The Spektrix Ticket Converter For Non-Spektrix Users: Mailchimp

In this article we’re going to be looking at how you can set up and use the Spektrix Ticket Converter tool with your Mailchimp account. For more information on the Ticket Converter tool - what it is, why we’ve built it - please see our Converting Refunds Into Donations With the Spektrix Ticket Converter article. Otherwise, here’s what we’re going to cover in this article:

NOTE: if you are a Spektrix user and use Mailchimp instead of our dotdigital integration, you can use the Mailchimp-specific guidance in this article alongside the specific Spektrix report that’s detailed here.

Overview of the Ticket Converter process

The Ticket Converter is designed to help you to encourage your customers to exchange some or all of their ticket refunds, either into donations or venue credit to be used to make a purchase at a later date, and works by combining an output of the relevant customer email addresses from your ticketing system and your Mailchimp email tool.

  • Upload an export of customer emails to Mailchimp and use this as an address book for a new email campaign based on a standard template you create
    • This export needs to include a very specific range of fields, which we’ll detail later
  • This campaign includes a unique, automatically generated link for each customer who receives it
  • When each customer clicks on their link they will arrive at the Ticket Converter and see information and options that are relevant to them
  • You are then given an output of the form responses to process in your system

NOTE: if your organisation is not a charity and therefore can’t accept donations, make sure you read through all of this article but pay particular attention to the Non-charitable organisation section   for information about what you need to do slightly differently.

The Ticket Converter will first ask customers if they want their tickets refunded or if they would like to convert their tickets - or part of their tickets - into a donation. Once the customer has made their decision, if there is a refund to be made they will be asked if this should be to venue credit or to their original payment type. See this article for a visual example of how this looks.

We have tried to make this tool as easy as possible to use, but there will be a few steps you need to take in order to get everything set up and ready to use.

Preparing your Mailchimp account

Before you can upload any information to Mailchimp and start using the Ticket Converter, you’ll need to first prepare your Mailchimp account by creating some new Merge fields. These data fields will then be used to create the unique link that’s sent to each customer.  Here’s a quick run-down of the basics:

  • In your Mailchimp account go to Audience > Manage Contacts > Settings > Audience fields and *|MERGE|* tags

  • Click on the Add A Field button at the bottom of the list and select Text, which will add a new row to the bottom of the list of fields
  • You will need to add four new Text Merge fields to your account to get the Ticket Converter to work. These are as follows:

Field Label

Type

Required (Tick box)

Visible

EVENTNAME

Text

No

No

CUSTOMERID

Text

No

No

TICKETVALUE

Text

No

No

EVENTDATETIME

Text

No

No

A brief description of what these fields associate with in your ticketing system is below:

  • EVENTNAME: the event name as outputted from your ticketing system
  • CUSTOMERID: the unique customer number or identifier within your ticketing system
  • TICKETVALUE: the total value of tickets in the order for this performance
  • EVENTDATETIME: the date and time of the performance in your desired format

Once complete, the bottom of your list of Merge fields will look like this:

In addition, you should prepare a short message (no more than 1,000 characters) that your customers will see in the Ticket Converter.

  • You’ll need to run this text through a URL encoder (like this one) ready for use later - this just makes sure that the URL correctly handles any spacing and punctuation in your text
  • You should also run your venue name through this encoder as you’ll need it later as well

Both of these are used when completing your unique link:

  • Short message: use this in place of INSERTENCODEDTEXTHERE in your link
  • Venue name: use this in place of ENCODEDVENUENAMEHERE in your link

Building your Campaign Template

You’re now ready to build your campaign template in Mailchimp. We’ve put together an example campaign template as part of our All in This Together guide which you can use as a starting point for what to say, how to lay things out and where to use your contact data fields.

NOTE: you can use the Merge fields to include event-specific information in your template - you just need to insert *|EVENTNAME|* and *|EVENTDATET|* to include information about the performance in question.

