Sometimes a project falls on my desk that has almost textbook (if there was such a thing) digital marketing possibilities. Carving out engagement data for follow-ups as we did with our affiliated non-profit partner, Music Forward, included tactics that could be easily used by any type of business.

Music Forward is a national nonprofit that accelerates real-life skills for youth using music as the bridge to success. Their programs equip young musicians with instruments, connect emerging artists to music industry professionals, and prepare youth for careers in the music industry and beyond, yielding life-changing results.

Each year the Music Forward team throws an amazing weekend in Vegas, complete with incredible cuisine and accommodations, tickets to Gospel Brunch at House of Blues, and the main event: access to a top performer's concert. Both the artist and the weekend itself change from year to year. This year the experience went super VIP including a private after party with Lionel Richie and a 3x price increase to match. Armed with a list of prospects comprised of a totally new audience, my team (on behalf of Music Forward) crafted an email driven campaign with 2 goals - to increase sales and widen their donor base. Results were a 4x increase in sales and the methods employed were action-based segmentation in both email, paid social ad targeting, and even phone calls.

First things first, we mapped out the communication plan - this is not a single email with ad spend behind it sort of event. We had to convince people to buy into the experience and also plan to travel. Our initial segmentations were in 3 large categories.

  • Previous VIP Weekend Attendees
  • Previous Donors
  • Prospects identified from our subscriber base that fit the model for either typical donors or fans of Lionel Richie.

Each type of person received different, but similar messaging initially. From there we further targeted based on behavior. The communication they received next fits the standard model of remailing and nurturing leads.

  • Did not open/did not click received a standard remail with updated subject and preheader
  • Open and/or clicked once received an email with an updated, subject line, preheader, headline and abbreviated layout
  • Clicked multiple times received a time-sensitive deal

After that, we set up another round with any new opens or click behavior. We sent a wild card email for anyone that visited the event page multiple times in any of the emails or remails based around the 30th anniversary of Lionel Richie's classic 'Dancing on the Ceiling.' We used the teaser subject line "Did You Know?" That mail received our highest open rate (more than 50%) of any of our email communications and 15% of those that opened visited the event page.

At this stage it was time to move forward with other approaches, we retargeted the engaged audience on Facebook and from there further distilled our view of those interested in Music Forward and attending their Lionel Richie weekend in Vegas.

We began planning another round of emails to any new leads and then took our most engaged audience and followed up with a good old fashioned phone call. The Music Forward team of ten each took on a few of the most highly qualified leads and reached out. Conversations ranged from providing more details on the schedule for the weekend to the core initiatives that Music Forward Foundation is based on. The results were amazing for the weekend but even more so for the secondary goal of increasing the donor base.

Concentrating on just a few data points with minimal time invested on both sides, our team was able to help Music Forward achieve both of their goals. We also ended up with a great process for future events and outreach campaigns. If you weren't already, I hope this post has converted you to a fan of remailing, and would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.