Think of your marketing as an art form.
The quote above represents just a few of the many words of wisdom heard from Liesl Barrell, Senior Business Development Manager at Unbounce, at the National Congress on Culture on May 22nd-23rd, 2014. Liesl shared with Congress delegates some tips on conquering online territory during a Digital Marketing panel (watch the panel in its entirety here, or read a selection of top takeaways from it here) and a breakout workshop exploring ways to better target your audience online (view Liesl's presentation slides here).
After the Congress, however, Liesl still had more expertise to share, and she generously sent the Culture Days team links to eight useful digital/audience engagement resources. You'll find them listed below along with brief overviews of their content—dig in to find out how to take advantage of a number of online platforms/strategies in order to promote the arts.
Liesl's recommended digital marketing resources
WolfBrown's Making Sense of Audience Engagement (Liesl credits this resource to a suggestion given to her by Pat, a Congress delegate she had lunch with): this report breaks down the processes and possibilities for audience engagement by arts organizations. It provides case studies of innovative engagement approaches and helpfully splits audience members into six different typologies (from mostly passive "readers" all the way up the scale to "active learners"), suggesting strategies that work for each group.
- Some ideas: "Low- or no-cost engagement activities include curtain speeches, lobby discussions, spontaneous gatherings at nearby restaurants and bars, and unattended laptop stations where visitors can search for further information or record their own comments."
The 2013 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report from NonprofitMarketingGuide.com: find out what's going on around you in the world of non-profit marketing with this detailed report. Packaged in short, easy-to-read tidbits of information, it covers everything from which digital channels non-profit organizations depend on the most (Facebook, then Twitter), to links between budget size and the shape communications take, to what non-profits say scares or excites them about their upcoming marketing.
- Write it down: "When you put a plan in writing, you increase the likelihood that you’ll follow through on it. Yet only a third (30%) of nonprofits have a written and approved marketing plan for 2013."
Digital Strategy 101 by marketing consultant/blogger/speaker Bud Caddell: if you're new to digital marketing, this is the resource for you—it starts by defining what a "digital strategy" actually is and smoothly guides you through the basics of the benefits and concepts associated with digital marketing. It also includes a handy "tools" section that introduces some productive further reading.
- Figure out what makes your audience tick: "In digital, we too often focus on consumer behavior without delving into the messy motivations behind that behavior...before we ask [people] to tweet about our new brand campaign we should understand why they tweet to begin with."
Digital Strategy Toolbox by Julian Cole, Head of Communications Planning at Bartle Bogle Hegarty: this presentation takes you through 17 online digital marketing tools, providing step-by-step instructions for setting them up, examples of their uses, and a list of pros and cons for each. There's something for everyone here, from hubs on marketing research to data on consumer behaviour to Facebook page analytics.
- Try this one for some inspiration: "Creative Sandbox: a gallery powered by Google showcasing the best work in digital and advertising. The collaborative aspect of the site allows users to provide feedback on work as well as vote for the best projects to feature first."
TNM & Phéromone Tweet in Character by Liesl Barrell: a quick and fun case study of a successful Twitter campaign run by Phéromone and Théâtre du Nouveau Monde. To promote TNM's 2010 production of Molière's Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, two writers tweeted (in verse!) in the voices of three characters from the play, interacting with each other and with the public in character. The creativity paid off, helping raise attendance rates at the show and attracting a younger audience typically less interested in theatre.
- Don't be afraid to try something new and different: "Larger companies and arts institutions are often still extremely traditional in their approach to marketing, frequently sticking to media buys and relatively static web strategies (we have a website!). When this is the case, Bélanger [Vice-President at Phéromone] points out, 'They lose the magic of theatre where weird things happen every night.'"
How Uncalled For Hijacked My Inbox by Liesl Barrell: using the example of the email newsletters sent out by Montreal comedy troupe Uncalled For, Liesl sums up the main ingredients of a promotional email that subscribers won't just instantly delete: conciseness, good editing, eye-catching subject line, etc.
- Find your voice and explore from there: "In time your emails should develop a consistent voice that matches your personal or theatre company brand. Find a formula that you enjoy, works well and yields results and keep playing with it, pushing its boundaries. Subtle changes (e.g. link placement) can have a big impact on clickthrough rates."
Enterprise-Level Social Media by Mandy Poon, Strategic Planner at DentsuBos: a comprehensive presentation catering specifically to businesses that gives you all the questions you should be asking yourself and the approach you should be taking as you get started on social media, supported by examples from real-life enterprises.
- Joining a social media channel is a commitment: "An enterprise needs to determine the following before joining: How are we going to use that? What's going to be that channel's purpose? How will it work with the other channels we currently have? How can the channel help us reach our business objectives? Do we have the resources for another significant commitment?"
The Most Entertaining Guide to Landing Page Optimization You'll Ever Read by Unbounce's Oli Gardner on the Moz Blog: what it says on the tin—a witty and amusing guide to sending your audience to a well-designed landing page on your website that will convince them to invest in your product. You'll understand what message match, attention ratio and conversation momentum mean once you're through (and you'll likely feel quite entertained as well).
- Make it clear and click-worthy: "Every time you add a button to your landing page you need to write down exactly what will happen when the button is clicked, then write those words on the button. It should be specific and driven by the desire to click it. Add words like 'Get' at the start to amplify the fact that you will get something by clicking it. Use 'my' instead of 'your' to personalize the connection."
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