How The Hamilton Live Upleveled Their Event Marketing
It’s no secret that Washington DC has a thriving music scene. Over the past decade, cutting-edge music venues have been attracting big crowds and locking down the city as a definite tour stop for bands of all sizes.
For a venue to stand out it needs a bulletproof marketing strategy, backed by technology, that will draw in the crowds. Just ask Keith Berquist, marketing manager at The Hamilton Live, a music venue and restaurant in downtown DC. Just two blocks from the White House, The Hamilton Live attracts both locals and tourists with its eclectic, high-quality programming and inventive dining experiences.
The Hamilton Live operates under the umbrella of a Clyde’s Restaurant Group, but was (and remains) the first of its venues to pull off a hybrid music and dining concept. As such, Keith and his team also had to blaze their own trail when it came to promoting shows and ticket sales.
When The Hamilton Live opened its doors in 2011, their ticketing provider at the time didn’t meet a lot of their needs. It wasn’t built for concert venues, the team didn’t have access to sophisticated marketing tools, and the tactics that they were able to deploy went untracked, so it was difficult to measure success.
When Keith joined the team in 2015, The Hamilton Live had upgraded their ticketing technology and made the switch to Ticketfly. Keith quickly realized that there was much more that they could be doing on the platform — especially when it came to tracking their marketing campaigns.
Keith also saw that their cookie-cutter approach to promoting shows needed to be revamped, but without the right metrics it was difficult to make his case.
Keith partnered with Ticketfly to make the most out of the platform and uplevel The Hamilton Live’s marketing strategy. In 2017, Ticketfly joined forces with Eventbrite to launch the next-generation live music solution, Eventbrite Music, which includes the functionality that the Hamilton came to know and love on Ticketfly. With a new partnership in place, Keith set out to:
• Get visibility into the metrics they needed to understand their success
• Drive sales from an underutilized channel — email marketing
By the numbers:
Increase in email click rates
Increase in ticket sales through email
Return on investment (ROI) from marketing spend
Getting visibility into the metrics they needed to measure their success
Keith knew that the venue’s marketing strategy needed work, but without the right tools, he couldn’t track what was driving sales.
“Our marketing was more of an art than a science, because it was so hard to track,” explains Keith. “It was frustrating for me because I’m typically very data-driven. There were no pixels so we couldn’t do any retargeting. We had no insight into conversion rates. And we had little knowledge about how attendees even heard about our shows. The metrics just weren’t there.”
Once on Ticketfly (and now Eventbrite Music), Keith could easily implement tracking pixels on all of their digital campaigns to measure performance. To gain even deeper insight, he also added a question to the checkout process to learn where fans heard about their shows.
“The pixels and custom checkout questions have saved me so much time from head-scratching and trying to figure out what was working,” says Keith. “I can pull the data that I need, analyze the results, and confidently make decisions.”
“The fact that I can go to my boss and justify what we’re spending on advertising by proving our ROI makes my job so much easier. It allows me to back up the strategies that I’ve created and illustrates my own expertise.”
– Keith Berquist, Marketing Manager
Not only can Keith see which ad campaigns are drawing people to their website, but he can also accurately track who converts to a ticket-buyer.
“Before, I was going off of click-through-rates, but a click doesn’t necessarily mean that the person completes their purchase,” explains Keith. “Now I have a definitive answer about the percentage of people actually buying tickets, and I can prove our ROI. I work a lot faster and it’s reaffirming for me to know that I’m going in the right direction. The numbers don’t lie.”
Driving sales from an underutilized channel — email marketing
With deeper insights and more metrics, Keith began to see significant increases in performance — and ticket sales. One of the biggest drivers of this was tapping into a channel that was largely unused — email.
“The biggest thing that drove ticket sales was improving our email strategy,” explains Keith. He began using Ticketfly’s integrated email tool that’s now available in Eventbrite Music.
“We noticed our campaigns doing significantly better in terms of open, click through, and conversion rates, when we started using the Emailer tool.” Over one month, Keith reported a 21% increase in click through rates and a 36% increase in ticket sales directly attributed to email. “The ROI on that is insane because it’s a totally free channel,” says Keith.
Another bonus? The templates that they leverage through Emailer are all mobile optimized, so The Hamilton Live always meets fans’ expectations for a seamless purchase experience on their phones.
Taking on the next big thing
The Hamilton Live’s sophisticated marketing strategy has proven to be successful. “Overall, our sales are higher and we’re working more efficiently because we can keep track of the ROI of our various marketing efforts,” explains Keith.
“Being a small venue means that you have few resources and limited money, so the growth in efficiency has been huge. We can do the same amount of work, if not more, using less.”
— Keith Berquist, Marketing Manager
“This year, everything has come together,” says Keith, “and now we’re ready for more big changes.” The Hamilton Live is preparing to open up a second venue in the area and Keith feels confident that they’ll be successful with Eventbrite as their partner.
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