How to engage and retain your festival’s most loyal fans

It’s helpful to look at engaging and retaining your festival’s most loyal fans in two parts. 

The first? Engagement. You might be a first-time festival promoter starting from the ground up. So, your marketing techniques will revolve around piquing someone’s interest and getting them through the gates. 

The second? Retention. Post-festival, you’ll be busy analysing data, looking at ways to improve your event in time for next year. One way you can achieve retention is by turning those first-time attendees into full-blown fans. 

Established festival promoters might find engagement pretty straightforward. The festival has a good reputation, they can secure big-name acts and they’ve settled into a groove when it comes to running the festival. 

But all promoters can benefit from retention. 

When you retain fans, you open the door to many benefits. A loyal fan of your festival can help you create a core fanbase and promote your festival via word of mouth. That can help you boost ticket sales. If you’re expanding the festival or bringing something new in, those core fans will follow you through thick and thin. 

So, we’re going to take a look at two ways you can engage people and three ways you can retain them.

Engage the eye with UGC

UGC, short for User Generated Content, can help you get people through the gates. 

It’s authentic, cost-effective and free from glossy, overproduced imagery. You’re putting someone right in the mind’s eye of the crowd.

If your festival has been running for a while, you can find footage from old events. But if you’re a newcomer, you can find a video of your headliner from another festival and use it. Whichever route you go down, ensure you obtain credit from the person who filmed it. 

Once you find the footage, make sure to create an enticing hook. A popular one is ‘POV: You’re in the crowd’, but you don’t have to stick to that. If you can come up with something that grabs interest, that’s great. 

Use Paid Media’s targeting capabilities

Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are brimming with potential due to the sheer number of people that use them. 

Facebook, for example, has 44.84 million users in the U.K. alone. Instagram isn’t far behind, boasting a user base of around 35 million people as of February 2023. 

Both platforms offer specialised targeting, meaning you can use things like age, gender, location and even the user’s place of work to target. If you nail the targeting, you’ll get in-depth results. 

Combine that with some clever creative, and you’ll be on the way to engaging customers. Hopefully, you can retain them later on down the line, too. 

Offer discounts as a goodwill gesture

Everyone loves a discount. 

Better yet, you can offer them at any time. 

Let’s use the example of a festival in its second year. You had some high praise from attendees; they loved the line-up, the sound was great, and the customer service was swift. These are the people you want to retain. 

So, why not offer them a discount? You can generate discount codes in the Promotion Centre, use your first-party data and send a bespoke email with the details. Retention is about building up the positive experiences someone has with your brand, and a personalised discount saves your customer money while making them feel valued. It’s a solid retention tactic.

Generate some hype via social media, too. Tell your followers to keep an eye on their inbox at a specific time, as you’ll be handing out discount codes to a select number of customers. 

Alternatively, you could create a form, ask customers who attended last year to fill it in, provide proof of purchase and check that data with your own. 

Create community and exclusivity around your festival

Why not create a community around your festival?

You can create online groups with WhatsApp or Facebook. Once you’ve created your group and invited people in, you can use it to offer discounts and deals on tickets, merch and drinks tokens, using the group to get customer feedback. 

If your festival is catered to a niche interest, even better.

Photo: Anton / Pexels.com

You can then use the group to encourage interaction between like-minded people, the festival becoming a meet-up point for kindred spirits. 

Lots of brands treat their customers like numbers. However, these are the people who help you expand and bring the atmosphere to your site. So, connecting those people through their interests and a degree of exclusivity will go a long way to encouraging loyalty, engagement and retention.

Be informative, responsive and nail your operations

When the details of your festival and the context around who is playing are easy to find, you’ll find it easier to engage and retain customers. 

The same goes for helping attendees with any problems they might have before, during and after the festival. If someone has a complaint or a question, you want to solve it quickly. 

It’s something that’ll help you in the long run. The customer you helped out efficiently when they had a problem? They’ll remember that, and it’ll go a long way to building trust in your brand, which plays a big part in engaging and retaining your festival’s most loyal fans. 

You can offer all the deals in the world and have the best marketing. However, if your festival doesn’t get the basics right? You won’t get anywhere. 

It’s about making your event the best part of an attendee’s summer. Booking the right acts will help you, but you need to ensure that sound quality, production, customer service and medical services are all top-notch. 

Delivering the highest quality service will make an impression on your attendees, ultimately bringing them back year on year. 

Got a question you need an answer to? Give us a call on 03333010301 or ask us a question over on the Skiddle Promoter Twitter account by clicking or tapping on the button below. Alternatively, you can also find a list of our most frequently asked questions over at https://help.promotioncentre.co.uk 

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