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Referral Schemes for Music Festivals.

Andy Robertson

Sometimes called member get member these schemes are marketing programmes that leverage existing customers to recruit new customers. Music festival organisations can utilise these schemes to generate new sales at a vastly reduced cost whilst strengthening brand loyalty at the same time.

Many organisations have used referral schemes as part of their marketing mix for decades and it is often cited as being one of the most cost-effective marketing activities in generating new business. Music festivals are no different and can easily implement a referral programme to generate ticket sales at a reduced cost per sale ultimately resulting in higher margins for the organisation.

How to Operate a Referral Scheme.
The basics of any referral scheme are quite straightforward and is not to dissimilar to a ticket ambassador scheme. A good referral programme will have a sliding scale of rewards and benefits that can be earned by existing customers for recruiting new customers. Festivals often retain large databases of previous and existing ticket buyers and these can be contacted with an appropriate offer. The typical process would be to get customers to refer a friend to sign up for a newsletter or to register for tickets at a discounted rate. Once the referred individual has signed up, they can be tracked and if a sale occurs the referring person is rewarded with discounted ticket prices, add-ons, upgrades or free merchandise for example. 

The Most Cost-Effective Marketing Activity. 
Music festivals always allocate budgets for marketing activities which can be a combination of PR and online campaigns using paid advertising. When measuring these activities, it is essential to assess the cost to recruit a ticket pre-registration or sale and the logging of activity against each activity is easily achieved with most online advertising platforms. Incorporating a referral scheme into the mix of activities can also be accurately measured where the only cost of recruitment is in the rewards or discounts offered. This will always make any referral programme the most cost-effective marketing activity.

Example Schemes. 
Referral schemes can work year-round are not limited to seasonal activity so promotion of them can occur in monthly newsletters to existing customers. Having a sliding scale of rewards can help make customers more active in their recruitment of friends and family with discounts on tickets increasing with the number of new people recruited. If a high number of new customers convert to ticket sales the referrers can be upgraded to a VIP package for example. It costs the referrer nothing to recruit new people and the festival gets new sales at a minimal cost.

Referral schemes work well because existing customers get a sense of being cared for by the festival organisation, they receive something with a perceived monetary value in exchange for their brand loyalty. Existing customers make the best advocates when recruiting friends as new customers and this increases conversion rates from leads to sales.

For festival organisers planning their events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, guestlists, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering.

Photo by Kindel Media via Pexels

Andy Robertson
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