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The Message: Boundary Brighton Festival

The Message, in partnership with I AM POP, is a new monthly insight into the latest direct message and Facebook Messenger marketing methods.

For this edition, Luke Ralph from SuperCharged Events describes how the company is using Messenger to market Boundary Brighton Festival, among other events. (Read the previous column, with MAMA Festivals’ Camella Agalbayan, here.)

 


Who are you and what is your role in music marketing?
My name is Luke Ralph and I run SuperCharged Events which is primarily based in Brighton. SuperCharged is an underground, bass-driven brand which has been running for over 20 years now. I came on board to run SuperCharged about 18 months ago.

You’ve been using direct messaging to reach the SuperCharged Events audience for a while now. How’s that been going?
It’s been great. It is difficult to not want to overuse it, as the results are so effective, but it does mean you can plan some effective direct messaging posts. I have used it for all major launches, but also to help smaller event launches, with a discounted ticket sale.

It’s a great feeling announcing an event and having 50 or 100 tickets sold almost straight away due to direct messaging. You just have to relay to the customer that the tickets are limited, time restricted or much cheaper than normal – a loyalty bonus, so to speak, for being part of our Messenger collective.

“It’s a great feeling announcing an event and having 50 or 100 tickets sold almost straight away due to direct messaging”

You recently oversaw the launch of the Boundary Brighton Festival Messenger channel. How did you plan the launch strategy and how did it go?
It went fantastically well. Boundary Brighton Festival is a growing festival, with good engagement on the page and other social media. I wanted to convert as many of our followers to the Messenger collective. So, I used a pre-sale sign up with a very cheap ticket price, that you had to sign up for in order to gain access.

The sign up ran for two days so the “hype” wasn’t lost when tickets went on sale, and the cheaper tickets could only be purchased for 24 hours. It was a crazy 72 hour push, but we managed 1,500+ sales on day one. This shattered all previous records and 500 of those tickets sold in less than three minutes!

What broadcast did you send out first? And what were the open rates and effects on ticket sales?
The very first broadcast was the pre-sale ticket link, where I emphasised the sign ups had been higher than we expected – tickets were limited per person to four so someone couldn’t buy 20 of the cheapest tickets to sell on, and included a short “branded tickets now on sale” gif/video with the link.

We had a 96% open rate and converted a huge 70% of those into sales in the 24-hour time period. The only way you could access these tickets was through the direct messaging channel.

“If you don’t think nearly all of the people in your Messenger collective will appreciate the message, it’s probably not worth broadcasting”

How are you planning to use the Boundary Brighton Festival channel from now on? Have you got any cool things lined up for the near future?
Just like a lot of other festivals, we will use it for key announcements (headliner announcements, line-up reveals) and also for competitions. Closer to the time of the event, we will broadcast messages with all the key information we need people to see. And, maybe, we’ll also share set times, or after party announcements.

I have discovered that adding some media to the actual message – and not just a link to an external page – is working quite well and engaging people more effectively.

Any final words of advice for people about to launch their Messenger channel for the first time?
I wouldn’t overuse or rinse the messenger channel, and really think about what you are sending out. The quality of content needs to be high. If you don’t think nearly all of the people in your Messenger collective will appreciate the message, it’s probably not worth broadcasting. Really focus on how you can drive the sign ups – competitions and giveaways are a great way of growing your collective.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free digest of essential live music industry news, via email or Messenger.

Start your free I AM POP trial today. IQ readers can claim an additional 30% discount on their first three months by emailing harry@iampop.com.

The Message: MAMA Festivals/Live Nation

The Message, in partnership with I AM POP, is a monthly insight into the latest direct message and Facebook Messenger marketing methods.

For this edition, Camella Agalbayan from MAMA Festivals describes how the company is using Messenger to market Lovebox Festival, among other events. (Read the last column, with Green House Group and End of the Road festival, here.)

 


Who are you, and what is your role in music marketing?
My name is Camella Agalbayan and I am senior marketing manager at Live Nation’s MAMA Festivals. I oversee the marketing and design team for Lovebox Festival and Citadel Festival, and I am also involved in Wilderness Festival and the Great Escape Festival.

Why did you start experimenting with direct-to-fan messaging? How does it fit in with your marketing strategy, and what lessons have you learned along the way?
We’re conscious as a company that our events are focused heavily on experience. We’ve always been a very dedicated team who aim to respond to as many emails and questions as we can. But as we grow as a company, it gets harder to have a one-to-one experience with every guest.

