With the rise of social media and mobile technology, patrons have come to expect a personalized and connected event experience. Delivering that experience isn’t easy. It requires a patron management strategy that keeps patrons engaged during and after your live event. The key to keeping engagement high is not just forming relationships but also nurturing those relationships with patrons as long as possible. We gathered insights from some of the best event organizers in the business to bring you five easy ways to drive patron engagement.
1. Utilize patron profiles
If you don’t already have a customer relationship management (CRM) software program in use you may want to get one. It enables you to manage and monitor customer interactions unlike contact lists and Excel spreadsheets. A good patron management solution makes patron data easy to find, sort, edit and put to work. With patron management software, event organizers can manage communications with patrons, including marketing campaigns. The software should also provide a cohesive look at patron profiles, allowing for easy 360-degree customer views. It is the best way to keep track of patrons, look at their past engagement with your organization, and optimize that experience the next time they visit your venue. The more you know about each patron, the better positioned you will be to tailor their next experience and deepen the relationship they have with your organization.
2. Implement a customer loyalty program
This one may seem obvious to some but many venues and organizations don’t have loyalty programs. A loyalty program is a customer rewards program. It is probably one of the easiest things you can do to encourage patrons to come back. Why? Because people like to be rewarded. Loyalty programs done right can encourage sharing and lead to audience growth through word-of-mouth. One way to increase participation in your loyalty program is to add elements of gamification. Create a rewards-based game as part of your loyalty program that motivates patrons to participate and compete for prizes.
3. Send regular patron newsletter emails
There’s a long list of reasons why having an email newsletter is beneficial for any brand, but we want to focus on the biggest benefit, which is providing content that adds value to your patrons. That’s what it’s all about, not just getting clicks.
Here are a few things to consider if you want to make your email newsletter a must read:
- Use data to determine the best content to feature in your newsletter and the best day and time to send your emails.
- Spend time on creating a compelling subject line. There are great newsletter email subject lines and many others that are ineffective. Great subject lines create curiosity and make people feel as if they are missing out if they don’t open the email.
- Keep it simple. We’ve all seen those super long emails with way too many graphics, too many words, too much of, well, everything. Try to keep your email newsletter short, sweet, simple, and to-the-point. Use images sparingly and use text strategically to entice readers to click through to read more.
4. Show your appreciation
Who doesn’t like to feel appreciated? Patrons want to know that their time, money, and support for an organization hasn’t gone unrecognized. This is why it’s important to find ways to make them feel special. The more information you have about your patrons and the more you know about their likes, dislikes, and past interactions with your organization, the easier it is to determine how to best acknowledge them. One of the easiest things you can do is leave a thank you note in a specific patron’s seat prior to their arrival at your venue. This will not only make them feel special, it will also help them feel more connected to your organization and could increase the likelihood they will return.
5. Offer discounts and credits
Another great way to keep patrons coming back again and again is by offering discounts and credits on future ticket purchases. You can even incorporate these discounts into the gamification aspects of your loyalty program by offering discounts as prizes for taking specific actions like inviting friends or attending several events in a row. Managing the process of who gets a discount and when to give one could be time-consuming if you don’t have a ticket sales system to keep track of it all. With Vendini Patron Manager, it’s easier than ever to streamline the process, manage patron relationships, and even keep staff aligned around strategy and execution.
Vendini Patron Manager is an integrated part of the Vendini solution. This patron relationship management feature provides a comprehensive view of each patron’s purchase history, including ticket transactions, memberships, gift cards, season tickets, donations and activities. Box office staff, development teams, and executive or managing directors will be more aligned in their ability to cultivate loyalty and inspire giving with a 360-degree view of all patrons.