Use these tips to keep revenue flowing when your venues are closed.
Many entertainment centers have gone dark for now, with many venues canceling everything from individual performance to entire seasons, thanks in large part due to uncertainty about reopening dates.
But even as buildings stay shuttered, enterprising venues can stay connected with fans through regular emails that keep fans in the know about canceled or rescheduled events.
In fact, attendees are looking to email more than ever these days to stay informed, according to a new poll from Twilio. It found 67% of consumers favor email to learn about changes and updates from the brands they value the most, and 52.9% want to get critical updates about closings and how to stay engaged during shutdowns.
For entertainment venues and other companies invested in live entertainment, the challenge is keeping ticket-holders and event attendees virtually close even if they can’t be there physically. It’s important to acknowledge the disappointment of ticket-holders and to keep them informed about reschedulings, refunds and other important issues.
A venue that’s lucky enough to be able to remain open still has work to do, especially in showing attendees how it’s keeping them safe. Here’s how email can help:
1. Going digital. Highlight events that are being livestreamed, like concerts or stage performances. Embed video in your emails to promote the streams or upcoming performances, and add a countdown timer to build anticipation.
2. Look back and ahead. Use loyalty members’ past purchase or attendance history to populate email content. Add video of performances (if contracts permit) or recap the shows they attended. Then, create offers to bring them back when you reopen, such as first crack at premium tickets, advancement to a higher loyalty tier or discounts on season passes.
3. Keep emails updated, even after you send. Things can change quickly when your venue runs on live events. The pressure to keep information current is higher than ever. But you’ll gain the gift of the “takeback” when you use dynamic email content capable of being edited even after you hit “send.” As soon as you learn a concert is canceled or rescheduled, or a venue closes or reopens, you can change out the editable content with your new message, which will refresh as soon as your recipients will see as soon as they open your email.
4. Use live polls to keep the audience engaged: Ask your audience a poll question in each email. What was their favorite concert? Which performer would they want to see next, what other kinds of live events would they want to see? Or find out what they’re doing while your venue is closed or how they’re getting by.
When you use a live poll, voters can see how they compare with everyone else. Bonus: Their answers can also give you great fodder for future events or ways to improve the experience.
5. Add a playlist. The action might have moved off the stage or the arena floor, but you can help recreate the experience with a Spotify playlist that you embed in the email so your subscribers can play it without leaving your message or having to open an app. Pull music, theme songs or podcasts that feature past events or represent events that you had to postpone or cancel.
Nothing can ever replace the magic and intensity of a live performance, in-person event or game, but email messaging that uses advanced personalization and real-time content can keep attendees warmed up and ready to return as soon as your doors are open.
While many consumer sectors have been able to keep some of their business going through ecommerce and delivery services, theme parks and other entertainment venues have to search for other ways to stay top of mind with their customers.
It’s tempting to cut off email communications until you have an opening date to announce, as a number of parks and destinations have done. But, now is a critical time to keep communication flowing! Clever and innovative uses of content that engage and entertain your visitors (many of whom might welcome a distraction right now) helps you build up anticipation for the moment you can reveal your opening day.
The best part of this plan is that you probably have much of the content you already need. You just need to present it again in unexpected and intriguing ways—and preferably in a manner that saves you time and effort. Try these theme park marketing tips for your email campaign:
1. Hit pause briefly to retool. Use the time to think about what you want to say to your visitors, to gather material and think through your strategy for using email to keep connected. This will be helpful if your company needs to wait a bit to see how conditions develop.
2. Check up on your community. Use polls to find out how visitors are doing and encourage them to interact with your email. A couple of ideas: What are they doing now to stay entertained? What park features are they most excited about visiting when they can come back?
If you use a live poll, your email readers will get instant feedback and see how they compare with your other respondents. Plus, polls give you great data to use in creating an even better experience when the parks open again.
3. Build engagement with content. Your customers might not be in the frame of mind to respond to purchase-based offers right now. So, find content that helps to take them out of the present situation and reminds them of the good times they enjoyed or tells them interesting things about your locations:
Check out this simple but inspiring example from the Oregon Zoo. When their attendees aren’t able to visit the zoo grounds, they’re “bringing the zoo to you!” through the inbox.
4. Give your loyal members the VIP treatment with personalized content. Warm them up with individualized messages that use their membership or rewards data, such as recaps of their past visits. When appropriate, offer special perks, such as advance ticket purchases, discounted season passes, membership tier upgrade and other incentives that would get your best customers excited about coming back.
5. Focus on opening day. Once you know when you’ll be able to reopen, add a countdown timer to your emails and start adding photos, videos and copy that show how the park is being refreshed and readied for visitors. The countdown timer is a graphic element that refreshes every time your recipients open your emails. It adds an element of urgency and excitement and lets customers watch how time is ticking down until they can stream through the turnstiles again.
This is a tough time for theme parks and other in-person experience destinations, especially those that are open all year long. Even if you can’t sell tickets now, personalized and engaging content can give your visitors a little break from day-to-day stress and look forward to the day when your park teams can welcome them back.
