Top Gear Festival Durban: How to Use Email Marketing to Drive Your Event

top gear festival durban tickets sold in 2013

The global phenomenon Top Gear landed its Live show on South African soil, wheels spinning, in March 2011. Since then, local petrol-heads and an adoring public haven’t looked back and neither have Clarkson, May and Hammond; returning year after year for more of the same tyre smoking, drag racing, exotic car driving action.

The rise of Top Gear to international superstardom has been nothing short of meteoric. This has a lot to do with an extremely clever and dedicated marketing team. The event is brought to the attention of the public via many types of visual media: posters, TV, radio advertising and most importantly, email newsletters that subscribers receive leading up to the event. This case study seeks to identify the marketing techniques used in the Top Gear Festival event driven email marketing campaign and how the team have achieved such great success in the South African context. event email marketing case study: Top Gear Festival Durban The challenges were set out for the marketing team from the get-go: there was a seven month build up period in which the personalised email marketing campaign needed to reach a massive audience in order to sell-out the Moses Mabhida Stadium for the event. For the first time in 2013, Marketing Manager Kelly Fenning employed the skills of TotalSend to provide an innovative solution to their challenges.

TotalSend delivered content, which was then used to drive traffic to ticket sales. The email marketing campaign formed part of the holistic marketing strategy that was put in place by the team, and underpinned their online approach to driving sales. The focus of the campaign was to ensure that those customers who had heard about the festival or seen adverts actually followed through to the festival website to buy tickets for the event. One of the event email marketing best practices that the team employed was to use a content-based engagement angle. This means that readers were exposed to interesting content about the brand first, and sales pitches came afterwards.

The team used a long-term approach, starting with teaser campaigns in November 2012, which ran monthly for three months. These personalized mails included the dates for the festival as well as snippets of information about the kind of activities happening at the festival and who would be exhibiting at the expo that happens alongside it. The email frequency picked up from January with bi-monthly emails and then weekly emails for the two months approaching the festival held in June 2013. A well-thought out email campaign can generate more engagement and repeat interaction than just a stand alone website can. In this example, campaign level engagement started with an open rate of about 16%, with its maximum at 50% in the weeks leading up the event.

This ascent in open rate evidences the increase in engagement that email marketing drives when correctly executed. top gear team picture In order to customize the audience, those who had engaged with the sales links, i.e. bought tickets to the festival, could be targeted separately from those who did not interact or from those who clicked through to content on the website but did not buy tickets.

TotalSend made this possible by tagging and tracking links separately for each email, as well as setting up engagement tracking at a subscriber level over multiple campaigns, ensuring that non-engagers would be retargeted to drive a sale. On the other hand, users who never interact with your emails can lower your sending reputation and increase the likelihood of deliverability issues. This is exactly why TotalSend’s excellent use of database hygiene and delivery reporting is key – as it ensures that inactive email addresses and hard bounces are immediately removed from the database. The clean data is then exportable and can be added to the company CRM system and used for following years. According to MarketingSherpa, targeted content is outperforming status quo messaging by 200% to 300% on both engagement and conversion metrics.

TotalSend uses personalisation and retargeting to ensure that the user sees content tailored specifically to them. This, and the use of activation campaigns to ensure that customers were driven towards the sales page, meant that the statistics for the event driven email marketing campaign were impressive. Over 600 000 emails were sent out over the period, across 28 customised email campaigns. This generated over 198 000 email opens and individual user engagement.

The success of this email campaign was a big contributing factor and marketing channel to the 67 000 tickets sold for the festival weekend, demonstrating how offline events can benefit greatly from online email marketing campaigns. top gear festival durban tickets sold in 2013 So if you’re planning a similar event or campaign, here are a few event email marketing tips to keep in mind:

  • An email marketing event promotion doesn’t happen overnight.
  • It is important to get a reasonable timeline together, and stick to it.
  • Collate your resources to ensure that you have all the content you need.
  • Find a suitable agency to develop a template to your specifications.
  • Make sure that the content works in the given context and for your target audience.
  • Test your event marketing email subject lines over and over until you get it right.
  • Employ someone to track the email marketing campaign and report the results in thorough detail.
  • Clean out your database regularly to ensure an active audience.
  • Get the results you want - a successful event driven by email marketing.

even email marketing success tipsTotal Send played an instrumental part in the overall marketing campaign of Top Gear Festival 2013. Top Gear Festival were able to track results of each e-mailer, as well as continue to grow the database month after month and it goes without saying we’ll be continuing the relationship for the 2014 festival.” ~ Kelly Fenning, Top Gear Festival Marketing Manager