How four Jacksonville small businesses partnered up and got people dancing in their kitchens like nobody’s watching...
Sarah Lee and The Chris Thomas Band have been using 904Tix powered by Geotix and Jacksonville Magazine over the last two years. Their big eight-piece band performs at the Whiskey Jax restaurant in Jacksonville, FL drawing large crowds and lots of dancing.
Flash forward to March 17th, 2020 when the world was flipped on them. Their regularly scheduled performance was now illegal. They were faced with a choice, cancel their event entirely, or quickly produce a live, virtual event to entertain their fans who were now out of their weekend plans and stuck inside. They chose the latter.
In less than 24 hours, they partnered with River City Views to shoot and stream the event, Jack Miller to work their sound, the popular Whiskey Jax restaurant for a place to host their show, a local band to perform, and enlisted Chris Thomas, the frontman for The Chris Thomas Band, to be their Emcee. With less than 12 hours to promote, they sold almost $1,600 in virtual tickets and soon realized they could easily produce two of these shows each week featuring local bands that could all benefit from a little extra money and exposure.
Here is how these local small businesses came together to create a virtual experience for their fans keeping them entertained and earning a little cash flow along the way.
"What's an easy way that people can donate without needing to create an account? Of course! We will need a ticket."
- Sarah Lee, The Chris Thomas Band - Manager
Getting Creative Quickly
Sarah’s first thought when she heard they were going to have to cancel their weekend show was, “We are really going to try to get creative as to what we can do to bring in some income”. So they popped up a virtual event on 904Tix and told people to “Dance in your kitchen like nobody’s watching...” with them.
Facebook Live was an easy pick for these events because it is easy to set up and can reach a large group of people all at once.
When deciding how to drive donations for their shows Lee thought, “What’s an easy way that people can donate without needing to create an account? Of course! We will need a ticket.” The link to their virtual Facebook Live shows integrates seamlessly with Geotix so it’s easy to set up ticketing through 904Tix.
Between the exposure they get from Jacksonville Magazine by using 904Tix and their followers already on Facebook, they were able to promote the event instantly. The group promotes by suggesting that people go to their 904Tix page to get their virtual ticket to the show. Then, throughout the show, they have a scrolling banner that goes across the screen telling people how they can donate by way of virtual tickets on 904Tix.com to benefit the band.
While the group also uses Venmo for a “tip jar” the sure-fire way they’ve been able to secure donations is through their virtual tickets. Over 72% of their donations come in through the virtual tickets they’ve set up through 904Tix. Plus, with each ticket sold through these virtual tickets, they get email addresses that can be added to their marketing plans down the road.
Doing it Right
Facebook Live allows anyone to “attend” events, even if they don’t purchase a ticket. Fortunately, people are willing to purchase a virtual ticket to an event that is not gated because it not only benefits a great cause, the local bands, but the group puts together a fantastic production.
“In my opinion the higher the quality, do it right with a direct feed into the stream, the more people will be like yes, this is worth me paying $20 ticket with a $3 service charge, this is worth me donating $50 and giving the bands a little extra. The better the product, the more people will be willing to buy a ticket” says Lee.
Partnering with people to do the videography and professional sound is what adds that something extra to their shows.
Virtual Events Happen in an Instant
The band’s frontman is also a dancer and owns a dance studio. He decided to add some dance lessons streaming over Facebook Live as well.
Lee popped on Facebook to check it out. “I saw in the comments, that somebody said, ‘Hey do you have a ticket for this event?’ and I was like huh? Since I’m so used to 904Tix and Geotix, I threw one up in 5 minutes and boom he brought in $175. It can be used for anything, not just bands.”
"In my opinion the higher the quality, do it right with a direct feed into the stream, the more people will be like yes, this is worth me paying $20 ticket with a $3 service charge... The better the product, the more people will be willing to buy a ticket."
- Sarah Lee, Manager of The Chris Thomas Band
Setting Up For Success
- Partner with local organizations that can help you add value to your event
- Advertise everywhere and all the time - be sure to include where your virtual tickets are for sale i.e. 904Tix.com
- Be flexible - a virtual event can be put together quickly and still have success
- Create a wide range of ticket prices and make sure people know where the money is going. People are far more likely to purchase a ticket that they know is going to benefit someone or something they care about