Here’s our Q&A:
Q: How did you decide who to reach out to in Eugene with the ticket offer?
This was our first time experimenting with this type of outreach and promotion. I focused on trying to connect with people who were chatting about Eugene entertainment (especially Broadway related), local press (tv, radio, newspapers, critics), and people who have a large following.
Obviously, people who only met the “large following” criteria weren’t the most qualified for the promotion, but it only takes a few from this group to respond to create a buzz. I did my research on Twitter search & Twitter directories (like LocalTweeps & WeFollow), and found bloggers through Google & blogrolls.
I gathered about 3-4x the number of names than we had tickets and prioritized by # followers, relevancy, and how easy it was to connect with them (were they already following me, could I find an email address). This is the piece of the project that took the longest & from there I was able to stagger invites up to the day before show opening. We’ll use this list for future promotions in the area, though.
Actual tickets sold using the coupon code communicated were relatively small, but it did not apply to all seats or showtimes. From reading the resulting buzz, it seems that people were interested in going after opening night & were purchasing tickets. It’s impossible to know if people saw a tweet and purchased a more expensive, better seat for the show. We ran a similar promotion around the same time in Seattle and the code used there sold a significant number of seats. The code was not unique to the promotion I was running, though.
I tried the best I could to follow up on all of the people who accepted the tickets and record the blog postings & Twitter mentions. It’s extremely difficult to measure the impact of a viral marketing buzz, but the promotion did seem to help bring awareness of the event to people on Twitter.
There were several RTs of the promo code and it was picked up by a couple of media accounts. (Again, this was amplified in the Seattle example). The blogs helped, but didn’t seem to make much of an impact for organic search since indexing of content isn’t immediate as it is in Twitter. The most useful blog postings appeared on media & entertainment websites.
One thing happened that was extremely interesting to me. I also manage locally targeted paid search accounts in Google for each event. Typically, show specific keyword searches in Eugene tend to be relatively small (keywords like “Spamalot” or “Spamalot Hult Center”). I rely on more broad searches, like “Eugene Musicals” to bring in visits. As soon as I started to notice some buzz about the show on Twitter, there was an immediate spike in Google search traffic for the keyword “Spamalot”.
“Spamalot” ended up being the second highest click volume keyword for the entire campaign and there was relatively little traffic prior to the Twitter promotion. While I cannot prove anything, I have to assume that the Twitter buzz did drive some curious people to learn more about the show through Google. It was very interesting to see first-hand how social marketing can contribute to and fit into a larger, more comprehensive online marketing strategy.
My client is the presenter (NewSpace Entertainment, or Broadway in Eugene). They help to coordinate with the show, venue, & producers to bring shows to venues, like the Hult Center. They also produce several other shows & upcoming tours (101 Dalmatians, Wedding Singer, Walking With Dinosaurs).
Yes!! In short, the biggest challenge was trying to create credibility for the company & offer. I found some great potential invitees that were relevant & had a high number of followers, but had no way to connect with them. I tried to avoid publically inviting others on Twitter so if someone didn’t follow back, I had to ask them to follow me.
As a business, you want to be careful to protect your reputation and I worried a bit about the “creepy factor” in reaching out to people out of the blue. I got a few questions like, “are the tickets really free?” and I’m sure quite a few people were skeptical. The project was also a bigger time-sucker than anticipated. There was quite a bit of follow-up & coordination required with individuals who RSVP’d. In sure this is something that long-term will become more streamlined with experience. I did not get any negative feedback about the campaign, though, other than one person who mentioned that being called a “tweeter” was patronizing!
You can follow Heather at @BroadwayTweets. The season finale of Broadway in Eugene is May 30-31 (Spelling Bee Musical) and you can expect a tweet from me about the show. My tickets are waiting at will call. It’s fun to support my fellow PR and marketing peeps in their efforts and who doesn’t love a good show?