How the Blue Note hits the high notes with Facebook fans

BlueNote

Since 1981, The Blue Note Jazz Club is considered one of the world’s most premier jazz clubs. I sat down with the club’s Director of Marketing and Publicity, Jordy Freed, to discuss what role Facebook ads play in filling seats.

Jordy was quick to remind me that Blue Note was much more than the hallowed space that occupies a quiet corner of West 3rd St. in the Greenwich Village section of NYC. Blue Note Jazz Club is part of Blue Note Entertainment Group, which also owns and operates BB King Blues Club, Highline Ballroom, The Howard Theater in Washington, D.C., Subrosa, a new Latin/World Music-centric club in NYC’s Meatpacking District, Half Note Records, and Blue Note Media Group, among other platforms.

Over the years, some of the greatest jazz artists such as Sarah Vaughn, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, Stanley Turrentine, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, and Tito Puente, have called Blue Note home. And just as jazz has changed over the years, the famed club has had to adapt with the times. Or as neighboring Greenwich Village folk singer Bob Dylan once wrote, you better start swimmin’ Or you’ll sink like a stone, For the times they are a-changin’.”

Staying current in today’s connected world for Blue Note means building a thriving Facebook community comprised of more than 50K jazz fans from around the world. Blue Note’s Facebook feed reads like part jazz historian, and part curator of all things jazz.  Additionally, it serves as a promotional channel for the iconic club’s live performances, past, present, and future. And not surprisingly, it’s the jazz commentary and glimpses into a rarified past that get its community, well, jazzed up and engaged.

Freed discussed how Facebook advertising has led directly to ticket sales:

Social media is an exceedingly important part of our marketing mix, with a strong emphasis on Facebook’s paid platform. We see a direct correlation between advertising on Facebook and ticket sales.  Facebook ads perform a magnitude better than other paid media.

How much better? Freed explained:

While this really depends on the artist we are promoting, as conversion depends on the fan demographic we are promoting to, we have seen as much as a 25% conversion rate from click-through to ticket-sale when advertising select artists to a very targeted audience in a concentrated period. We have an advantage over other venues in that our performers typically have an extended stay of at least one week, with two shows each night.  Sometimes, over a longer period, depending on  the artist. We can really drill down on audience segments, and, with retargeting networks, reach fans through a sustained campaign.

Freed points to a recent Facebook campaign to promote Grammy-award-winning trumpeter Chris Botti, as an example of exploiting what Facebook is best for – seizing on a trending topic.

This is the tenth year Chris Botti is performing at the club during the holidays.  We were already advertising the shows when Chris kicked off Monday Night Football with an incredibly moving performance of the Star Spangled Banner that literally brought players and coaches to tears. The social mediasphere lit up that evening, with the appearance trending on Twitter and Facebook.  The next day, we made a change in our creative, mentioning his performance, and experienced a noticeable lift in click-throughs and resulting higher ticket sale conversion.

It’s this immediacy in being able to change and test creative on-the-fly, and its ability to allow advertisers to target a very narrow audience based on interests, geography, demographics, workplace, marital status, sexual orientation, and the combination of all of these segments, that makes Facebook such a powerful ad medium.

Freed also points to its “custom list” capability as a very compelling tactic to help you grab the attention of your customers:

Don’t underestimate the power of your in-house email lists!  It’s still the most effective marketing asset. Our challenge now is how to best engage our Facebook fans beyond the Facebook community – to engage these fans in an even more direct way.

It’s been nearly thirty years and the Blue Note Jazz Club is still going strong. Started in an age before the Internet and smartphones, while so much has changed, the sounds and culture of jazz continue to thrive.

Today, jazz fans from around the world log in to Blue Note’s Facebook page to share photos and comments. They learn about shows they’re interested in through targeted ads and click through to http://www.bluenote.jazz.com and purchase tickets. And while all aspects of the music industry have changed since its doors first opened in 1981, the way live jazz makes you feel when you experience it is pretty much still the same.

As jazz great Louis Armstrong once said, “The memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician,” and after spending some time at the Blue Note, it’s also important to their fans.

Richard Krueger is author of Facebook Advertising for Dummies and Facebook Marketing for Dummies.  He writes frequently about digital advertising and big data marketing.

Image courtesy of The Blue Note’s Facebook page.