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August 2, 2022

Just Because Someone is On Your Email List Doesn't Mean They'll Buy A Ticket

You’ve got 60,000 people on your database. You need to sell 15,000 tickets for your next event to sell out. Easy money, you’ve got it in the bag. 

Well, it may be at first glance. 

Yes, your database is 400% larger than your capacity but that doesn’t mean all 60,000 will be fighting for a ticket. 

And, at best, you need 25% to buy a ticket. Is that a conversion rate you want to risk the success or failure of a sell-out on? 

You may have read our recent position on databases saying that bigger isn’t always better, and that does ring true. But, that’s not to say a big database doesn’t come in handy either. 

We’ll look at why you should actively grow your database at every possible opportunity and how to segment it so you can understand the make-up of your database better. By doing these simple things, you can confidently sell out your next event. 

A Bird’s Eye View 

Before we dive into a deeper analysis of your database, it’s worth remembering that your database is made up of living, breathing human beings each with their own personalities, likes, dislikes, life stages and financial situations. 

All of these evolve with each fan as they grow, mature and move through their lives.

Genre Preferences 

You may have 60,000 on that database of yours, but maybe only 10,000 of those are passionate about folk rock, and guess what? That show you need to sell 15,000 tickets to is a folk rock artist. 

Good luck convincing the 25,000 hard rock fans and the 25,000 pop music fans you have on your database that they should part with their hard-earned dollars to see an act in a genre they don’t resonate with. 

The Game of Life 

Fans’ disposable income also fluctuates as they move through life. Those who had cash to splash on gigs 5 years ago may have gone on to have a family. 

Now, have three mouths to feed instead of one and very little time on their hands to catch a solid 8 hours’ sleep, let alone slap on the skinny jeans to come rock out on a Saturday night. 

And, of those 10,000 folk rock fans you have on your database, 1,500 are now saving for a home reducing their disposable income and another 1,500 now live overseas due to work, study or are simply just “discovering themselves” Eat, Pray, Love style. 

You now have 7,000 potential ticket buyers on that big old database of yours. 

So, with a bird’s eye view of your database already, you can see how a few simple external factors outside of your control such as genre preference, disposable income, life stage and current location take what you once thought was a 60,000-strong database down to 7,000. 

And, who’s to say all 7,000 of those fans are free that night? We could keep going, but you get the point. 

The Numbers Don’t Lie 

A recent review of Audience Republic’s customer data reveals why now, post-COVID is more important than ever to be actively growing your database.

Less than 20% of fans who bought tickets in pre-pandemic times have continued to purchase tickets post-March 2020.

This statistic effectively means 80% (or more) of your database is not buying tickets anymore. You’ll need to make these numbers up as fast as possible by collecting new contacts and building your database through word of mouth if you want to return to sold-out events. 

The Database Deep Dive

Diving into your database a little deeper, you should now be looking at those 7,000 fans and asking yourself who are the fans and who are the subscribers? 

What Is A Subscriber? 

Go check your email inbox and count all the newsletters and mailing lists you’ve subscribed to over the years. 

How many of those do you actually interact with, read or buy products from? Our guess is not many. 

The same applies to your database. You’ll have thousands of people on there who’ve subscribed to your database as part of a previous presale campaign or purchased tickets, but how long ago was that and have they interacted with you since? 

Subscribers, in theory, really only give you bragging rights and that's it. You get the satisfaction of quoting a huge number to competitors and colleagues in meetings but do subscriber numbers really drive ticket sales? No. 

Do not make the mistake of overestimating what subscribers actually do for your database as fans are far more important. 

Just because someone is opted in and gets your email or SMS, it doesn’t mean they will open it, engage with it or buy a ticket. 


What Is A Fan?

A fan is someone who actively engages with you. 

They’re engaging with you via commenting on and sharing social posts, they’re regularly buying tickets and referring their friends to shows, and they may even open a dialogue with you by sending you DMs or emails to give feedback or share ideas. 

Put simply, they are actively involved and engaged with what you have created and these fans are like pure gold. 

As you gather fans you gather an active user base. A group of people who are almost guaranteed to buy tickets to your next event, and more importantly advocate for and market your event to their friends giving you the invaluable power of word-of-mouth

Nielsen’s 2021 Trust in Advertising Study showed the invaluable effect word-of-mouth has as part of your marketing strategy finding the “88% of global respondents trust recommendations from people they know more than any other channel.”

Do everything in your power to connect with fans who actively engage with you, don't be afraid to personally message them to expand on things they’ve said, react and reply to their comments and treat them to money can’t buy experiences or even simple surprise and delight moments. 

In the post-COVID live event industry where the market is over-saturated with events to make up for two years’ worth of missed revenue, now it is more important than ever to identify these fans and find ways to retain them. 

After all, they will be your biggest ally. 

Subscriber or Fan? That is the question. 

