Updated: Sep 16, 2020
Wow! 2020 is not turning out like we all thought it would. The coronavirus has taken a toll on businesses around the globe, and non-profits organizations are no exception. Museums have had to adapt quickly in order to maintain their organization. Many have chosen to close temporarily, some even permanently.
However, for those who are interested in cautiously reopening, we have a few recommendations that hopefully will help you overcome these difficult circumstances.
1. Dispense masks and don’t charge for them.
Walk-ins are crucial to museum success. However, these days, many shops and businesses have a big sign on the door that essentially says “Don’t enter if you don’t have a mask”. While the encouragement to wear a mask is important, turning away visitors because they don’t have masks means loss of business on your end. If you look at the numbers you’ll probably find that paying for a box of disposable masks is a lot cheaper than turning guests away. So invest in affordable masks that you can hand out.
Additionally, you probably want to give off a welcoming, friendly atmosphere to those who walk into your museum, and offering them a mask will give a much better impression than denying anyone entry. You may even consider providing disposable gloves for those who want them. This will keep your visitors safe, happy, and inside your museum.
2. Get started with Google Ads.
Online exposure is the best way to get your museum in front of potential visitors, especially now that everyone is stuck at home on the internet all day. Google Ads are the first thing to appear in a Google search when connected to the right keywords. Successful Google Ads campaigns have been known to double, or even triple, daily visitors for a museum, and they’ve become one of the number one cheapest ways to advertise for museums thanks to the Google Grant.
Don’t know how to run Google Ads? This type of marketing can be pretty technical. Luckily, this is our specialty here at Market My Museum, and we would love to answer questions you might have or get an account running for you. We even have a generous COVID relief plan that we’re extending to museums. (Check out our COVID Relief Page if you would like to learn about receiving a month of free Google Ads setup and management.)
3. Rethink your social media presence.
With museums’ struggle during the pandemic, many of them have invented clever social media tactics to maintain customer engagement even during this difficult time. You can imitate and jump on board with these strategies. For example, create a custom Zoom background with your museum’s attraction in the background. Zoom is being used like never before, and making this background available can be a fun way to market your museums and to spread interaction.
Additionally, when you post on Instagram or Twitter, use the popular tag #MuseumFromHome where individuals and museums are sharing their exhibits and promoting their attractions. You can also host story or drawing contests around a relevant subject of your museum, and then post the submissions. These kinds of contests generally get a lot of engagement and a lot of love.
4. Consider launching virtual tours of your museum.
Providing an online version of your exhibits is a great way to continue sharing what your museum has to offer. Many people who still don’t feel safe to go out are desperately searching for interesting activities to do online. If you are unable to remain open physically due to regulations in your area, or are unable to offer as many tickets or hours as you normally would, an online tour might be just the thing you need to maintain the exposure you need.
While photographing your museum and modifying your website to allow for a virtual tour can be a bit of a project, many museums are finding that right now is the perfect time to get it done. Even when the virus has ended, a tour like this can provide great marketing content and greatly improve your website’s rankings on Google.
Market My Museum has been working with the Charles Allis Museum in Milwaukee to advertise for their virtual tour program, and this advertising has provided some of the most successful and inexpensive exposure they have ever received thanks to the value offering the tour has to offer. This kind of community involvement leads to more visitors, donations, and space rentals.
5. Make online communication a huge priority.
There is a lot of uncertainty right now. It is important to keep open communication online regarding your museum’s re-opening status. Update your social media and Google My Business about your reopening and the safety measures you are taking. Include a message at the top of your website with important information so that guests don’t have to search for things like modified hours, safety requirements, or procedural changes.
Use this as an opportunity to show your community that you care by following through with posted guidelines. You’ll see that some businesses and organizations who choose to re-open are receiving negative online feedback about not feeling safe, or upholding posted safety guidelines. Don’t let this happen to your museum by ensuring your guests feel safe and respected.
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