Regardless of size, all arts organizations need to market and sell tickets for shows, subscriptions to seasons, and even merchandise like t-shirts, concert recordings, and tote bags (just to name a few). Also regardless of size, all arts organizations need to be able to tell what has worked for them in marketing their shows, tickets, and merchandise. But, in your organization, how can you accurately tell what works and what doesn’t?
In this post, I’ll share with you three essential analytics tools for any arts organization to use when marketing themselves to their audience.
Tool #1: Google Analytics
Every arts organization should have their own well designed, laid out, and formatted for mobile website. Further, that website should (really must) use Google Analytics to track traffic flow, demographic, goals, and how people find your website.
Whoah, what did you just say? Ok, let me break that down for you.
When I say traffic flow, I’m talking about where visitors to your website start and where they go. Google Analytics allows you to see where people may drop off on your site so you can optimize it so that visitors stay on your site longer. The more time a visitor is on your site the more they will know what you do and be more educated about your organization.
Over time, Google Analytics will show you demographics of your visitors. You can tell location, age, gender, and other details. You won’t be able to see income level or other details like that, but you will be able to gather basic demographic information.
Google Analytics can help you track various goals you have for your site. Want to optimize for Email subscriptions? Would you like to track season subscriptions? Individual ticket sales? Volunteer sign ups? In Google Analytics, you can set a goal as every time someone sees a specific page. When that page is viewed, then Analytics will show you that the goal has been met. Then, you can optimize your site to increase goals being met.
To set up Google Analytics you’ll want to work with your website developer or agency. They should have already. Or, if you like, you can contact me for one-on-one help.
Tool #2: Google Tag Manager
Closely related to Google Analytics is Google Tag Manager. Tags are pieces of information added to a link to show results of a specific ad campaign or source. It’s kind of tricky, but when you use a specific link, like a landing page to buy tickets for a show or concert, you can set it up where you can tell where your traffic is coming from. Your source might be “Facebook” or “Twitter” or “display ads” (banner ads from other sites). Your campaign might be “To Kill a Mockingbird” or “SeasonSubscription”
When you are analyzing your campaigns, you can then tell where to spend your ad spend or marketing dollars based on what you see is more effective.
Google Analytics can even tell you channel attribution, which is a fancy term for telling you who gets the credit for the sale. For example, you have an ad campaign across many mediums, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Display, Email, etc. All those might have a role to play in making the sale, and Google can tell you the percentage each played.
Tool #3: Custom Link Shortener
The last tool that you might want to use is a custom link shortener, like bit.ly or any other shortening service. What this does is let you take a long link and make it shorter. In addition, you can track simple clicks on that link to help you understand your traffic on your website or social media.
Let me explain a little more. Let’s say you have a really long link to your latest blog post or news story from a critic’s review. You want to post that to social media where character count, well, counts! The link shortener will take that long link:
and turn it into:
When you shorten the link you get to conserve space in your social media status update so you can use more text to describe or entice people to click on the link. And, if you want to do something a little technical, you can use Bit.ly with your website host to create a custom link shortener where you can further brand your organization. For example, when I tweet long links, like the one about Hal Prince above, I can send this link out instead of the bit.ly link:
In the bit.ly dashboard, you can tell clicks to the link and other basic analytic tasks. It’s not as powerful as Tags or Google Analytics, but it still provides some tools to analyze your traffic and marketing efforts online.
The best part about these tools, Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and Link Shorteners, is that they are free to incorporate and use. The only cost to you is finding an individual or an agency to help you correctly implement Analytics and Tags into your site and your campaigns. In your organization it might be better to hire an outside firm to help you, or ask one of your team members to learn and start using the tools.
I’m sure that there are more tools out there, and more ways to implement analytics into your arts organization’s marketing. Let me know in the comments what has been successful for you!