In past years, we ran a Cyber Monday membership sale. Because of what we’ve been talking about in these meetings, we decided to run a membership special throughout September and October instead of just focusing on Cyber Monday. We had a 4.2% response rate with 27% member renewals during this period at an 18% cost. This is excellent for us; we are thrilled with the results.
We took a multi-tiered approach to our supporters who have contributed for 5+ years (donors and season ticket holders.) First, we sent a special offer that slashed rates on our annual fund levels “if they would commit now.” We included an offer to have coffee with one of our staff; 15 people have taken us up on that offer to have coffee and the majority have brought checks with them! Overall, our campaign was very successful and we intend to continue to follow the “patron ladder” model to more success!
We’ve also organized our overall strategy so that the marketing department works to upgrade single ticket buyers to multiple-ticket buyers and after they become multiple-ticket buyers for a period of time, then we begin to cultivate them as donors in addition to selling tickets to them. This is working much better and we are having success with the approach.
We’re learning to “stop and assess.” We are looking at everything we do under the lens of “does it help us to build or increase loyalty from our audience?” One example is our curtain speeches. Administrators used to do the curtain speeches; we changed this to having our actors and dancers do the curtain speech. The first night we did this we got $600 in additional donations, the second night $2,000. This momentum has continued. We get it!
Since moving to our new location, we’ve struggled to get our previous patrons to learn where we are. We focused on the people who had attended a show at our previous location during the past three yearsbut had not yet attended a show at our new location. We sent a half price offer toget them to our new location and had a success rate of more than 33%.
We’ve struggled with collecting information from our free performances but now we have volunteers with clipboards roam the audience and ask people for their information – and they are giving the information to us!
To figure out why we weren’t collecting data from our ticket purchasers, I hung out at the box office to see how they were handling phone sales. I learned that the staff were not doing it properly; as a result, we had a training session about what information we need to capture from our ticket buyers, e.g. “we need ALL of the information fields in the software filled in, not just name!” It is going much better and we are capturing more information, resulting in an increase in ticket sales.
As a result of what we’ve learned at the Roundtable, we are now using Google docs to share information among our staff team and minimize our addiction to checking email (which is mostly us sending email to each other) thus saving a lot of time to focus on what we need to be doing.
We expanded our Fast Pass to online purchases (reaching a broader audience) and our sales have dramatically expanded.
We’ve been working on non-traditional collaborations as a result of what we’ve learned. Because of a performance we did at Georgia Tech, we now have a partnership with the Atlanta Science Festival and are working on programs we can do at the intersection of art and science.
We met to see where our common ground is and this resulted in a joint exhibition of craft work. We are tremendously excited about the collaboration and the exposure to each other’s visitors and patrons.
We are working on “radical hospitality” and being more welcoming to every person who comes through our front door. We speak to each person, get his or her contact information, and ask for a donation above the admission fee. This has been very successful and we are going to continue to train our staff to engage with our visitors in the hope that we can move them up the “patron ladder.”
We instituted “pay what you can” nights for evenings that had traditionally been slow ticket sale nights. These have been tremendously successful, and on one recent evening, we “sold” every seat. We’ve also captured all of the names and information of these donors so that we can follow up with them. We are optimistic about these new patrons.
We re-organized our staff so that we could invest in two positions who welcome visitors at our front desk (in shifts so that all of our open hours are covered by a live person.) The staff person welcomes all visitors, captures all of their contact information, and asks for a donation. This is going very well and our donations have increased significantly. We’ve increased our visitor traffic and this change in our staffing model will allow us to capture the information so that we can develop relationships with our visitors (as opposed to our visitors beingone-time donors, if at all.)