I attended a free SirsiDynix Institute presentation, Bite-Sized Marketing: Real Solutions for Overworked Librarians, which gave marketing tips for libraries that need to do their own promotion. Nancy Dowd, Director of Marketing at the New Jersey State Library, had a number of ideas, especially about using social media for marketing and press room best practices.
She pointed out that using social media like Facebook or MySpace to solicit ideas or feedback is great, if you want really want input. However, if you don’t plan to use that input, don’t frustrate users and waste their time by asking for it and ignoring it. Instead you may want to consider a more one-way type of communication.
She also stressed that creating a program, doing a poster and even a press release, and then waiting for people to come is too passive. Instead, before developing your program, define your goal (e.g. perhaps you want to increase small businesses’ use of the library by 5%). This lets you determine who your target audience is and perhaps investigate what they are saying, and what they need from you. Only then should you create your program. Once that’s done, review it and figure out how you’re going to measure success. Then, choose the best way to publicize your event. MySpace may work well for teens, but for businesses it might be better to use Linked In. Finally, after your program is done, be sure to evaluate how well it went. Were your goals met? Did you get some feedback that you might be able to use to show how your library changes lives? Pithy quotes to impress funders? What about photos from the event?
What types of marketing have you found to work best? How do you get customer testimonials? How do you show your service areas how important your library is to the local quality of life?