The use of online ticketing for events at your church has grown the potential for outreach exponentially. Instead of simply advertising your event via the Sunday newsletter or bulletin, today you can reach across town or across country to reach out to those who may have never accessed your church, but may be interested in seeing your latest production.
Even though Family Church has been putting on the musical Scrooge for 12 years, it found that many people in the West Monroe, La., community had never attended the performance. That was until last year, when Family Church started using online church box office software. According to community members, online ticketing helped to make the production more accessible to a wider audience.
“With online ticketing, we actually sold more reserved seats than ever,” Cheryl Ogle of Family Church says. “In some cases, we had people come to Scrooge for the first time because we offered online tickets. They said they were more likely to get a ticket online than come up to the church office and pick one up. In addition, the professional vibe that online ticketing gave our production was a benefit. For those who had never been to a production, the website sent a signal that this looks like a professional production.”
Another aspect that online ticketing offers to church groups is the potential to grow their database of prospective congregation members. By moving more people online, church groups continue to build a stronger database for future marketing campaigns, as well as future outreach. This is valuable data, including name, e-mail, address and more, which could not be captured from a customer using cash at the door or purchasing a ticket a the box office.
Family Church utilizes TicketU by ServiceU to manage its church box office, and Ogle notes that having the ability to follow up with patrons after the event and get feedback from families is extremely important to outreach efforts.
“The follow-up aspect allowed us to send thank you notes out to all that attended the event,” she says. “It has also helped us by using those e-mails to advertise for this year’s performance. Many in the community replied to those thank you e-mails with what Scrooge meant to them and how much they enjoyed it as a family. It was very gratifying to read all those comments and know we are making a difference.”
Finally, with the growth in social media, many church show producers are seeing the positive impact social networking and newsletter communication can have on their event’s popularity and outreach within their community.
For those with limited marketing budgets, utilizing social media is essential. Since promotional codes are easily posted, e-mailed and distributed with relatively no cost, they lend themselves well to the social networking audience. Hit your social networking markets as soon as your tickets go on sale. It is also possible to try targeting certain groups such as friends, fans, followers and last year’s attendees, giving them the “first opportunity to save” and rewarding them for their loyalty and bringing them back to your church again and again.
Professionalism, accountability, ease of use, and increased visibility and outreach—these are all aspects that online ticketing provided to Family Church to help its annual event be even more successful and a reason why your church group might want to consider the use of online ticketing.
Scott Hoover is a freelance and public relations writer with LHPR. He has written for more than 12 years in the church technology market for publications including Church and Worship Technology, Church Solutions, and ChurchTechToday.com.