Maximizing On-site Marketing at Your Venue
If you are fortunate enough to have regular, face-to-face contact with people who support what your organization does (for example, a museum or other destination-based nonprofit), onsite visitor outreach can be the proverbial low-hanging fruit for enrolling new members and gathering information on prospective members. There is no better time to convey the need for support than when someone is having a firsthand, positive experience with your organization.
But we continue to be surprised by how many organizations with robust visitor populations fail to fully capitalize on this opportunity. Onsite marketing is one of the most valuable – and perhaps most overlooked – chances to make the membership connection.
Now is the time to beef up your visitor outreach and ensure that your visitors get the membership message loud and clear. Here’s a checklist to assess your on-site marketing and help you improve its effectiveness:
- Prominently display membership materials at your information booths or kiosks.
- Integrate membership messaging into the Plan Your Visit section of your website, and/or your online advanced ticket purchase process.
- Ensure that there is signage promoting member discounts and current promotions at entrances and exits, points of purchase (tickets, bookstores, etc.) and frequently visited places (restrooms, parking lots, etc.).
- Print membership messages on tickets/passes, will-call envelopes, receipts, and programs.
- Offer complimentary membership bookmarks (or other appropriate takeaway) at gift shops.
- Display membership table tents in the bathrooms, lounges, and restaurant/cafeteria.
- Recognize current members in a visible way, like a banner or rolling electronic sign.
- Conduct on-site membership canvassing with mobile devices.
- Train staff and volunteers to talk about membership – consider including role-play simulations in this training so they can anticipate responses to visitors’ questions.
- Ensure that your staff and volunteers have the information (and therefore the confidence) they need to promote membership and answer visitors’ questions.
- Provide special membership targets and incentives to motivate staff and volunteers to get out and talk to visitors about membership.
- Collect email addresses, mail addresses, and phone numbers on site.
- Collect information online or on the phone as part of the advanced ticket purchase process.
- Create tear-off contact cards on membership brochures, membership table tents, and other on-site membership collateral.
- Bring up membership at the point of purchase in gift shops (e.g. “Our Members enjoy a __% discount at our shop – would you like to join today?”).
- Collect names by asking visitors to register for special raffles (e.g. free memberships, special gift shop items, event tickets, etc.).
- Canvass at entrances and exits to gather contact information for future solicitations.
- Design a follow-up conversion email series for names acquired on-site. Send the first email within two weeks of the visit, thanking the supporter and introducing him or her to the organization. The second email should engage the supporter in some specific way – whether it’s a survey, quiz, or request for feedback. The final solicitation should be a membership ask.
- Plan to integrate on-site names into direct membership solicitations, including email and direct mail.
And, of course, incorporate the visitor experience into your messaging. Be sure that your membership brochure – and all on-site collateral – makes a direct link between the visitor’s experience today, and how he or she can stay involved over the long term by joining your organization.
Every venue and visitor experience is different, so be creative in thinking about the best ways to solicit and follow up with your visitors – online and offline.