With advanced personalization, marketers can offer customers support through difficult times and set themselves up for success as normalcy returns. Get a complete breakdown of messaging priorities and learn how to make advanced personalization accessible and easy in this ebook for theme park marketers! Click here to get it now.
“Workflow efficiency” is one of marketing’s hottest topics these days, as growing pressure mounts on the marketing department to deliver more results without a corresponding increase in resources. Email marketing is one of the ripest areas for process optimization, with ample opportunity to improve productivity and results without relying on new headcount or getting stuck at organizational bottlenecks.
A Litmus survey in 2019 produced some surprising statistics about the email marketing workflows that teams use to get email campaigns out the door:
With the right tools and strategy, email teams can drastically reduce the amount of time and effort needed to get their campaigns out the door.
That would be “Fear of the Send Button.” You know, that queasy feeling you get when you’re about to hit “Send” on a campaign—especially a complex one involving many interchangeable parts—and thinking about all the things that could go wrong.
Dynamic content, especially content that updates on its own automatically based on “moment of open,” allows you to send the most up-to-date and accurate emails.
Your customers are happier with relevant personalized emails, and your team spends less time getting campaigns out the door and more time on planning, analyzing and innovating.
Automated messaging can take some of the time and headaches out of campaign creation and deployment. But dynamic content helps close the loop to create an even better customer experience with email, as you can see below:
Sometimes days or even weeks pass before a subscriber will open your message. In the meantime; inventory can sell out, offers can expire, or other conditions might change.
You could send a follow-up email (that you have to create, code, test and get approved) with updated information.
Or, you can simply use a dynamic content element to swap in the updated message – even after it’s already been sent! That’s a huge reduction in time and resources needed to keep your customers up-to-date.
An event like a store opening or closing is most meaningful to the people who live in the store’s market area. So instead of creating a fresh message for every event, use a single message template and incorporate a real-time element like location.
The images below show how clothing retailer Torrid uses adaptive images to create excitement leading up to and on the day before a store opening. Check out the before and after below. Added bonuses: a live map, an add-to-calendar function that sends a personalized reminder and an invitation to RSVP on Facebook give customers more possibilities to participate.
Updating your message templates fresh takes time and energy. Maybe that’s why only 39% of marketers review their automated templates every few months instead of waiting a year or longer, according to Litmus. But templates age out quickly these days; it doesn’t take long to look or sound out-of-date.
Live content feeds can pull fresh content from your website, social media accounts and other content sources into designated modules in your message templates. You could adjust them to always show your current featured products, your brand’s latest Instagram posts, or the hottest trending articles on your site right now. That means you can spend less time going back and managing/updating your triggered campaigns and templates!
People who don’t open your email right away might be disappointed if they click to the website, only to find the item is sold out or the price changed.
Nobody can afford unhappy customers these days. So, use dynamic content linked to your inventory to replace the original message with a note about the current status and a replacement offer.
Hot Topic implemented this tactic in their email strategy and saw customer complaints drop virtually to zero. Learn more about how they did it here.
Loyalty programs are fertile ground for this. Your VIPs need to feel wanted and special. You can make that happen by showing members in each tier of your program where they’re at, what benefits they can claim now and what’s possible at higher levels.
You can guess where we’re going with this. You could create multiple versions of a loyalty email, or you could use a single template that automatically inserts the appropriate content to subscribers according to their tier levels.
That’s what Torrid did when it was updating its popular Torrid Rewards program.
Using multiple automatically personalized elements on like dynamic images and adaptive individualization based on account status, Torrid sends each VIP member a monthly statement summarizing their activity, reminding them to spend their Rewards cash and letting them know when their tier credits expire. Urgency + transparency = winners all around.
Dynamic messaging based on real-time content gives your subscribers the relevant personalized messaging that drives action while helping you redefine and streamline your messaging workflow.
You can produce more beautiful, more relevant content in less time and with less reliance on IT and developer resources. If you’re looking for a real win-win, check out our RealTime Personalization solution!
We love a good surprise. An email promising a mystery discount gets us every time. And aren’t you always dying to know What’s Behind Door Number 3?
But the email medium has traditionally suffered from technical limitations that make it hard to have a good surprise. Marketers are often left no choice but to make subscribers click through to a landing page to reveal a cool deal or amazing bonus – a disruptive experience that increases drop-outs and conversion attrition.
Thanks to two clever combinations of innovative email content with a ‘big reveal’ functionality, marketers can add some mystery, pizzazz and interactivity right in their emails. Your customers will get a better email experience, and you’ll get better results; it’s a win-win!
What’s in it for you? How about these bonuses:
Teasing a mystery is a time-honored marketing tactic. Innovative marketers have been using ‘reveal’ functions in their emails for some time, often with great success.
The idea is simple enough; you simply hide the content you want to reveal (a big surprise, a special discount, a secret message – you get the idea) behind a concealing image. When subscribers click, tap, or even “scratch” the image, the mystery is revealed. It’s fun, interactive, and can drive remarkable results for your marketing.
For instance; LEGOLAND Increased click-to-open rates by 600% for a Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaign using scratch-to-reveal promotions. See the creative email and the results yourself in this case study.
