On a recent trip to Northern Ireland, as my husband and I returned to the parking lot after crossing the beautiful but death-defying Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge, I spotted the latest and greatest in membership campaigns.
The National Trust (which runs many historical and natural attractions in the United Kingdom) had set up this can’t-miss
sandwich board to catch bridge visitors as they exited the park area to the parking lot. As a matter of fact, you had to practically trip over the board to get to the parking lot. Great concept, great placement.
This works much better than getting pitched on the way in. The National Trust pitched me as we entered the Bridge area, but I easily deflected the request. On the way out, I was engaged by the experience and impressed by the Trust’s management of the area. Had I been a local, I would have joined.
This low-cost, high-impact approach can be put to use by any nonprofit organization with paid programming. What’s fabulous is that you’re catching folks just after (we assume) they’ve had a wonderful experience at your play, symphony, historic house or botanical garden. That experience is fresh in their minds when you ask them to join, and the admission refund seems a bonus (even though we all know that admission is, in a way, covered in membership). Much better than a follow-up email or mailing.
For performance-oriented venues, you can offer a partial reduction in the ticket price of that night’s performance, deducted from the price of a series or membership. The more specific you can get in terms of money back — which no one can resist — the stronger your campaign.
I have an email into the marketing folks at the National Trust on how this campaign is working. I’ll keep you posted.
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