5 Guerrilla Marketing Tactics for a Virtual Summer Reading Program

At the beginning of April, we hosted a Beanstack User Group Town Hall Meeting to discuss Summer Reading 2020 in light of COVID-19. Thanks to the 600+ librarians and staff members that joined us to discuss how to forge ahead in these uncertain times.


There were lots of great insights shared during the Town Hall Meeting and we’ve selected a few of them to share, in hopes that they might be helpful as you’re planning for Summer Reading 2020.


One of the big topics discussed at our Town Hall was marketing your Summer Reading Program. We’ve previously shared some ideas around digital marketing, but we also heard some great ideas from librarians.


These ideas aren’t strictly digital marketing, but are meant the complement a virtual summer reading program — see the roundup below.


1. Direct Mail — Send a package to all library cardholders inviting them to participate. Include instructions for how they can join. Most people have access to a mobile phone, so they can log via the app if you use Beanstack. Or if not, you can include a paper log in the package. If you do choose to send direct mail, consider including Program Swag — Consider including a promo item like window clings in your direct mailer! These count as a nice gift to participants, but also as good word-of-mouth marketing for your SRP (just be sure to put your website on the sign).


2. Partner w/ Local Orgs — see about partnering with city organizations to promote summer reading. Perhaps the city communications team will include an announcement. One Beanstack librarian ran an insert in the local waste water bill.


3. Partner w/ Schools — Reach out to local school principals and district administrators about including Summer Reading in their newsletter or on their website. Parents likely pay attention to these channels even when schools are closed.


4. Media Placements — Reach out to your local news outlets and radio stations to see if they will run an announcement about Summer Reading. This could be in an online event calendar, on air, or on their social media channels.


5. Paid Outreach — If you have the budget for it consider paid methods to promote your program. In addition to the ideas included in our digital marketing blog post, some librarians suggest using PeachJar to send notifications to parents.


Do you have ideas to share? Tweet us @ZoobeanReads with #SummerReading2020 and keep the conversation going.

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