We felt the Messenger channel was a good place to filter the obvious questions, so we could spend more time taking care of special cases that demanded more attention. We’ve also used the Messenger channel as a way to incentivise our current audiences by giving them information before anybody else.

You used I AM POP’s tool to market the 2018 edition of Lovebox Festival. Could you tell us something about how you went about getting people to subscribe to the festival’s Messenger channel?
We were quite traditional in that sense – simply because we were still testing the efficacy of the channel, and we’re conscious we have a huge audience with high demands – so 2018 was very much a ‘beta’ version of how we’ll be marketing Lovebox Festival for 2019.

All our social content is paid, so we simply integrated this messaging through our content calendar. This way, we could track clicks, sign-ups and return from our posts.

“It’s a good way to filter out the noise”

How did you run your messaging campaign after that? How was it received?
I think people are much more aware about Messenger marketing on Facebook and its purpose, so it’s much easier nowadays to promote your Messenger channel. We’re not being much more playful with how it’s being used, necessarily. Instead, we’re focusing on how we can ensure people get the right information, as well as how we can use it as a marketing tool to increase brand loyalty and build our brand identity.

Can you share some stats from the campaign? How did the open rates and ticket sales do, for instance?
The open rates are amazing! The last broadcast we sent out regarding the Lovebox Festival line-up announcement had over 84% open rates. We make sure to ‘filter’ audiences on Messenger as much as possible, so people are aware about what they are signing up to. I think transparency is key, so you can forge a small community of loyal fans.

Direct-message marketing calls for a different approach to traditional marketing channels like social and email. What kind of approaches do you think work best for direct message marketing in the live music space?
We’ve always been very transparent with our messaging in general. We have really strong brands and create huge worlds in which our artwork, tone of voice and programming comes to life. It’s important to be consistent with that messaging, and we ensure that everything from our website to our newsletters to our communications in general all fit into the same world. With direct messaging you can definitely be more playful with how you reach out to the fan and make it more friendly, and less targeted around sales, specifically.

“A new strategy for us this year is to create small communities of fans within Lovebox that feel special”

Have you already started using direct-to-fan messaging to promote the 2019 edition of Lovebox? If so, how? And how are you planning to proceed?
Indeed we have. A new strategy for us this year is to create small communities of fans within Lovebox that feel special. We are working with a small Lovebox ‘squad’ (to be announced in April), for example, who will be involved in artwork, photography and design for the show.

With our Messenger channel, we want those fans to feel they have signed up to something that has a purpose, which is why we have decided to make sure they are always the first to be in the know before anyone else. Whether it’s dropping a poster, launching a merch line or access to afterparty ticket, our Messenger subscribers will be the first to hear about it!

Do you work on any other projects where Messenger marketing might prove useful?
Citadel is another festival I run. We intend to use Messenger this year, as we want to ensure people can get adequate information about the show easily.

We moved site last year and we tend to vary in audiences depending on the headliner, so it’s important for those new guests to know everything is there for them to explore.

Any final words of advice for other people wanting to get into direct-to-fan messaging?
I definitely think the Messenger channel has been a great add-on to our marketing campaign. It helps us keep things streamlined online and target the right people with the right information.

It’s a good way to filter out the noise when you have some guests that require specific attention, but can also be a really easy and playful tool that lets you have fun with your fans and enhance brand loyalty.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free digest of essential live music industry news, via email or Messenger.

Start your free I AM POP trial today. IQ readers can claim an additional 30% discount on their first three months by emailing harry@iampop.com.

Futures Forum: Soapbox Sessions

The Soapbox Sessions saw various experts present 15-minute, TED-style, quick fire presentations, across a diverse range of subjects including environmentalism, grassroots venues, touting and meditation.

Maggie Crowe OBE, director of events and charities at BPI, took to the stage first to reveal the inner-workings of the Brits and its evolution from a small, non-televised event to the UK’s answer to the Grammys. “We’re up for new ideas,” said Crowe, referencing the “lunacy that goes on in the Brits world.”

Next, A Greener Festival’s Claire O’Neill offered ten tips for an eco-friendly life, stating that “the entire fundamentals of the touring industry are not sustainable.” O’Neill promoted reusable cutlery, public transport, vegan eating, water sharing and an environmentally conscious approach to narcotics, “always choose a local dealer,” she joked.

