I AM POP provides artists and their marketers with an easy-to-use tool that simplifies direct-to-fan messaging and allows you to reach fans directly.
In our Case Study series, we chat to the people who regularly use our tool, and see how they feel about it. This time round, we spoke to Lance Holden from New Citizens who’s been using I AM POP to promote The Garden Party.
Can you tell us in a sentence who you are and what your role in music marketing is?
I’m Lance and I’m the Marketing Manager for one of the North of England’s leading music promoters, as well as one of the country's leading drink and food event operators.
What made you decide to start using direct messaging as a marketing tool? Did you have any prior experience with using Messenger to engage with your fanbase?
With the ever-decreasing amount of organic reach and the ever-increasing need to spend in order to reach people, particularly on Facebook, we felt that it was time to explore a fresh option to reach people organically for this year’s campaign.
We had tried other platforms previously, for some of our other brands, but it wasn’t overwhelmingly successful. However, for The Garden Party, due to the event’s increasing popularity year-on-year, we felt this year was the right time to push ahead with it and it turned out to be one of our most successful launches yet.
You’ve been using direct messaging to reach out to The Garden Party’s audience for a few months now. What have your experiences been so far?
Primarily we’ve found that our open rates have far eclipsed anything that we’ve seen on email over the years!
Not only that, but we found our audience very responsive. Not only to the idea of signing up to the channel in the first place, but also with continual engagement. Unsubscribes have been very, very minimal - meaning that we have retained thousands of our audience over the course of a few months.
On top of that, we’ve found that our automated messages have prompted conversations with our customers. Or prompted them to even reply, simply to say “can’t wait!”.
So there’s a level of extra personal interaction that we’ve managed to reach, which is always nice.
When you launched the Messenger channel, how did you go about growing your subscriber base? Did you manage to get a substantial amount of people to subscribe before your first broadcasting campaign?
To grow our subscriber base, we encouraged our audience to sign up in order to get the line-up first and also to get their hands on pre-sale tickets.
The previous years selling out quickly enabled us to create urgency, so people were naturally more willing to sign up because of that. I think these days people know that you need to get in early for a lot of big music events. There’s a temptation to be worried about people not signing up, but if people love your event, they will.
After the initial launch, we ended up with 1,500 subscribers very quickly. We’re now on 4,000 after two event launches. Considering that the vast majority of our messages have seen a 90%+ open rate, we’re now reaching 3,500+ people every single time.
What broadcast did you send out first? How was that received? What were the open rates and influences on ticket sales? And how did you proceed from there?
We wanted our first broadcast to be meaningful, so we didn’t send out any messages until we had something to offer. We’d promised people signing up that they were signing up to get the line-up and tickets, so our first message was to reveal the line-up.
That meant that our audience knew they had signed up to get priority information and not be spammed every two minutes.
Our open rate for our first broadcast has finished at 98.44% which is as good as it gets, really!
From then on, our next message was for pre-sale tickets. We had our fastest ever selling ticket launch day with record numbers selling within the first ten minutes - so it really paid off in the end.
How are you planning to use the The Garden Party Messenger channel from now on? Are you planning to use it during the event itself? Any other cool campaigns lined up for the near future?
Since the two line-up and ticket launches that we’ve used it for, we’ve only used it a couple of times since, to relay information such as set times or after-party information.
We want to keep it so that the messages people are receiving is meaningful. But with our third and final party of the summer yet to be announced, we’re looking at extra ways that we can use the platform to keep this audience engaged.
Our audience has been continually growing, not declining, so the current strategy appears to be paying off.
Any final words of advice for people about to launch their Messenger channel for the first time? Is there anything you would advise against doing?
I think the main thing is that people need a good reason to sign up. So the best times to launch a Messenger channel is before a big event launch, or before a big campaign.
We launched ours at the beginning of 2019, which is always when we’re building up to the first event announcement of the year at the end of January. I think if we’d launched the Messenger channel in November 2018, if might not have been as successful.
In terms of advising against - I’d just say don’t use it too often. I have been subscribed to a few over the last few years, and it can get quite annoying if you’re getting messages every week. Make sure each message has value. I just think about whether I’d like to get the message that I’m sending out and if I’d find it either interesting or useful.
But most of all I’d say go for it! Sometimes in marketing you can overthink things. Even if you’ve just got a few hundred subscribers, if you’re getting 90%+ open rates, you’re still reaching hundreds of active, fully engaged customers that you might not be able to reach so easily via advertising or email.
The key is quality not quantity. And I think with Messenger marketing your audience is definitely on the side of quality.
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