The all-too common reality in the library world is filled with small budgets, limited time and too few personnel. These obstacles can be daunting to even the most ambitious team when tasked with taking their efforts to the next level. How can your library increase its resources, attract a new audience and engage your community despite budget cutbacks?
Whether your library is seeking to increase donations, membership and/or volunteers, you still have to MAKE. SOME. NOISE!
No, I’m not saying to plan a Thursday afternoon sock hop with a guest D.J. to replace your upcoming study hall. I’m referring to making your presence known on the Internet. Sure, putting up a flyer around your library is a spectacular way to keep the attention of those who are already engaged with you, but what about those who don’t already come to you?
Finding a way to get in front of this audience at the right place, with the right message, at the right time is key. But where do you start? Well, there’s social media, newsletters and events. However, there’s one crucial step you don’t want to overlook if you want your library to be “heard.”
Without further adieu, let’s turn up the volume through your website!
Make the Most of Your Website
This is the important step for giving your community an inside look into who you are, your mission, your activities, your role within the community, and what resources you have available. Providing this information makes you seem like a valuable resource to visitors.
From the outside looking in, a modern website should:
- Be Inviting
Of course, we all want to get website visitors to take an action but you must show them what’s in it for them. What programs do you have? Do you have local authors coming to discuss their latest books? Are you hosting an after school read-a thon? Entice them to get off of the computer and come to your library, through your website.
The New York Public Library does a great job of this.
- Be Appealing and Consistent to the Eye
Do you have a county logo or library design around your building? Put that brand on your site, so that they have that visual implanted in their head. Make your site visually appealing by using color. Oh yes, think pictures, pictures and pictures! Visual teaching alliance states approximately 65% of the U.S. population is visual learners. So give them something to look at so they’ll remember you by when they leave your site.
- Give “Trust Signs”
Provide direct contact info of staff. Make it easy for visitors to get in touch with the right people. Organizations like business associations may want to host event or work with your library, so make sure all the contact info is updated regularly. Also explain what impact volunteers and donations have on the community, literacy of children, or whatever other initiatives donations serve.
- Have a Clear Blueprint & Call to Action
Since most of your website visitors probably aren’t psychic, make your call to actions obvious to them. Something as simple as creating a button for your site can get the job done. Do you want them to attend one of your community events, help organize a reading program, or raise donations? Keep the options simple. Believe it or not, people don’t like too many choices. Give them too many options and your conversion rates will plummet.
Princeton Library makes it super easy for visitors to give a donation. Note the red button.
- Share the Love
Okay, so you’ve caught the attention of a new audience. You’ve gained one more member, donation, or volunteer. They’re converting. They like you, they really like you! So now what? Allow them to share what they like so much about you with the people in their network. Install social sharing plugins so people can literally click and share. Don’t reinvent the wheel, let your website visitors do the job for you by empowering them to spread the word about your library.
Ignore the evil cat because it’s okay for your library to make noise with your library. Regardless of your approach for getting in front of your local iCommunity (think Internet community), constructing and engaging with a website should be your first priority if you want to make some noise on the Internet. Until my next post, happy reading and planning!
Image Source: Meme Generator