Here at Spektrix, we have a lot of fun imagining how we’d use Spektrix features if we were back working in a theatre. One of our favourite features is our marketing tool for automatically sending out pre and post-show emails, but we realise that a lot of our users don’t have the time to work out the best way to use it. So we got together and did it for you. Here’s how to make pre and post-show emails that totally rock.
What's the key to a rockin' pre- and post-show email strategy?
So first things first, what do we mean by pre- and post-show emails?
In Spektrix, the pre- and post-show email tool allows you to set up email templates containing dynamically updated content, that get sent automatically to customers at a specified time before a show, and a specified time after. Even if you don't have an integrated email solution, you could still segment and send out weekly emails to those who are coming and those who have been.
The reason why we think pre and post-show emails are such a great marketing tool, is because they encapsulate all the things a solid CRM strategy should be: automated, reactive, data-driven and customer-centric. Plus, it’s really easy to track the impact back to your bottom line.
How this feature works in Spektrix
In Spektrix, the pre- and post-show email tool lets you create unlimited numbers of templates and use dynamic fields which update automatically with customer name, event name, date etc. You barely need to lift a finger to send out timely emails targeted to the customer and the show they’ve seen, or are going to see. How you do it is up to you but here are a few different ways we suggest:
- Create one template that you’ll tailor to pre-show email and one that you’ll tailor for post-show emails for your entire programme. Using dynamic fields, update the email with the right show name, customer name, date, etc.
- Or, create a pre-show and a post-show email template for each individual show in your programme which allows you to recommend similar shows and provide relevant content to the show. Again you can include dynamic fields to personalise the content.
Then you need to decide how far in advance of the show you want it to go out, and how long after the show. Spektrix will send it out at the scheduled time so once you’re done setting them up, they’ll be ready to go. Within the pre and post-show email tool, set customer criteria to decide which customers get which specific emails. For example, you might want to send members their own type of pre-show email to remind them to use their member benefits. If you’re including marketing messages in your emails (not just venue or ticket information), make sure you’re only sending them to customers who have given you permission to contact.
Those are the basics. Now we’re going to go beyond the basics and show you how to squeeze as much as possible out of the pre and post-show email tool so that you can go away and create your own, full of click-through goodness that your customers won’t be able to refuse.
The ideal pre-show email
The goal of your pre-show emails is ultimately to help make sure your audience is going to have a good time and to encourage them to spend that little bit extra. Here’s how:
- Provide relevant, interesting content. Provide them with content that’s specific to what they’re seeing in a practical format that will work nicely on mobile, such as a podcast, a video or a blog post. This kind of thing encourages audiences to engage more with the show and they’ll enjoy it more.
- Make them feel special for buying a ticket. Make it clear that they’re getting the special treatment because they’ve spent money with you – perhaps by offering them extra value, such as a voucher for the bar. Save bigger money-off benefits for rewarding loyal customers who come back.
- Reassure them with useful information. Help make sure the small but stressful things don’t get in the way of a good night. So provide information on things like parking, venue facilities and give clear directions.
- Echo their anticipation and amplify it further. Write copy that gets them excited. Subject lines and preheader text are great places to build anticipation!
That’s quite a big list for a little email. Here’s how we’d approach it:
The ideal post-show email
Your post-show emails need to work a little bit harder than pre-show emails. This is the point where your customer might ride off into the sunset never to be seen again, even if they had a really good time. Remember, it’s far cheaper to convince an existing customer to come back than it is to get new customers, so don’t miss this opportunity! Post-show emails are also useful for finding out why someone might not come back so try collecting qualitative data. Here are some ideas:
- Recommend shows based on what they went to see. Depending on how you classify events you might recommend other classical shows such as a choral performance for someone who went to see a Shakespeare play.
- Gather qualitative data on their experience. Create a survey as a way of gathering information on the experiences of your customers, asking questions that will identify barriers to them coming back like parking, access and price. Try to frame it in a funny way so that they want to fill it in.
- Make the most of a happy customer through social media. Kill two birds with one stone by encouraging happy audiences to recommend it via social media channels, then reward them with special offers for being advocates of your organisation. For example, ‘bring a friend for a fiver’
- More brilliant related content. Invite them to a related event such as a director’s talk or Q&A with the cast, or send them a video of the post-show talk they might have missed.
Re-order your email content based on what you think should be ‘above the fold’. (Don’t forget that emails that include marketing like these are just for customers with opt-in communication preferences. For opt-out customers, you can still send them an email thanking them, inviting them back and encouraging them to update their communication preferences to opt-in.) Here’s what our post-show email looks like:
Don’t forget to test their effect:
- Test layouts – do more people book recommended shows if you put that block of content at the top of your email or in the middle? What happens if you change the size or colour of the call-to-action?
- If you’re using promo codes, choose a unique code for your pre and post-show emails so that you can attribute sales to your emails and compare their success with other promo codes distributed by other channels.
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Joanne Stewart is a former member of the Spektrix team