Five Tactics for Live Events Organizations to Increase Subscription Revenue in 2018


Oftentimes the talk in recent years has been that subscriptions for live events organizations are on the decline. However, according to TCG’s Theater Facts in 2016, subscriptions still account for 37% of total ticket income for theaters and are the second largest revenue source behind single ticket income. In fact, several organizations are actually increasing their subscription revenue. With this in mind, subscription revenue is certainly something that you cannot ignore.

With many of our clients currently running subscription renewal programs for the next upcoming theater season, we thought that there would be no better time than now to give you some of our top tips to help you increase subscription renewals in 2018.

1. Plan in advance and start your renewal programs early.

With more time to promote your subscription packages for the upcoming season, you give yourself more opportunities to put your offers in front of customers and more time for people to buy.

Not all customers will buy early, but some will. Additionally, running longer campaigns is a surefire way to generate more renewals. It’s not uncommon for a loyal patron to miss the first email or marketing touchpoint. By presenting the offer to them to renew in several instances over a longer period of time, you make it much more likely that they will actually buy.

If your venue is not yet prepared to announce specific details on events or dates, send out your announcements with TBAs. Your most loyal and eager subscribers will still renew because they trust your organization to deliver excellent programming.

Additionally, offer special perks for early renewal. Use things such as limited time discounts and concession offers to get more people to buy early.

2. Activate multiple marketing channels to help increase subscriptions.

If you want to increase subscriptions, you need to devote more marketing efforts towards doing so. Make sure that subscriptions are an integrated part of your marketing strategy.

Here are some of the channels that you should be using to promote subscriptions:

  • Upsells at your box office or in your call center

  • Email marketing (especially targeted campaigns towards previous subscribers and single ticket buyers)

  • Promoting subscriptions on your social media channels

  • Direct mail to previous subscribers

3. Target and customize your offers based on customers’ prior level of commitment to your organization.

Your long-term subscribers likely already know the drill and will need less hand holding throughout the renewal process.

First-time subscribers, however, will need more guidance when renewing for the first time. Ensure that your marketing communications to them clearly outline the renewal process and make it easy for them to sign up again.

You can even target single ticket buyers to get new subscribers. People who have had a pre-existing relationship with your organization are more likely to subscribe. Direct, personalized communications such as direct mail and email are the best way to reach them.

4. Offer discounts to upgrade subscriptions when customers renew.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra did this and saw an increase of revenue over $45,000.

Their strategy hinged on the notion that an upgrade is the next logical step for a renewing customer, whether that is adding a series, getting a larger package or moving to a more premium seating level.

Their campaign targeted customers who were renewing their packages with a discount to move up to a higher level subscription. This resulted in $45,808 of incremental revenue for the organization.

Moral of the story? Try this for yourself. There is likely incremental value to be seized by upgrading renewing customers to a higher subscription tier.

5. Increase the number of subscription options available.

With more subscription options, your customers are more likely to find something that is well-suited to them.

Add a five show package in addition to the ten show package that you usually sell. Create a ‘choose your own’ subscription package allowing buyers to sign up for a list of shows of their choosing.

For a bonus, once you acquire these new subscribers with new subscription options, upgrade them to your higher-tiered plans next year.

However, there is a balance to be struck here. Don’t add so many subscription options that you overwhelm and confuse your buyers.

So there you have it, our top tips to increase subscription revenue in 2018. The live events industry is ever-changing and you need to be doing everything that you can to stay on top of things and retain and grow your subscriber base. At OvationTix, we are committed to being your partner in the journey to grow your organization and support your mission. Want to learn how the OvationTix platform can help you achieve your goals? Schedule a demo to see how our tools can help you grow your subscriber base.

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