DAMT to help Irish arts organisations market themselves online

11 Apr 2011

Arts Audiences, an initiative from The Arts Council and the Temple Bar Cultural Trust, will launch Digital Arts Marketing Training (DAMT) to provide an online marketing course for arts organisations.

This digital training initiative is aimed directly at the arts sector in order to help workers improve their online marketing skills and increase visitor numbers and revenue.

Susan Hallam, a significant figure in the field of internet marketing, is creating the materials for the course. She has worked in the UK information industry since 1985 and has been involved with the arts and tourism sector in Ireland, including Fáilte Ireland.

Hallam points out that arts organisations, such as theatres and galleries, have specific needs for online marketing. As a result, the course contains practical advice and case studies from venues such as the National Concert Hall and the Abbey Theatre.

“There’s an abundance of generic training material and we haven’t duplicated that,” says Hallam.

She believes the arts sector represents a huge opportunity and that encouraging visitors, both domestic and international, to attend these cultural events will have a big impact on the country.

“If we could persuade arts attendees to come to just one more event every year, it’d be worth about €12m to the economy,” says Hallam.

“We also know that cultural tourism brings in over €2bn to the Irish economy,” says Hallam, citing figures from Fáilte Ireland.

By taking advantage of online marketing, Hallam says arts organisations can make the most out of limited resources.

Marketing and the arts

The course’s subjects include search engine optimisation (SEO), web design, web analytics, social media marketing, online advertising and email marketing.

Facebook is a huge driver for traffic to arts websites and Hallam believes organisations need to take greater advantage of this. However, the best methods of attracting audiences aren’t only about using the latest web technologies.

“Email marketing is not sexy and it’s not trendy, but there is evidence to support that it remains one of the highest converting internet marketing techniques,” says Hallam.

And while SEO can be a good way of making sure arts attendees visit cultural events, it can also be utilised for other means.

“There are arts organisations in Dublin using SEO to find alternative revenue streams,” she says.

“They’re using SEO to advertise their venues for conferences or places to hold meetings.”

Good design is also a key factor to online marketing and Hallam emphasises that their module in web design is focused on marketing for the arts, highlighting strong calls to action and encouraging engagement with the site and the organisation.

The Digital Arts Marketing Training initiative will be available from tomorrow onwards costing €20 per module or €95 for all modules purchased together.