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10 Clever Marketing Tips to Get More Museum Visitors

You are a museum. You are a hub of culture, art, history, and learning. You are the definition of family friendly fun. You have everything anyone could want for a day trip, an evening with friends, a school field trip, a romantic date, or an educational excursion. All you need is to get people through your doors.

Getting visitors is a huge goal for museums, and sometimes a little hard to pin down. How do people learn about museums? Why do they decide to come? What can museums do to increase visibility and increase regular visitors?

Here are 10 clever tips to improve the number of visitors your museum gets on a daily basis.

Why Use Google Ads?

Online advertising is really the way the world is moving right now. Museums are no exception. Getting online exposure is crucial for getting eyes on your website, and visitors into your museum. Google Ads are one of the best ways to get this online exposure. This is Google’s online advertising program which allows you to create online ads and reach people who are specifically interested in your service. This is done with keywords.

Keywords are the words and phrases that people are searching on Google. Google Ads allows you to link these keywords to your ads. For example, when someone searches for “family friendly activities near me,” your ad, which is linked to the key phrase “ family friendly,” is what comes up at the top of their search results. This ability to refine your advertisement audience is what makes Google Ads so successful, particularly because Google Ads uses pay-per-click (PPC).

Pay-per-click means that you only pay for your ad when someone clicks on that ad. This feature is one of the many things that make Google Ads a great option for museums. This in combination with the Google Grant makes Google Ads an absolute steal for museums. This grant from Google gives qualifying non-profits $10,000 of in kind ad money. This means when a person clicks on an ad, the payment for that click payment comes out of that $10,000 grant. When museums don’t use the Google Grant, they are allowing thousands of dollars of advertising money to go unclaimed.

Market My Museum specializes in acquiring the Google Grant and running Google Ad campaigns for museums. We are currently offering one month of free services to give museums the opportunity to see if Google Ads work for them. If you are interested in acquiring the $10,000 Google Grant and 30 days of Google Ad management for free, check us out here!


SEO, or search engine optimization, is the science of getting your website to appear on more Google searches. Unlike Google Ads where you choose specific keywords to bid on in order to appear for searches, SEO is free. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean it’s easy, though. You create a page related to a topic, and Google ranks your page against all other similar pages related to the topic to decide which one is best and should be shown to the most people and at the top of the results.

For example, as an article or a blog post you write an extensive page about one of the artists featured in your museum. Because you have a decent website and your article includes so many great details about the artist, now, when anyone in the world searches for that artist’s name, your page is the first one to appear. In the article you talk about how exceptional the artist’s work is in your museum and how much people love coming to see it, and all the sudden you’re getting free advertising for your museum and convincing people to come.

Naturally, some keywords are in a lot more competition than others. It pays to aim for smaller keywords that will have less competition. For example, if you create a page that you hope will compete for the query “fun things to do in Florida”, you’re going to find yourself competing with some very reputable sites who have some very popular pages, such as Yelp, Trip Advisor, and Disney World, to name a few. Instead, go for keywords such as “best museums in {city name}”. More specific searches may not get a very high search volume, but they still will make quite a difference when you compete for many of them and you target keywords that your potential customers will be searching.

Blogs and Website Updates

If you read the SEO section and found it to be a little intimidating, you’re not alone. Understanding Google’s algorithm and what it wants from users is an extensive subject.

For museum workers and museum marketers who don’t have the time or skill to deep dive into the technical aspects of SEO, let me recommend a simple but effective strategy: get in the habit of constantly updating your blog or posting new articles or pages on your website. You can even just make articles out of the display signs for your different exhibits. Uploading lots of content to your website will increase your chances that your pages rank for Google searches, and in Google’s eyes, you will establish your website as having expertise around certain clusters of topics.

Oftentimes the hardest part of running a successful blog is just knowing what to post about. Need some ideas? Check out this list of some of the best museum blogs out there. Whenever you post a new page or article, be sure to post on social media so that the maximum number of people can see it.

Have a Bomb Website

Having great ads and SEO is great because they help bring people to your website, but it won’t do you any good if you don’t have an incredible website to bring them to. Having a website that is aesthetic, logical, and effective is key to gaining online credibility and bringing people to your museum.

Your website should be intuitive and easy to navigate. It should also give a digital experience that will show potential visitors what a physical experience at your museum will be like. Your site should be beautiful and modern. Keep your website up to date. Use lots of beautiful, high quality pictures that increase intrigue about your location.

Your website is your sales pitch to convince people that your museum is worth visiting in person, so give enough of a taste that people want to come get the full experience. Check out our blog post for tips for creating an effective museum website.

