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Top tips for marketing OpenAthens to users

AvatarBy Michelle Silvestre
Category - Blog

Tuesday 24th September 2019

We know that one of the significant challenges that you – our library customers – face is engaging with users and effectively communicating the services on offer at your institutions.

Sometimes it can be complicated informing students, medical staff or other library users on how to best use our single sign-on and to easily access the resources available to them.

For that reason, we’ve put together our recommendations for marketing your digital content and promoting access through OpenAthens. Have a read of our six top tips below which cover researching, setting goals, starting early, educating, repeating and copying others:

1. Research

Researching and understanding your users and how they consume knowledge is the important first step.

Learning how your users find out information and ensuring that news about their latest services and offerings is clearly displayed in these particular places is a must. So, if users aren’t using the library portal, then this isn’t the answer to reaching them!

When it comes to communicating about the technology itself, the focus must be on its benefits rather than just its features. Dedicating time to understanding your users, whether they are students or medical staff, means you will be able to more easily identify the relevant advantages of OpenAthens to shout about, e.g. no more annoying passwords, easy access to thousands of e-resources to support your research and learning, etc.

2. Set goals

Nevertheless, it’s important that you set yourselves targets for your outreach to users so you can keep track of what’s working and what’s not.

These goals might be increasing the number of logins being created at your organisation, increasing the usage of library resources or getting a specific user group to make use of the services available more than they already do.

The reporting functions we provide with our system means this data is easily accessible using the interactive dashboard, so make sure you review your statistics before beginning your campaigns and get ready to measure the impact!

3. Start early

It’s never too early to start telling users about our services.

If you’ve recently implemented our software at your institution, if there’s a new intake of students at the beginning of the academic year or if there are new starters at the organisation, it’s the perfect opportunity to introduce both the library and OpenAthens in conjunction.

We’ve recently launched a new microsite which acts as an onboarding guide, going through all the stages of setting up and implementing our platform, as well as recommendations for communicating with users too. Visit the site.

4. Educate

Don’t forget, you need to educate your users too! If the authentication system at their organisation is changing, let your users know what is happening, why and when.

There are many different ways to inform users about accessing online resources via OpenAthens or their institutional credentials, and so many channels via which to communicate this information, such as social media, training sessions, videos, emails and posters.

Don’t be alarmed at the thought of generating all this content though! The great thing is this material can be shared again and again, and snippets from blog posts can be repurposed as Tweets, for example.

5. Repeat

It’s not enough for you to only tell your users about your services or about using OpenAthens just once! Your comms activity needs to be ongoing and across multiple touchpoints.

6. Copy others and piggyback

Some of our library customers have implemented fantastic (and effective!) campaigns for educating and informing their users about us and the benefits of our platform. To all of you embarking on your marketing outreach, we would recommend researching what has worked at other institutions – it’s as simple as searching ‘OpenAthens’ on Twitter!

We’ve seen a number of education and medical institutions we work with piggybacking on particular awareness days/weeks, for example, to inform users how best to access the right library resources to learn more about the topic at hand. Using the relevant hashtags, this is a great way to boost the reach of your marketing outreach activity.

To sum up, we can’t emphasise enough the importance of reviewing and analysing the data about your library users throughout an outreach campaign so you can monitor the effect it’s having so you can tailor it accordingly.


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