Marketing innovations you'll need to grow your festival audience

Posted by Lee Noble

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We know your marketing budgets are stretched, and with the increasingly competitive nature of the festival landscape it’s more important than ever to spend those budgets in the most effective way. We want to help you extend your reach and engage with your audience; your current and future festival goers. We’ll look at ways to target the hardcore festival fans who will share your content, help build an online community and upgrade their tickets to VIP status.

Using tried and tested social channels to engage with and wow your audience is a given, but if you want to go the extra mile, innovate and stand out from the crowd, have a think about doing the following:

 

1) Livestream Your Festival

Livestreaming your event gives users unique and memorable access to the festival experience you are offering.

There’s some interesting stats around this one. Research from Digitell showed that 30% of fans who watched a festival on livestream then attended the festival in person the following year. Makes sense to market the opportunity to watch the festival live across social channels and to all subscribed but non attending users, once tickets have sold out, maximising initial marketing spend.

Kendal Calling teamed up with Twitch this year to livestream their festival playlist with a staggering 418,000 views of their channel. This won’t be unique users but if the 30% rule applies then they have just gone some way to getting a sell out event next year.

Combine the livestream access with some data capture and you’ve got a burgeoning super fan list and lots of potential attendees next year.

Additional benefits of livestreaming:

  • Maintain participation with your existing audience not able to attend the current event
  • Interact and engage with your audience in real time
  • Increase reach to wider audience with relatively low budget spend
  • Livestream from VIP viewing areas, pushing the value of VIP tickets
  • Generate content for other marketing opportunities across platforms

 

2) Get Artists to Promote For You

If your festival is focused on music it goes without saying that your line-up should be engaging with their fans on social media in line with your own marketing efforts.

No artist wants to play to an empty field. Consider creative tools that encourage fans to see their favourite artists at your event:

  • a unique location,
  • a sunset in the background,
  • similar artists to discover,
  • an exclusive new track or cover to be performed only at the festival,
  • meet and greet competition.

Make it distinct, unique - a reason for fans to be in front of that particular stage.

Encourage performers to embed ticketing on their sites. See who is bringing their own crowd and gain useful data on who is worth booking again.

 

3) Leverage Facebook Messenger to Boost Ticket Sales

According to MailChimp, the average email open rate for the music industry is 23%, with a click-through rate of under 3%. We think you can do better than that.

By pulling your fans into the Facebook messenger platform you escape the perils of email comms, fraught with non delivery, spam filters and the dreaded promotions tab.

With FB messenger you can engage in a more conversational way, and when you do send messages they pop up on the user's homescreen; winner.

The possibilities for preference based marketing, merchandising and incentive based social sharing are huge including:

  • 100% visibility of comms - with email and Facebook organic reach the % of people actually reached is low (between 4-30%). With our solution all messages appear on the user's mobile phone homescreen, with 100% delivery.
  • Incentivisation - we have created an in built Affiliate system in our Facebook messenger bot which is the perfect place for requesting social spread via fans for incentive based outcomes i.e sell tickets / generate sign ups.
  • Personalisation - you have the ability to gather rich interest data on attendees quickly and easily (i.e who are you most looking forward to seeing at the festival ?) By doing this you can then engage based on their interests with relevant content /offers.
  • Merchandising - By gathering interest data you can merchandise and cross sell pre , during and post event.
  • Spin off gigs - If you know what people like, where they live and can message them with 100% delivery whenever you want you can create a multitude of smaller spin off gigs with little to no extra marketing spend. Welcome to the profit centre :)

People often need little incentive to use Facebook, but they do require that something extra to share content. Consider low cost incentives such as special offers, early bird access or news, to show appreciation to your audience and encourage fans buy in.  

 

4) Ensure Third Parties Deliver 

Now you have your own marketing as well as your artists pushing the message. It’s now time to lean on your 3rd parties to help spread the word.

Work with a ticketing provider that has a sophisticated marketing program that includes pushing out targeted messages to its database of users. With kickbacks and commission in play, your ticketing provider is already incentivised to promote your event. Ensure your partners are 100% mobile optimised and use affiliate codes to ensure proper tracking.

Eventbrite found that the most common sites fans visit after ticketing pages are Google Images and YouTube. Your audience want to see visuals of the event and listen to artists who are performing before they commit. Supply these assets and embedded links to your 3rd party sites to encourage additional time on the ticketing sites and quicker conversions.

 

5) Further Exploit Video 

Engage people through the power of video, specifically using YouTube to build a fanbase.

  • YouTube creative content

Belgium’s Tomorrowland used this platform brilliantly, garnering 38 million views and over 250,000 likes on their promo video release. Granted, it was a humdinger at 32 mins long but don’t let that put you off, just create something that will appeal to your audience and get sharing it.

  • Fan videos

Hardcore festival fans are now more likely to share videos of the events they attend than pictures. Create multiple opportunities for your audience to do this at the event and make sure you have the tools in place to capture what is being shared:

  • Festival hashtags - promoted on stage graphics, food vans etc. and promotional materials around wifi access points and charging stations when users are focused on their phones.  
  • Share fans content in real time (referring back to their social handles so they feel a sense of recognition), encouraging them to share and capture more footage.
  • SnapChat geofilters - make it really easy for festival goers to boast about where they are.
  • Re-use livestream content

Content from livestreaming doesn’t have to be lost after the moment has passed. Save and share the content to attendees after the event. Help them relive the moment and share the moment with their friends, encourage them to tag themselves to show they were there. Make sure you also provide your live content to the artists featured so they can share it with their fans.

So how can we help? With plenty of experience helping to grow festivals, we know what it takes to build a beautiful, functional website to take you to the next level.

Click here to get in touch