Since 1911, Johnson County Public Library has worked toward improving the quality of life for all citizens of Johnson County, Indiana. Throughout the past 100 years JCPL has expanded and now offers four branches and a Library Services Center. Their mission is to provide patrons with courteous, knowledgeable, and efficient service and access to a broad diversity of information through resources and programs.
One of the biggest challenges for many library’s is organizing a vast amount of information, resources, and services in a way that is easy for their customers to find and use. The goal in the redesign process was to make the library's core services easier and faster to access.
After talking to patrons via surveys and focus groups, JCPL determined core priority services were 1) finding and requesting library materials 2) managing library accounts (renewing materials and managing holds), and 3) signing up for library programs and events. All of those activities are now one click or less from the new homepage.
In 2013, SpinWeb worked with the library to redesign their website to make searching the catalog easier, boost event attendance, and to capitalize on the increasing number of mobile users.
SERVICES NEED TO BE EASY TO USE
One of the biggest challenges for many libraries is organizing a vast amount of information, resources, and services in a way that is easy for their customers to find and use.
The goal in the redesign process was to make the library's core services easier and faster to access. After talking to patrons via surveys and focus groups, JCPL determined core priority services were 1) finding and requesting library materials 2) managing library accounts (renewing materials and managing holds), and 3) signing up for library programs and events. All of those activities are now one click or less from the new homepage.
“The addition of a Google-style catalog search bar on the homepage has been a particular improvement,” said Davin, Virtual Branch Manager. “The previous homepage only had website search, not catalog search, which was a great source of confusion for patrons. I was constantly noticing terms like ‘Hunger Games’ and ‘Downton Abbey’ in the search logs, which meant they were looking in the wrong place for materials they wanted to borrow.”
ENHANCING THE MOBILE EXPERIENCE
Another major goal was to provide an improved mobile experience. In 2013, almost 20% of the library’s web traffic was coming from mobile devices like phones and tablets, and it would only continue to grow. It was crucial to nurture and expand this audience. SpinWeb built a responsive website that delivers a beautiful, mobile-optimized experience without the hassle of creating and administering a separate mobile-only website.
In the 3 months after the site launch, JCPL saw a 33% increase in new mobile sessions, and a 38% increase in new tablet sessions.
One way to measure success of the website was to look at the number of referrals to the events calendar, which is hosted and maintained by a separate vendor. In the first 3 months, they saw referrals to the calendar site from the library website go up 83%.
FOCUS ON DIGITAL MARKETING
Libraries have a lot of opportunities when it comes to marketing. Print books are still a huge part of the brand, and a core element of services. Without diminishing that fact, JCPL wanted their users to know about all of the other cool, useful, free services they offer like free online courses, free programs for all ages, downloadable books and audiobooks, and so much more. After participating in SpinWeb's Inbound Marketing Bootcamp, the library launched a Digital Marketing pilot project.
Jeff Owen, the library's communications consultant, said, "The results have been outstanding."
The library has grown their email database to more than 9,000 contacts.
They are producing a weekly "Memo For Mom" blog. Written by the library staff, the blogs provide helpful hints and great ideas for Moms to use when spending time with their children, and promotes the library's children's programs and services. JCPL created a free, downloadable ebook (First Teacher: A Mom's Guide to Helping Your Little One Learn) and are including CTAs on each blog post to promote the ebook, special events and library resources. The email click-through rates and website traffic have exceeded benchmarks and goals established by the library's Inbound Marketing team.
"NEEDLESS TO SAY, WE'RE HAPPY WITH THOSE NUMBERS."
– Davin Kolderup, Virtual Branch Manager
The library board is thrilled with the campaign and results (especially the affordable price compared to traditional print marketing). Plans are underway for another inbound campaign later this spring – targeting small businesses and entrepreneurs who can benefit from the library's resources. Owen said, "We are going to partner this project with the local chambers and the Development Corporation."
"We give Spinweb lots of credit for providing us the strategies and tools we needed to make this a success." – Jeff Owen, Communications Consultant