Marketing Your Electronic Resources

Earlier this week, Cindy Bassett and Laura Wilcoxon, librarians at the University of Missouri School of Law, hosted one of AALL’s Coffee Chats – this week’s topic was Marketing Your Electronic Resources: No More Best-Kept Secrets.

Thanks to the large audience, Cindy and Laura’s great moderator skills, and attendees willing to share in both chat and on Zoom, I came away with many great ideas about how to market my library’s electronic resources better in the new year. Obviously, not all of these can be implemented immediately, but I’m excited to start brainstorming what we can realistically accomplish with my team.

Cindy stressed that it’s important to get the basics out of the way before launching a new marketing plan.

  1. First, figure out what databases people are using and cancel databases they aren’t. This sounds simple but if you don’t have the statistic to make this decision, it’s time to start keeping track.
  2. Second, remove blocks to how people access electronic resources. What do people complain about? Use those complaints to solve the pain points.
  3. Third, databases are best and most used when the patron needs them. Introducing the resource at the right time is critical.
  4. Fourth, electronic resources should be easy to find through a variety of methods, whether it’s a discovery layer, integration with the LMS, etc.
  5. Fifth, fail often and make changes as needed.
  6. Sixth, keep your own database statistics because vendor statistics are not always accurate nor do they show the full picture.

In-Person Marketing

Laura set the stage for how to market electronic databases and attendees contributed their ideas. Some of them included

  1. Tabling with good snacks.
  2. Use Canva to make pretty flyers with easily digestible information. Send an email to students prior to tabling that a librarian will be tabling and then also provide handouts at the table.
  3. Use vendor-provided handouts and give them out at the vendor-suggested time.
  4.  Make the handout/information easily digestible with “right on time” information.
  5. Even if a student doesn’t take your handout, tabling is also important for relationship building. 
  6. If students learn to expect your email, it can also get a good response.
  7. It is okay to base success on how many students you talk to and how many ask follow-up questions.
  8. Law firms can track follow-up usage spikes after marketing efforts with  Onelog or ResearchMonitor.

Virtual Marketing

Not all organizations have the ability to table or even globally email their student population. So what else can be done to market electronic resources? Some suggestions included

  1. Use the PowerNotes integration with your library catalog to point students to catalog resources.
  2. Promote Procertas amongst extern coordinators, Appellate Advocacy, and Writing Seminar professors so the library is not the only one pushing usage. 
  3. Encourage students to use WriteLaw as it gives them a digital badge for LinkedIn.
  4. Catalog LibGuides to make them discoverable in your library catalog.
  5. Ensure online study aids are cataloged down to the item level.
  6. Move away from TWEN or Lexis Classroom to campus LMS so you can integrate more electronic resources into the platform.
  7. Utilize the FAQ functionality in Sringshare to promote your databases.
  8. If at a firm, share database blurbs in the firm-wide newsletter.
  9. If at a firm, track which associates aren’t starting with online secondary sources and reach out to them individually.
  10. One law firm has created a personalized research page with resources populated with practice area and department resources for practice groups.

Research Librarian, Perkins Coie LLP