The festival season is coming up and people seem to be up for it. In 2022 there were a record number of festivals and concerts with over 10% more events in comparison to 2019 (VVEM), despite the fact that the festival industry was hit hardest by the pandemic. This means there is more competition in the festival and events industry, making it even more important to have a solid online marketing strategy. Due to our broad portfolio of clients in the sector, we have compiled a list of tips to create a solid festival marketing strategy.
1. Understand your audience
It is important for successful festival marketing to understand who your target audience is and where you can reach them. Each online advertising channel has different targeting options and can be used in different stages of the online journey. It is therefore important to determine which channels are most suitable to reach your target audience and goals. Perhaps your target audience uses TikTok, but they convert best through banners on an EDM event website or by searching ‘festivals in amsterdam’ on Google. You should use a mix of advertising channels to reach the right people at the right time on the most effective channel.
2. Start on time with communication
By starting your communication early you ensure that you have a longer lead time to reach new people and to introduce them to your festival or event. The chances are bigger that when you start on time with your festival marketing, that people do not have booked their holidays or other activities yet and they can pin your event in their calendar. Especially if you want to introduce a new festival it is important to start communicating early on. You need to start with branding and create awareness for your event, which might not result in ticket sales directly. The goal of the first stage should be informing and exciting a new audience.
3. Stay relevant throughout the year
Even for established festivals we see that people are willing to get their tickets for the upcoming year directly after the event took place. By starting ticket sales or pre-registrations you can anticipate the euphoria of your visitors and the ‘fear of missing out’ of friends that could not attend your event. This effect could even be fueled by promoting Livestreams, Snapchat filters that people can share with their friends during the event or by advertising an Aftermovie, when the experience is still fresh in the minds of your visitors.
In addition, you want to be visible throughout the year, so that you remain ‘top of mind’ with your desired audience. It is good to choose clear communication moments throughout the year (at least once per quarter), so that you keep your most important target groups involved. Of course, this is also beneficial from a marketing point of view, so that you can continue to use the ‘warm’ target groups, which are not within your customer database, in your online campaigns, since remarketing lists expire (180 days for the website or 365 days for social media interactions). These ‘warm’ target groups also have a much higher conversion rate on average than people who have interacted with you before. It is therefore important to continuously fill those lists in order to be able to sell your tickets more efficiently down the line.
4. Personalise your messaging
Determine exactly which target groups you want to reach and how you can best address them. You may first have to let people who are completely unaware of your event get a taste of the atmosphere through video content. To people who are already familiar with your festival you can already provide more specific information about the programming, dates, location and the cost of a ticket. You can also be creative by segmenting your audiences based on interests, which allows you to create ads on music genres or artists that match your audience or perhaps segment them based on location, so you could offer tickets with hotel accommodation or camping. The better the communication meets the needs of your target audience, the greater the chance that they will convert.
5. Create a loyal fanbase
80% of festival visitors are returning visitors (Eventbrite). Some festivals are so successful that they sell out within minutes. This is of course not possible without a loyal fan base. So it is extremely valuable to create loyal fans. Make smart use of your customer database and make sure that all tracking is set up properly, so that you can reach the people who visit your website or who have previously bought a ticket for your event. Due to the increasing restrictions in online privacy, it has become all the more important to use your own customer database and to continue to increase it. By offering your visitors exclusivity, you can also tie them more to your event. Loyal fans ultimately provide one of the most important forms of marketing, namely word of mouth. Nothing is better than going to your favourite festival with all your friends. You could offer this exclusivity to your fans by, for example, giveaways, (early bird) discounts, exclusive access (playlists or artist meet and greets) or through merchandise.
6. Keep up with the latest trends
You can also increase your market value by responding to trends. As a pioneer you will stand out as a company. This can be based on which artists you book or sustainable solutions on the festival site itself, but this can of course be extended to online festival marketing. You can do this by using social media trends as a hook or by adapting your content to what is trending at that time. In addition, you can also think of new channels (TikTok, Instagram Reels), the use of creative features (AR or filters on the festival site), by reaching people with special targeting methods (relevant hashtags or playlists) or reaching them at unique locations with digital billboards (DOOH). By keeping up with trends and by being innovative, you stand out in the festival and events sector and create buzz around your festival.
Effective marketing with Hide and Seek?
Do you want to know more about online advertising for your event or festival? Get in touch with Hide and Seek and we can help you with your (online) festival marketing!