Nothing quite matches the feeling of seeing new mobile numbers and email addresses flow into your data systems from your digital program books. This contact information is accurate and up-to-date, and best of all belongs to interested audience members and their family and friends. But if you want to take this data to the next level, turning leads into dedicated patrons and even subscribers, then timely, targeted follow-up is crucial.
Tip #1: Collect and Organize Lead Data for Smart Tracking
Your audience contact information truly represents lead data because each person is waiting to be converted into a satisfied, returning patron, or even a long-term subscriber or donor. To reach that goal, it’s important to collect and manage contact information in an organized way.
A spreadsheet is the easiest way to quickly add and track contact information, create simple charts, and filter or search through data. As your data collection needs grow, consider taking the next step to a customer relationship management (CRM) system. Many free and low-cost CRMs will help you track different kinds of leads, collect follow-up notes, generate reports, and turn those leads into sustainable patrons.
Once you’ve collected this lead information, it’s important to keep it accurate and up-to-date. This can include marking unsubscribe preferences, updating bounced emails or phone numbers, merging duplicate contacts, and adding ‘opt-in’ information. Having someone on your team in a dedicated data manager role can be a huge help.
Tip #2: Craft Effective Follow-up Messages
Effective follow-up messaging is critical to making a lead feel like a valued patron instead of an annoyed junk mail recipient. And most importantly, effective messaging engages your patrons so they always click to open your messages and read more. To craft an effective follow-up message:
- Use short, catchy taglines to capture attention in the subject line
- Include their name to personalize the message
- Don’t bury the lead! Keep your main point or call to action in the first two sentences
- Customize the message based on the audience segment; for example, people who missed a performance versus people who attended
- Links should be easy to see and click; images should support and not clutter the message
- For SMS messages, follow the same tips but on a much shorter scale, around 160 characters or less
Tip #3: Pick the Right Timing and Frequency for Follow-Up
Nothing is more annoying than daily promotional emails that border on spam. To pick the right frequency of follow-up messaging, think about the goal of the message. To thank someone for attending an event, donating money or requesting information, you should send a message within 1 day if possible. To promote upcoming events or follow up on a touch point, you might limit the frequency to every 2 – 3 weeks. Try to group upcoming event announcements in your messaging and establish a regular cadence and format so patrons know what to expect when they read your message. Once you have the follow-up frequency and messaging established, consider using an email marketing tool to automate and streamline the process.
Tip #4: Measure and Analyze the Effectiveness of Follow-Up
Creating a plan for tracking contact information and generating follow-up messaging is a great start. But to realize the full potential of your strategy, you need to track the success or conversion rates of your follow-up. This way you can analyze what works and what’s lacking, and then improve your messaging techniques for greater success. Some of the most valuable metrics include open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. This can apply to SMS messages, digital program books, and email messages and will typically be generated and reported by those marketing or program book platforms.
With this data in hand, you can make informed decisions about marketing campaigns and outreach efforts, and focus your money and energy where you see the greatest return. As you optimize your future follow-up campaigns, you can expect to see more audience engagement and patron interest in your organization.
Putting It All Together
The only ‘wrong’ data tracking and messaging campaign is the one you never start! Whether you start small with some simple data entry or jump all the way into a CRM with automated email software, your digital program book will give you the critical data that underpin your efforts. Are you ready to implement these tips and best practices and further maximize your ROI? Contact us to learn more about how Audience Access can open the door to lead management and follow-up campaign success.