Let’s face it, there are probably dozens of things you’re working on to get ready for reopening in a post-Covid world, and every organization we know is trying to accomplish these things with less people, less money, and more limitations and uncertainty than ever. The few of you left in a full-time role at your organization are being pulled in many directions. The good news is that the end is in sight, and while we don’t have an exact date or a complete view of the new normal just yet, we know it’s coming.
Here’s what else we know: when arts and culture organizations can fully open again, the pent-up demand for live events will make the next two years the most lucrative we’ve ever seen. In a way, the pandemic and closures have given all arts organizations a clean slate and a level playing field. Now is the best time to prepare not only to reopen, but also to maximize the huge opportunities for audience growth (especially from new patrons) and to increase both earned and contributed revenue.
Making the most of the time we have left before opening (and focusing on the tool we use to manage our patron relationships) will pay off big-time over the next two years. Here’s what we think PatronManager users should do in the next few months:
1. If you’re not using Lightning, now’s the time to start.
Look, I love Salesforce Classic like I love vinyl: the nostalgia, the familiarity, the warm, fuzzy feeling we get when we see it on the screen. And true, there are still some things that still only work in Classic or work better or faster in Classic, but the time has come to move on and make the switch to Salesforce Lightning. If you haven’t made the switch and optimized your usage and processes around it, now’s the time! DIY? From the Help Tab, type “Welcome to Lightning” in the search box, and click on “Welcome to Lightning (for Classic users).” Sound like too much for you? Reach out to us.
2. As you rehire, also retrain. Everybody.
Most organizations find themselves in one or both of these situations with PatronManager right now:
- Your instance of PatronManager was set up years ago by people who were furloughed and aren’t coming back
- The people who remain on-staff were never the PatronManager power users in the first place.
Don’t just accept your system for what it’s become; reconfigure it for the way your organization should work moving forward! It’s time to make sure your system is used to its full advantage by both the staff who remain and the staff you are going to hire.
You can make sure everyone is using PatronManager the same way and towards the same goals by looking at your existing setup and configuration and aligning it with current industry best practices. There have been HUGE improvements to the box office interface, especially dealing with subscriptions, refunds, and exchanges, so make sure you read the release notes. From the Help Tab, type “March 2021” in the search box and click on “March 2021 Release Notes.”
3. Rebuild your data as you rebuild your team.
Even when it’s clean, data is never perfect. As your use of PatronManager has matured over the years, you’ve probably changed or modified your data standards and accumulated a lot of data that you’re not likely to use again. Before your post-Covid sales start increasing, now is the time to clean your historical data, destroy what’s not complete, recent, or useful, and reopen with a clean and organized set of data on which to make solid business decisions. It’s also a good time to revisit your reports and dashboards to make sure you’re getting the information you need when you need it.
4. Market to where your audience is now, not where it was pre-Covid.
Internet usage has shattered prior records in the past year. Consider this: the average adult spent 400% more time on Facebook(!) and unsubscribed from 75% of the marketing emails they received in the past year. As you begin to reopen, you should set-up small digital marketing campaigns on all the popular platforms, and based on the results of that test, adjust your future digital marketing investment to the platforms that give you the best results. They might not be where you think!
It’s illegal (and just wrong) to email the folks who have unsubscribed, so take this opportunity to use both paid advertising, website calls-to-action, and special offers to get former patrons to re-subscribe. (Pro tip: direct mail can still be helpful.) Make sure your sign-up form is fresh and prominent on your website, and start asking both new and re-subscribers how often they’d like to hear from you. Adhering to their wishes will lower your unsubscribe rates, increase conversions, and make the patron experience more enjoyable for everyone.
5. Get outside help until you’re fully re-staffed.
If you’re fully staffed and have all the time and expertise to accomplish these tasks on your own, that’s great! You’re among the lucky few! For those less fortunate, NeverDark can help you. Our team of certified PatronManager Admins can help you get restarted effectively and efficiently, optimizing your system and business process to set you up for success. We offer a free consultation, and can work quickly and affordably to get you in the best place to maximize all the opportunities the new normal will provide. Reach out to us!
And don’t forget your friends and colleagues in the PatronManager Client Community! They’re a great resource for tips and tricks and ideas on how to use PatronManager to the fullest! From the Help Tab, type “Client Community” in the search box and click on “All About the Client Community.”