The seasonal events sector is highly competitive. With family finances stretched to the limit, consumers are demanding and selective about which events they attend. Customers expect the entire experience from booking through feedback to excite and delight. Event organisers are responding by looking for ways to make their event stand out from the crowd.
Halloween, Bonfire night, Easter, Christmas, and awareness weeks. Every season presents new opportunities for themed events, and new possibilities to raise the bar for delivery and experience. If you’re serious about building anticipation, encouraging interaction and simplifying processes, let’s take a look at how embracing digital marketing can add value to seasonal event experiences .
Use push notifications to inform and excite
Messaging apps offer a quick and easy mechanism to share event information and build excitement at every stage of the customer journey. In our role producing the Christmas Elf Adventure Challenge event, customers who purchased tickets received an automated confirmation email asking them to opt in to receive messaging notifications.
Once customers signed up, we sent out pre-event information via Messenger using push notifications to their phone, e.g. event reminders, parking and arrival information, catering details, and vouchers and special offers from partners. The messages were friendly and conversational, which people enjoyed.
Customer feedback was overwhelmingly positive:
“I liked getting the pre-event information on Messenger. I use my phone more than email and ticket emails usually go into my junk, then I struggle to find the information I need before the event. Having a notification on my phone was far more convenient.”
You can do the same thing on WhatsApp and Instagram Messenger now too providing even more channels and platforms to reach your customers in the most convenient way to them.
And the critical thing is that you are providing them with information that helps them, that they want to know about in a way and through a channel that is convenient and familiar to them.
Cross-marketing builds brand awareness and loyalty. When recipients opt in to your message flow, via WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram, then organisers may also use push notifications to send information about related activities customers might find interesting. Each message has a call to action to increase social media followers and boost ticket sales for future events and activities. Examples from events we’ve produced include free fun videos for kids, activity packs and an audio story book.
Bespoke automation for virtual events
Keeping your audience engaged is a challenge, especially when your event is virtual and the audience is young children. You might think that personalisation is impossible for virtual events, when actually it can be straightforward.
We delivered a Christmas virtual Santa event using a Messenger chat bot to collect information for Santa. We messaged parents to request their children’s name/s and a special message for Santa to deliver. Messages were short and simple to respond to – a bit like chatting to a friend – which built trust and confidence with parents.
The chat bot was connected to a back-end spreadsheet where each child’s details and message were linked to an order number, booking reference, event date and timeslot. The whole process was simple and smooth to administer. Our production team referenced the spreadsheet to ensure Santa had all the details he needed (via his secret earpiece!).
Here’s what one parent thought:
“It was such a smooth process. I liked that I didn’t have to click links and fill out a big form. Santa used all the details we supplied and the kids were blown away! They thought it was SO magical and special. They still talk about it now!”
Social media advertising integration
Facebook advertising combines seamlessly with chat bot automation via Messenger. For our Santa event we created an advert with a button that took people straight to a Messenger chat with a series of conversation prompts. The user just had to click on the answer that best suited them, e.g. “Would you like information about our Storytelling with Santa event?” 99% of people clicked ‘Yes please’.
The chat then offered a choice of dates, followed by event information and an option to book. Such a slick and seamless way to engage customers and boost sign ups.
What is great about this strategy is that it can amplify your social media post without any paid ads; as the interaction and comments it encourages means your post will reach more organic reach. And it also makes it a much more cost effective ad strategy for Facebook, so you can get leads at a fraction of the cost of a normal conversion.
If customers don’t complete the chat or book a ticket, we can set up the system to automatically follow up and ask if they’re interested. This helps to re-engage people who got distracted or didn’t have time to complete their booking. In the case of the virtual Santa event, more than half of people who didn’t book first time booked tickets after receiving the reminder. The chat flow guided them swiftly through the booking process, with their ticket and event details issued automatically.
When you compare these reminders to sending repeat emails, the conversion is far higher. The amount of emails everyone gets is so many, compared to push notifications. And when the messages are about something they want to engage with they will be more likely to take action.
Follow up, surveys and feedback
Chat bots are a super efficient and effective way to gather valuable feedback via post-event surveys, say thank you for attending, or share a voucher code for future events or purchases. We had a 60% feedback response rate using a chat bot for the Santa event compared to the usual 10% by email. The key to its success is to ask one question at a time. It can literally take one minute to provide feedback.
You can also provide incentives for this feedback, encourage people to leave you reviews and get valuable post event information, event upselling for future events and making sure you have raving fan customers!
So there you have it. When it comes to producing seasonal events , there are plenty of creative alternatives to using email. As you might expect, it’s quick and easy to book a discovery call if you’re interested to learn more!