Using Data to Welcome Back Lapsed Customers and Increase Customer Retention

While growing and finding new audiences is at the forefront for arts marketers, so too is keeping the audiences you have. Loyal customers account for only 20% of total customers, but are drivers for 80% of revenue – and customer retention is certainly less expensive than bringing on new customers. With that in mind, we look at how Ticketsolve can help you identify lapsed customers and welcome them back.

Customer loyalty and retention is a hot topic regardless of industry. But for arts, festivals and theatres, where funding it is getting squeezed day by day – it is critical to retain customers as much as possible. There are two strands to retention in this sense – how do we keep customers coming back in the first place and how to we draw back lapsed customers?

Keep Customers Coming Back for More

In order to keep customers coming back, we need to create targeted, behaviour driven campaigns that attract them. That is, post purchase messages that drive conversions.

If you use Ticketsolve, then you know you the system helps to collect vital patron data that you can use to create targeted post purchase campaigns. Ticketsolve is integrated with MailChimp, which means all campaigns can be tracked, from opens to click throughs to purchase, so you can see how your post purchase campaigns are doing.

Ideally your ticketing system should let you create these retention points earlier – and then carry through to post purchase. So for example, within Ticketsolve, features such as recommendations and cross selling allow you to offer show recommendations based on the purchase, or add ons such as drinks or meals.

These sorts of smart features are no longer a nice to have. Patrons have begun to expect these recommendations and appreciate the idea that you are offering suggestions they may be interested in.

Still, even with the best recommendations in the world, some customers will lapse. Using data, we can look at re-engaging these customers.

Purchase Frequency

First, we need to determine what the average time is between purchases. Now this may be tricky depending on the buying patterns of your patrons. Do they tend to buy for the season or do they buy more ad hoc? Do you see a spike in purchasing right after a show – for other shows? Average purchase frequency can give you a sense of when a customer is “lapsed”. So if it is 11 months between purchases for your patrons, those who fall outside of these parameters can get a targeted message.

You may want to also consider splitting the groups here further. Repeat customers may have a shorter time frame between purchases, than new customers Are there any repeat customers who then become lapsed?

In this way you can now determine, with data, specific times to send messages.

RFM Analysis

Now what about recency, frequency and monetary analysis of customers? This is really interesting information to understand total number of purchases and the total lifetime purchases per customer. This gives an even deeper view into lapsed customers and their behaviours. Perhaps you have customers who buy infrequently, but buy a lot – they are not necessarily lapsed, but just purchase differently. Still other patrons bought a lot once, but haven’t bought since. Each of these types of patrons can be identified and targeted with a system like Ticketsolve.

Ticketsolve can help you identify lapsed customers, and then using integrated MailChimp, you can create campaigns to win back these lapsed customers.

What Messages to Use?

While even a simple, “We’ve Missed You” campaign is useful, using other data such as previous purchase history or timing can let you target your message more effectively. Current recommendations based on previous purchases or perhaps discounts or even complimentary items are excellent ways to welcome back lapsed customers.

While this is only one strand to customer retention and lapsed customers, using data to create targeted campaigns and segmenting your lapsed customers can help you zero in on those customers with targeted messages and campaigns.

Do you use Ticketsolve to target lapsed customers? Do you want to learn more about how we can help you increase customer retention? Contact us!

Don’t forget to check back, we’ll have a video showing you how this is done within Ticketsolve.


Attracting Older Patrons to Purchase Online

I had the opportunity to speak to a customer today about their experience with Ticketsolve (very positive, which is great), but what struck me was when we were talking about their increase in online sales after joining Ticketsolve.

Interestingly, and perhaps as expected, their older audience members did not really engage with the purchasing online. They tended to just call the box office.

Obviously these are the results of one customer, in one region, with perhaps one specific customer set. But I wonder if this is the case for most older patrons – maybe they just don’t want to engage with online purchases.

Yet, back in April 2013, The New York Times reported that “Older adults hit a digital milestone last year: For the first time since the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project began conducting surveys, a majority (53 percent) of people over age 65 used the Internet. The proportion has since inched upward, to 54 percent.”

Granted this is data from across the pond, but the message is clear: older people are purchasing online, but are coming on stream much, much slower.

