SMS Messaging for Artists and Performers
The entertainment industry is in the throes of a revolution. New technology, such as online streaming, has forever changed how artists and performers present themselves to the world. Many remain independent from big company labels. They schedule their own shows, and build their fan base using social media. There’s one tool though, they may be missing: SMS messaging.
One Performer's Example
Most artists and performers probably use SMS messaging all the time to talk with friends, family, and perhaps even their crew, drivers, or event managers. But it can be used to create demand for their shows, fill event halls, and increase sales of promotional items too.
The best way to explain the possibilities is with an example. Enter comedian Carlos Mencia. He travels to perform throughout North America and is often called an “equal-opportunity offender” as his jokes make fun of anyone and anything. He’s also been accused of plagiarism by other comedians, but his career is still thriving. That’s in part to his ability to get his fans to his shows whenever he’s in town.
And he certainly doesn’t rely on the event venue to do his advertising. Instead, he uses SMS messaging.
To get started, the first thing he needed to do was create a list of fans. So, at every show he asks the audience to text their email address to a specified number (a VMN probably). Ardent fans would willingly do so to get notified of upcoming events. But he makes an offer that’s too good for even casual fans to turn down: a chance to win free VIP tickets to one of his events in a “hot” location, like Las Vegas. Mencia says that they get about 300 new people on the list every week.
The second thing he needed to do was use that list effectively. It wouldn’t make sense to send out event notifications to people in New York when he’s performing in Ontario Canada. In fact, people might get frustrated and opt out if they kept getting notifications that weren’t relevant to them. So, he sorted the signups into cities – also known as “segmenting” in marketing language – so he would only send out notifications to people in the region he was performing. This way, people in Ontario get the message about his shows without bothering people in New York, Miami or LA.
The SMS messages about his events always include a link to buy tickets, and they send them out about a week in advance. He says that they sell out their shows faster using text messaging than they do with social media. And that makes sense. Social media is a one-to-many medium. Chances are only a small percentage of followers will actually see any announcement in their feed.
But SMS messaging puts the information, and the ability to buy tickets, directly in front of his fans. His sold-out shows prove how effective it can be, especially when it’s used in a smart way that excites, not frustrates, fans.
Going Even Further
If you’re an independent artist or performer, you can see from Mencia’s example of how SMS messaging can help increase ticket sales. But it can also be used to promote other items fans may like.
For example, you could send links to purchase a recording of the live show that the fan just attended. They were there, hopefully enjoyed the show (they are a fan, right?), and might jump at the chance to add it to their collection. They’ll have a personal connection to that recording, more so than just any live recording.
You could extend that to other promotional items too. DVDs, MP3s, pictures (signed perhaps?), T-shirts and any other items you think fans may want. Of course, you’d need to test out how these offers worked with your fan base. Some may work better than others.
SMS messaging offers an effective, easy, and relatively low cost way to directly connect with fans even better than using social networks. Give it a try and see how quickly you can sell out your next event!
People love live music. Ticket sales worldwide are expected to reach $20.5 Billion (~£14.2B). The UK alone has around 900 festivals each year. There just aren’t enough headliners to go around. What else can you do to draw people to your event (whether you have a headliner or not)? The answer: Make your event an experience rather than just a destination.
Most major sports teams in the UK and US already know the power of SMS for engaging fans via scores, stats and other data. But the power of SMS can extend far beyond the world of the major leagues. SMS is ideal, not only for communicating with participants but to coordinate teams of volunteers across the event.
As old as SMS messaging is (going on 25), is it surprising to know that for non-profits and political campaigns it’s just now catching on? It might be, but if you think about it maybe it isn’t surprising. Until the last few years, people have been very reticent to hand out their personal mobile number. Now though, they’re more willing – if they care about the source of the messages.
Statistics show that a huge 98% of text messages are opened within the first fifteen minutes of being received, so it's little wonder that sports organisations and fitness centres have been looking to take advantage of a potentially lucrative market.
SMS marketing is not quite like most other marketing. You have such a limited space to get your point across, just 160 characters, more or less. It’s not unlike having to create a print advert for a small space, but somehow it can seem more intimidating. That’s why sometimes it seems like marketers forget one basic rule about writing offers: Always lead with the offer! Sounds simple, right?
Did you know you can send more than text in an SMS message? Well, technically it isn’t an SMS message if it isn’t text. Instead, the multimedia messaging service, or MMS for short, is an extension of the SMS core functionality. It allows you to send short videos (40 seconds or less), images or audio over mobile networks just like an SMS message.
SMS marketing has come to be a crucial element of most businesses’ marketing strategies, and there is plenty of received wisdom within the marketing world as to how to get the most out of your SMS messages. So it might seem like there is not a lot that the world of politics can teach the world of business about SMS. But then again, there probably is.
In a previous blog post I shared how getting my movie tickets delivered to me via SMS made going to the cinema with my family easier than it’s ever been. I signed up to the company’s SMS marketing list too and I want to share the process with you because it was so easy, so seamless for me as a consumer, that it makes a great example for others to follow.