Beyond Facebook: Free or Low-cost Marketing for Library Programs
Updated: May 26
Winter sometimes brings a slump in program attendance. You're probably already doing a great job attracting "regulars" to your programs, but how can you grow your audience beyond your library walls beyond social media?
Here are a few ideas to consider (or reconsider!) for low or no-cost marketing.
Marquees and other permanent signage can be a boon for libraries, particularly on well-traveled roads. There's a reason political candidates rely on yard signs- they work.
Make your own political-type yard signs using these. I bet your teen advisory board would enjoy helping you
Headline Sign - Blank Yard Sign and H-Frame Ground Stake Sign Holder Set, White, 18 x 24 Inches, 3-Pack (5500) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077SJ2NXG/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_7jlXDbEA0S1FH
Think beyond birthdays with yard letters! Here's a great reusable set in a variety of colors. Tip: choose a color that contrasts with your likely background rather than your logo colors, etc. Green or blue on green grass? Not eyecatching. Try a "warm" color on a "cool" colored backdrop and vice versa.
VictoryStore Yard Letters: Cut-Out Alphabet Yard Decoration 18 inch High https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07K3B65JP/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_cllXDbJX8YA47
Big event approaching? Want to direct people to your online calendar? Ask your staff to add a simple graphic to their email signatures. P.S. Here's how to add to your signature on Outlook.
Harness the power of a captive audience with messaging at your check-out stations. Some ideas:
Signage taped in unusual spots (patrons often become "blind" to signholders, posters, or flyers in "normal" places) like on the hard surface where they'll place materials or on the receipt printer. Fair warning though- your "unusual spot" might become very usual if you employ it often.
Customizing your receipt printer message
Bookmarks stuck in by staff (bookmarks- yes, they are still relevant as well as both a. useful and b. tactile in a way that other marketing materials often are not).
Notes or bookmarks on holds can also be effective, particularly when check-out is self-service
Don't Forget Your Computer Users
Too often we neglect to invite our computer users to attend programs or use other materials and services. Why not...
Customize your screensaver or background with messaging about your program
Place signage near the printer
Harness the Power of the Bulletin Board
Bulletin boards can be time-consuming and beloved or hated by staff. Too often, though, bulletin boards are a missed opportunity.
Chances are your patrons don't need a punny version of "Reading is COOL!" messaging but a bulletin board on your Winter Solstice Fest might really catch their eyes.
What are your favorite free marketing tactics for programs?