Museums may be non-profit bastions of culture and art, but they still rely on membership and donor acquisition to operate. Restoring paintings, protecting sculptures, and providing educational programs to the community at large all eat away at museum budgets. With constantly rising competition, museum marketing departments must be as effective as possible to keep the lights on and visitors coming in the doors.
Direct marketing involves communicating directly with the consumer, just as it sounds. It is cheaper than large-scale TV ads, but still garners an impressive response rate, thanks to the new tools available, especially in online marketing. Typically, direct marketing is done via e-mail, direct mail, social networking sites, and telephone. Have a new exhibit coming up and want to increase membership? With some professional snapshots of the art and elegantly engineered content, why not create a postcard, email, website landing page and social networking page to market that event? Even small-scale budgets can benefit by using websites, social networking tools, and e-mail to distribute budget-friendly marketing that drives results.
With many museums under serious cost constraints, marketing budgets can often be one of the first to suffer belt-tightening. That makes a difficult job even more so, but not impossible. There are still low-cost options that provide a way to reach the intended audience. E-mail marketing, for example, puts the standard paper mailer in electronic form. The costs are minimal, but the response rate is often just as high. In fact, many museum donors and visitors may prefer an e-mail notifying them of a special event or a coupon to another piece of paper. With a great graphic artist, the aesthetic message of the museum will remain intact, even in another format.
Fundraising is hard enough, especially in today’s economic climate. That is why it is important for organizations of all types to capitalize on getting the most out of their marketing budget. Direct marketing agencies help propel museums into the forefront of the community. Creating a carefully crafted, compelling, stylish, and fun campaign reminds residents of the community why museums are enjoyable to visit, and encourage frequent visits.