Vertical Response is a web-based email marketing campaign service that is geared for both large and small audiences. This tool allows arts organizations to create unique emails, surveys, and landing pages to connect with their audiences and subscribers. Vertical response has a free 60-day trial, but following that there are three pricing options, two of which operate on a sliding scale. They offer a basic and pro subscription which ranges from $11-$363. The Pro version offers more features such as A/B testing and additional information on the analytic reports. Individuals also have the option “Pay as you go” meaning paying for each email that is sent rather than pay for unlimited emails per month. Emails and surveys are created online via a computer through the Vertical Response email manager editing page. Vertical Response has roughly 30 templates for users to edit for their use as well as a “Create you Own” option. This system is most useful because it is easy to establish mailing lists and schedule emails, allowing administrators to write several emails at once and not have to go back and send them later. The system also has the option to schedule auto-follow-up emails to send to specific groups, such as those that didn’t open the first email.
Arts organizations would benefit from using this system because it allows organizations to create well-designed email to share information and advertisements with their audiences. Ambassador Theater uses Vertical Response to manage their launch page and reach audiences through regular emails. Many private artists such as Mick McAndrews also use Vertical Response since it is an affordable resource to send email campaigns to audiences.
In 2004, former MTV video jockey Adam Curry and software developer Dave Winer created a program designed to read RSS feed and download audio files, leading them to launch the world’s first ever “podcast.”
Podcasts are a creative storytelling medium free for listeners to download that engages 62 million Americans weekly, with 40% of them being under the age of 24. Given that many American art museums wish to expand their relationship with young adult audiences, capitalizing on podcasting as a tool for engaging millennials is crucial to arts managers.
Museum managers use podcasting to create intimate encounters with their institution outside of museum walls. Additionally, they use the medium to create advocates out of their young adult audience by engaging them in their mission through audio.
I hear you, museums should use podcasts to attract young people, but isn’t it expensive to create a podcast? Not necessarily! There are several tools needed to create a podcast, but many of them are available at reasonable prices.
Microphone — phone sound memo (free) handheld mic (min. $100)
Laptop for editing, hosting, listing, promotion, and funding — Macbook ($1,200)
Sidedoor, a podcast produced by the Smithsonian, is an excellent example of a museum using podcasting to reach young audiences by providing them with an inside look into the millions of secret objects stored in their vaults, an experience one cannot replicate with a physical visit to SI.
Want to bring millennials into your museum? Start a podcast.
The HTC Vive is a virtual reality headset that retails for around $900-1,100. It includes the headset and two handheld remotes that allows the wearers to immerse themselves into a 360 degree world. The Vive requires a computer to operate, and runs games and applications off of a software called Steam. Since it uses a computer, the Vive offers a higher quality experience than other competing headsets which are self-contained and therefore not as high resolution. The headset itself does not require much maintenance or frequent updates since it runs from the computer software.
A virtual reality experience through the HTC Vive headset could serve many types of arts organizations. Although the cost per headset is high, maintenance is infrequent, and it is easy to adapt to. The 360 degree view allows the user to have a unique experience that is more interactive than simply watching a performance or viewing a 2D art work. The headset also allows users of all abilities to navigate a virtual space, which opens up arts organization to new audiences.
This technology is currently in use at the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, FL, where they have invested $38M towards a digital wing of the museum. The museum’s VR station allows visitors to immerse themselves into one of Dali’s paintings for three minutes at a time. This allows for a unique and educational experience for students or general patrons where they can learn more about the artwork, artist, and painting style. This experience is a new and refreshing way to engage visitors into the world of Dali’s art that is unlike the traditional, academic experience of examining a painting as it hangs on the wall.
Live Broadcasting is an effective tool for expanding adult audiences. Data collected by the NEA (2008) shows that adults participate in the arts through media. However, this population does not replace the live arts experience for an online one, rather, the later is simply a different experience. To reward arts media participants, organizations such as the National Theatre (London) and the Metropolitan Opera have screened live broadcasts of select performances, giving them an, “experience of artistic merit…not second-class” (David Sabel, National Theatre). The digital and live experiences of art should be of the highest quality and the success of live broadcasting makes this clear.
Americans spend over 10 hours a day on their devices, so it is essential for arts organizations to embrace online technology. Pew Research Center data shows that arts organizations are using digital tools—mostly websites and social media—to expand the way they interact with audiences to promote the arts. But despite the many benefits of these technologies, organizations struggle to find the funding and staff time to implement a comprehensive plan. The Pacific Northwest Ballet is an example of a group that successfully increased their teen and young adult audience with targeted social media and web content.