We’ve all seen the famous hashtag, and chances are, we’ve probably used it once or twice ourselves. Those two words dominated the first few months of quarantine, encouraging people around the world to do their part in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
The hashtag united societies all over the globe, fostering a community of friends and strangers who motivated one another to stay committed to the cause.
But for industries that rely on in-person connections, staying home was a threat that took a close second place to the pandemic itself.
Moshtix, the leading ticket provider for events across Australia and New Zealand, was no stranger to this threat. In a matter of days, the company went from having a full schedule of highly-anticipated events to a long list of cancellations and many disappointed concert-goers.
But a lesson in resilience taught the Moshtix team that savvy pivots and a go-getter attitude are the ingredients for a strategy strong enough to fight off any obstacle—even a global pandemic.
Before the storm: The Moshtix plan for 2020
At the start of 2020, the Moshtix marketing team was drafting a plan that would increase engagement with their subscribers and drive additional traffic to their site. The idea was to make Moshtix a place of discovery, where fans could learn about the hottest upcoming events and artists on the rise to fame.
Up to this point, the Moshtix email marketing software mostly revolved around promoting their clients and the events those clients were hosting. But with new goals in mind for the year, the team was ready to start curating and creating their own content to ramp up engagement with the Moshguide, their weekly newsletter.
Using email to get the (everchanging) word out fast
Before the team had a legitimate opportunity to begin shifting their strategy and easing subscribers into a new flow of content, COVID-19 turned the world—and the entire music industry—upside down.
The Moshguide went from an exciting weekly newsletter filled with important event information to a graveyard of postponed and cancelled events. In those moments, the team relied heavily on email, the fastest and most direct way they could communicate everchanging updates to exactly the right audiences.
“Campaign Monitor was vital to us. Email was the only way we could split up messages based on the events that people were planning to attend. Plus, we needed a way to separate the cancelled events (where we would guide fans through a step-by-step process for a refund) and postponed events,” says Nicole Davey, Marketing Manager at Moshtix.
Without any events to promote, their content went from hero to zero in a matter of weeks. And even though the team was prepared to start making content changes in the new year, the idea of redrafting their entire strategy—on the spot—was an intimidating challenge.
When life gives you lemons: How the original 2020 plan triumphed in a time of need
To make such an abrupt change to their content flow, the Moshtix team first had to revisit their audience and carefully consider the best sending strategy. To ensure that readers were getting the most out of the available content, the team narrowed down their list to a smaller, but highly engaged audience.
Head of Marketing at Moshtix Annie Callaghan says, “It’s really important to continue to communicate, but it’s also important to be mindful of overcommunication. If you don’t have a lot to say to your entire database, then just serve relevant content to those who want to hear it.”
Instead of continuing to focus on the events that were either cancelled or likely to be cancelled, the team took a more positive approach, shedding light on the controllables. From artists’ updates, like interviews with bands or new album features, to virtual events, the Moshtix crew heavily emphasized the ways fans could still stay involved with their favorite performers.
And although the frustrations that came with the arrival of COVID-19 still lingered, Moshtix took advantage of the extra time they were given to brainstorm these new content approaches. The team learned the importance of working closely with their partners to identify and collect content that would be beneficial to their audience.
And even though it was a quick shift, Moshtix actually found that this new content was receiving more opens than ever before, shifting from a 10% to a 22% open rate.
To any marketer who’s looking to navigate tough times, like the COVID-19 pandemic, Davey advises, “It’s important to continue to engage with your subscribers so they’re still around when the lights come back on. But the way you engage needs to be relevant and positive. There is so much gloom going on, that positive updates really offer that breath of fresh air people are looking for.”