around the library looking for clues, physical clues, of any subject matter in the world.Â Not only is this a fun, interactive educational experience for anyone who participates, it gets them familiar with the lay of the land within the library.Â Purposely take them on a hunt that leads them through every stack, by every reference desk and in front of every computer lab in the space.Â They’ll know where everything is at and feel much more comfortable navigating their way through the next time they’re back.Â And, yes, they will be back.
3) “Its all good” – (PR Concept)
An ongoing promotion where the library is willing to forgive-and-forget by paying all Late Fees to get people back in the doors.Â It would be interesting to throw in a “fun-barter” element here, as well.Â Overdue fees are paid if you come in and read to kids for an hour (promotes community involvement), take a tour of the new facility (Shows off new features and gives patrons a reason to come back and use them) – think of this as a reunion of sorts with people you have not seen in a very long time.Â A light-hearted act, but one of kindness nonetheless – whether you feel your library needs to loosen up or not, this is a step in that direction. Sidenote: I don’t know how much money libraries make from late fees (I remember reading awhile back that it was 15% of Blockbuster’s revenues), so that amount of money might have to be weighed against the buzz generated for the concept.
4) Quiz Show
Add a gaming element by doing a weekly quiz show.Â All questions are centered around one weekly showcased book.Â Quiz questions, small but fun prizes (could be donated by local businesses)Â – brings community together.
5) “Book Club Host Certification”
I realize many are doing this already, but it’s worth mentioning: Libraries should want to host as many book clubs, as possible.Â It brings in new patrons, strengthens the relationship it has with existing customers and creates an aura of openness with the community it resides.Â It is also to the library’s advantage to make book clubs as fun as experience as possible for those attending.Â Through Attack!’s work on the Underground Book Club in recent months, I have had the opportunity to attend several book clubs.Â I can tell you that these are not the same book clubs my Mom used to drag me to as a kid.Â I witnessed attendees reading passages in character, many of them in costume as characters in the book.Â I saw supporting games and contests.Â I saw an INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE.Â And I saw one important thing holding all of them together: a moderator.Â A moderator who knew their members, encouraged involvement and lead the discussion and activities beginning-to-end.Â If libraries want book clubs to stick, they need to “train” people on how to manage and maintain them in a way that keeps them interesting.Â If the librarians could offer free “Book Club Training Classes”, complete with a “Starter Kit” and a time/place within the library to hold it, you’ve won.Â You’ve empowered people to get creative, provided a venue and offered ongoing support to help it thrive.Â You’ve built it, they will come.
About the Author:
Andrew Loos co-founded Attack! 2001 as a way to apply his passion toward the experiential marketing movement that was sweeping the marketing industry. In his current role as CXO, Andrew has built Attack! into one of the largest guerrilla marketing, field support and event staffing companies in the country. As a progressive force in the industry, heâ€™s authored several articles in trade publications such as Promo Magazine and Chief Marketer, EXPERIENTIAL TO COLLEGE CLASSROOMS and was recently a guest speaker at Google for ForumCon 2011. He lives with his wife, son and two dogs in the Mt. Washington neighborhood of Los Angeles, all of whom agree that Andrew is equal parts awesome and amusing. Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn.
Google’s new microblogging service, is getting a lot of, well, buzz. “Hello World!” has literally been replaced by “Buzz! Buzz!” by new people trying it out. If you’re not familiar with it, here’s the best way to explain it:
It’s all of the elements that one could think of getting out of Twitter (more than 140 characters, the ability to post videos and photos) packed neatly into your gmail account. While there are still some kinks to work out (you get an email every time someone you’re following posts or comments, which could get really annoying fast), Gmail’s built-in active user base of 176 million users is making it a clear force to be reckoned with.
In comparison, Twitter claims to have 75 million users and about 25% of accounts are reported to be inactive. Foursquare, known by some as “The Twitter of 2010″ is similar in that you “check in” using GPS on your phone and has been building momentum in it’s growth. David Lee King recently had a great post about it called “Foursquare and Libraries – Definitely Something There!” And I would agree, but it seems Buzz might be hot on the trail as it has the same built-in GPS/Geo-Location features and it works directly with Google Maps. Granted, it’s currently missing the fun “Mayor” game element Foursquare has, but this is a numbers game and Google definitely has numbers.
Library Marketing Tips for Using Google Buzz
Get signed up, get started and tell some associates.
Either for yourself or for your library, sign up for a Gmail account (which will give you a Google Buzz account automatically).Â If you have a Gmail account, but haven’t logged in lately, you’ll be greeted by a note aboutÂ Google Buzz and can get started right away.
Videos + Photos = Exposure
Let’s be honest, many status updates just really aren’t that interesting unless you know the person doing them. That said, there’s now an opportunity (that shows up in Google results), to put more of the content you’ve created out on the web. Seemingly one of the best things about Buzz right now is your ability to post videos, videos, links and more than 140 characters to promote your library and the services you offer. If you’re already posting to Twitter or Facebook, make sure you add Buzz to your list and some would argue it should go on top with these mult-media adding abilities.
