How Sterling Heights Public Library Connects Patrons to BrainHQ
When the Sterling Heights (MI) Public Library subscribed to BrainHQ® in 2017, director Tammy Turgeon knew patrons of all ages would benefit greatly from having access to this scientifically backed brain training. To help drive awareness and improve her community’s brain health, she had a big idea—a yearlong Exercise Your Brain initiative, comprised of a collection of health and wellness programs designed to enhance and promote brain health.
The First Step: Reach the Right Audience
The library works closely with the local senior center to promote BrainHQ as part of the Exercise Your Brain initiative, focusing much of their efforts on introducing the brain-training resource to participants in the center’s monthly computer classes and senior book group.
The city’s community relations director and the senior center’s supervisor help guide what each BrainHQ event entails. The senior center now periodically hosts BrainHQ classes where instructors provide a thorough overview of how to access and use the online training.
Next: Combine Print and Digital Promotion for Best Results
You might be surprised how the library promotes and shares their events with the community: “Believe it or not, print marketing is still our most effective marketing,” notes Jason Groth, public relations and program coordinator for the library. The library’s biggest push is through their city magazine, a print publication that describes events held in the city over a four-month period.
Not only are each of the Exercise Your Brain events represented within the schedule, there is also a half page dedicated to explaining the initiative, alongside a custom logo created by the city’s graphic artist. Each of the Exercise Your Brain events includes the logo, so patrons can easily see which programs belong to the initiative.
The library also provides calendar flyers for all of their programming, including community health and health literacy programming, and a bi-monthly flyer that’s specifically about the Exercise Your Brain campaign. In addition to print marketing, the library’s website has an ever-present story about the initiative, and Facebook and Twitter posts help get the word out about health and wellness programming.
So far, patrons have responded quite positively to BrainHQ and the supporting brain health programming, which has included a puzzle competition, meditation, trivia nights and other components. One woman explained that her family has a history of dementia, so she’s using BrainHQ not only to improve her day-to-day cognitive functioning, but also to ward off a debilitating sickness. “I found her story particularly moving because most of the people interested in brain health are seniors or soon-to-be seniors,” shares Groth. “It really highlighted for me why the initiative is for all ages.”
Tips to Help Promote Brain Health at Your Library
When it comes to marketing BrainHQ to patrons, Groth has a number of tips for other libraries. For one, multiple tie-ins increase participation. “If we didn’t have the whole Exercise Your Brain initiative, I know it’d be a lot harder to get the word out about BrainHQ,” Groth says.
Gift incentives also help; every two months, the library runs a raffle for a $25 gift card for Exercise Your Brain participants. Lastly, marketing towards the most interested audience is smart, but Groth warns not to forget about other demographics. “BrainHQ is valuable for all ages, so marketing to just seniors would be a mistake!”