A great way to build your business is through community outreach. Your local library can be a wonderful place to reach out and meet new potential customers. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
If your business is family-oriented or of any interest to children consider visiting the children’s department for story-time. You can read a children’s book that relates to your occupation, talk about your job, even perform a short demonstration. Kids love to hear about jobs in the real world and learn new things. And of course, all kids come with a parent. Show them that you are family-friendly while introducing them to your product or service.
Ask the librarian if you could donate books, videos or dvds that relate to your business. Furthermore, ask if they would consider placing a book plate inside the item that mentions your business, ie “donated by Shelly’s Dance Studio”. If you take some time to think about what books and movies your customers would be interested in, this can be a great way to get your name in front of them.
Often times libraries will have glass display cases in the lobby. Find out if there is any way you could create or sponsor a collection. Even if you don’t personally own a collection, you may be able to borrow or rent from a friend, using your business as the sponsor.
Giving a free lecture, demonstration or class through the library is an easy way to reach customers but will involve a little more planning on your part. The best part about the free class is the advertising that the library can provide on your behalf. Often times they have newsletters, websites, or regular listings in local newspapers. Even if a customer doesn’t sign up for the free class, they will have read your name.
If you’re looking for a unique way to get your printed name in front of potential customers, consider printing up some bookmarks. Talk to the librarian and find out what their policy is first, before you have the bookmarks printed. You could put together a suggested ready list that relates to your business, or simply encourage reading. Either way, having a basketful of bookmarks at the counter is a way you can get your name out.
And finally, most libraries are always looking for help with fundraising. Talk to the librarian and find out if there is a service you could offer with the funds going directly to the library. You won’t make any money off your service, but you’ll be helping to support the library and improving your image in the community. If you are a product-oriented business, ask if the library would be interested in raffling off one of your products as a fundraiser, or if you could donate items to an auction or tag sale.