'Zoom On Ins' Help Copyrightlaws.com Get the Words Out and People in

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An email went out on the SIPA Discussion Forum last week asking if anyone was doing a successful referral or subscriber campaign. "We're in a small, niche industry, our subscribers love the product, but we're still not well known and have about a third of the subscribers we want. I'm thinking that with a reward that's exciting enough (both for the referring subscriber and the new one) we could get an outstanding response."

Lesley Ellen Harris of SIPA member Copyrightlaws.com responded to tell about their Zoom On In 20-minute, virtual copyright sessions. Testing the market, they put on six of these meetings from Jan. 10-28 and added many new names to their mailing list. They probably can't continue at that pace, but with as many as 140 people signing up, they have found a good formula to add to their audience of librarians. (Zoom's limit is 100—good thing everyone does not show up.)

Here are more upsides of Copyrightlaws.com's Zoom On Ins.

They're live. "I tend to prefer going live," Harris told me. "It's a format that lets me present short, good nuggets over 20 minutes. I do all the talking. There's no interaction until maybe the last two minutes. People are muted. They can, however, use the chat feature to ask questions."

It's video. Using Zoom, it's like a virtual classroom, Harris said, where people can see everyone else in the room. "People can join by audio—if they don't want to see everyone or be seen. I'm able to create a hype with marketing."

It doesn't take much preparation. "I know these topics inside out," Harris said. "So I don't have to do any research. It's around lunchtime and really short but long enough to say some useful things. I kind of challenge myself by saying that I have five things to tell you today—and then I have to get through all five things. It's fun. Sometimes [at the end], I'm like, 'Whoosh I made it!' And I can see people smiling." 

There's no recording. "It's more about the way it's shared, the atmosphere, not the information," Harris said. "There's a certain energy to do it live. And people love Zoom." She also gets a sense that people are a little bit tired of watching webinars and PowerPoints. The visual elements here are Harris and the other meeting attendees.

People stay on the call. "We're not pitching," Harris said. "We're sharing information." There's always a call to action. But mostly it's, "Here are issues you may need to update yourself on." She actually doesn't worry too much about having everyone who registers show up. "The goal is to get more people on our mailing list," and that's accomplished with the registration.  

It's great marketing for other Copyrightlaws.com offerings. The Zoom On Ins have "helped us reinforce the topics that interest our small niche market, and many signed up for our free weekly copyright newsletter," Harris said. "It's another way for us to get amplified. Someone on the call will tell one or two staff members to sign up for the next one. To pick topics, we go to our Google Analytics and look at the top blog entries—see what's most popular. Maybe it's 'A Simple Guide to Copyright for Librarians.' We target who we know our market is. They might ask, 'Are we doing it again?' And we'll say look at our courses."

It starts people on a "multi-step process." Copyrightlaws.com's signature copyright certificate programs cost $1500 so they know that people probably won't sign up "just because they attended a 20-minute session. But they'll follow us anyhow. It reminds and encourages them to stay with us." There's a follow-up email after each session urging people to join the weekly list or look at the courses.

Can market in many ways. "We use social media and various niche online lists we're on to promote the free 20-minute sessions to new audiences who weren't already on our mailing list," Harris said. "The whole point is to get new people." They will also market on other library lists, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Make it valuable. When she finishes, Harris may remind the audience that the information will be in an upcoming blog post. Or in order to download a pdf, they have to join or give an email address. But with all the privacy issues today, they are very careful and have created their own privacy policy.

Low commitment. This is a low-investment (time and money) initiative for Copyrightlaws.com that has already proven itself effective. It's important to try creative ideas to attract new subscribers and ultimately new customers, Harris said.

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…