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Building Blocks for Reopening: Reopening and Going on Sale

Building Blocks for Reopening is our guide to great customer and donor relationships. Each of our Building Blocks helps you lay the foundation for a CRM strategy that’s key to bringing audiences back to live events. As the sector begins to reopen, we want to share some simple, practical steps that you can access and action one by one when the time is right. 

We’re publishing a series of Building Blocks looking at the different stages of reopening. Use this time to promote early booking with the flexibility to respond to changed audience priorities. Refine your insights and deepen relationships with your audience through continual testing and improvement.

The Building Blocks series focuses on physical reopening; if you’d like to learn more about streaming or on demand content, visit our Online Content blog series.

Welcoming audiences and supporters back - reasons to act now

Arts audiences have shown a deep commitment to the sector, but their behavior and motivations may be altered by their absence. Some regular attenders may be settling back into old habits, while others may build a new relationship with live events.

Preparation and flexibility are vital to creating experiences to delight your new audience members, turning them into champions of your organization and extending your reach among their networks. A customer’s loyalty journey begins as soon as they engage with your organization. Build on successes and learn from failures to keep using resources effectively and to ease new audiences into a second and third visit.

Five things you can do now (with a little help from the Building Blocks) 

1. Make loyalty valuable and visible

Setting yourself up with Loyalty and Incentives plans, you’re prepared to highlight the benefits you’re offering to credit holders, members, donors and others, demonstrating how much you appreciate their support. Make sure existing supporters know exactly how to access their rewards, and tell others how they can enjoy the same benefits by joining before events go on sale.

Reinforce messaging about your mission, the artistic quality of your work, or the importance of your organization to the local area in terms of economic and/or community value. If you’re a registered charity, remind supporters about your charitable objectives and the work you’re doing to deliver them.

2. Optimise the booking pathway

A few steps can smooth the path to booking and donations:

  • Offer priority booking or access to reserved seating areas to your most loyal customers, using customer segments to manage booking privileges. 
  • Create offers and incentives triggered by customer segmentation, such as a 25% discount for credit holders who book for a specific event, or before a fixed deadline.
  • Trigger multibuy and upselling prompts.
  • Encourage donations within the booking pathway.

Our data from the Spektrix Insights Report (2019) show that donations and merchandise sales made in person are of consistently higher value than those made online. Take some time to ensure everyone in your sales team has the confidence to advocate for the value of your organisation to customers booking on the phone or in person.

3. Create an excellent experience

Taking time to inform audiences of what to expect when they return will help to guarantee an excellent experience on the day. Create separate pre-event emails for different segments, thinking about their distinct needs.

Make that experience even more personal for supporters who were there for you when times were hard. Flag supporters in your CRM system so you can easily report on when they’re attending and where they’re sitting, leave notes or small gifts on their seats, or welcome them in person.

4. Continue communicating

Once your program’s back underway, create automated email campaigns for each of your relationship-based segments. Treat your loyal segments well, constantly encourage others to join them, and ensure your loyalty programs evolve to cement that loyalty for years to come.

  • If a customer has recently taken another step in their loyalty journey, give them plenty of opportunities to enjoy their benefits.
  • If they’re static, prompt them to take the next step with clear calls to action. Invite them to make a one-off donation, incentivise a repeat visit, or encourage them to join a higher level membership scheme.
  • If you’ve offered complimentary memberships, extensions or upgrades to certain segments, remember to include them in all associated benefits and prompt them to renew at full price when your gifted period expires.
  • If they’ve lapsed, use tools in the Continual Improvement Plan to identify what’s stopping them from booking.

Reports in your CRM system can identify booking patterns and giving histories, so this is a good time to explore common behaviors among your existing donors, and build a membership campaign targeting people who demonstrate similar interests. Consider parallel campaigns on social media to connect with other potential members based on online behaviors and networks.

5. Continual Improvement

The Continual Improvement Plan helps you understand what different audience members respond to, and use that insight to refine your messaging. Analyse engagement, communications and sales closely, and adjust your plan as often as required. 

  • Monitor website data to see which pages or events are of the most interest, and how visitor demographics match your segmentation.
  • Track links in your email and social media campaigns to discover which get the most engagement from each group and measure these against your KPIs.
  • Adapt messaging based on A/B testing or set up automated email programs which adapt to the clicks, purchases or other actions taken by readers.

Testing can identify new, distinct audience segments and reveal potential barriers to booking, helping you to challenge your assumptions and continually improve your targeting based on what you learn. Involve your whole team, especially sales and front of house staff who are speaking directly to audience members, in capturing the themes and attitudes they hear.

Building Blocks for Preparing to go on sale

Each Building Block offers a short, practical guide to boost your CRM strategy for reopening.

  • Continual Improvement Plan: A Continual Improvement Plan is key for tracking your CRM strategy’s needs and successes.
  • Digital Data Capture and Conversion: Attract website visitors and maximize the potential with clear calls to action.
  • Essential Segmentation: No CRM strategy works without segmentation; get started with creating Buying- and Relationship-based segmentation models.
  • Integrated Emails: Create exceptional, personalized and effective emails, combining and reinforcing insights gained from your CRM system.
  • Loyalty Plan: How to build a plan when customer loyalty has changed, and how to measure success.
  • Motivation and Incentives: Learn how to motivate your audience segments to return with the right incentives.