Who knows how to keep people interested in your events? Free Cinnabons? It’s all about using online ticket sales data to build the kind of relationships you want to have with customers, donors, sponsors, and prospects.
As you know, it takes two to tango. If you don’t know much about the people who support your organization it’s a one-sided relationship. These are often called “faux” relationships.
The concept is simple, there’s no hocus pocus involved, it takes good old fashion time and dedication to learn more about your guests but it’s a low-cost, high-impact way to develop great relationships.
The Heart of Marketing
Good information makes marketing and management much easier. Virtually every ticket you sell online gives you the chance to get to know your customers. And any sized organization has the opportunity to find incentives to win over the crowd.
Even if people aren’t patient enough to fill out questionnaires or sign up for your newsletter, data from online ticket sales will help you define the best way to get the most out of marketing efforts.
Questions to Ask
Individual ticket sales, memberships, subscriptions, fundraising, sponsorships, and public relations all tie into your master plan.
- What touchpoints with customers are essential to marketing?
- How can we apply point-of-sale data to a strategy?
- How can we build closer relationships with customers?
The Beauty of Healthy Relationships
People can be hot and cold. Just because someone loves your event, doesn’t mean they’ll buy tickets to the next one. The closer the relationship you have, the more security your organization has. That’s where good information comes into the picture. Online ticket sales can seem like a mechanical process but it can be much more.
Create Audience Groups Based on Online Ticket Sales Data
One of the biggest benefits of a healthy customer database is the ability to identify groups, even if the tickets are free. You can find out which goals you’ve met, where the best opportunities are, and which ones are out of reach. Below are a few examples of different audience segments (groups).
- Frequent event-goers – people who already love you. It’s nice to keep these relationships fresh and surprising.
- Less frequent event-goers – casual supporters who show up at some events but not all of them.
- Infrequent event-goers – the ones who attend every so often, maybe every other year or month depending on how many events you hold.
- Non-event-goers – prospects who haven’t attended any events and may or may not be persuaded to purchase tickets online.
It’s best to start with one segment if you haven’t defined any yet or things can get confusing.
Managing Relationships Is About More Than Monetary Value
If you don’t already know, CRM is marketing speak for customer relationship management. Managing relationships effectively is one of the best ways to get the information you need to take things to the next level.
One of the hardest things to do is use the data to reach new audiences. There are plenty of CRM platforms and methods you can try to welcome new supporters, nurture the ones you have, and focus on people who are interested but haven’t yet made a decision. Two useful tools for this are equations to calculate the LTV and customer churn rate.
Calculating the Lifetime Value (LTV) and Customer Churn
Although it’s typical for organizations to get most of their online ticket sales from new attendees, ideally you want to continue developing a relationship until that guest becomes an ambassador for your organization. These are your most loyal and most valuable customers or donors.
The benefits provided by long-term support goes way beyond monetary value. The LTV number gives you an estimate of the likelihood of a potential long-term relationship. These are the people who contribute to your organization in so many different ways. They become volunteers and help to promote your events through word of mouth.
The LTV Equation
To calculate the LTV, take the annual value of online ticket sales purchases divided by their lifetime value as a member. Let’s look at an example of the LTV of an annual subscriber.
- Annual subscription cost = $500
- Expected duration of subscription = 5 years
Over 5 years the total value is $2,500. How did we come about the five years estimate? Well, it comes from your customer records. It may take some time if you don’t already have a substantial database of past online ticket sales data but you can also project the data.
For more on LTV take a look at the ‘Harvard Business School Lifetime Value Calculator.’
The Customer Churn Equation
This percentage is an estimate of the customers you lost during a certain period (monthly, quarterly, annually, etc.) Often those who miss an event or two can be persuaded to come back. Sometimes they just need a gentle reminder.
- A = attendees at the start of the measurement period.
- B = attendees gained.
- C = attendees lost.
- D = attendees expected carry over to the next period = A + B – C.
Let’s say that A = 900, B = 500, C = 400, and D = 1000
So the churn rate is around 11%, which is pretty good but there’s room for improvement. Typically we see churn rates of 1% to 20%. Ideally, it’s a negative number and that’s a good thing.
Focus on the People Not Just Online Ticket Sales
Once you’ve collected enough data to make some educated guesses you can start a dialogue and gear your products or services based on what you’ve learned. Sending out emails, social media engagement, even direct mail (yes, direct mail is still very much alive) are all methods worth trying.
Questions to Ask
- What are we doing now to manage online ticket sales at the time of purchase?
- What can we do to improve and better suit the needs of event-goers?
- How can we facilitate this process?
Paths to Customers Relationship Management
There are many more types of customers than just those who purchase tickets online. Other supporters that may not attend the event include owners, sponsors, board members, friends, acquaintances, and the list goes on and on.
Some customer relationship management routes include:
- Recruit new prospects.
- Welcome new recruits and persuade them to become supporters.
- Follow up with returning guests. A follow-up thank you email the day after is a nice way to keep the flame alive.
- Nurture existing relationships. Gifts, exclusive offers, newsletters, shareable social media content, and regular updates are all popular strategies.
- Focus on turning frequent guests into loyal ambassadors. Discounts or loyalty programs—basically anything focused on participation may work well.
Moving Up the Loyalty Ladder
One of the most popular capabilities of our ticket sales app is pricing tiers. Maybe you want to have VIP tickets that include backstage passes.
Although subscribers and loyal supporters are the most valuable customers, they might only make up 15% of your total audience. Due to their high lifetime value, they deserve some extra love. It’s a good idea to show them you care with special treatment.
We are all familiar with tactics like membership services and discounts. Airlines make millions of extra dollars each year from frequent flyer miles (that most of us never use).
Find Meaningful Ways to Communicate With Ticketstripe
Hopefully, this guide has shared some helpful ideas about how to retain and gain loyal supporters.
You can always expand or reduce your segments as needed. One of the most valuable features of our platform is the ability to use online ticket sales to build a data-driven strategy around the customer journey. Remember, if you don’t have a large database it’s best to focus on one group and keep things flexible.
Parting is such sweet sorrow but it doesn’t have to end here. When you contact us a dedicated representative from our customer success team will help you with any questions or concerns you have about planning your next event.