5 Powerful Ways for Libraries to Increase First Time Visitors

Getting first-timers through your door is one of the hardest marketing tasks, especially on a tight budget. As a free educational center, you are vital to your community. Most libraries focus their time and effort to continue improving the resources they offer to their patrons, and they don’t focus as closely on talking about their successes to the people they serve. Libraries need to show off everything going on at the library. Let’s talk about how to do that.

1.Promote Events

Your Library already has programming that serves a range of audiences. It’s time to push your events to the next level with some calculated promotion. If you have an event calendar, start from there and add a few notes.

2 Weeks Out

Create an event on social media and start sharing it with your followers. Ask them to share the event with their friends.

1.5 Weeks Out

Send out an email inviting people to bring friends to the event.

1 Week Out

Share posts with images or video content about the event, and, if the budget allows, send targeted ads to people you know would be interested.

3-4 Days Out

Personally invite anyone you know would enjoy being there. Personal invitations are the most powerful form of marketing!

1-2 Days Out

Run through all of the above steps once more, with a focus on being concise and to the point. Social media posts, email, and personal outreach one more time to remind them that the event is about to happen. Include time, place, details, and any other essential information.

2. Partner with Local Organizations

As a library, you have an impactful relationship with the community which should put you in good standing with other organizations like public schools and the local YMCA. Develop relationships with those other community centers and try to get a library presence at their locations. Typically that requires promotion in kind, and a few ideas might look like:

  • Putting up posters of the YMCA activities so that they will do the same for library events
  • Promoting literacy events at the local public schools
  • Sponsoring neighborhood arts festivals and interacting with people at the festival

3. Speak at Events

Do you or a member of your staff have a penchant for public speaking? Always love to be the center of attention? You’d be surprised how easy it is to get a spot at local events, even if it’s just a 30-second blurb. Just like the other promotional partnerships, approach it as a mutually beneficial relationship. Offer to distribute their promotional materials in exchange for a presence at their event and an opportunity to speak.

Career fairs offer some great synergy and are a great place to find new library patrons. They benefit from you sharing the career fair at the library, and you benefit from the new patrons you’ll find at the career fair!

4. Sponsor other Educational Institutions

When people read more everyone wins. Celebrate the good you and other academic institutions do by sponsoring each others’ programs.

  • Offer rewards to elementary students who reach reading goals
  • Host career training classes with the local vocational school
  • Invite professionals to teach career development programs

5. Giveaways and Contests

While not always a possibility, giveaways and contests are a great way to motivate people to visit the library for the first time. Contests can bring local talent out of the woodwork and into the library where everyone appreciates their work. They can also motivate children to read during the summer!

Giveaways are one of the most involved methods for bringing in new visitors, and it is also one of the most effective. Careful scheduling and budget planning can pay off in a steady stream of new visitors on a reliable basis.

Want more ideas?  Visit our blog for more data-driven tips for your library!