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Spoiltchild Design

Results: Email Marketing and the Arts in Ireland

A few months ago I undertook a survey of email marketing trends among Arts Organisations in Ireland. Thirty organisations were surveyed, taking in a cross section of National Cultural Institutions, Galleries, Arts Centers, Theatres, and organisations that work in Literature, Youth Arts, Music, Architecture, as well as Festivals and Local Authority Arts Departments.

Like small businesses, many Arts organisations have a small team with limited resources. Arts staff organise exhibitions, concerts, events, festivals and activities throughout the year and in doing so require effective ways to engage with the public. With Art budgets slashed last year and the outlook uncertain for 2009, the need for a cost and time effective solution to promote and market these events is crucial. Email marketing certainly provides the answers to these two problems. At its simplest, it really is just a short communication between two people, using the technology you already have.

Here is what I asked:
Q.1 Do you use email marketing (newsletters)?
Q.2 How often?
Q.3 How do you find your subscribers to email?
Q.4 Are you making the best use of email marketing?

The results were fascinating. A 1/3 response rate was achieved overall. All respondents are currently utilising email marketing. 60% communicate monthly, 10% weekly and 30% for each event. 70% felt that they could use this tool more effectively with more time and more knowledge. One respondent had added an RSS feed to their newsletter to automate news delivery. All grow their subscriber list by sign ups at events, promotions or via their websites.

I found this very interesting as Arts Organisations give their patrons every opportunity to sign up for future events and thereby gain permission to use these contact details for further marketing activities.

Overall, this survey demonstrates that arts organisations are actively engaging with email marketing but many struggle to find the time to do so. Another factor is continuing to engage with the reader. This calls for further education to designin marketing strategies that continually connect with the subscriber. Consistently writing engaging, relevant information will bring readers back time and again and even better tell their friends.

My sincere thanks to all who participated.

Image thanks to liz_com1981 (cc)