For this segment of the ticket-buying market, it would appear on the surface at least, that online purchasing would be beneficial for them. It is a way to get connected and get away from the isolation that many older adults can feel.

And it seems they will have little choice. More and more products are services are going online. Newspapers, yellow pages, you name it, it seems to be going virtual.

Thing is, older patrons are definitely tech savvy, but just might not be as adventurous online. Just read this Slate article from 2008 about what happens when old people go online.

So what might attract the older segment to purchase tickets online? Fairly straightforward actually – clear, simple and easy to navigate website that is secure.

Easy to Navigate websites ensure that older patrons get to the tickets they want easily. Making navigation too complex is likely to turn them off online tickets and head for their phone.

Easy to See websites that have easy to read fonts and a decent size will help older ticket buyers get what they need. Even coke-bottle glasses wearing folks will appreciate that (my glasses have been firmly glued to my face since 4th class – and ahem – age – is not helping matters).

Secure websites help older customers feel safer about purchasing tickets online. Since older customers might be less adventurous online (for example, my mother will not open a new website unless she asks me first, or is certain there is a “real store/theatre” behind it), it is important to create a site that is very secure.

Of course none of the above is “especially for” older ticket-buyers – this is something that all customers will appreciate.

Do many of your older patrons purchase tickets online? Do you have a specific strategy to attract older buyers?

Should We Send a Segmented Email?

On our recent webinar on using Mailchimp and Ticketsolve, we had a great question.

One of our customers recently had an upcoming comedy show they wanted to promote through an email. Rather then send the promo email to their entire master list, they sent it to just a segment of the list – those that either had attended a comedy event previously, or had specifically signed up for information about comedy shows. The result was rather “meh”. Less than average click throughs and lower ROI. Her question was – should we really segment at all, especially when it comes to theatre events? Today’s opera goer might be tomorrow’s panto goer. So what gives?

To be honest it depends.

What is Market Segmentation
Segmenting your market involves (basically) splitting your target market up, so that when you sell your products (or shows in our case) you are talking to people who actually want to hear more. If you don’t segment your market, you risk wasting your marketing euros and pounds on people who are just not interested. Segmenting your market should give you more ROI.

Customer Data
In order to segment your market you need to have a lot of customer data to accurately get a picture of their buying patterns. A basic amount of data would include geographical and demographic data, as well as information on buying patterns, add ons and donations. The deeper we can go with our customer data, the better our profile of them, and the better we can target a message just for them.

On the whole, segmenting is considered a must do, to get the most bang for your marketing buck. But it is not as easy as it first appears. To really get segmenting to work for you – it requires a lot of data capture, analysis, and frankly, trial and error.

Importantly, the more information you can gather about your customers the more honed your message can be. Purchase history, abandon shopping carts, power users and inactive users all represent information we can use to create powerful messages. Used wisely, this can help you create a real connection with your customers. Remember of course that we cannot abuse the information we have and we cannot overwhelm our patrons with tons of emails either.

No Segmenting Needed?
But, there might some instances where there is no need to segment the market at all. If you are selling a commodity for example. Or if all your customers use media in the same way and make their purchases in the same way. Are they all worth the same in terms of profitability? Are all your customers sourced from the same pool? If you answered yes to any of these questions you might be able to get away with not segmenting your customer base.

If for example, you are focused on a specific geographical area, or your overall audience size is small, it might make sense not to segment at all. If you did segment and it didn’t work as well as you had hoped, maybe there is a concrete reason why. Timing of your email was off, perhaps the segmented email came directly on the heels of another mass email.

But maybe we can tailor our mass emails, so they better fit each segment.

For example, let’s say we want to send a mass email on our winter productions. We have a mix of music, comedy, kids panto and drama. We can send the same email out, but swap our lead piece depending on the market segment we are emailing. So those on our comedy list get the email with the lead show being comedy, and our family and kids list gets the email with the panto as lead, etc. Ensuring we remove any dupes, will mean we can send a tailored message with annoying our patrons.

Another example would be during an annual giving drive. It makes sense to segment our customers based on who has given before. A message of “we value your continued support” will be more effective than, “support your theatre!”

Again this is really about trial, test and adjust, and see what really works for your market.

So what do you think? How do you segment your market? Or don’t you do it all?