May 1, 2017

Tips for building your NextReads newsletter subscriber list

NextReads newsletters offer a lot of great reading suggestions, highlighting books in your collection and linking directly to your catalog. You can even use them to promote upcoming events or share exciting news. These are all great things -- but only helpful to your community if people are actually signed up to receive the newsletters. And we’ve heard that it can be a challenge to get people signed up -- so below, we’ve collected some ideas you can use to increase your library’s subscribers to NextReads (and your other newsletters!). You can also find many of these ideas -- with far more visuals -- discussed in the archived webcast How to Increase Your NextReads Newsletters Subscribers.

The first step is to make sure that staff is involved, whether they’re involved in editing newsletters or not:

  • Make sure your librarians are signed up to receive some of the newsletters. They can use NextReads to keep up to speed with a few of the best books being published in unfamiliar (or familiar!) genres. And they can now talk with patrons about the benefits of receiving the newsletters.
  • For staff members who edit newsletters, mention that on their staff web pages, and link directly to the NextReads opt-in page. (You can also do this for those who don’t edit -- just mention their favorite genres, and link to the opt-in page.)

The second step is to make signing up for NextReads as easy as possible.

  • Make your opt-in page as visible as possible -- link to it directly from your library’s home page, using a book jacket widget or other colorful image to draw attention. The Anderson County Library System's website is a great example!
  • Customize the opt-in page to draw attention to different groupings of newsletters. Again, you can use book jacket widgets for visual interest and to provide examples of what’s on the newsletters.
  • And my personal favorite tip -- include a list of newsletters (NextReads and your other library communications) and a link to the opt-in page in library card applications, so that newcomers to your library know exactly what’s available to them -- and can sign up for them immediately.

With an informed staff and an easy sign-up process in place, now it’s time to promote the newsletters. You can do this in several ways, either by promoting the NextReads service as a whole, or by promoting a specific newsletter, such as Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise. There is content in LibraryAware to support both tactics (just search for NextReads, whether you’re looking for eblasts or flyers or bookmarks).

Because NextReads is a digital service, you’ll definitely want to promote it online. LibraryAware has several ready-to-go images that you can use to promote NextReads (make sure those images link to your opt-in page), or you can use book widgets. In either case, include a brief intro to NextReads plus a clear call to action to sign up. Alternatively, you can use a short phrase conveying the happy payoff (like “Find your next read”) on a giant image. In either case, you’re looking for a strong, visual call to action. Pop it wherever you can -- on a rotating widget on your home page is always a great option. 

Although it might feel counterintuitive, you can also promote NextReads through print materials. LibraryAware has several ready-made flyers (and bookmarks) both for NextReads as a whole and for a couple of our individual newsletters, like Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise and Fantasy and Science Fiction. You can edit the wording and add a link to your opt-in page. Build a book display around a flyer, or pop bookmarks into the appropriate books in your collection.  You can build bookmarks based off a specific NextReads newsletter, or use a bookmark that promotes all the newsletters.

Once you’ve created a flyer, you can also post them directly to Facebook or Twitter too for a nice visual post. Make sure to link to the opt-in page!

Lastly, cross-promote NextReads in your other newsletters, such as in your monthly community messages. You can use the exact same ad each time, or change it up from month to month (such as by promoting different newsletters.) Even if you get just a few sign-ups each time, that adds up over time. You can also send out a special email -- use eblasts to highlight library services, including NextReads...and LibraryAware already has three templates ready to go.

If you’re limited by time, you might want to use only one of these strategies, but for the best results, you’ll want to use them all. Be consistent, be creative, and have fun!

Shauna Griffin is the Creative Content Supervisor at NoveList. 

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