Here’s an example of how this might look:

Inserting the unique link
The most important element to include in your template is the unique link that will take customers to the Ticket Converter and display their options. Make sure you add this into the template either by including it in the main body of the email, or by linking out to it via a button or another clickable item.

We’ve provided you with the basic details you need to use for this link, however there are two things to be aware of:

  • Make sure you add in the encoded message and venue name that you set up earlier in place of INSERTENCODEDTEXTHERE and ENCODEDVENUENAMEHERE
  • Please make sure you use the correct version of the link, depending on where your organisation is based
  • Make sure you uncheck the box Track Clicks before sending your campaign. Without doing this, customers with multiple bookings may not see the corresponding event when clicking through
    • NOTE: this is only available to Paid Users

United Kingdom
For organisations in the UK, you’ll need to use the following base link:

https://refunds.arts-venues.com/donateRefund?currency=GBP&customerid=*|CUSTOMERID|*&eventname=*|EVENTNAME|*&eventdatetime=*|EVENTDATET|*&ticketvalue=*|TICKETVALU|*&FIRSTNAME=*|FNAME|*&client=ENCODEDVENUENAMEHERE&clienttext=INSERTENCODEDTEXTHERE

Republic of Ireland
For organisations in the Republic of Ireland, you’ll need to use the following base link:

https://refunds.arts-venues.com/donateRefund?currency=EUR&customerid=*|CUSTOMERID|*&eventname=*|EVENTNAME|*&eventdatetime=*|EVENTDATET|*&ticketvalue=*|TICKETVALU|*&FIRSTNAME=*|FNAME|*&client=ENCODEDVENUENAMEHERE&clienttext=INSERTENCODEDTEXTHERE

United States
For organisations in the US, you’ll need to use the following link:

https://refunds.arts-venues.com/donateRefund?currency=USD&customerid=*|CUSTOMERID|*&eventname=*|EVENTNAME|*&eventdatetime=*|EVENTDATET|*&ticketvalue=*|TICKETVALU|*&FIRSTNAME=*|FNAME|*&client=ENCODEDVENUENAMEHERE&clienttext=INSERTENCODEDTEXTHERE

Canada
For organisations in Canada, you’ll need to use the following base link

https://refunds.arts-venues.com/donateRefund?currency=CAD&customerid=*|CUSTOMERID|*&eventname=*|EVENTNAME|*&eventdatetime=*|EVENTDATET|*&ticketvalue=*|TICKETVALU|*&FIRSTNAME=*|FNAME|*&client=ENCODEDVENUENAMEHERE&clienttext=INSERTENCODEDTEXTHERE

NOTE: we recommend at this stage that you save this as a template in your Mailchimp account. You can do this by clicking on Template (in the top right hand corner) > Save this design as a template

Non-charitable organisations

If you’re not a charitable organisation and therefore can’t accept donations, you can still use the Ticket Converter to ask customers to refund their tickets to venue credit with you rather than their original payment method. This way you can encourage customers to return and book another performance with you in future.

To do this, follow the same steps as above, but use one of the following links instead of what’s listed above (remember, do not try to use a link shortener as this will cause the link to break).

United Kingdom
For organisations in the UK, you’ll need to use the following base link: 

https://refunds.arts-venues.com/refundoptions?currency=GBP&customerid=@CUSTOMERID@&eventname=@EVENTNAME@&eventdatetime=@EVENTDATETIME@&ticketvalue=@TICKETVALUE@&remainingvalue=@TICKETVALUE@&client=ENCODEDVENUENAMEHERE&clienttext=INSERTENCODEDTEXTHERE

Republic of Ireland
For organisations in the Republic of Ireland, you’ll need to use the following base link: 

https://refunds.arts-venues.com/refundoptions?currency=EUR&customerid=@CUSTOMERID@&eventname=@EVENTNAME@&eventdatetime=@EVENTDATETIME@&ticketvalue=@TICKETVALUE@&remainingvalue=@TICKETVALUE@&client=ENCODEDVENUENAMEHERE

