Local marketing for your museum

With social media adoption at an all-time high, it’s hard to resist the lure of digital marketing. International reach, affordable advertising options, and easy-to-follow metrics are just a few of the alluring aspects of marketing through digital means. Virtual marketing to art and culture enthusiasts globally can easily sneak into the forefront of many museums’ communication strategies. However, it is important to remember to involve local communities and continue to market them alongside broader digital campaigns.

Recognizing the importance of local communities to museums, ICOM stated in 2019 that “museums have the power to contribute to the economy, social capital and well-being of a local community”. With this authority comes the responsibility to engage museum premises and ensure exhibits, programs, tickets and even hours are accessible. Publicizing what your museum has to offer within your community isn’t difficult, but it does take time, effort, and the use of proven marketing methods.

Traditional or non-digital marketing approaches are still effective techniques and have a surprisingly high return on investment. In this article, we’ll discuss the merits of direct mail, print ads, and face-to-face marketing, along with suggestions on how to incorporate these methods into your current marketing plan.

direct mail

There’s something incredibly exciting about getting mail. There are some exciting textile elements like crisp envelopes and weighted paper that can’t quite be replicated in the form of an email. Direct mail marketing offers the opportunity to put your museum’s brand directly into people’s hands. The physical and authentic nature of direct mail is still appreciated by many, especially older generations who did not grow up in the digital age. Therefore, if your target audience is 45+, you can consider a direct mail campaign to attract them more effectively. Consider adding personal touches like the recipient’s first name or a handwritten signature to show that your organization goes the extra mile and values ​​them as a patron.

When it comes to direct mail, size matters. Digital marketing is often limited by size and pixels, but direct mail has a lot more flexibility in terms of size, color, feel, and even smell! Get creative with your campaigns and think about how to incorporate unexpected elements while staying true to your brand and message. Direct mail endurance is another added benefit as the average lifespan of a direct mail is 8.3 days according to a 2020 JICMAIL report. This means additional opportunities for your marketing message to get through and motivate the recipient to take action. .

Print advertisements

During the pandemic, the need for print advertising has drastically diminished as many museums around the world have been closed. However, as we begin to emerge from the other side, it is evident that print advertising is still relevant. Print ads are considered trustworthy by readers, adding a valuable layer of credibility to your museum and marketing message. They also typically have a longer lifespan than digital ads, which provides additional exposure opportunities for your campaign messages. Additionally, a 2019 neuromarketing study by the USPS Office of Inspector General and the Temple University study found that older people (aged 45 and older) reacted more quickly and effectively both print and digital advertisements.

The internet is noisy, with pop-up ads, booming email inboxes, and targeted social media ads. Print advertising cuts through all of this and meets people in an entirely different realm, the seemingly more believable world of paper and ink. Since your local community is bound to have people of different age groups, it’s best to keep your marketing diverse with results in both print and digital.

Face to face

This tactic is perhaps the oldest marketing method known to mankind. Before paper, before the Internet, there were two methods of marketing, word of mouth and face to face. Setting up face time means you meet potential visitors on their own terms and craft a compelling pitch to entice them to visit.

Get out into your community by hosting a pop-up museum that can serve as both an interactive feature and an advertising opportunity. Meet with local nursing home activity planners and teachers to provide them with information about your museum and available programming. Yes, it can take time to make the effort to meet individually with organizers to present your museum, but this is where virtual meeting platforms can really help save time. Be sure to do your research and reach out to contacts that have the most potential for ROI, such as special interest groups and tour operators. Going the extra mile to market your museum through face-to-face methods conveys a sense of authenticity and provides a level of personalization that no other mode of marketing can match.

Make your mark

Have you heard of the rule of seven? In simple terms, it states that a consumer must hear a marketing message seven times before taking action. In the context of marketing to your local community, this means that it will take time and effort to become the museum that comes to mind when locals search for an arts and culture destination. Building that relationship can take time, but it’s worth it because it can create bonds that last for generations.

Different age groups respond best to different types of marketing. Millennials and Gen Z tend to respond better to influencer marketing, while Gen X and baby boomers are better marketed via email and older generations influenced by print ads and word of mouth. ear. Keeping your marketing approaches varied is crucial to engaging your entire local community and casting the widest net possible.

As museums function as spaces for education, entertainment, social change and human interaction, they must be open, welcoming and accessible to all. Harness the power of museum marketing to let potential visitors know about your space and keep them coming. Your local community is the backbone of your museum. Remember to keep the relationship with those closest to your organization alive, healthy and thriving.

Want to learn more about museum marketing, we have a whole section of free articles and resources for you to take advantage of here.