Host Events

Host community events. The goal is to turn visitors into repeat visitors. Creating opportunities for the community to gather will encourage people to feel more familiar and connected to local museums. Diversifying the types of events you host will bring different kinds of people into your museum. Some examples include cultural events and holiday parties. You can bring visitors to your museum as often as a monthly basis with recurring events like book clubs, new exhibit premiers, and art classes.

They don’t have to be expensive events, and can even be a source of revenue if used correctly. Hosting dinners or dances can provide opportunities to charge entrance fees. Events like auctions, bake sales, and fundraisers--either for the museum itself or for other local groups, schools, or businesses--can encourage people to contribute their own resources as well as leave the museum a treat or prize.

Anything that gets community members through your doors is increasing visibility and credibility for your museum. Different museums will have different resources available to them. Take a second look at the spaces your museum has to offer and brainstorm some of the best ways to plan an event that will make people want to come, go and tell their friends, and then come back again.

Have Selfie-Spots

Provide spots to take selfies. The best advertisement for museums is word of mouth. Creating designated spots in your museum for visitors to take pictures will encourage them to be an advocate for your museum online. This is the age of the smartphone, the age of social media. Use this to your advantage. The cooler and more unique you can make your selfie spots, the more your visitors will be interested in getting your museum on their own social media feed. Free advertising! If you create an interesting enough attraction, people may even begin coming to your museum just to take a picture there.

When you are setting up a selfie-spot, take a few things into consideration. It should fit the brand of your museum. Don’t create an exhibit or poster for something totally unrelated to the theme of your museum. There are plenty of creative ways to make your selfie-spot fit the brand. Another thing to add to your selfie-spot is a hashtag. Include signs with an invitation to use a hashtag specific to your selfie-spot. You can encourage even more participation by offering prizes for the best pictures posted with the hashtag. These are all great ways to gain free online/social media exposure and to engage your visitors in your brand.

Build Partnerships

Develop and maintain relationships with your local businesses. Museums are all about community. Supporting local businesses and companies is a great way to get involved. Some ways you can do this are: host benefits or events at your museum in partnership with a local business, sell products from a local business at an auction or benefit, provide advertising space at your museum for a local business in exchange for them putting up posters about your exhibits or events. It can even be as simple as having business cards on a desk from a local business.

Creating these kinds of relationships can be key to getting more visibility for your museum. Depending on your museum brand and the businesses available to you, you can take it a step further by creating a legitimate partnership. For example, the Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum currently has a partnership with the popular brand, Vans. Vans is advertising for the museum by putting Van Gogh’s most famous works on their products. The two businesses are supporting each other by creating buzz in their own circles about the other business.


Collect as many relevant email addresses as possible. Consider making it part of the ticket-buying process that when checking out, customers give their emails. You can also run deals or promotions that encourage participants to offer their email address in exchange for value of some kind. Once you have these email addresses, take good care of them. Periodically send out value-packed emails that talk about new exhibitions coming to the museum, fun upcoming events, and interesting news and fun facts that will keep your museum top-of-mind in the heads of your customers for the next time they are planning a family outing and are trying to decide what to do.

In order to keep send rates high and get the most return for the effort you put into email campaigns, only collect email addresses from people who will be happy to get emails from you. If the email sender sees that your audience does not open and does not like your emails, this will make the process more expensive for you and lessen the likelihood that emails correctly land in the inboxes of those who matter.

Google My Business

Google My Business is a helpful display that shows up when people on the internet search for your museum. It shows your museum hours, relevant photos, as well as reviews and any featured promotions you choose to put on it. Having an up-to-date Google My Business account will make Google feel like the information there is trustworthy and accurate, and so Google will show the account to more users. This will result in bringing more traffic to your website as well as more visitors to your museum.

In order to get the most out of this feature, always quickly respond when you a receive a new review on Google My Business. Make sure your hours and availability for normal days as well as holidays is always correct. Fill in all the details and information that the program lets you. Additionally, you’ll see that Google My Business allows you to post updates about promotions, deals or news for your museum. Regularly updating this feature along with all others mentioned will make the Google algorithm trust you and, free of charge, Google will direct more traffic to your Google My Business account and to your website. It will also help you to rank higher on Google Maps, when people browse through locations in your area.

Social Media

One of the best things about social media is that it provides a way to directly interact with people in a way never before available. Museums can create a dialogue with previous and potential followers about the displays, events, and community developments. On Facebook, Instagram, etc. include posts that request engagement, opinions, and discussion. Poling functions can help you determine what your viewer base is looking for and fulfilling those desires can improve attendance. Successful social media campaigns will make community members and visitors feel like they are a part of the happenings at your museum.

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