United States
For organisations in the US, you’ll need to use the following link: 

https://refunds.arts-venues.com/refundoptions?currency=USD&customerid=@CUSTOMERID@&eventname=@EVENTNAME@&eventdatetime=@EVENTDATETIME@&ticketvalue=@TICKETVALUE@&remainingvalue=@TICKETVALUE@&client=ENCODEDVENUENAMEHERE

Canada
For organisations in Canada, you’ll need to use the following base link 

https://refunds.arts-venues.com/refundoptions?currency=CAD&customerid=@CUSTOMERID@&eventname=@EVENTNAME@&eventdatetime=@EVENTDATETIME@&ticketvalue=@TICKETVALUE@&remainingvalue=@TICKETVALUE@&client=ENCODEDVENUENAMEHERE 

Ticket Converter configuration

The Ticket Converter tool is configurable, allowing you to customise which options you would like to offer your customers.

Configuring options
You can choose which - if any - of the available options you want to use at the following webpage:

mceclip3.png

To access the options, first you’ll need to tell us who should have access to the Ticket Converter (for both configuration and accessing customer responses) by completing this form. Please make sure you provide us with the following information:

  • Your venue’s name: please make sure that this:
  • Your name: your full name, or the name of who you would like to grant access
  • Your email address: your work email address (or the best email address to use)

Once we receive these details via the form we will securely provide you with a token which you can use to access the Ticket ConverterYou only need to request this token one time - once you've logged in using it, your access is fully set up so you don't need a new one each time you want to access the tool.

NOTE: please ensure you keep this token safe and secure, as it provides you with access to your customers’ personal details.

When you've logged in, you'll see the following page:

mceclip1.png

The options you choose here will determine what’s presented to your customers in the Ticket Converter, as well as the flow of the tool online. We’ll take you through what each option means and how it impacts on your customers.

Refund options
This section allows you to disable one of the options that customers see when they use the Ticket Converter, if you want to only offer one method of refund.

NOTE: you always need at least one refund method to be available, so you can only ever disable one of these options at any time.

Disable the ‘Refund to my original payment method’ option
With this checkbox selected (i.e. you’re choosing to disable the original method of payment), the option to Donate a portion of... will show additional text to reflect the fact that the remaining value will be refunded as venue credit. 

The Refund option will also change, to reflect the fact that this is a refund to venue credit. 

mceclip3.png

Customers will then be taken directly to the confirmation page and the appropriate responses will be recorded.

Disable the ‘Refund to venue credit’ option
With this checkbox selected (i.e. you’re disabling the option for customers to have their refund as venue credit) the option to Donate a portion of... will show additional text to reflect the fact that the remaining value will be refunded to the original payment method.

The Refund option will also change, to reflect the fact that this is a refund to the original payment method.

mceclip4.png

Customers will then be taken directly to the confirmation page and the appropriate responses will be recorded.

‘Keep my tickets’ options
You can configure the Ticket Converter to allow customers who don’t want a refund to keep hold of their tickets instead, and use them for future performances. There are two ways of doing this – you can set it up in these configuration options, in which case it will apply globally to all Events, or you can enable it on an Event-by-Event basis by amending the unique link you send out.

Enable the ‘Keep my tickets for a future date’ option (global)
With this selected, a new global (i.e. for all Events) Keep my tickets for a future date option will be available - selecting this will take customers directly to the confirmation page.

