Jill Stover over at the very good Library Marketing Blog has a good post on the issue of creating an Initial Benefit Statement – i.e telling your customers/patrons why they should care about your services. Talking less about what ‘we’ offer, and more about the benefit to ‘you’ the patron.
I think this is a very important issue. As Jill rightly says, in some ways this should be obvious, but it amazing how often it is forgotten. I realised the importance of this is giving presentations a few years ago, and how important it is to – if you like – start at the end, and tell people what they are going to learn that is going to be of use to them, BEFORE getting down to the nitty gritty.
Jill lists a few (3) pointers to hep create your IBS (and hopefully doesn’t mind my re-printing!):
1. Think about the services you offer or are featuring in your newsletter, etc. Make a list of all of the reasons your patrons should care about the service. You may want to ask patrons who use a service why they do so.
2. Develop a statement that explains in a sentence or two what the most important benefits are. IBS’s may start with phrases like, “Gives you the ability to,” “Saves you [time, stress, hassle],” “Increases your [productivity, profits, marketability],” and so on. You know you’re on the wrong track if your IBS starts out with phrases like, “Our library features…,” “We provide access to…,” “We house X number of…,” you get the idea. Notice that good IBS’s emphasize the you (customer), whereas bad IBS’s emphasize the we/us (librarians/libraries).
3. Consider your competitive position. Sometimes, the best IBS’s are based on a competitive advantage. For example, “Devise sound business plans and save money with Great Local Library – the only local organization to provide you free one-to-one research assistance with highly-trained information professionals who use the latest market research tools.”