4 min read

How Arts Organisations Can Use Email Automation to Improve Loyalty and Power Sales

Graphic image of machinery creating automated communications

We’ve moved past the point in the arts sector where one-size-fits-all email campaigns can successfully maximise revenue, improve loyalty, and drive customer engagement. Email automation is the new frontier for arts marketers looking to increase earned income and deepen relationships with eventgoers. We regularly look at ways you can optimise marketing campaigns for peak performance, and how your email strategy can make revenue maximisation a reality in your venue. 

Customers now expect a level of personalisation when we engage with them. We notice when a clothing store emails us about children’s clothing when we’ve never bought children’s clothes from them, or if we’re vegetarians and a supermarket sends us the latest meat deals.

Technology is helping you to engage with your customers in new ways, with highly personalised content based on behaviours and relationships while still being easy and efficient. Although it would be nice to email every customer individually, realistically we don’t have the time or resources to do this. But we can still make communication relevant to that customer, based on what we know about them and how they’ve engaged with us in the past.

 

How our email automation tool works

We recently released the Spektrix email automation tool to the Spektrix system. This is built on our powerful integration between Spektrix and Dotdigital. The new feature allows you to send highly customised communication to your customers, all of which can be automated.

You can now send tags to dotdigital which in turn can power dynamic content and dotdigital ‘programs’. Programs are basically tailored journeys of multiple email campaigns which you can automatically enroll customers on when they match any criteria you specify. You can decide how each customer makes their way through the program and how their campaigns are personalised, based on the rules set in the program and the customer’s interaction with the email campaigns.

This opens lots of opportunities to create personalised content for your customers based on their relationship with your organisation. By combining the information and powerful segmentation tools in Spektrix with campaign management tools in dotdigital, you can send customers highly personalised communication at the most relevant time for them.

Best of all, once set up, these campaigns can be left to do their own thing. Making these campaigns part of your marketing and audience development strategy is a great way to make these tools work for you.

Below are three examples of arts organisation using email automation to generate ticket sales, upsell memberships, and engage audiences at various levels. These campaigns are already seeing great results with impressive return on investment (ROI).

 

Increasing Reattendance at Town Hall Symphony Hall

Birmingham's Town Hall and Symphony Hall (now B:Music) offer discounts to customers booking three or more concerts in their Classical Birmingham Season. This works as a cumulative discount, so customers don’t need to book everything at once to get a discount, they can purchase tickets throughout the season, saving more the more they purchase.

The team at THSH wanted to encourage customers who had already purchased two concerts to purchase more. This, of course, means increased revenue and ticket sales, while also deepening audience relationships as the booker moves from attending twice to becoming a regular attendee. To do this they took customers on a journey with a dotdigital program. This journey consists of two emails, sent with a waiting time between them. If customers don’t choose to purchase more tickets after the second email, they simply leave the program. As soon as a new customer matches the criteria for the journey, they are automatically enrolled – there’s no need for the THSH team to be pulling lists daily or weekly as all of this is constantly happening in the background.

Promotional email showing multibuy savings at the Birmingham Classical series at Town Hall Symphony Hall

In around one month, 141 customers have been sent at least one email – by being highly targeted the total spent on this campaign was only 76p. 17% of the customers who entered the program went on to purchase more tickets, and have already brought in over £2k in extra revenue when compared to the same customers’ spend at this point in the season last year – an impressive return on investment.

 

Upselling Memberships at Cadogan Hall

Being a member of Cadogan Hall gives you access to discounts for some events and no booking fees. As well as an important revenue stream for Cadogan Hall, the membership scheme helps the venue foster long-term relationships with their customers. The team was keen to promote the scheme to regular bookers who could have saved money last year had they been members. To do this they use the segmentation tools in Spektrix to build rules identifying potential members and a dotdigital program to take those customers through a journey that promotes the membership scheme. As soon as a customer matches these rules they are sent the email below.

Email from Cadogan Hall, promoting bronze, silver and gold membership levels and their benefits

Following on from this email, based on each customer's behavior they either leave the program (if they purchase a membership) or are sent one more reminder before exiting the program.

The result? In January, Cadogan Hall enjoyed a 56% uplift in new memberships (compared to same number of new memberships in January 2017) at various levels generating a 130% return on investment on campaign expenditure. It will continue to run and enroll new customers as soon they match the pre-defined rules, doing the job of selling memberships to those customers who could be saving money.

 

Re-engaging Lapsed Bookers at The MAC Belfast

When the MAC Belfast turned five years old in 2017, they began a campaign to re-engage with lapsed bookers as part of an ongoing CRM strategic project.

Defining those customers who are ‘lapsed’

The MAC realised that there were a significant number of past bookers on the database that had not booked a ticket for an event for more than three years. It was planned to engage on an ongoing basis with these lapsed bookers, with an overall objective of increasing re-engagement rate and encouraging those customers who had not booked a ticket in three years to return to the MAC.

Re-engaging with those customers

The MAC began reaching out to those customers who had not booked a ticket in three years, by sending a bespoke and engaging email to them saying "we miss you." They then offered the customer a free ticket to a show of their choice by sending through an offer code. This offer removed the cost of the ticket and allowed the customer the freedom to book a ticket online, over the phone or in the building by quoting this unique code.

Using dotdigital programs to automate the process

The MAC use auto-tags in Spektrix to tag lapsed bookers. These bookers are then removed from mailings for regular bookers and only receive targeted emails as part of the dotdigital program. This starts with the initial email, sent to customers who have not booked a ticket in three years and fulfil the lapsed booker requirements. Ten days after the send, the program identifies those customers who have not opened the initial offer email and sends a slightly different version of the original email reminding the customer that they still have a free ticket to use.

Results so far

Since setting up the automated program in August 2017, the MAC have seen a 7% re-engagement rate, meaning customers who were not engaged at one point have since returned to the MAC and have specified that they still wish to remain on their database and receive email marketing communications from them.

 

How you can get started with email automation

All the tools we've mentioned are ready and available to everyone who uses Spektrix. If you want to start using email automation, read our resources on the Support Centre or get in touch with the Support team to discuss next steps. 

 

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