A few months ago I attended a presentation by Simantel, a local agency in Peoria, IL, who worked on the new Downtown Museum project and helped pass a referendum for funding the museum. The key to the referendum passing was good grassroots marketing. Many of the lessons and tips from the museum campaign are relevant for libraries.
For libraries looking at a new building – the tip from this program was to not show the building. People see renderings of the new building and think, “that’s a lot of $$.” Plus they can’t connect to the space. Instead show people in your marketing materials and focus on the experience of using the building.
Good grassroots marketing relies on reaching lots of people, so speak to any group that will have you whether it’s a church woman’s group or you mom’s neighbor’s book club or bridge club. Get out there and talk it up. And before you leave this group give them concrete action steps to support your campaign. Will they send emails to their friends, write letters to the editor, put a yard sign and do they know other places you can make a presentation?
One of the keys for the museum campaign was getting CEOs of some of the major companies involved. They provided access to company newsletters and also were encouraged to put something about the campaign in their email signature.