Big. Bold. Brief. That was the advice that Rabun County Public Library in Georgia followed when they decided to promote their audiobook collection in Libby featured on a billboard in their town. Catching the attention of potential patrons driving down the highway is a highly effective way to reach your target users outside of the usual channels. So, how can your library step out of the box and keep your marketing from falling on the same listening ears?

We spoke with Kim Cannon, Program and Youth Services Coordinator, and Caroline Frick, former Library Manager at Rabun County Public Library to learn more about their process and what it took to make this real-world marketing tactic a reality.

Where did you get the idea to invest in advertising on a digital billboard?

We are in a rural community with limited advertising opportunities, and a fellow librarian in a neighboring county first mentioned this idea to us when we were brainstorming about ways to reach people. Seeing a local business featured on the one digital billboard in town gave us the courage to give it a try!

With summer reading almost here and heavy vacationer traffic coming to our area for summer recreation, we thought the timing would be perfect. (Note: the billboard launched in May 2021.)

What was the process like?

We worked with a local billboard company that helped guide us through the process. It took about 4 weeks total to create, edit and approve the proofs for 10 different ads that will be displayed and rotated on the digital billboard. We reached out to OverDrive for assistance with the creative for our digital audiobook ad (depicted here). Our financial investment was $600*, and the ads will run for 4 weeks.

(*Note: It’s always a good idea to check with your local billboard companies about cost. Many offer discounts to nonprofit organizations, or you may be able to negotiate a better rate than what is initially listed. Graphic design work with OverDrive’s creative team is available at no additional cost to partners.)

How do you hope to measure success?

We plan to measure success by foot traffic. The billboard company advised most patrons won’t say, “I’m here because of the billboard.” But the billboard’s placement near the main school campus in the county will likely catch families returning after summer school, which many students will be attending after the pandemic year. If we get positive word of mouth and good attendance and circulation this summer, and if the budget permits, we may repeat next summer.

Last but not least, why is digital reading important?

Because it allows access to books 24/7, no matter what the public health conditions are at the time. It allows patrons to make any title large print, and audiobooks free up busy patrons to read while doing other things.

If you would like to nominate your library to be featured in an upcoming spotlight, please contact us and let us know what you’re doing in your library and how you are reaching more users with Libby!