April 12, 2015
99% of arts organizations have a website, 97% have a social media presence, 85% accept donations online, and 72% sell tickets online. – Pew Research
Digital marketing has transformed the arts by enabling organizations to engage with audiences and supporters in new, more effective ways.
At IronPaper, we work with quite a few arts organizations, and the ones that are really thriving are those that have fully embraced digital marketing. They realize the importance of an engaging, strategic online presence, and their investment is paying off with improved attendance at events, amplified fundraising results, and increased public awareness.
1. It drives ticket sales and leads to increased attendance at events. – Pew Research
2. It allows organizations to engage more extensively with their audiences. – Digital R&D Fund for the Arts
3. The majority of arts organizations now use digital marketing to accept donations, sell tickets, and engage with audiences online. – Pew Research
4. It can support and enhance organizations’ fundraising efforts. – Pew Research
5. It improves audience participation in the arts. – Pew Research
6. It helps organizations’ fulfill their mission statements more effectively. – Digital R&D Fund for the Arts
7. It provides an opportunity for organizations to communicate more efficiently with alumni, patrons, and audiences. – Pew Research
8. It leads to increased public awareness of arts organizations. – Pew Research
- Start with a well-designed website.
When a visitor arrives at your organization's website, they should find an engaging and attractive online presence that showcases your events, performances, programs, courses, and exhibits--not to mention the spirit of the organization. Ideally, they should be able to navigate your website easily on any device to buy tickets, make a donation, and stay current on the latest happenings. As much of digital marketing happens via email, you'll also need to present a compelling reason for visitors to provide their contact information. For example, you could offer priority notification of events, discounted admissions, or exclusive content in exchange for their personal information and email address.
- Create original, dynamic content.
Content is an essential piece of digital marketing for arts organizations. In addition to promoting your events and broadening your reach, it gives you the opportunity to discuss relevant subjects, events, trends, and philosophies, thus making the arts more accessible to new audiences. We recommend posting exclusive interviews; the latest news; context articles; pieces about the organization's history; entertaining videos; and behind-the-scenes content. Aim to publish at least a few times a week to ensure that visitors regularly have something new to explore.
- Optimize your content for SEO.
An SEO strategy will broaden your organization's reach by ensuring that your site shows up in relevant search engine results. To begin, build a keyword strategy using a tool like Adwords to find out what people interested in the arts are searching for. Incorporate broad (highly competitive) keywords like "arts in New York City" and longtail keywords like "Modern art exhibits for school groups in Brooklyn". Longer keywords tend to be less competitive than broad keywords, however both options will drive quality traffic to your site.
- Create a social media presence.
For your arts organization to engage new and existing audiences, it needs to invest in social media. The right kind of activity on social media will drive traffic back to your website and expand your influence. We recommend focusing your efforts on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. To begin, engage your audiences before, during, and after events and monitor their feedback. Share your content on social networks and invite your influencers and advocates to do the same. Also, install social media buttons on your website to allow visitors to easily share your original content with their networks.
Pew Research, Arts Organizations and Digital Technologies, https://www.pewinternet.org/2013/01/04/arts-organizations-and-digital-technologies/
Digital R&D Fund for the Arts, Digital Culture: How arts and cultural organizatons in England use technology, https://artsdigitalrnd.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/DigitalCulture_FullReport.pdf
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