Ticketmaster’s Ben Tipple explained the principles of content marketing – being relevant and valuable. Tipple described content as the “fun stuff” between marketing and journalism that “tells a story”. The initial stages of Fyre Festival’s content marketing was “actually really remarkable,” said Tipple, noting that the infamous festival sold on content alone.

Radio 6 DJ Steve Lamacq stepped up with Music Venue Trust’s Mark Davyd to stress the importance of grassroots music venues. “Local communities are built around these venues and new bands start to form because of them,” said Lamacq, who estimated he had attended “somewhere in the region of 5,800 gigs” in his life.

“Local communities are built around grassroots venues and new bands start to form because of them”

The second round of soapbox sessions kicked off with former ticket tout Ken Lowson, who said that “ticket bots are toast” and spoke of how a hallucination featuring Obi-Wan Kenobi persuaded him to stop scalping and instead serve the fan.

“The death of the newsfeed is here,” said Harry Willis from I AM POP. Willis explained that promoters can push ticket sales, send links to upcoming shows and gain fan data through messenger, stating that the immediate nature of communication is “essential in the live space.”

“You can’t control everything, often things do go wrong,” admitted production manager Sara Maria Kordek, who gave top tips on ensuring smooth production. Maintaining trust, empowering your team and trusting instincts are key, said Kordek, who spoke of production as a puzzle: “combine all the small details and check every piece fits to make the show.”

Finally, Buddhist monk Gelong Thubten said that people are “more desperate than ever” for mindfulness and meditation techniques, as “the systems we created to make life simpler are making it more complicated.”

Thubten dispelled myths surrounding meditation, which is more about choosing thoughts than removing them. Through mindfulness, “you become the boss of your own reality,” said the monk.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free digest of essential live music industry news, via email or Messenger.

The Message: Green House Group and End of the Road

The Message, in partnership with I AM POP, is a new monthly insight into the latest direct message and Facebook Messenger marketing methods.

For the first edition, Alex Lee Thomson from Green House Group describes how the company is using I AM POP’s Messenger platform to market End of The Road Festival, among other events.

 


Who are you, and what is your role in music marketing?
I’m Alex Lee Thomson, director of Green House Group, a music marketing company that works with bands and festivals to help them reach fans. Recently, we’ve worked with the Specials on their no 1 album campaign, and the Kooks biggest ever headline show announcements.

You’ve been integrating direct-to-fan messaging in your marketing strategies for a while now. What lessons have you learned along the way?
As it’s not a platform which sits there visibly, being engaged with day to day, it does sometimes get a bit forgotten in terms of admin. To really maximise its value though, you need to keep adding new subscribers.

You have to keep coming up with ways to incentivise signing up – it just being there is only going to provide a trickle of interest, so properly integrate its development into your wider marketing strategy. Work it into your plans every week and don’t forget about it.

You used I AM POP’s tool to market the last edition of the End Of The Road Festival. Could you tell us how you went about getting people to subscribe to the festival’s Messenger channel?
Our first mention was simply letting followers know it was there, and that it was a portal for information. Ahead of that we made sure the channel was set up to cater for all the key FAQs, so it would act as an easy to navigate version of the website’s info section.

Where we didn’t want to drag it into too much detail, we simply out-linked back to the main site for more information. It’s always good to remember the user experience. You can get carried away trying to put the whole website on there, but try to keep it streamlined… and fun to use!

After launch we included the Messenger link in standard info posts going forward. Where in previous years we would link to the site, now, we let people start their quest for knowledge on Messenger instead. It became part of the standard marketing vocabulary, so we were always adding new people as we went along.

It’s worth bearing any exclusive content in mind as an incentive to get people hooked – for instance you could offer cryptic clues as to what some of the bands are you’re going to announce in the build-up. If you’re feeling particularly ballsy, you could even announce some acts on Messenger exclusively.

Setting up a competition element is always a winner as well. Maybe give away some merch or tickets to a random subscriber each month. I’d love to say there’re some big secrets we’re keeping close to our chest, but done well it’s as simple as making sure it works, tell people to go there and give them a reason to.

You have to keep coming up with ways to incentivise signing up”

How did you run your messaging campaign after that? How was it received?
Part of the user journey was creating-sub groups, where we could direct specific posts. For instance, if you keep a weekly updated Spotify playlist, you should segment this somewhere in your automated broadcast. Then, when you make additions to the playlist, you can let all your listeners know.

Same for travel, merchandise, stage times and anything else, really. If you think ahead to what you might need further down the line, start integrating that into your Messenger channel as soon as you can in a fluid way. Knowing that the audience is a bit more inner-circle, and very immediate, it’s a good place to run countdown messages with some element of emergency.