 

mceclip5.png

This will display in the data you output from the Ticket Converter as Keep Tickets

 

Enabling the ‘Keep my tickets for a future date’ option per Event
You can enable this option on a per-Event basis by using the &keeptickets parameter at the end of the unique link that you use in your mailing campaign. For example, for UK charitable organisations:

https://refunds.arts-venues.com/donateRefund?currency=GBP&customerid=@CUSTOMERID@&eventname=@EVENTNAME@&eventdatetime=@EVENTDATETIME@&ticketvalue=@TICKETVALUE@&client=ENCODEDVENUENAMEHERE&clienttext=INSERTENCODEDTEXTHERE&keeptickets

  • If this parameter is present, the Keep my tickets for a future date option will be available to customers on that link
  • HOWEVER, if the Enable the Keep my tickets for a future date option is selected in the Ticket Converter configuration, this will override what’s in the unique link and enable the option globally

Enabling the 'Transfer my tickets to the alternative event' option per Event
If you're not rescheduling an event, but would like to give people the option to swap their tickets for an alternative one, you can enable this option on a per-Event basis by using the &transfer parameter at the end of the unique link that you use in your mailing campaign. For example, for UK charitable organisations:

https://refunds.arts-venues.com/donateRefund?currency=GBP&customerid=@CUSTOMERID@&eventname=@EVENTNAME@&eventdatetime=@EVENTDATETIME@&ticketvalue=@TICKETVALUE@&client=ENCODEDVENUENAMEHERE&clienttext=INSERTENCODEDTEXTHERE&remainingvalue=@TICKETVALUE@&transfer

  • If this parameter is present, the Transfer my tickets to the alternative event option will be available to customers on that link 

mceclip0.png

This will display in the data you output from the Ticket Converter as Transfer Tickets

Preparing and sending campaigns

The process of sending your campaign involves outputting information from your ticketing system, uploading this information to Mailchimp and then sending your emails. We’ll talk you through what you need to bear in mind when getting that information out of your ticketing system, then how to upload it to Mailchimp and use it to send your campaign. 

Outputting information from your ticketing system
To make use of the Ticket Converter you will need to be able to output certain information from your ticketing system. The specifics of what to include will depend on how you want to use the data to contact customers, based on these options:

  • One performance at a time
  • All performances for a single show (we’ll refer to shows - entire runs - as events)
  • Multiple events

NOTE: regardless of which option you choose, each upload to Mailchimp can only contain one combination of CustomerID, Event and Instance (as the Ticket Converter will not allow duplicates).

Here’s an overview of the various pieces of information you might need to include - we’ll go through each of the three options below, and point out specifics of what each one should and/or shouldn’t include:

  • Customer ID: the unique customer number or identifier within your ticketing system (for example 237585 or I-MC22-3WHD)
  • Email address: the email address stored against this customer. It will be worth excluding all customers who have no email address in the criteria of the report as you will not be able to contact these customers via email
  • Event name: the name of each event as outputted from your ticketing system
    • NOTE: if the Event name contains an ampersand (&) you’ll need to replace & with and in the output of this information
  • The total value of tickets in the order for the relevant event/performance
    • For example, if a customer had bought four tickets at £20 each, this column would display 80
  • The time and date of the performance in your desired format (for example 20/03/20 19:00 or 20th March 2020 at 7pm)
  • First name: the first name of the customer
  • Surname/Last name: the last name of the customer

NOTE: we would recommend that the easiest format is to extract this as a .CSV file,  however mailing platforms often support other formats as well.

Here is an example, displayed in Excel:


One performance at a time
If you want to send Ticket Converter emails for an individual performance (e.g. Hamlet on 1st April) then make sure your ticketing system outputs as follows:

  • Provide a single line per customer per performance
  • Ensure the total value of tickets is looking at tickets for that performance only

All performances for a single event
If you want to send Ticket Converter emails per event, (e.g the entire run of Hamlet) then make sure your ticketing system outputs as follows:

  • Provide a single line per customer per event
  • Exclude event date and time information
  • Make sure the total value of tickets column shows the total booking for all performances of that event

Multiple events
If you want to send Ticket Converter emails for multiple events (e.g. an entire Shakespeare Festival OR all your events in April) then make sure your ticketing system outputs as follows:

  • Provide a single line per customer 
  • Include the total value of tickets for the range of events
  • Still include a column called Event Name but manually fill in this column with a descriptive title for the range of events that you're cancelling
    • This is what your customers will see online in the Ticket Converter

Uploading your list of customers
Once you have extracted the above information from your ticketing system you can now upload your report output to Mailchimp.

