In the world of museums and cultural institutions, marketing to create more significant foot traffic and buzz is becoming more of a necessity.

Some museums, leverage strategies such as after-hours museum programs (one of our favorites is the California Academy of Sciences).

However, most museum staff want to find ways to better leverage digital channels for their museum marketing strategies. Below we’ll describe several museum marketing strategies that you can implement today to increase foot traffic, online visitors, and revenue.

Museum Marketing Strategies

Use Instagram

A lot can be said about different social media marketing strategies, but we’re going to focus on Instagram. Instagram is one of the top ways to market your museum as it focuses on visuals and has high virality.

Here are a couple things you can do.

Create a step-and-repeat that visitors can use to take memorable photos to showcase their visit to their friends. A step and repeat is a wall or photo backdrop that you can create, and are highly popular for photos. Here are a few pictures of some of our favorite step and repeats.

Repost Photos. When your visitors post photos at your museum, make sure to show them some love and repost their photos or share them on your museum’s story. This shows future visitors that you’re open to sharing their content and will incentivize visitors to share photos on their profiles.

Engage with your target audience. Search specific hashtags relative to museum visitors and like/comment/DM the photo sharers. This can help you build an online community of museum aficionados that will showcase your museum on their profiles on future visits.

Build a Partner Network

Depending on the size of the city that you’re located in, you can build a partner network with local businesses. Reach out to restaurants around your area, coffee shops, and even other cultural institutions. Work out a “kickback” program for referrals, or also partner to provide baked goods from local bakeries or coffee from local coffee shops. This helps to provide a more inclusive community-based experience, where visitors not only get to indulge in the experiences of your museum but the local culture as well.

If you’re using a referral kickback program, we recommend implementing a POS system that allows you to create coupon codes that can be tracked back to the various partners. This will make tracking and sending referral “kickbacks” significantly easier.

Sell Products Online / and in-Store

Ticket sales may be a good portion of your revenue, but we also recommend diversifying by offering products for in-store and online purchase. We recommend selling products related to your museum exhibits to increase relevancy and purchase.

Some examples of great products to sell in-store and online are books related to the artists or display exhibits, prints of your exhibits, custom enamel pins, postcards, etc.

Leverage Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is one of the most popular forms of digital marketing for Fortune 1000 businesses. However, SEO is not just for them. Museums can leverage SEO to generate online traffic that converts into actual visitors by leveraging some key strategies. For museums, we recommend building out an SEO strategy related to three factors:

  • Museum Subject Matter: Write articles about the subject matter of your museum. For example, if you display Ancient Greek Art, then create articles about Ancient Greece and Artwork from Ancient Greece.
  • Artist Content: Write articles about the artist of each of your exhibits and related artists that drew inspiration from them.
  • Local Subject Matter: Create articles about things to do local to your museum. If there’s a collection of killer coffee shops, then create articles about the local coffee shops, places to eat nearby, and more.

We refer to SEO as the gift that keeps on giving. Once you create your SEO strategy, then it will continue to grow and drive more traffic to your museum. If you’d like to learn more, then please feel free to contact us.

Simplify the Ticket Sales Process

If you’re not already using museum ticketing software, then you’re a step behind. Modern museum ticketing software allows you to sell tickets online, with mobile devices quickly, create different coupon codes, and track all of your daily and monthly sales. We recommend using ACME ticketing, as they consistently have the highest rated ticketing software, customer support, and value.

If you’d like to learn more about ACME, then click here.

Leverage Your Members

Part of every museum’s marketing strategy should be establishing a membership program. You may only offer monthly incentives, but your membership marketing program is crucial in getting visitors to return and even having them help you promote your museum.

Here are some ideas for getting started:

  • Start an email list. Whether you offer free membership or paid, make sure to create an email list of those different members. Depending on the sophistication and budget, you can use something as simple as MailChimp to get started.
  • Create weekly emails. Every week you should send emails to your members letting them know of things going on, or asking them to leave reviews of your museum on popular review sites.
  • Ask for recommendations. Ask your members what they’d like to see in your museum, or what would get them to return. This is useful information that can help you continuously bring in foot traffic and revenue.
  • Reward the most engaged members. Using your various marketing tools, you can track how many times your members click through email links, who leave reviews, and who continue to visit. Make sure to show these highly engaged members some love with different incentives, discounts, and goodies.

Throw Events and Mixers

Don’t be afraid to combine a couple of different marketing strategies. You can leverage a partner network and your members to throw exclusive events and mixers, or just advertise these to the mass market. These can create opportunities to generate more revenue.

We recommend partnering with a popular food truck or two, and throwing an event where you combine some great food with the museum experience. Or, you can try introducing some cocktails to the mix and having a night at the museum event where patrons can have drinks and take in the entire museum experience. The possibilities are endless.

Museum Marketing Strategies You Can Use Today

Still not sure how you can get started? Museum marketing strategies can take careful planning and a team of experts to pull off. If you’re looking for advice to build out your museum marketing strategies, contact us here for more information.