Drive Up Attendance During Festival Season with SMS Messaging – Part 1
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.
In an article on Music Business Journal, Harvey Goldsmith, a prominent British concert promoter, conveyed that “The market is now oversaturated at a time when artists are not developed by their labels as they used to be.”
Along the same lines, Dan Kunkel, CEO of BeachGlow (a festival in New Jersey), commented in an interview with EventBrite, “For some time now, live music performance has been an important part of the business. As such, many markets are saturated with live performance options — creating steeper competition.”
He goes on to say, “What differentiates a basic event from an experience-based event? Getting down to what the customers want — genuine interaction — whether it be from staff, volunteers, interactive displays, activities, or friends.”
Festivals are going beyond just the music to interact with attendees in many different ways, from adding other creative outlets like artist classes to social media blitzes. Another powerful, personal, and engaging way to connect with attendees is via SMS messaging. Let’s take a look at how it might work.
Start before they even show up
Hopefully you have a list of last year’s attendees – perhaps their emails or addresses. You can use both email and post to reach out to them asking them to sign up for your SMS marketing. You could call it your VIP program, Fan Fun program, In-the-Know program – or whatever works with your festival and demographics. By engaging with last year’s list this way, you can build your new SMS list when they opt in, and increase the probability that they will return for this year’s event.
If you already have an official (meaning everyone’s opted in) SMS marketing list, you’re ahead of the game and can get started right away. But if you can cross-reference it with your full list and reach out to those who didn’t sign up last year you could still grow your list using the above method.
Another way to grow your list is to include an advert for signing up when you send out the tickets or wristbands – even the fancy RFID bands many festivals have begun using. A simple printed form with instructions on signing up and the benefits they’ll receive will encourage attendees to opt in.
Once they’ve opted in, what sorts of messages can you send them?
Build excitement for the event – Share short sneak peeks of the festival, vendors, and other attractions. Will attendees get special deals from a vendor on activation? Did you install new sound or lighting to improve the show? Are there other new facilities they’ll want to know about? Send anything related to the event you know will pump up excitement. For longer content like festival blog posts or news announcements, send links to mobile friendly webpages.
Backstage teases – In the days leading up to the festival, snap some images, video, or sounds of your acts getting ready. You’re probably sharing these over social media, but save some good ones for your exclusive SMS marketing list. You can send a quick message saying your headliner act is on stage rehearsing and instruct them to click on the link to see or hear it on your website. These types of messages will get them so excited they’ll be screaming “I can’t wait!”
Available tickets – If for some reason you still have tickets available, send out a message to your list letting them know. It’s likely they’ll have friends or family that may want to come along too. Sometimes people just wait until the last minute and they’ll be so happy to know they can still buy additional tickets.
You’ll probably be able to think of dozens of other types of content you can send via SMS to keep your attendees engaged even before they arrive. But you should keep in mind you’ll need to be smart about when and how often you send messages. Come back for part 2 of this series to learn how to do that, plus see some options of how to use SMS during and after the festival.
Most car dealerships and garages already have almost everything in place to start an effective SMS marketing campaign. When customers go into a car garage to have a service or a MOT done, they almost always give the dealership their mobile phone number. The reason for this is simple: if a customer is bringing their car in to get checked and they don't want to wait around for any work to be carried out, they'll simply head into town or run a few errands, until the garage gives them a call on their mobile to let them know the work has been done. That means most garages will have a healthy amount of mobile numbers already in their database, but quite often a garage will overlook the potential that their database of contacts presents.
Festival season is upon us! Experienced festival organisers predict that to be successful you need more than just music. You’ll need to offer an experience to your attendees. In the last blog I covered some of the reasons for that, and ideas on how to start building your SMS marketing list before your festival begins. In part 2, we’ll take a look at how to use SMS to create engaging experiences for attendees while they are at your festival, and even after they leave.
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.
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.
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?
Sending a text message to the wrong person can be embarrassing. I've done it many times. Thankfully though, they were just simple messages like "be home soon" or "I'll tell you later". Innocuous, harmless and easily explained away. But what if you make a mistake with your business SMS messages?
Sometimes bloggers or journalists get a bit carried away. They see some data or fact, and run off to declare there’s a trend you need to know about. The latest one I’ve seen is all about how to reach the generation of “cashless shoppers”. The argument goes that you need to use SMS messaging to reach customers because they are all shopping online – where you obviously can’t pay in cash.
You might not have run an SMS marketing campaign yourself, but you are likely to have received some form of SMS communication from a business. Whether that's a commercial brand running a competition or a healthcare provider, such as your GP or dental practice, sending you an appointment reminder. If you have run an SMS marketing campaign before, you're likely to already be aware of the effectiveness of the platform for communicating with customers, but might need help justifying your use of SMS messaging to other people or departments in your business. Here, we've listed out the key reasons SMS marketing is so effective.
Is your social media struggling? Read this article to learn how businesses of every shape and size can use SMS messaging to drive social media engagement and generate revenue from increased brand exposure. Whether the goal is to support a one-off sales campaign or a long term drive to increase reach, SMS messaging offers an unparalleled opportunity to make your brand's voice heard in the increasingly noisy social media space.