There is often a wide range of reactions when discussing marketing, goals, objectives, strategies and tactics - which can range from reluctance and indifference to enthusiastic and collective support. Most often the result is somewhere in between. While the need to market your library is likely accepted and understood by all, the very idea can be overwhelming and grind to a halt before even considering available resources and budget.
In the Outreach Strategies section, we talked about the importance of determining the products and /or services you want to promote – and the need to create messages to engage or move people to take action. When developing your messaging, consider how they can work in a variety of formats. For example, is it concise enough to work on a poster where space is limited? Does it have the flexibility for expanded copy when adapted for a flier/handout or email? Does it engage by providing a benefit? Can you include a call to action to help measure results? Another key consideration is to avoid “library-ese” – words or terms that aren’t meaningful to your audience. Using library or academic “jargon” can be confusing or worse, alienating.
Using your academic calendar to develop messages makes them relevant and “time sensitive” – which encourages stronger engagement. Example – the crunch time of finals is a logical marketing opportunity for you to position your library as a critical student resource. Keeping your messages fresh and relevant prevents them from becoming stale and unnoticed. Put yourself in your users’ shoes and consider how you might use such areas to position your library as relevant and current to the world around us. Finally, seek input and support from others – staff, faculty, and students. Ask for their opinion. Invite them to a brainstorm session. Encourage them to share ideas. How about approaching your marketing/advertising or library science faculty and ask if they would consider incorporating the library’s marketing needs into a class project?