Need to start thinking about telling your visitors you are reopening for the visitor season ahead, but have little or no budget put aside for marketing? By using existing resources and planning ahead it is entirely possible to run a small marketing campaign. Here are some top tips on how to do that:
Ensure your website is up to date
This might seem obvious but if your site is not up to date you could be missing a valuable opportunity to communicate with your existing and potential visitors. All of your communications should ideally link back to your site. We will also be linking to it as part of our #MuseumsAreGo campaign via our Google map, which shows all of those museums and galleries that are open.
It's important to consider adding a ‘Know before you go’ page to your website to inform and reassure your visitors, clearly detailing that you are open, what your opening times are, how they can pre-book tickets (if applicable), as well as what they can experience on their visit along with the health and safety procedures that have been put in place. This seems like a lot of information but this can be simply presented on one page of the site. Visitors will expect to find this information, so make sure it's easy to find.
It's always useful to add some FAQs for visitors as well. You can add to these once you are open and you get a better idea of the type of questions you are going to be asked.
It’s all very well having a super website but you need to make sure you can be found by your target audience when they are searching online for a museum or visitor attraction in your area. With a few simple actions you can improve upon your discoverability.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) - If you want to increase quality traffic to your website through search queries, there a few simple things you could be doing to help: make sure your site is mobile friendly; your content (throughout the site) is up to date and relevant; ensure a good user experience; and, identify and include keywords throughout your site based on what people might be searching for to find your museum.
If SEO interests you and you would like to find out more, VisitScotland ran two very useful webinars on Search Optimisation for Tourism Businesses, which you can find here.
‘Content is king’. Ensure you have relevant, up to date content on your site that relates exactly to what you offer. It’s good to have a mix of evergreen content (content that continues to be relevant) and fresh, new content (news stories).
Claim your google listing. On a google map this is the part that comes up when you google a place. You can have your website details and opening hours on that listing. There is a very handy guide here.
Finally, make sure your website address is accessible across all of your social media platforms.
Connect with your visitors on social media
It’s not about who is the loudest or posts the most, it’s about knowing your audience and creating good quality, engaging content. Hopefully you've been able to keep connected with your visitors online throughout the pandemic, and through this you may have managed to reach out to an even wider audience. Now is the time to start preparing them for your reopening. Be personal and welcoming. Tell them what to expect. Make it fun and inspirational. Ask them for their support.
Post-opening, share all the wonderful experiences that visitors have been able to enjoy, and encourage your followers and friends to do the same, using our campaign hashtag #MuseumsAreGo. Remember to comment on, and share your visitor posts. Use and adapt assets you already have such as images or short films, or even content such as blogs. Canva is a free tool that can be used to create very simple social media assets.
To save time, you can schedule your posts, using Buffer or Hootsuite, so that you can then spend your time engaging with your followers.
You can find more social media tips from: Digital Pathways. VisitScotland has a handy video on Six Tips for Social Media, and also recently held a webinar on 'Enhancing your social Media'. Scottish Heritage Social Media Group is a support peer group and resource for those looking to improve social media.
Engage with local media
We will be undertaking PR to raise the profile of museums and galleries across Scotland, as part of our #MuseumsAreGo Campaign. We will be distributing consumer press releases to national as well as regional titles with local examples of what is happening in museums and galleries. However, it would still be a good idea to contact your local media directly, get to know them, keep in touch, and take a note of what they might be interested in. It's also useful to find out the publication dates so you can be timely with your information. Around your reopening, or the launch of an exhibition, offer them the opportunity to speak with you, or provide a quote.
Here is more information on ‘engaging with the media’. This also includes a PR toolkit with a press release template.
Ask for support
Recent research has shown that there has been a growth in empathy towards visitor attractions, and we know that Scotland residents want to support their tourism industry, by choosing to holiday and stay in Scotland. So it is a good time to ask for support, asking the public to not only visit but donate online. National Museums Scotland have put together some fundraising guidance, which includes a useful checklist on how to set up an online fundraising platform, and encourage people to donate.
Work with others
When marketing your museum to potential visitors, it is effective to team up with other museums, tourism businesses or organisations to help amplify your message and to widen your reach. It helps to create a 'buzz' around your area and allows you to promote the benefits, activities and attractions that are specific to your region.
This concept is called destination marketing - a type of marketing that promotes a particular destination to increase visitors.
Throughout Scotland, all the Local Authority areas have their own destination marketing representatives.
Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs) represent a destination and help to develop travel and tourism strategy. It would be worth reaching out to your local DMO to explore any opportunities for joint marketing. Here is information on working with DMOs as well as other tourism organisations, including VisitScotland who can provide support, guidance, insights as well as access to other marketing platforms.