Here we delve into the case study of how the downtown dining and music venue Hamilton Live in Washington DC was able to use two simple marketing techniques to massively boost its ticket sales.
Guest post by Bill Leigh of Eventbrite
A music venue needs a rock-solid marketing program to stand out in a music scene as lively as Washington DC. That’s why standing out with their marketing was a challenge for Hamilton Live, a downtown music and dining venue which opened in 2011.
When Keith Berquist joined as Marketing Manager in 2015, many of the Hamilton’s marketing tactics went untracked. That made it difficult to measure success.
“Our marketing was more of an art than a science,” remembers Berquist. “It was frustrating for me because I’m typically very data-driven.”
Things started to turn around when he began to explore the modern marketing tools built into Ticketfly, the Hamilton’s newly adopted ticketing platform, which is now Eventbrite Music. Consulting with the Eventbrite Music Marketing team, Berquist was able to make two key changes to his marketing strategy.
Here’s how Berquist drove a 5.4X return on investment on his marketing spend.
1. Knowing what works: Pixels and checkout questions
Berquist knew that the Hamilton’s marketing strategy needed work. Without the right tools, though, he couldn’t track what was driving sales. “We had no insight into conversion rates. And we had little knowledge about how attendees even heard about our shows. The metrics just weren’t there.”
With Ticketfly (and now with Eventbrite Music), Berquist could easily put marketing pixels in all of the Hamilton’s digital campaigns to measure performance. Marketing pixels are bits of code placed on the ticketing page, so you can keep track of those fans who visited the ticketing page but didn’t purchase tickets. That way, you can retarget them with adsreminding them to get tickets.
You can also put pixels on the confirmation page to track conversions, which gives even more insight. Not only can Berquist now see which ad campaigns are drawing people to their website, but he can also track who converts to a ticket buyer.
To learn where fans heard about their shows, Berquist also added a question to the checkout process.
“The pixels and custom checkout questions have saved me so much time from head-scratching and trying to figure out what was working,” says Berquist. “I can pull the data I need, analyze the results, and confidently make decisions.”
“Before, I was going off of click-through rates, but a click doesn’t necessarily mean that the person completes their purchase,” explains Berquist. “Now I have a definitive answer about the percentage of people actually buying tickets, and I can prove our ROI. I work a lot faster and it’s reaffirming for me to know that I’m going in the right direction. The numbers don’t lie.”
With deeper insights and more metrics — and help from Eventbrite’s expert Music Marketing team — Berquist began to see significant increases in ticket sales. One of the biggest drivers of this was tapping into a channel that was largely unused: email.
“The biggest thing that drove ticket sales was improving our email strategy,” explains Berquist, who began using Ticketfly’s integrated email tool, which is now part of Eventbrite Music. The Eventbrite team coached him on email best practices, providing recommendations on different subject lines, images, and audience segments to test.
The results were immediate. “We noticed our campaigns doing significantly better in terms of open, click through, and conversion rates.” Over one month, Berquist reported a 21% increase in click-through rates and a 36% increase in ticket sales directly attributed to email. “The ROI on that is insane because it’s a totally free channel,” says Berquist.
For more insights into management and marketing for music venues, get The 2018 Music Venue Management Kit.
Bill Leigh is a writer at Eventbrite, where he focuses on helping create successful live music events. He is also the former Editor-in-Chief of Bass Player magazine. When he’s not working, he splits his time between “dad mode” and “rocker mode.”