Walker Recipe 11: Ticket Buyer Emails

Organization Name: The Walker Art Center

City: Minneapolis

Program Name: Ticket Buyer Emails

Program When Elaborate: Various times

Goal: This online initiative aimed to tie together all the ways to interact with audiences and other engagement programs offered. This was part of Walker’s effort to connect all programs through common audience engagement threads, focusing on developing scalable, replicable models to engage audiences before, during, and after performances.

Program Description:

Targeted Ticket Buyer emails provide information, either immediately after the audience members bought tickets to a dance show or after they attended the performance. Pre-show emails include links to discounted tickets for other upcoming shows, links to blogs, articles, video footage and audio podcasts. Post-show emails include similar links to reviews, articles, pertinent content on the Walker Channel, information about upcoming shows, discounted ticket offers, surveys, or a link to the Walker blogs with the byline: “Join the conversation.” These emails point people back to the Walker blog, where they can add their comments. See the mixed experiences we had with this strategy, which are described below and may be of interest to others considering it.

Number of Participants: The ticket buyer emails are sent to all ticket buyers.

Target Audience: Overall target audience is generally a younger (under 40) tech-savvy audience drawing from the local communities and Walker's other artistic disciplines.

Private/Public Public

Nature of Audience Engagement: Audience members were to read emails and then to respond by reading about artists or purchasing tickets, hopefully resulting in increased interest or ticket sales.

Location: This is an email service that takes place online

How Many Staff: Usually one marketing person creates and edits the emails. They do send drafts to the managers of projects for approvals prior to sending out.

Attendance To Date: During EDA (Round One), the Walker created pre- and post-show emails for 4 of our shows: 42% of the recipients on average opened the email at all, with 18% of the recipients on average clicking through to any part of the email.

What works? The pre- and post-show emails to ticket buyers nimbly tied together all the ways we attempted to interact with audiences before, during, and after a dance performance and helped our audiences connect the dots to all the initiatives surrounding a single artist's engagement. We have simplified and standardized the ticket buyer email to include the following information: transportation info, links to background information on the performance, links to program notes, and upcoming events of interest.

What doesn't work? Special pre- and post-show emails to ticket buyers were ultimately abandoned as an initiative because they failed to generate enough click-throughs or audience feedback of any kind to be measurably effective. These multi-layered missives were also highly time intensive to prepare and send. In addition, the emails might have been too much information at once for our patrons: overload.

Performances Where Offered: We do these emails for all of our dance performances.

Past Research on Program: Walker’s EDA-related research included distributing surveys to measure differences in audience’s engagement with the performance, comparing those who participated in Walker’s array of EDA-sponsored activities versus those who did not participate with positive results for those who did participate in the survey. This research was across various types of events, so is not specific to the A Think & A Drink. Engagement activities—particularly post-performance, or a combination of post-performance and online activity, resulted in significantly stronger reports of impact (captivation, feeling challenged, emotional and spiritual resonance, connecting with the dancers on stage, connecting with the audience, and the impression left by the performance) compared to those who did not participate in any engagement activities.

Continuing Program? Yes, we sent our standardized emails.

Additional Comments:

Note: This entry was taken from the Walker's Recipe Book for Audience Engagement, a product that their staff created during Round One of EDA. The full recipe book is available on the Dance/USA website (see EDA Audience Engagement Resource Library).

Resources & Links:

Please see the information about the Walker Art Center and its recipe book on the Dance/USA website:
Read a profile about the project, and access related products, including the Recipe Book: http://www2.danceusa.org/walkerartcenter
See a resource guide about the project, and view videos from Walker staff about it: http://www.danceusa.org/edalearningexchangescontent
The recipe book is attached below.

Target Audiences College Students Young Adults, 25-35 Seniors General Audiences Families or kid-friendly

Online Engagement Online