Email marketing is a great way to drive patron engagement at your library. There is a lot to take into account when planning, implementing, and analyzing an email strategy. Here are eight tips to help you find success with yours:
- Content matters most of all. Focus on creating targeted, relevant and impactful emails for your audience with a clear call to action and links to resources or more information. Your results will show the value of sending content that matters to your audience.
- Benefit-driven emails are the most effective. Don’t promote a service or database; promote that you have the answer to your patrons’ needs.
- Behind every successful library email campaign is a well-informed staff. Make sure they know about the resource you’re promoting and where to find it on your website. You may have patrons who saw the email come to your library and ask about the service — be ready for them.
- Take advantage of cross-promotion. Offer programming at the library just after your email goes out that’s relevant to the database or service you’re promoting.
- Open rates matter, but trends matter more. After a few emails, look at your open rate trend — is it going up, down, or staying steady? One email might hit on topics that resonate with your customers better than another. Your timing on one email might work better than another. There might be things happening in your community that either draw people into the resource you’re offering at the time, or that keeps them from clicking. Watch for trends over time and use your metrics to inform your strategy going forward, adjusting as needed.
- Keep them coming back for more. An immediate boost in interest in the database you promoted is great, but to keep people coming back to use it, include other strategies to sustain engagement with that resource.
- Use an email provider that includes a clear and easy way for patrons to unsubscribe. You don’t want your library to be marked as a spammer. Plus, it’s just the right thing to do. (Read more on choosing an email provider here.)
- Limit your emails to no more than two per month and keep them to only one topic per email. This isn’t a monthly newsletter; it’s a quick bulletin to let patrons know you have a fantastic free service that they’ll only find at their library.
This is an excerpt from the guide Increasing Usage of Library Resources.