Follow, Follow, Comment
It’s only been around for a few days, but one of the elements that grabbed me quickly was my contacts showing up as people I was following. We use Twitter with some success, but instantly being able to see my friends buzzing around (most who don’t use Twitter regularly), opened up my eyes to the bigger possibilities of Buzz. It can work for you too. It might take a little bit for more people to start posting, but commenting on someone’s buzz gets their attention.
For example, my first buzz was geo-tagged by our office. This guy randomly calls me a nerd, then gives me double points for having a photo of a cat, offers to buy me coffe? A little creepy? Sort of, but also pretty cool. He got my attention and guess what? I checked out his website after he commented.
Have fun with it!
I’m not going to tell you how to have fun, I just think marketing is a whole lot better when you’re having fun doing it.
Make sure you’re listed on Google Maps
When someone is using the GPS function (currently only available on iPhones and Android), it will choose locations closest to them. If they’re at or near your library (or you are), make sure your library is able to be found. It’s an extra touch point/impression for the library when someone is buzzing either in your building or near it.
The best way to see if you’re on google maps is to search for your library’s name and then the city. If you see it, you’re there. If you don’t, visit http://local.google.com/ and click “Put your business on Google Maps.” You should be there, but make sure anyway.
GoldMail announced today that they’re offering a freemium version of their audio slideshow messaging software. We’ve been a GoldMail customer for awhile now, thought of a great way to use text messaging for sales people to be able to “text a GoldMail” when out in the world and I’m happy to see them offering a free version. I think many organizations will benefit from it, definitely a great fit in sales, marketing, training or even just fun presentations. It’s easy, viral and extremely useful.
Videos grab people’s attention and there’s something about being able to easily add a personalized voice message to a slideshow (or powerpoint) that makes this technology a homerun. Add the email (or embeddable code) element and you have a product that literally sells itself. You watch a GoldMail to learn what it is, how cool is that?
If you’re in any business that needs to update content on a regular basis and benefits from a personalized message over a canned one (who doesn’t?), definitely check it out and let me know what you think in the comments.
I definitely recommend reading the whole article, but here are short versions of their “Why WOMM?” bullets to get you started:
1. It’s real and immediate.
2. It’s personal.
3. It’s honest.
4. It’s catching.
5. It’s customer-driven.
â€œHere is the prime condition of success: Concentrate your energy, thought and capital exclusively upon the business in which you are engaged. Having begun on one line, resolve to fight it out on that line, to lead in it, adopt every improvement, have the best machinery, and know the most about it.â€
- Andrew Carnegie
My favorite thing about working at Mosio is that every day we get to come into work and improve ourselves, our product and our relationships with customers. Aside from the positive attitude and action from those who work here, our business model, offering on-demand mobile reference software as a service for libraries, enables us to create, test, launch, listen and then improve upon our product in an ongoing fashion. Text a Librarian is better today than it was yesterday and it will always be better tomorrow.
What Does it Mean? Ongoing Improvements and Progress as Promised.
Since we launched in beta almost a year ago, we have added literally dozens of features and improvements to the service, all of it based on feedback from our customers and those who have commented or offered ideas for improvements. All have been taken into consideration in our ongoing development of the service. We welcome constructive criticism and feedback and in fact, we live for it. Ideas and feedback from librarians enable us to make at least 2 major feature updates per month plus a handful of user interface, usability and back end improvements to the system.
Ultimately what this means is that if you read or send a comment about our product, chances are we have too and are looking into it. Truthfully, not all ideas and suggestions are feasible: for example, we have heard “why can’t the page auto-refresh when a new question comes in?” In theory this suggestion sounds great, until you are in the middle of answering a question and the page refreshes, quickly making your answer box a moving target. Other improvements, such as RefStart, have been made based on listening to the wishes of librarians and coming up with our own solution.
Why We Do It
The simplest answer is “because we can.” Compared with any other options libraries have for mobile reference solutions, we strive for ours to be the best. Being the best means always improving, always making the system more secure, scalable, more collaboration-friendly, easier to set up, easier to use and more robust with reporting. What it means for you and your library is that by signing up for our service, you’ll always have a product that gets better and better, built by people who love hearing what you think as you use it. The biggest compliment we hear is “I wish we could answer all reference questions this way.” Our standard response: “We’re working on it.” =]
One that you can always bet on with Mosio/Text a Librarian is that in pursuit of our goal to be the best, we’ll always be looking to out-perform and out-service any other mobile reference solutions available to libraries. We’ll always be doing this through listening, taking great notes and offering a little bit of personality with our customer service. What this means for libraries is that in their pursuit of being the best, once they sign on with our technology, they get the benefit of ongoing updates and feature-adds to make their services more robust and user-friendly without having to buy or license additional services/software.
You can see a standard list of Text a Librarian features on our website, or if you are a current Text a Librarian customer, click on the New Features link inside your Quick Links module when you’re logged into the system.
Text Messaging Reference - Text a Librarian posted a video: This short video explains how Mosio’s "Text for Instructions" feature benefits libraries by making it very easy for patrons to get started in using their Text a Librarian service. Texting a keyword (like PIZZA) to a short code number (like 66746) is how mobile customers are accustomed to t […]