As an example, for End of the Road we let subscribers know that there were only a few hundred tickets left for the event. Likewise, if you’re down to only a few merch items, you can let your subscribers know first, as they’ll be more likely to buy, and it keeps some sales messages away from main channels. We also shared key information on secondary ticket selling once the festival was sold out, and directed solo travellers to a bespoke group we set up on Facebook.

You used a direct message to inform visitors of the festival to bring cash for parking costs, which was a smart move. Were the effects noticeable?
Heck, it’s often hard to gauge the real-world effect of digital marketing at the best of times. However, during the event we received, I think, no messages about this via social comments or messages. As they say, no news is good news – which I hope means that it all just clicked together well and all attendees knew what to do.

Can you share some stats from the campaign? How were the open rates and ticket sales, for instance?
Like a lot of our use of the Messenger platform, we received a much higher view rate for our posts compared to traditional social messages. After multiple posts over the last 12 months we have a 98.9% average open rate on our Messenger broadcasts. The post about car parking had a 100% open rate as this was directed only at people who over the campaign had clicked our ‘travelling by car’ segmented group.

The ability to highly target this information, which on the face of it is quite dry and only applicable to some, is for me one of the most exciting aspects of the platform. Using this as part of a wider marketing campaign, I’m happy to say that all tickets sold out.

We have launched the Messenger platform for all of our events now, which, in fact, all sold out in 2018. Considering they are all independent festivals, with modest marketing budgets, this is a huge win for us at Green House Group. 

Even if you’re not sure yet how to integrate Messenger into a wider campaign, get it set up and start building subscribers now”

Direct message marketing calls for a different approach than traditional marketing channels like socials and email. What kind of approaches do you think work best for direct message marketing in the live music space?
One of the selling points of Messenger is that it’s so instantaneous. You get to broadcast to everybody you want, directly into people’s pocket without having to work around algorithms or wait for organic pick-up or viral sharing. And then sharing something that reaches everybody you want it to.

This does however mean that we have to treat the Messenger audience differently, and not dilute the approach, upsetting fans who might feel they are being spammed. It’s very much a ‘less is more’ dynamic. It can be viewed as quite invasive, which is a big selling point, but you should be careful not to milk it. We don’t want to abuse the trust that subscribers have given us by signing up.

It’s not about daily messages and repetition – it’s about giving some inner-circle content, having useful information there when needed, and letting the users decide what content they do and don’t want.

You have the ability to hyper-target your broadcasts, rather than being broad and accessible like you would on a Facebook post. Keep it niche. From an artist point of view, you can create messages and experiences for people at each gig, maybe offering polls on what song to open with, or access to exclusive merch available for one night only. Stuff that isn’t relevant to every one of your fans. A bunch of acts now offer recordings of shows, which you can offer to people who then engage with on-the-night activations by tucking them into a segment group for the show.  

How are you planning to use direct-to-fan messaging for the 2019 End Of The Road Festival’s marketing campaign?
As always, the festival has some fun tricks up its sleeve. You’ll have to subscribe to find out what, though! Needless to say that it will once again serve as a hub for important information, and perhaps the odd (very pleasant) surprise.

Any final words of advice for other people wanting to get into direct-to-fan messaging?
Don’t waste time getting this set up. Even if you’re not sure yet how to integrate Messenger into a wider campaign, get it set up and start building subscribers now.

Then really take your time to build the user journey, making sure there are no dead ends. If people go there, don’t like it and want to unsubscribe, you’re very unlikely to win them back. Or worse, the whole experience pisses them off.

Take small steps if you have to: start with a, “Hello, thanks for subscribing”, and build it from there as and when you can, never forgetting to go back and keep every arm of your flows updated as you go.

Figure out your segments ahead of time, as well, and incorporate them from the off. Even if you’re not sure how you want to speak to them yet. If you never use a segment, it doesn’t matter.

Then once you’ve built your app, keep messaging to only the most vital aspects that needs attention. The more casual posts you do, the less interested people will be – especially if it’s messages they’ve already seen on other platforms. Do not treat it like Twitter or Facebook, because it’s not them. It’s a different universe. Learn as you go along, but start now.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free digest of essential live music industry news, via email or Messenger.

Start your free I AM POP trial today. IQ readers can claim an additional 30% discount on their first three months by emailing harry@iampop.com.