There is more to boosting ticket sales for your events than writing great event email marketing messages. Yes, the content of your messages is essential, but your efforts need to start long before you type out your first message if you want to achieve better than average results.
According to data compiled by MailChimp, the average open rate for email marketing campaigns in the entertainment and events industry is 21.21%, and the average click rate is 2.33%. Bottom-line, if you don’t have the right email marketing strategy, even the best email message could fail.
The secret to email marketing success for event marketing (and marketing most other products or services for that matter) is segmentation.
If you can’t effectively segment your email list, then you’re missing so many opportunities to convert people on that list into ticket buyers! With that said, here are just a few ways you can use list segmentation to sell more event tickets:
1. Ticket Buyers
Don’t continue sending email messages asking recipients to buy tickets to your event if they’ve already done so! You could annoy them so much that they unsubscribe from your list. They might decide not to go to the event after all and tell their friends and family not to buy tickets. Even worse, they could share their displeasure on social media, which can generate negative word-of-mouth marketing that damages overall ticket sales for your event!
Instead, segment your list by ticket buyers and prospects. Continue to send promotional messages to your prospects asking them to buy tickets, but send different messages to ticket buyers. For example, consider sending behind-the-scenes information about the upcoming event, tips to make the day as easy as possible, and reminders to tell friends and family about the event, which could generate even more ticket sales.
If you use AttendStart to sell tickets to your event, you can use the Ticket Buyer Buzz feature to boost word-of-mouth marketing from ticket buyers automatically. This is so important, because the biggest advocates of events are the people who buy tickets for the event early. During the four to five days after they buy tickets, they’re excited and want to share the news with friends, family, and connections through social media. However, after those five days pass, they tend to stop talking about it. If the event is still two months away, that’s a lot of lost word-of-mouth marketing for your event, but Ticket Buyer Buzz turns that quiet time into vocal time.
The Ticket Buyer Buzz feature is very easy to use. You just pick up to six links to interesting content that your event attendees will want to read (or watch), and copy and paste those links into eight fields within your AttendStar Event Dashboard. AttendStar will automatically send ticket buyers an email message that includes the links and motivates them to talk about the event again and share the content with other people. The email messages include social media sharing buttons so ticket buyers can quickly and easily share the links to their social media profiles or forward the messages via email to friends and family. It’s such an easy way to keep word-of-mouth marketing going during the months, weeks, and days leading up to your event.
2. Prior Attendees
Does your list include an indicator that tells you whether or not someone on the list has attended one of your events in the past? If not, you should add it. If so, that’s great because these two audiences should get very different messages from you!
Prior attendees should receive email marketing messages from you that thank them for attending in the past and reward them for their loyalty. They don’t necessarily need to be introduced to your brand and how your events work. They’ve been to one before! Instead, your messages should hype details about your new event from the first message you send.
3. Related Event Attendees
If you obtain email addresses for your marketing list and can determine if they’ve attended one of your events or a competitor’s similar event in the past, you should use that information to segment your list.
The reason is simple. If someone has attended a similar event to yours in the past, you can create messaging that pulls on their emotional connection to that event and invites them to attend your event promising a similarly positive experience. The person has already shown that they’re interested in the kinds of events you offer. Use that information to boost your conversions quickly!
4. List Dwellers
People who have been on your list for some time but haven’t attended your events in the past will probably need a lot more convincing to buy tickets for your upcoming event. In fact, if certain people in this segment of your list never even open your messages, it might be time to send a message asking if they still want to hear from you. If not, give them an easy way to unsubscribe. They could be skewing all of your results!
Once you know who these people are on your list, use A/B split testing to experiment with messages, timing, and offers. You need to determine if there is any way to convert these list dwellers into ticket buyers or they might just be dead weight on your list.
5. New Subscribers
As you lead up to an event, you should be working to build your email marketing list. For example, you could offer free lead magnets that you send to people when they subscribe to your list. If you use AttendStar to sell tickets, you can use the Remind Me feature to invite ticket sales page visitors who don’t buy tickets immediately to sign up for email reminders about your event.
With the Remind Me feature, you determine when these reminder emails are sent, and you can even include a link in each message to interesting information or details that can help turn recipients into buyers. Each email includes social media sharing buttons, so recipients can click a button to spread the word about your event. Once recipients purchase tickets, they’re automatically removed from Remind Me emails and placed into a list to receive Ticket Buyer Buzz emails (see #1) instead. AttendStar President Gary Bradshaw explains, “This is very important because people who purchase tickets will share the news that they’re going to an event six times more than someone who is thinking about buying tickets.”
Whatever process you use to build your list, each of your subscribers is a lead that you could turn into a ticket buyer with effective email marketing. Using your email marketing software, segment all new subscribers who signed up to your email list as part of your pre-event promotion efforts. These people are probably new to your brand, and they should get very different messages than anyone else you send email marketing messages to. You need to introduce them to your brand promise and build trust so they’ll reach the comfort-level needed to buy tickets for your event.
Segment and Automate for Maximum Results
Once someone receives a message from you, your email marketing software should offer automation tools so you can try to convert that person into a ticket sale. Most people won’t buy after receiving a single email message. However, you can segment your list based on the behaviors they displayed when they received that message and automatically send them the best follow-up messages.
Here are a few examples of how you can automate your follow-up email marketing messages based on recipients’ behaviors:
1. People who didn’t open your message
Send them follow-up messages with similar information but different headlines and/or offers. You’ll need to experiment to determine if these people simply missed your message or aren’t interested at all and never will be.
2. People who opened your message but didn’t click the link to buy tickets
Your email message subject line worked, because people opened the message. However, they didn’t click the link to buy tickets. Send follow-up emails that test the design of your message, the placement of the buy button or link, and the content of your message.
3. People who opened your message and clicked the link to buy tickets but didn’t make a purchase
Send this segment follow-up messages that thank them for their interest and for visiting your ticket sales page. Provide additional details about the event in your first follow-up message. If they still don’t buy tickets, don’t give up. Do some more testing of your message and your ticket sales page to determine where they’re abandoning the purchase. Once you know where you’re losing people, you can make the necessary changes to keep and convert them.
Once you set up your email marketing software to create the necessary segments and campaigns, the entire process works on autopilot for you. Of course, you’ll have to make revisions to your campaigns as you get results for your testing efforts, so you continually work to create the most effective messages and sending sequences. Yes, it takes time, but time spent now will help you save even more time when you need to promote and sell tickets to your next event.