  • Navigate to Audience >  Manage Audience > Import Contacts
  • Choose the correct format as per your extraction type (CSV/copy & paste/Google Drive etc.)

Once you’ve uploaded your file to Mailchimp you will need to map the fields from your original file to the Merge fields you set up earlier.

NOTE: the second time you import contacts you can choose the top option labelled Use settings from last import and you won’t have to map your Merge fields each time.

Mailchimp will automatically try to find existing fields but for any marked as (unmatched column) you will need to manually link them by clicking Edit > Select the Merge field from the Dropdown > Click Save.

Once the mapping is complete, the next screen will allow you to store tags against this import for reference later in this process.

There are a couple of important points to be aware of:

  • You need to tag your contacts so that you can find these customers to send the campaign to. We suggest using a combination of a title - Ticket Conversion - plus the name and date of the show. For example:
    • Ticket Conversion Hamlet 20/03/20 19:00
  • Make sure you select Update existing contacts as otherwise you will not update previously existing customers with the new data fields

Testing your campaign 
Before sending your campaign, we would recommend you run a quick test to make sure everything in the email looks right, and the unique link is generating correctly.

The best way to test this is to upload and tag a list of contacts in mailchimp which only includes a small number of test email addresses (i.e. yourself and any colleagues who are working on this), with the Event name listed as Test Event.

Use this small list to send your test campaign - everyone in that address book should receive a unique link that takes them to the Ticket Converter, where they will see their options for an example cancelled Event called Test Event.

Sending your campaign
Once you’ve done your test sends, everything should be built and ready so can now start sending your emails.

To create a new Campaign in Mailchimp, go to Campaigns > Create Campaign (gray box, top right) > select Email.

NOTE: we would suggest you name your campaign after the performance you are contacting customers about, to help with reporting in future.

For the To options click Edit Recipients and select the tag you imported with your list earlier:

Complete the rest of the process as you would normally, however you can now use your saved template for the design element of the campaign.

NOTE: you can use the Merge fields in the subject line to save time, as you can see from the screenshot below:

Before sending your campaign, you can preview it by clicking on the design and selecting Enable live merge tag info in the top right corner.

Customer responses

Once you've sent that email, customers will be able to click the link you include and make their choices for what they would like to do. Here's an example of how that looks:

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If you’re a charitable organisation, the information you encoded in your unique link earlier (i.e. the information you included in place of INSERTENCODEDTEXTHERE) will show up on this page underneath the Event name and date/time details.

If not, the standard message of “Please select how you would like the remaining value to be returned” will display instead.

Accessing your customers’ responses
Once you’ve sent your campaign, you can securely retrieve your customers’ responses as a .CSV download from a dedicated site that we’ve set up. 

You can get into this site using the same key as you used to set up your Ticket Converter configuration earlier on. If you haven’t already done that, check back to this part of the article and make sure you fill in the form there.

Here’s the link for downloading the customer responses you’ve received from the Ticket Converter:

Fill in the following fields:

  • Key: enter the unique key that we provided you with
  • Date from/to: select a date/time range for responses.

Click the Download button to generate a .CSV file of Ticket Converter responses within your given date range.

NOTE: Please be aware that the time ranges in the Ticket Converter Response Downloader are based on the UTC timezone.

Closing the Ticket Converter form to prevent further customer responses 
If you've given customers a set date to respond by and now want to close the Ticket Converter form and prevent further responses, you can do so from your Ticket Converter configuration page. Just tick the Close the form (and disable new responses) check box; you can also add a custom message to let customers know that the form is now closed, and where to contact you if they have any questions.

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If you have any questions about the Ticket Converter or would like to discuss any of the stages of using it in more detail, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via support@spektrix.com to talk things through.

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