You've done all the work to get your audiences in the door. Now how do you keep them coming back for more?
Here are eight tips for engaging and retaining your ticket buyers.
1. Gather and Store Their Contact Information
The very first step is an obvious but vital one: ensure you have a system (ticketing and/or email marketing) to gather and store your ticket buyer data. Without this, it's going to be really tricky to communicate and engage with them.
2. Survey Them
Once you have their data, the next step is to get to know and understand their needs. Use surveys to get their feedback. Ask them questions like:
- Why do you come to our concerts?
- What is your favorite thing about coming to a concert?
- What was your most memorable concert experience and why?
- Which piece from the program and/or season was your favorite and why? Least favorite and why?
- How did you hear about the concert?
- How much are you willing to pay for this type of concert?
- What motivates you to attend a choral concert?
- What do you hope to get out of attending a choral concert?
- Do you go to other arts or choral performances in the town/city? Which ones?
- What repertoire would you like to hear from the chorus and why?
You may also wish to obtain demographics such as age, sex, gender identity, ethnicity, occupation, education level, or income level. When gathering demographic data, ensure that demographic questions are optional and not required. Explain why you are asking for this information and how you will use the data.
3. Create Content That Excites Them
Once you know your audience more, try to create content that makes them laugh, inspires them, and keeps them excited about your organization. If your survey results conclude that your audience likes Bach, try creating Bach-related content. Examples might include a blog with Bach facts, silly Bach memes on social, or programming more Bach into your performances.
4. Hold Receptions at the Concerts
One great way to ensure an audience at your performance is to host a reception at the concert. Market the reception as you sell tickets and remind ticket buyers to attend.
While at the reception, work the crowds and mingle with your ticket buyers. Try to find out more about why they come to your concerts, how they felt about the performance, and ask whether they will come again. If you have time, send a follow up email to the people you met at the reception thanking them personally for attending.
5. Invite Them to Events
Instead of only asking your ticket buyers to buy concert tickets, try inviting them to other events such as open rehearsals, summer sings, fundraisers, or receptions. Keeping them engaged and active with your choral community will help them feel more invested in the organization and more likely to buy in the future.
6. Offer Opportunities to Get Involved Musically
Audiences may love choral music but don't always have the opportunity to make music. You can provide them with that opportunity. Add a few sing-alongs at your holiday concerts, invite ticket buyers to sing at a rehearsal or summer sing, ask them for programming suggestions, or even offer the chance for one lucky person to conduct on stage every year.
7. Offer Volunteer Opportunities
Getting ticket buyers invested in the organization is key for building a long-term relationship. One great way to get someone immediately invested is by having them volunteer. Provide your audiences with volunteer opportunities within the organization - whether it be something small like ushering or something large like being on the board. Keep these opportunities listed publicly and marketed to your ticket buyers when possible.
8. Reach Out Individually
Building personal relationships takes one-on-one time. While time is limited for choral organizations, it can pay off big time to personally thank your audience members. Leave notes on their chairs in the audience, follow up with them individually after the concerts, or talk to them in the lobby. Anything you can do to talk to your ticket buyers one-on-one will contribute to a healthy long-term relationship. These little things can really make your ticket buyers feel extra special and keep them wanting more!
Tori Cook is the former Director of Sales & Marketing at Chorus Connection. She sings with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and is a board member of the Greater Boston Choral Consortium. In a past life, she was the Music Director of the Harborlight Show Chorus and President of Chorus pro Musica in Boston. When not making music, she daydreams about adopting a golden retriever puppy and scuba diving to exotic locations around the world.