Most artists and performers probably use SMS messaging all the time to talk with friends, family, and perhaps even their crew, drivers, or event managers. But it can be used to create demand for their shows, fill event halls, and increase sales of promotional items too.
The best way to explain the possibilities is with an example. Enter comedian Carlos Mencia. He travels to perform throughout North America and is often called an “equal-opportunity offender” as his jokes make fun of anyone and anything. He’s also been accused of plagiarism by other comedians, but his career is still thriving. That’s in part to his ability to get his fans to his shows whenever he’s in town.
And he certainly doesn’t rely on the event venue to do his advertising. Instead, he uses SMS messaging.
To get started, the first thing he needed to do was create a list of fans. So, at every show he asks the audience to text their email address to a specified number (a VMN probably). Ardent fans would willingly do so to get notified of upcoming events. But he makes an offer that’s too good for even casual fans to turn down: a chance to win free VIP tickets to one of his events in a “hot” location, like Las Vegas. Mencia says that they get about 300 new people on the list every week.
The second thing he needed to do was use that list effectively. It wouldn’t make sense to send out event notifications to people in New York when he’s performing in Ontario Canada. In fact, people might get frustrated and opt out if they kept getting notifications that weren’t relevant to them. So, he sorted the signups into cities – also known as “segmenting” in marketing language – so he would only send out notifications to people in the region he was performing. This way, people in Ontario get the message about his shows without bothering people in New York, Miami or LA.
The SMS messages about his events always include a link to buy tickets, and they send them out about a week in advance. He says that they sell out their shows faster using text messaging than they do with social media. And that makes sense. Social media is a one-to-many medium. Chances are only a small percentage of followers will actually see any announcement in their feed.
But SMS messaging puts the information, and the ability to buy tickets, directly in front of his fans. His sold-out shows prove how effective it can be, especially when it’s used in a smart way that excites, not frustrates, fans.