Speak Creative, an award-winning digital agency with a focus on client partnerships, has been The Hermitage’s digital marketing partner since January 2019. Post-pandemic, it worked with the attraction on a new media and marketing strategy that would enable it to reopen strong and boost ticket sales.
The Hermitage was the home of US President Andrew Jackson and is the third most visited presidential site in the country. After being closed during the COVID-19 lockdown, it needed to bounce back quickly in order to be able to continue telling the stories of what happened in this historic location.
Targeted museum marketing
Working with Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, Speak Creative used hyper-focused, in-market targeting, implementing Nashville-area advertising based on zip codes that have historically generated high ticket sales as well as pushing ticket sales and events through local messaging. In addition, it also chose some selective out-of-market targets, using past purchase data, website traffic data, and social analytics to determine historically high-performing markets for The Hermitage. It then targeted those markets with paid social ads.
Furthermore, the campaign also included tourism-based targeting, using Google Grant (as a non-profit) to strategically run PPC and Display ads emphasizing tourist-based keywords at no ad cost to The Hermitage, as well as using database targeting to pull historical client data, such as ticket purchases and email lists, to retarget past visitors.
Speaking of the importance of a good marketing strategy, Ann Dee Jones, Vice President, Marketing & Communications of Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage says:
“Like most attractions, the COVID-19 pandemic hit us hard—financially and staffing-wise. We were forced to close our doors for nearly three months, costing us more than $3 million in lost revenue in ticket sales. When we reopened, we had to work to bring staff back and continue telling the important stories of what happened here and why those stories matter today.
“Our marketing efforts in recent years have proven that spending money to make money pays off. We can track ticket sales back to our advertising, so we know that what we are doing works. Even with the scaled-back budget we had in the last year, we worked with Speak to come up with a strategy that would still hit our target audience with the right message.”
The campaign delivered five consecutive months of online ticket revenue records, and The Hermitage has seen triple-digit percentage growth in online ticket sales, compared to pre-pandemic efforts. Looking at the change in sessions from January to July 2020, sessions were up 22%, average session duration was up 10%, website ticket revenue increased by 684%, transactions increased by 754%, the quantity was up 872% and the e-commerce conversion rate increased by 601%.
This shows that finding a digital partner that understands the attractions industry and digital marketing is key, and that even in turbulent times, an investment in digital marketing pays off.
“Work with a team that understands the changing complexities of digital advertising and can help you stay on track,” advises Jones. “For us, it has been Speak Creative. We know what metrics we need to hit and what messages we need to convey – they help us hone those messages and target the right people with them.
“Speak is an extension of our team. We see them as part of who we are and what we do. They are smart and driven to help us achieve our goals because they view our goals as their goals as well. We can rely on them for expert advice, solid work and the ability to get things done.”
“Two of our core values at Speak are Work with Heart and Serve Our Clients. Our digital marketing team makes intentional efforts to ensure we’re giving it our best for our clients, and our partnership with Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage is evidence of that,” says Cody Gross, Brand Strategist, on this digital marketing case study.
“We value their organization, we understand their needs, and we are always striving to position them for the best opportunities to succeed within the framework of their goals and with the marketing expertise we have cultivated in the attractions industry.”
“Without a doubt, marketing is smarter than ever. Data-driven campaigns, backed by measured results means we know just how effective digital advertising can be in moving the needle for an organization,” says Kindra Svendsen, Vice President of Client Partnerships.
“Whether we’re sending new traffic to a landing page, retargeting previous visitors, or promoting special events, we can measure, track, and engage with clients in a strategic way that feels like a personal brand touch.”
Speak Creative is a leading digital partner for attractions. It delivers measurable results through web design, web development, video production, and strategic marketing, With more than 20 years of experience, the company understands the unique needs of attractions and its work can have an impact on every aspect of an organization, from marketing, membership engagement and donor relations to education, conservation and more.