NLS on the Move

October 27, 2022

New NLS advertising campaign is off to a strong start

NLS launched its latest national advertising campaign on October 11, and we’re already seeing results.

This first phase of the campaign uses dozens of promoted keywords and phrases on Google and Bing. When a person searches for “audiobooks for blind” or “macular degeneration,” for example, they might be served an ad referring them to NLS’s campaign microsite,

NLS ads were served nearly 402,000 times in the first 13 days of the campaign and were clicked on 14,542 times. Visits to the campaign microsite averaged around 775 a day during that time. By comparison, on October 9 and 10, the two days before the start of the campaign, the NLS microsite had 48 and 74 visits.

In addition to raising awareness about NLS with potential patrons and their families, friends and caregivers, we hope people who see an ad and visit the microsite will complete the information request form there. Since the campaign began, daily submissions of information request forms has more than doubled!

This is where you in the network libraries come in. When a potential patron completes the information request form, the new Leads tracking system adds their contact information to the Leads dashboard for the network library that serves their state or community. Then it’s up to that library to follow up with an email or phone call and—if they’re eligible—send them an application.

This initial phase of the campaign reaches people who are already seeking information related to the services NLS provides. Next week, the campaign will expand to reach a more general audience, with a particular emphasis on veterans and people with reading disabilities. We’ll do that with advertising and paid promotions on Facebook and Instagram; RallyPoint, a professional network serving the US military and its veterans, and Be My Eyes, which links sighted volunteers with blind and low-vision people who need assistance with tasks; and other platforms. Later this fall we plan to begin ads—for the first time ever—on LinkedIn and Twitter.

“We expect responses to increase even further once the campaign is fully deployed,” says Kristen Fernekes, head of the NLS Communications and Outreach Section.

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Congratulations to the Texas Talking Book Program (TTBP), which has signed up more than 7,000 patrons with reading disabilities! Texas, along with Pennsylvania, piloted easing access to NLS for people with reading disabilities—which led to the change in our certifying authorities in 2021. Texas law requires that schools refer students with reading disabilities to the TTBP.

Some smaller network libraries have had notable success too—such as CT1A (Connecticut), with 582 patrons with reading disabilities, and MT1A (Montana), with 205. A nationwide total of more than 21,000 NLS patrons with reading disabilities proves this is a real opportunity for expanding our service.

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We don’t have to tell you how popular our talking-book narrators are with patrons. Last month at the National Book Festival, three of the best gathered for a panel on the art of creating a talking book. The video was just posted online, at Spread the word!