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How to Use SMS at In-Person and Live Events
SMS Marketing 101

How to Use SMS at In-Person and Live Events

98% open rates, an effective way to connect with your attendees, and your message getting into the literal hands of your customers means SMS is an in-person and live event marketing dream tool. Not only can you create a more delightful experience for customers at the live event, but you will be growing your SMS list for future marketing. 

August 12, 2022

How to Use SMS at In-Person and Live Events

SMS is the sh*t. 98% open rates, an effective way to connect with your attendees, and your message getting into the literal hands of your customers means SMS is an in-person and live event marketing dream tool. Not only can you create a more delightful experience for customers at the live event, but you will be growing your SMS list for future marketing. 

SMS, Chipotle, and the NBA Finals 

Chipotle was not an official sponsor of the NBA finals, unlike Taco Bell, but still used the draw of the finals to make an impact. During the first championship game, Chipotle hid an SMS keyword in their ads with an offer for a buy-one-get-one-free for the first 10,000 people who texted. All the offers were claimed in two minutes during the first game. By the third and fourth games, they were gone in less than a minute. 

Tressie Lieberman, vice president of digital marketing and off-premise at Chipotle, said, “The text-to-claim experience taps into the consumer behavior of watching sports alongside a second screen. The activation required Chipotle Rewards members to react with speed, which grew increasingly more competitive as the series progressed.” 

This quote by Maya Angelou is not only a great lesson for personal lives but a great one for business. “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Chipotle using SMS to tap into the excitement of the NBA finals is a perfect way to increase customer lifetime value (CLTV).

Here are some ways to create your own Chipotle magic by using SMS to power delightful customer experiences in in-person and live events. 

In-Person Event SMS Use Cases

The first step to in-person SMS is to create the perfect opportunity for customers to opt in. We highly recommend using both a QR code and SMS keyword combo together, to give customers options on how they want to connect. Flyers, banners, social posts, ads, and even in-person announcements are great ways to provide opt-in opportunities. 

Before or During In-Person Event Registration

Just as attendees sign up for the event or buy tickets is a perfect time to present the SMS opt-in offer. When making the opt-in offer, push the most powerful, meaningful benefits right up front and keep the descriptions short and accurate. The offer could be exclusive access to merch, a link to a special welcome video from an artist or speaker, or a giveaway. 

If you are shipping a package for those who sign up for your event, you can include a QR code or SMS keyword as a part of your packaging. 

Don’t forget about using your existing subscriber list to promote your event. You can use SMS to: 

  • Announce lineup or speakers 
  • Give SMS VIPs access to presale tickets 
  • Promote flash deals 
  • Give access to exclusive merch or opportunities 

Event Related Announcements

After registration and before the event starts, there are many ways you can use SMS messaging to keep your customers informed:

  • Event or Registration Reminders - A reminder or two leading up to the event can help drive attendance. 
  • Venue Details - Let them know about last-minute live event details (date/time changes), important announcements (new artist or speakers added), and anything else that may be pertinent to attendees.
  • Directions - Especially for those attendees coming in from long distances, a quick link to a map can go a long way.
  • Parking Specifics - If parking is limited or your event is in a large metropolitan area, attendees will need to know where to park, and how much it will cost. You can let them know within the SMS itself or direct them to one or more relevant web links.
  • Event Time Changes - Sometimes schedules change, and conflicts arise. If the exact time of an in-person event needs to be pushed back (or forward) there is no better way to keep attendees in the loop with a quick SMS message.
  • Cancellations - Things happen. If your live event needs to be postponed or canceled, it's good to copy everyone through all available channels, including SMS, especially if there are refunds involved.

Audience Interaction During Event

While the event is ongoing you can take advantage of the engagement and excitement to deliver even more value through SMS:

  • Live Polls - Keep the event fun and exciting while at the same time gathering important customer feedback by conducting a quick SMS survey poll.
  • Voting - Let your attendees control an element of the event with SMS-based voting, live during the event.
  • Giveaways - Who doesn't love a free giveaway? Offer a series of giveaways to SMS subscribers attending the event. 
  • Live Event Itinerary - A simple set of announcements about noteworthy moments during your event can be very useful for all attendees. 

The Power of SMS 

After growing your SMS list at the event, you now have a group of customers to build relationships with and increase your CLTV. You can thank them for coming to the event, continue to send them exclusive content, and promote other events, drops, or merch to them going forward. SMS is the most personal channel with your texts alongside conversations with loved ones and friends, so make the most of that connection! 

The Voyage SMS platform gives you all the SMS tools needed to create delightful customer experiences at scale. 

Schedule a demo today to see the most powerful SMS marketing and message commerce platform in the world.
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