Forum One had the immense pleasure of presenting at the 2020 MuseWeb conference, which was moved to a fully virtual event to ensure that participants could join safely from their homes. We presented on creating compelling digital campaigns, a topic that is particularly relevant given that most cultural institutions have had to close their doors to patrons.
The session was attended by a variety of organizations that run the gamut from research arboretum to an artist-specific museum. Our workshop focused on brainstorming ideas for digital campaigns and applying best practice approaches to planning, executing, and measuring success. Though we have worked with many museums over the years, we learned that these institutions are now forced to do a bit of out of the box thinking to successfully engage their audiences.
Here are our biggest takeaways for thinking through digital campaigns for cultural institutions.
1. Stay Top of Mind for Members & Patrons
One worry for cultural institutions may be that because people can no longer walk through their doors, they may be forgotten by their members and patrons. This is an opportunity to engage your audiences in new ways outside of your buildings’ walls. A campaign could focus on capturing images or showing them how they can engage with your institution while they are stuck at home.
Tip: Make your campaigns relevant to your audiences. Be sure content is aligned with what your audiences are facing and what will engage them with your organization.
2. Know Where Your Audiences Are
A bit of audience research or a review of your current channels will help you better understand where your audiences are getting their information. Perhaps they are more likely to open an email and click through on a link or they may be more active on Instagram and more liable to interact with your content there. Determine where you can be most effective with reaching your audiences and use those channels to communicate.
You may also find that different demographics (e.g., age groups, locations, etc.) are more liable to use a certain channel. By creating personas before you begin your campaign, you will have the chance to uncover the areas where you need to learn more about your audiences. You may also discover that there are a few common areas of crossover for your audiences!
Tip: Make your campaigns grounded in a format that makes sense to your audiences and fits in with what they need to accomplish in their daily lives.
3. Be Creative With Your Content
As a society, we frequent cultural institutions to learn more about the world around us in a way that we might not be able to experience through simply looking at content on the internet. This means that your patrons are expecting a bit more pizazz to the content you provide. This is a good opportunity to explore how you can create new types of content whether that is video, animations, interactive materials, or content that has been created by your audiences.
Tip: Make your campaigns sensory to provide a one-of-a-kind memorable experience that will stay with your audiences and remind them of the amazing experience they can have once they visit.