By Ann Berchtold
Olive has run successful campaigns for numerous national events — The Color Run, The Electric Run, Pumpkin Nights, p1440 and more. One of the questions that we determine early on is: what is the optimum number of times we want the target audience to be exposed to the event brand message to meet the client’s ticket sales and engagement objectives? This is called the effective frequency and refers to the number of times a message needs to be heard before someone takes action.
The Magic Number
It is unlikely that someone will take action the first time they hear about an event. It takes several mentions and touch points, the points of interaction between the customer and your brand, before an individual takes a proactive step. Many studies have been done on what the most effective number of touch points is to have the greatest impact. Some marketers swear by the rule of 7. However, for the entertainment industry the average number of touch points needed is actually 9.5 and for not-for-profits, this rises to an average of 16.3.
The Customer Journey for Events
There are six main phases of the customer journey for purchasing and repurchasing tickets to an event: awareness, evaluation, action, engagement, experience and renewal. If you can determine and plan seven or more touch points for stakeholders to encounter your event marketing, you will greatly increase your chance of successful ticket sales.
Begin by creating a flowchart to map your customer journey. This will help you visualize the entire end-to-end journey of a consumer’s engagement with your event. Then, determine key touch points that will connect at the right phase of the customer journey. Touch points can occur in several ways: website, social media channels, earned media, paid social and print ads, email and in-person.
Choosing Your Marketing Channels
The best marketing channels for your event may vary depending on the event, the audience, the budget and other factors. But here are some general guidelines:
- Event website – This should be the priority, as it will become the central hub for the event and where all of your communication will drive people for registrations, details and general information.
- Social media – Choose social media channels that are appropriate to the event target audience. You’ll want to start promoting six months in advance of the event with teasers posted about once per week and increase your frequency to daily as the event draws near. You can use social media for event ticket distribution by placing “Buy Now” buttons on Facebook and posting event links in posts.
- Earned media – Create a strategic media rollout to introduce the event to the media and then maintain a steady cadence of stories leading up to the event. To ensure maximum traction, Olive looks at every media opportunity in a specific market and then breaks down each opportunity available to optimize the event programming, musicians, talent, leadership team and timely awareness tie-ins.
- Paid advertising – Depending on your budget, consider running advertisements in print newspapers, radio and billboards.
- Digital – Most print publications have online versions as well, and these can be an effective way to reach a large specific audience. Web banner ads, Facebook ads and guest blog opportunities are great options. You can also utilize social influencers to endorse your event.
- Email – Email marketing provides a great way to personally connect with your interested audience and send regular reminders and updated information to keep them excited about the event. Make sure that you build high-quality email lists and personalize emails that cater to the interests of your subscribers.
- In-person – Collaborative partnerships and campaign activations provide great opportunities to create brand awareness and directly engage with your audience.
Lastly, remember the journey does not stop after the purchase of a ticket. The goal is to build an engaged community around your event that feels invested and wants to keep returning year after year. For more information on this topic, there is a great piece called The 5W’s Event Marketing Plan: Strategies, Tactics and Trends Framework by Julius Solaris-Editor EventMB which provides an in-depth look into strategies for marketing events effectively.