The museum industry has delivered culture, history and unique experiences to American families for decades. Competition is fiercer than ever, and museums must evolve their marketing if they’re going to reach their share of the 14 million households that visit art museums every year.

At a time when inboxes are more crowded than ever, how do museums stand out? By creating a consistent and strategic email marketing plan that includes these four automated marketing emails.

museum emails

The automated win-back email

Subject: We’ve missed you!

Your online ticketing platform gathers email addresses at checkout.

Using built-in features or an integration with your email automation software, send automated emails 4-6 months after a guest’s visit. This email should highlight what’s new this season, and should link to upcoming events. Consider a bounce back offer with a special on admission, discounted food, or a gift shop deal.

Don’t write a dissertation. Emphasize what the guest came for in the first place — your premiere features and exhibits. Keep the copy light and to the point, and make it easy to see where to book the next visit.

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The automated admission special

Subject: Happy birthday from Your Museum Name

More than half of all emails are spam. Gross. When you have a guest’s or member’s data—such as their birthday and email address—use it wisely, with emails they actually want to see.

Automate an email offering them a special during their birthday month, such as bringing a friend for free or half price admission.

Tone down the sales and keep it simple. Wish them a happy birthday, and quickly explain the details of the offer. Then, make it easy to book a visit online with a clear call to action that’s easy to find when skimming the email.

The automated volunteer drive

Subject: We need people like you.

Automate an email to new members of your contact list and volunteers who haven’t participated in over a year. Avoid the urge to talk about your museum from a promotional perspective. Assume that they already know what makes you great. Instead, focus on the benefits of volunteering and how everyday people can support your mission. Be honest about why you have a need and how your volunteers can solve problems for your organization.

Consider easy to digest pieces of content like a quick infographic on the number of volunteers you have, their ages, their backgrounds, and the duties they perform at the museum. Position volunteering as a way to meet new friends, network professionally, and become more exposed to your exhibits and the culture you promote.

What do you want them to do when they finish reading the email? That call to action should be clear and compelling and make taking the next step as easy as possible.

website redesign checklist

The automated review request

Subject: How did we do?

Museums attendance is heavily reliant on good online reviews. Reviews affect how well you show up in local search results and how likely it will be that potential guests choose to visit or not. You should have a good spread of reviews across Google, Facebook, and TripAdvisor at the very least — but there are dozens of niche directories you can also consider.

Check in with guests on the day after they visit and ask how you did. This email should be short and gracious. Thank them for visiting, share that you hope they had an amazing time, and offer a simple call to action to write a review. Be sure to include a link directly to the review site. Use your automated marketing software to randomize which link is sent out, or send a different link every few weeks to help distribute reviews across sites as evenly as possible.

This email can also include your museum’s social handles and any relevant hashtag campaigns so your guest can tag you in the social content they share about their visit.

Automated email marketing is an easy way to keep you top of mind in between visits. Include these four emails into your strategy to encourage guests to come back, share their experiences, and support the mission of your museum.