5 Proven Ways to Gain Repeat Customers

You spend a lot of time and resources developing effective marketing strategies that bring first-time ticket buyers in the door, but are you making the most of your customer retention efforts? Without additional targeted outreach, less than half of newcomers are likely to return for another event. Adding them to your monthly newsletter and sending them a post-performance thank you email is great, but there’s so much more you can be doing! Read on for five fool-proof ways to turn first-time ticket buyers into lifetime patrons.


Why You should Market to Current Patrons

Before we talk about how to keep one-time buyers around, let’s dive into why it’s important. As a rule of thumb, it’s less costly to retain a current customer than to acquire a new one. Why, you might ask? Unlike new customers, past buyers have already expressed an interest in your programming. All they need now is an extra push to come back. Getting patrons to return for a second (and third, and fourth!) visit will start to establish loyalty to your organization. They’ll be more likely to become brand ambassadors, donate more, and buy into additional perks. Invest in these relationships now, and they’ll certainly pay off in the long run!


How to Keep in Touch with Your Customers

Personalize Your Newsletter

Instead of sending out a weekly or monthly newsletter to all patrons, get personal! Show that you understand what your new buyers are interested in and customize your content to their past visit or their unique interests. This includes sharing official photos from recent performances, recommendations for similar shows, and even supplementary experiences with the same director or actors. Be sure to keep your communication consistent (but not too frequent). Usually, the sweet spot is somewhere between once a month to once a week. You want to create valuable newsletters with information that resonates with your patrons, so it’s better to send fewer emails that each pack a punch.


Celebrate Special Occasions

Show new patrons you value them by celebrating key moments throughout the year. Using the data you already have, you can send e-cards for big milestones, like the anniversary of the first performance they attended! Holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Valentine’s Day are also a great time to reach out and let patrons know you’re thinking about them. To really show your appreciation, you can even offer a discount on their next purchase as a gift and incentivize them to return soon. They won’t forget it!


Stay Engaged on Social Media

Social media is a key way to stay connected with your audiences. Posting consistently (at least 2-3 times a week) ensures you stay top of mind with your followers. To foster an engaged online community, encourage your attendees to tag your organization in their social media posts about their experience. Then reshare those posts to your accounts right away. When interacting on social media, be sure to like and comment on patrons’ posts about the performances they attended, and even give them a follow. These simple acts can go a long way.


Show Your Appreciation

Especially in the nonprofit sector, you need to show your thanks (beyond that traditional thank you email)! After the show, offer your patrons exclusive discounts, pre- or post-show educational sessions, or exclusive performer meet & greets. You should even consider inviting first-time buyers to a reception after another one of your shows, complete with refreshments and opportunities to connect with other patrons. This shows buyers that their relationship with you is more than just a ticket purchase; it’s an invitation into a tight-knit community that extends beyond the gallery, stage, or screen.


Address Their Needs

Listening to your customers and taking their feedback to heart is one of the most meaningful initiatives you can take. When you send that first post-show thank you email, be sure to ask them to fill out a brief survey about their experience. If they do, surprise them with a discount or pre-sale opportunity to reward them for their attention. Most importantly, take steps to address their concerns to make future experiences even better for all your patrons.


Taking these steps will ensure new and longtime patrons feel appreciated. By nurturing these relationships through your marketing efforts, you’ll have a loyal audience to attend future shows, donate more to your causes, and bring their friends into the fold!



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