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Why SMS Is the Best Way to Sell Sports Tickets

best way to sell sports tickets

Even in the absent a vaccine, 58% of sports fans are excited about attending a game. Although it's not yet safe to attend sporting events, these results do show the irrepressible passion of sports fans. They’re ready to come back the moment they can.

How should sports brands and marketers approach the new landscape of ticketing sales? With an approach that maximally engages fans, and increases outreach without adding cost. In the current landscape, the best way to sell sports tickets is the proven method of SMS messaging. SMS-based sales was one of the leading sports ticket sales trends before the pandemic. Now, it is here to stay.

The Power of SMS Outreach

Consumers like and engage with SMS messaging. Consider these research results:

  • 98% of text messages are opened. (Campaign Monitor)
  • 90% of SMS messages are read within the first 3 minutes of receiving it. (MarketHire)
  • It takes the average person 90 seconds to respond to a text. (TechJury)
  •  75% of consumers like receiving promotions and brand messages through text (assuming they’ve opted in). (TechJury)
  • 74% of consumers are impressed by businesses that interact with their customers through SMS. (TechJury)
  • 64% of respondents agree that enterprises must interact with their customers through texts more often than they currently do. (TechJury)

Brands are catching on, and are increasingly using SMS to communicate with their customers; global mobile business messaging traffic grew 10% in 2020, compared to 2019.

This active engagement is why SMS-based outreach is one of the most effective sports ticket sales strategies. Sports teams and marketers need to adapt to this trend by finding the best app to sell sports tickets: an app that enables 1:1 back-and-forths at scale.

Personalized SMS Marketing for Sports Teams

Personalized SMS Marketing for Sports Teams

Communicating with customers on a personal level is table stakes in today’s business world.

  • 73% of consumers expect brands to already know what their needs and expectations are. (Salesforce, 2019)
  • 64% of customers expect tailored engagement based on past interactions. (Salesforce, 2019)
  • Customers are willing to pay 13% more for sports tickets if the company provides great customer service (PwC, 2018)

This level of personalization is especially true in sports, where fans have an emotional and charged relationship to the team and brand. This is why the best way to sell sports tickets is to leverage fans’ personal proclivities. If most of your fans use SMS as their preferred  communication channel, you need to effectively leverage it in order to provide exemplary customer service.

The proven effectiveness of enterprise SMS marketing makes it the best way to sell sports tickets.

Today, one of the key sports ticket sales best practices is to use a scalable SMS and messaging solution that integrates with a company’s CRM. With this setup, sports teams and venues can leverage this technology to engage fans in a direct, personalized fashion. Fans can easily and quickly respond using a medium that is simple, familiar and accessible.

When the backend messaging infrastructure is built out correctly, a fan’s history and profile can be logged and synced across the enterprise. Sports marketers can use these personalization details – which can include games attended, customers’ favorite seats, or the type of popcorn they want at half-time – to optimize their sports ticket sales strategies.

With the correct tool, these insights can feed into personalization tokens that offer a 1:1 feel at scale. Sports marketers can streamline the right reach-outs and promotions to be deployed at precisely the right moment.

Capitalizing on the SMS Trend is the Best Way to Sell Sports Tickets

Sports teams across the country were already seeing success with SMS marketing pre-pandemic.

At ReplyBuy, we’ve seen firsthand the power of SMS marketing for sports franchises and their sports ticket sales trends. Many of our users have driven SMS-powered sports ticket sales, and had great success with selling through text messaging to sports fans.

Here are some examples to inspire your post-pandemic sports ticket sales strategies:

  • Arizona State University wanted to boost their ticket sales by renewing contracts with previous season ticket holders. Previous strategies had included emails, flyers, and cold-calling. These had produced modest results.

    This prompted the university management to shift to an enterprise SMS marketing strategy that involved sending personalized messages to prospects. Not only did Arizona State University improve their engagement rate to 30%, but they also earned over $15,000 in sports ticket sales within three months.
  • The University of South California (USC) needed to secure commitments from their 9,000+ football season ticket holders for the upcoming season. Renewing their subscriptions was a top priority, especially with extensive renovations of the USC Coliseum planned in the near future Conventional communication channels such as phone calls and emails had elicited minimal responses from their sports fans.

    USC added enterprise-level SMS messaging marketing to their marketing strategy and reached out to their prospects through personalized text messages. USC reps were able to connect and engage with season ticket holders who were unresponsive to previous attempts. In less than a month, USC secured 1,256 renewal contracts and  added 53 new donors to their roster, resulting in raising $13,000.

The Importance of Sports Fan Outreach, Post-COVID

As we gradually return to sporting events, reaching fans where they are while remaining responsive and alert is more important than ever. Not only is SMS the best way to sell sports tickets; it is the best way to communicate with sports fans as we all navigate the new normal.

It will take a while for sports games to return to how they were run in 2019. Sports teams now face new realities: Social distancing protocols, mandatory mask requirements, the monitoring of symptoms, and more. These safety measures are likely to be necessary for some time. Until then, all sports teams will want to do everything in their power to ensure the safety of all attendees and be able to communicate effectively.

Until stadiums open back up, sports marketers need to remain engaged with their teams’ fans, keeping them updated of changes and opportunities to participate as they unfold.

Sports marketers no longer need to rely on phone call outreach. We know that fans read their text — What better place to keep them updated on all health protocols? Instead marketers can easily communicate important information, like questionnaires, consent forms, and waivers, with their fanbase at scale using SMS marketing software, no matter what size team they have.

Sports leagues and teams have furloughed many of their staff, including marketing and ticketing teams. With this in mind, solutions that allow companies to do more with less are more effective than ever. Custom-built SMS marketing platforms can help teams keep customer success standards high, despite the pressures.

Ready to Turn Conversations into Conversions?

With vaccines on the horizon, a post-COVID reality for sports teams is visible. It could still be a while out, but eventually we will return to a time when every major sports team is welcoming fans into their stadium every week. In the meantime, sport marketers should find ways to leverage SMS marketing, and discover the best app to sell sports tickets.

ReplyBuy is the leading conversational commerce platform that increases conversion and engagement through personalized experiences with two-way SMS or in-app conversations for retailers. We’re ready to help you leverage the best way to sell sports tickets -- contact us today!

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About the Author Brandon O'Halloran

Brandon was most recently the CEO at ReplyBuy. He is a strong sales and operations professional with a demonstrated history of exceptional performance leading customer-facing teams in B2B technology companies. Prior to ReplyBuy, he was in a senior enterprise sales role for Infogroup, a big data, analytics and marketing services provider.

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