Ben Bizzle Promoting Your Library in the Digital Age

May 14, 2015 at the Doylestown Branch of the Bucks County Library System | CE: 2.5 hours

Topics: Library Web site, Programming, Traditional Marketing and Social Media

Intro: Ben Bizzle is one of several movers/shakers behind the company Library Market and author of Start a Revolution: Stop Acting Like a Library. He is also the director of technology at the Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library.

Website:

  • Library Web sites ARE our Digital Library and we are JUDGED accordingly.
    A crap Web site = low expectations of the library in general.
  • The Web site can be the DIGITAL HUB, pushing people back into the Library’s front door.
  • The “Trinity of Evil” is our competition: Google, Amazon and Wikipedia because there is no longer a ‘dying need’ for a cited source
  • Web sites HAVE TO BE available on All Platforms: PC, tablet and phone
  • Best format for Web sites is the F-Pattern:
    • Focus on 1. Header, 2. Sub-header and 3. Left-hand side of the page for most important information on the site.
    • Nielsen’s F-Pattern priorities – “F-Shaped Pattern for Reading Web Content” (with cool heat-map images of eye movement on Web sites).
  • Discussion of the Example site Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library (AR):
    • Slides for events, services, card application – anything current and up-to-date
    • 3 Click Rule – have a THIN and B R O A D site
    • Menu drop downs from Main bar
    • Use the Language of the Common Person!  “Research” v. “Databases”
    • Events Calendar – Easier to read a column:
      May 15 – Event 1 blah, blah (Enough info for a ‘buying decision’ – title, info, photos
      May 15 – Event 2 blah, blah
      May 15 – Event 3 blah, blah
    • Online Registration – They set up PCs in the kids section for Summer Reading registration
      Provides DATA – school, reading level, email for automated reminders
  • Language plug in to increase accessibility
  • Children’s and Teen pages have typography and colors similar, but different, from main site

Programming is King:

  • “Fun and Sexy” – Sell the Sizzle.  If you have a BAD program, you LIED and diminish trust that the organization will have a GOOD program in the future
  • Examples:
    • Pete the Cat concert at the Mall
    • Zombie Prom teen event on a Friday night with 63 teens attending
    • Arts on the Lawn – craft show and market. 50 vendors, 10 x 10 space. Repeat twice a year with themes (Renaissance, Vaudeville, etc.)
    • Make a cool program cooler and know it’s OK to FAIL.  Example: Lunch and Learn – wasn’t interesting or enticing enough to give up lunch hour for until they brought in animals!

Traditional Marketing:

  • Postcards, bookmarks, READ posters, Press releases, etc. all done but…Focus on new, fun and creative ideas.
  • Examples from Jonesboro – had inexpensive access to several billboards around town, which they used to advertise library with fun and creative themes.
    • Year One: eCards
    • Year Two: Typography
    • Year Three: Infomercial parodies using catch phrases from TV
    • Year Four: Guerrilla Marketing with Bansky-inspired street art (complete with a barcode that links to the Library’s phone number)
      Bizzle Example 3
  • Summer Guide, because it’s more than just reading!
    • Sell Fun (crafts) and Deliver Steak (books)
  • Keep It Simple – bright colors, clean graphics, simple designs
    Bizzle Example
  • Take Inspiration wherever you can get it – while brainstorming at the bar, Ben and his creative team had an idea: Why not advertise the library on coasters!!
    • Funny – each coaster has a joke, “Add a Word, Ruin a Book”
      Ex.: “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe Malfunction”
      Ex.: “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Parlor”
      Ex.: “50 shades of Grey’s Anatomy”
    • 3,000 coasters cost $800 and with 15,000 drinkers reading the, the cost was $0.053 per drinker
    • Each coaster included: picture, joke, the name of the library and the Web site.
    • From Advertisement to Delivery in Real Time.  By adding the Web site, you get instant delivery of service…from a smart phone…at the bar.
      Bizzle Example 2
  • EXPOSURE – Keep the Library out and about in the community, and get people talking about the library using fun, funny, quirky, and engaging ideas.

Social Media – Not Just a Bunch of Cat Pics

  • Image library available Here.
  • “Facebook is the only effective method for advertising library events.”
  • Twitter is more ‘throw and hope’ because it’s not as engaging
  • Pinterest isn’t social media, but has value as a resource
  • Facebook Advertising:
    • Paid ads reach the intended audience in your area.
    • Example: Henna tattoo event for 13-18 year olds in Jonesboro.
    • FB Ad for $50 had 10,000 impressions = 50 teens came to event.
    • Idea – Summer Reading ad in late June with a link to the Web page/post with information and registration link.
    • Pair with Google Analytics to get DATA
    • Increase Value of services – Created a FB ad for Freegal “3 Free Song Downloads each week with your library card” and a link to the service. With the promotion, use of the service increases, making the ROI better.  Stewardship!
    • Data: Use stats before and after ad runs.  More use = database/service is value goes up
    • What other databases and services would benefit from a $50 ad??
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