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Season of Plenty: A Guide to Holiday Marketing Campaigns

The holidays are coming, and the box office tills are getting fat. But with just a sprinkle of communications magic, arts organizations can create holiday marketing campaigns that make those sales bells ringing more merrily still.

Like it or loathe it, December’s a key time for ticket sales, donations and secondary spend, as audiences actively hunt for gifts, family activities and special treats. Across Spektrix users, both ticket sales and donations rise by around 20%, on average, in the last two months of the year. As we count down toward the new year, we’ve gathered together a selection of our most popular seasonal blogs and support articles from recent years. There’s still time to think creatively about Black Friday offers to fill those empty seats; to pre-sell drinks and merchandise, increasing the income and easing the pressure on front-of-house teams during busy events; and to remind people that even as the stockings are being opened, it’s not too late to fire a gift voucher straight into a forgotten uncle’s inbox. Meanwhile, with demand growing for holiday gifts that offer something more meaningful than a glittery sweater, it’s the perfect time for fundraising teams to promote gift memberships and boost donations around Giving Tuesday.

If you’re a Spektrix user, scroll to the end of the blog for Support Center links to help you put these ideas into practice.

Holiday marketing campaign ideas for arts marketers

Black Friday and Cyber Monday

In 2018, Spektrix users across North America and the UK used a variety of offers and messaging to capture patrons’ interest around Black Friday, providing critical last-minute sales for shows still in need of a boost. Flash sales, BOGOs and golden tickets helped to pique demand for event tickets even on the busiest day of the shopping year. For marketers who have seats left to fill, think about bundles, discounts or upsells. If the venue is already at capacity, try discounted dining, drinks or merchandise to guarantee income in advance.

Gift Vouchers

If only your audiences would invest their present-buying budget in the performing arts … you can encourage them to do just that by promoting gift vouchers as the perfect holiday gift. In December 2016 Sheffield Theatres sold more than $100K of gift vouchers in December alone, promoting them right up until the end of the month as a perfect, hassle-free gift that can be printed out or delivered direct to the recipient’s inbox on a date of your choosing.

Related reading: Seven ideas for a last-minute gift voucher campaign

Gift Memberships

It’s the gift that keeps on giving … encourage your existing members and supporters to welcome their friends and family members into the club, with gift memberships which can be printed or delivered as an email voucher. Think outside the box, with low-cost part-year memberships or luxury lifelong membership gifts, and use merchandise or invitations to January’s events to create attractive gift bundles and build those new relationships right away. 

Related reading: Three ways to think outside the box with memberships

Cross-selling

Cross-selling can be a powerful tool to encourage additional purchases while patrons are already on the point of making a payment. In the mayhem of a busy holiday season, pre-selling snacks, drinks or merchandise can help front-of-house teams manage stock and reduce lines on show night — and a small online discount can motivate bookers to spend in advance. Or, if you know you have audience members who only ever appear for the annual holiday show, why not offer them an incentive to book ahead for mid-year events or Valentine’s Day at the same time?

Related reading: Three tips for successful cross-selling into your arts organization

Web Components

Spektrix’s brand new gift vouchers web component allows you to add flexible gift voucher upsells at any point in your website or booking journey. You’ll have complete control of how the web component looks and feels, so you can add different upsells to customers on different parts of your site, or style them to suit the festive season. You’ll need a bit of technical input from you web team, but we’ve designed this web component to be quickly and easily implemented across your site - so it’s not too late to make it live before the new year. 

If you’re using the gift vouchers web component, we’d love to know how you get on! Please do drop an email to support@spektrix.com so we can help you along the way and celebrate your success with the wider Spektrix community. Other web components available include donations, merchandise and memberships, so why not get creative with upsells across your site?

Related reading: Encouraging online giving with the donations web component

Quick wins

If you’re really pressed for time, then here are our favorite quick wins to take you, and your fundraising teams, right through to the new year:

1. Restyle your print-at-home tickets for December. Give them a festive twist and remind patrons to pre-order festive treats, take advantage of special offers, or add vouchers and gift memberships to their present buying lists.

2. Don’t forget about January! The New Year can be a tricky time for sales, so why not thank your most loyal customers, or plan a “refer a friend” offer for your membership program with a $10 voucher redeemable for one month only?

3. Make new members feel special. Create a festive template for gift memberships and change it over before you leave the office. Every membership sent on holiday break will look a little bit more special, and could include an invitation to your 2020 events

4. Bundle your offers. Encourage audiences to splash out - if they can usually pre-order wine, scale it up to champagne, or package a party bag for kids containing snacks, drinks and souvenirs. We love how Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre present their dining options, even if it’s not quite the weather for a picnic.

5. Team up with local charities. Target your ask and fill seats at the same time by inviting your audience to donate a ticket to a child who couldn't otherwise afford to attend. By suggesting a donation of as little as $5, your ask is within reach of many audience members and makes your organization look super-generous, too.

6. Prepare for the new year. A/B test your email campaigns, pricing, and the purpose or value of donations this winter, and you'll know exactly how to speak your customers' language when you're planning for 2020.

Support Center

If you're a Spektrix user, log in to the Support Center to put these ideas into practice:

Intro to Offers

Setting up, selling and redeeming gift vouchers

The gift voucher web component

Gift memberships

Recommended events - cross-selling

Supplementary events