This ‘click/tap/scratch to reveal” functionality is powerful on its own. But you can make it even more effective by combining it with other dynamic, interactive email functions to really impress your audience and increase engagement. Consider these ideas:
Combo #1: Reveal + Content Hover
Consider combining the engaging experience of a reveal element with the interactivity of a hover pop-up!
Using the two together means you can set up an experience in which your customers can either tap (on mobile) or hover their cursors over your CTA to reveal your secret message.
It could be a special promo code, unique discount, new location – get creative! Then on another tap or click, the revealed content is once again hidden so the user can focus on other content or repeat the reveal experience.
Combo #2: Reveal + Personalized Coupon
With this combination, you can create an attention-grabbing offer: the mystery and interactivity of the reveal with the appeal of a unique personalized offer created through your personalization platform, such as a personalized birthday or win-back offer.
Let’s say you want to go the birthday route. Every other marketer in your customer’s inbox is sending a birthday greeting in an attractive but static email. Yet another generic 20% discount or free-shipping offer? Yawn.
Now, your email shows up with your greeting or offer embedded in a big birthday cake, with copy that says something like “Scratch/Click to reveal your personal birthday message.” Who could resist?
Yes! This is what pop-fashion retailer Hot Topic told us:
“Since we started implementing the code behind the reveal, our average click-through rate has increased by 17%. It has even beaten out click-through rates from a similar campaign that was sent during last holiday!
“Added bonus: having the live elements automatically populate the coupon code and personalized imagery has significantly decreased the workload on our CRM team, who used to spend days setting these campaigns up manually.”
We were inspired to create these combinations in response to client requests for ways to boost the interest and interactivity within email. You wanted new ways to grow email engagement and avoid the losses that can result when you have to push customers to your website to deliver your offers right within our platform, so we made it happen.
We hope you’ll test these reveal combinations in your own emails, and let us know how they work for you!
Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland, wrote that immortal line back in the 19th Century, but it’s a perfect description for the modern phenomena we call “fear of missing out,” or FOMO. As it turns out, FOMO is a powerful tool marketers can use to generate excitement and participation for a big event.
FOMO works for any kind of event, online and offline. Got a big sale coming up? A store opening? A festival, concert or conference? Persuade your customers that they’ll kick themselves if they miss out and show them all the other people who are already committed to attending!
Writing copy to induce FOMO is a start, but you’ll need a little more secret sauce to seal the deal. The solution? Ease their FOMO fear! Prompt participants to add your event to their calendars, and then send them a reminder to show up.
The result: Your customers won’t miss out, and you’ll have fewer no-shows. No FOMO, no problem!
You could create and send that reminder email by hand every time you have an event, but why make extra work for yourself? An automated tool like Liveclicker’s LiveCalendar element does the job for you. It sends your customer an invitation right to their favorite calendar app, which can then generate a timely reminder as the time of the event draws close.
Your customers will be less likely to forget about attending or to double-book themselves with another event when it’s right there in their calendars.
Here’s how Torrid used LiveCalendar to promote in-store appearances of its “Face of Torrid” content winner:
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay needed to find a better way to organize the information for its annual Food & Wine Festival, an event extravaganza covering multiple weeks and 18 concerts. The company added LiveCalendar to email promotions and urged attendees to add specific concerts to their personal calendars.
Follow-up calendar notifications listed several concerts coming up soon along artist and festival information, links to buy tickets and seating upgrades and another LiveCalendar add-to-calendar element.
As a result, the click-through rate on the emails with LiveCalendar soared 150% over than the average CTR on Busch Gardens’ other emails. LiveCalendar helped create a better interactive user experience by communicating a long list of event details without overwhelming readers.
The Food & Wine Festival email campaign using LiveCalendar was so successful it became the template other parks use to promote similar events.
Social proof is another psychology-based concept you can use to boost participation. Think of its as FOMU – “fear of messing up” – or the herd mentality It refers to the human tendency to look at other people to learn what to do in unknown situations and to find safety in numbers.
If we get invited to a party, but we don’t know anybody else is going, we might be less inclined to go ourselves. If we miss out, nobody will know! But once we see people flocking to the event, FOMO starts ratcheting up. Especially if the event is one time only – we have to be there because we won’t get another chance.
Translate that to email by adding a live counter that shows how many people have signed up or registered for your event so far. That kind of real-time social proof provides valuable encouragement for subscribers to commit themselves, and could be just the persuasion needed to nudge someone who’d on the fence about going. An add-to-calendar feature and timely reminder will help them make sure they don’t miss out.
Pro tip: Adding an add-to-calendar functionality and real-time RSVP counter is easy with the Liveclicker platform! Just click one extra button when you configure your calendar invite and determine a minimum RSVP threshold you want to collect before you start showing the numbers to your other participants.
As the event marketer, you have to do everything you can to make your activities as inviting and enticing as possible, so prospective attendees feel they’ll miss out if they don’t join in.
An add-to-calendar function like Liveclicker’s LiveCalendar element allays those fears and gives you additional opportunities to market your event and build anticipation for the big day. Help them feel that JOSU instead of FOMO!