How we sold out Chicago’s Biggest Halloween Party – “The Haunted Halloween Ball”
Do you want to know all about Chicago’s biggest Halloween party?
What made it such a huge success? How did we attract close to 2,000 party goers? Check out our website to find out all you need to know about the venue and entertainment, as well as browse through guest photos if you missed the party.
We used to do the Haunted Hotel Ball in Chicago for 3 years at the W Hotel and then for a couple of years a party at the Hilton Hotel in Michigan. After that I had taken a couple of years off the big Halloween Party since Global Adrenaline had gone out of business.
So, how did we sell out this year’s party 4 days before Halloween? Not surprisingly, it was possible because of a well thoughtout marketing plan.
Once the contract was set with the venue, promo-campaign was rolled out with a well-designed user-friendly website and a video from past events. The design was obviously inspired by holiday spirit and was“spooky,” but very professional at the same time. The video was on point as well.
Now let the marketing begin!
First, we decided to focus on email and text message marketing. We did a text blast for a list of 1,500 Surreal Marketing loyal subscribers. Nothing gets the word out there better than a marketing message with a personal touch, so I decided to go ahead and text my personal Chicago friends and acquaintances which added 4,000 more people to our text messaging list. The initial wave also included an email blast to about 500 subscribers on the Surreal Marketing opener list, as well as the extended Surreal Marketing list of 225 000 subscribers. Click Meter service that I use for traсking the efficiency of email blasts showed that marketing activities described above generated about 7,000+ unique website visits in a day.
Eventually we kicked in some Facebook promotions. We were able to invite only about 1,900 users to our event due to Facebook’s recently introduced restrictions. We knew that there were many more people potentially interested in attending the party, so we decided to use our personal profiles to “like” the event fan page. We also updated
community cover photos to Halloween-themed images on all fan pages of Surreal Marketing, and did some posts and sharing. The word about our exciting party was out to the Surreal fans!
Paid advertising kicked in at the beginning of October. We used Facebook post and column ads to spread the word around the Chicago area. Our segmentation strategy worked pretty well: we built custom audiences from a list of past year’s ticket buyers and our email subscribers list. Our daily spending was about $10 and it allowed us to generate a solid CTR, thus attracting visitors to the website.
who were entering Halloween queries into the search engine. We didn’t limit our marketing activities to CPC-advertising: we also went for Yelp and B96 radio ads ($5K package) that kicked in around mid-October.
The synergy effect of all those marketing activities really made the event “hot” in Chicago and all the tickets were sold out on Wednesday October, 28 with 4 days left to go and the majority of radio ads left to run. In hindsight I would reduce the B96 package down to around $ 2,500, run it for about 10 days and have it end about 3 days before the event. Other than that, I feel like the marketing was on point as we were able to raise tickets prices at will, without slowing sales down.
Loyal subscriber list, engaging content for Facebook fans, well-targeted advertising and consistent marketing message delivered to the right audience at the right time made our event a huge success. One of its highlights was Halloween Costume Contest. Our awesome patrons went out of their way to create special outfits that were thought through down to the last detail. Make-up and costumes of the winners looked AHS-worthy as they looked fancy and scary at the same time. The zombie couple fit into the image exceptionally well while the Giant Spider costume is absolutely mind-blowing – think of all the effort that was put into creating this masterpiece! The Haunted Halloween Ball would have never been such a hit, if it hadn’t been for our incredible guests who came out to enjoy the creepiest and most entertaining night of the year with us.
Written by Brian Pfeiffer
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