How to market new digital resources at your library branch

Illustrations shows a person walking in front of a library with a phone on her hand and a text bubble with the PressReader logo

Across the globe, libraries have invested in new technologies and virtual services poised to benefit their communities — as long as people know about them. Library services have evolved considerably beyond books and in-person programs and one of the challenges libraries currently face is getting the word out to patrons about all the new digital resources they offer.  

So how do libraries reach their target demographic with limited marketing budgets and competing priorities? A big part of what libraries must do is tell a compelling story of why a particular new digital resource is beneficial to the patron and how it will specifically improve their experience. Showcasing how it will improve a patron’s day-to-day experience will inspire them to give it a shot.  

Fortunately, there are a few specific things libraries can do (including via PressReader!) to ensure their patrons start using new digital products and they see the value of their investment in digital resources. Read on to learn how libraries can help patrons learn about digital offerings and incorporate them in their daily lives. 

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Create virtual campaigns on social media 

female hand holding a phone in her left hand and using a laptop with her right hand

Libraries can also take advantage of their own social media accounts to spread the word about cool new technologies that they offer. Virtual campaigns can be very effective to reach patrons where they are — be it on social media, through podcasts or even by email. It’s an effective, low-cost way to connect patrons to a library’s digital offerings.  

When creating these campaigns, libraries can be creative in how they engage with their community and show their own personality. Just look at Vancouver Public Library’s Twitter series, Tina’s Tuesday Tips, where every Tuesday they highlight different aspects of their digital collection to over 27.7K followers.  

Leverage the power of user-generated content (UGC)  

woman holding phone in front of her

One of the most powerful ways to convince people to try something new is through word of mouth. Libraries can encourage patrons to spread the word about new digital tools, sharing their personal stories through user-generated content (UGC) that can be shared on both the individual’s social channels and the library’s accounts. Not only does that allow the library to reach a broader audience, but the authentic nature of UGC can help make patrons willing to try something new.  

When it comes time to advertise a specific new resource, libraries can incentivize UGC through contests, giveaways or unique shoutouts. Tapping into the trusted circles of existing patrons is a low-cost option for organically extending a library’s reach and humanizing the digital service.    

Send push notifications in a geofence 

iPhone shows an email notification

To ensure the success of these new digital platforms, libraries must think beyond the purchase and into the adoption. How can they get patrons to not only download the technology but interact with it? One way is to use geofenced notifications. For instance, when patrons who have PressReader downloaded come within a certain proximity to a library branch, they receive a push notification letting them know that the nearby branch offers HotSpot access. 

This seamless interaction helps patrons see additional value in the library’s tools and resources, building a stronger connection to the library and encouraging them to go see what else this particular branch might offer. 

Tap into partner resources 

Bench with PressReader logo outside Vimmerby Public Library

Often, digital platforms provide additional marketing resources to help get the word out about their product and support user interactions. For instance, PressReader’s Tools for Success portal takes the pressure off of our library partners’ own marketing teams by supplying them with materials to help advertise their access.  

As libraries choose new products and services to onboard, they can ask what marketing collateral will be made available to them to spread the word — whether it’s on social media, digital ads or physical print materials on site. Most technology providers will be happy to help, since it’s in their best interests that a library’s patrons start using their platforms. 

For example, Vimmerby Library -one of our partners in Sweden- used our logo to promote the product in a couple of park benches outside the library. This was done in time for the eMedborgarveckan campaign - an event that promotes increased use of e-services and digital participation for all. 

Once librarians have selected which technology platforms they want to offer, they need to get creative about how they can let their patrons know about these new opportunities. These simple and cost effective marketing tactics can help spread the word by tapping into patron experiences, existing materials and the products themselves.  

As you plan for the evolution of your own library’s design and services, learn what six experts predict for the future of libraries here.

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