The only way to answer this question is to segment your database to determine the subscribers from the fans.

Better segmentation will allow for accurate campaign targeting and a more cost-effective ad spend.  

But First, Get Your House In Order 

Before you get segmenting, it’s important that your data is housed in one place where you can get a complete overview of all your subscribers. 

Using a purpose-built CRM that can import all your ticket sales data, email subscribers & presale campaign registrations is the first and crucial step in being able to unlock the power of segmentation. 

Filtering to Create Segments

Applying Audience Republic’s custom-built filters allows you to segment your database to gain unique insights about your audience.  

The ways in which you apply filters will allow you to start discovering segments of your database you never knew existed making it all the more easier to understand them and then work out who will be a perfect fit for your next event (and who won’t be). 

Defining Your Fans

When it comes down to understanding who are your fans among the subscribers, using filters such as the following, will help you uncover those fans:

  • Total ticket spend
  • Number of tickets purchased
  • Total referrals
  • Total points 
  • Date ranges 

You may also choose to add or use other filters to fit your definition of what a fan is on your database. Just make sure you’ve got a clear set of parameters to qualify your fans. 

Once fans are identified, you can then look to your subscribers to see who you could convert into fans and who will stay as subscribers. 

Defining Your Subscribers 

Not all subscribers are created equal.

You’ve determined who your fans are, so all that’s left are your subscribers. Great! But, you should then be looking to drill down even further and understand your subscriber base deeper. 

Create other segments/personas of your subscribers to understand: 

  • Who might be able to be converted to fans
  • Who are potential ticket buyers and;
  • Who subscribed 4 years ago, hasn’t been active since and probably won’t buy a ticket 

Converting Subscribers to Fans

The goal is to grow the number of identifiable fans you have on your database as they will be the ones who buy the most tickets at a frequent rate. 

Converting subscribers to fans is no easy feat but one that should be part of your plans if you want to sell more tickets. 

Fans are more active in word-of-mouth promotion persuading friends, family and colleagues to buy tickets to shows based on one simple factor, their passion. 

Here are three thought starters on how to convert subscribers into fans: 

  1. Presale campaigns are a great way to convert more dormant subscribers by incentivising them with money can’t buy experiences.

    A great presale campaign leverages the power of word-of-mouth and rewards the highest point earners with prizes that everyone wants.

    Subscribers wanting to score the highly sought-after private jet experience or meet and greets with their favourite artist will become more active as they seek to earn points by sharing the campaign registration link and win the prizes on offer.

  2. Identify those subscribers on your database who are almost at fan status. What will it take to get them over the line and turn them into a fan?

    Creative ways to surprise and delight these subscribers will see them nurtured into becoming fans.

    Could it be small gifts, discounts, merch packs that makes them feel the love and want to interact with you on a more regular basis to score more perks?

    The ‘Almost Fan’ is an important segment of your subscribers to pay attention to and with the proper nurturing in place, they can become fans.

  3. Create FOMO. Use your existing fans to convert the subscribers. Don’t just reward fans and let it end there.

    Capture their reactions to winning money can’t buy experiences, document their private jet or side-of-stage experience and share it with subscribers.

    This will be the social proof you need to get those subscribers thinking “that could be me” and get them to move from dormant subscribers to active fans within your database.  

The Importance of Fans in 2022 and Beyond

In a post-COVID world where globally the live events industry is seeing last-minute purchasing and less traction on announcements, ticket holders not showing up to the show and a mass saturation of live events making competition for ticket sales even harder, there’s no denying there are new challenges facing the industry. 

Luke Girgis, CEO at The Brag Media noted on the Fear at the Top podcast that “I’ve been speaking to a lot of promoters and they’re all saying it’s really hard to get the same traction on an announce that they used to have pre-COVID and that people are just waiting a lot longer to buy tickets”. 

Veteran promoter and four-time winner of Pollstar's International Promoter of the Year, Michael Chugg says he has seen worrying signs globally where “up to 25% of ticketholders aren’t turning up at the gigs”. 

There is no doubt that with these issues facing the live events industry currently that having a larger base of fans and even more active subscribers, as opposed to dormant ones, will help to overcome these issues.

Fans would hardly fork out on their hard-earned money and not turn up to a show. They will be the ones urging their friends and family to get out of the house and come back to live events with them. 

It’s a subtle art, but growing and actively segmenting your database cannot be underestimated.

It may take some time, learning and testing to fully unlock your database’s potential, but you only get out what you put in. 

Getting started shouldn’t be scary or daunting. Our team of product specialists work with our customers to simplify the process.

On a quick demo of the platform, they’ll run through our purpose-built CRM and show you just how easy it is to start growing and owning your database to sell more tickets. 

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Article by
Zac Messih

Zac is the Content & Partnerships Marketing Manager at Audience Republic. His previous experience includes working at Live Nation and top global creative agencies such as Leo Burnett and DDB.