Follow Cirque de Soleil’s Marketing Footsteps for Big Top Success

Most of you probably know Cirque du Soleil, the renowned show and business blockbuster that turned the circus world on its ear. Well, Cirque du Soleil is a top performer in its email marketing agenda, as well as under the big top.

A recent article in Marketing Sherpa highlights Cirque’s email marketing strategy to strengthen its  relationships with the 21 million folks who have seen Cirque over the years. 2,600 circus goers are at every performance, but despite the crowd, Cirque sees these relationships personal (the only way to keep them strong), and wanted to ensure the personalization of its periodic emails.

Take a look at Cirque’s email marketing approach — directly transferable to nonprofit organizations for fundraising,
advocacy, membership or volunteer campaigns, or ongoing relationship
development. Cirque:

  1. Promoted the email list development as Join Our Fan Club, not Sign Up for Our Email List, and featuring that invite right on the home page.
    • Becoming a member of a club is much more enticing than becoming an email subscriber.
  2. Created a buzz for the Cirque fan club.
    • Members were invited to participate in a drawing for upgraded seats.
    • Those with upgrades entered via a highly-prominent Upgrade gate.
  3. Offered lots of options, email wise, to members.
    • Members were invited to specify what kind of email content they wanted to receive, from company news to performance updates.
    • This kind of courtesy is always appreciated.New York City members, who don’t tend to cross the river, didn’t hear about performances in New Jersey.
  4. Shaped some high-impact rules for each and every email. Every email:
    • Comes from a named staff member, rather than from info@cirque or members@cirque.
    • Is only 3-4 paragraphs long, sans graphics or photos, and in a personal voice.
    • Uses an online version of the Cirque letterhead.
    • Is personalized for each city or geographic area.

Cirque du Soleil’s email campaign results are as breathtaking as its performances. Club members respond to emails at an unusually high rate, and the holiday ecards far exceed even Cirque’s second-place response generators, the "we’re coming to your city" emails. Take Cirque’s cue and put smart, respectful email marketing to work for your nonprofit–building new relationships and strengthening those you already have.

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Nancy Schwartz on June 8, 2006 in Case Studies, Email and E-Newsletters, Nonprofit Communications | 1 comment
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  • Hi Nancy,
    based on what you wrote, I enlisted 2 months ago and honestly, I am not impressed at all. I received since only 1 email to sell merchandising. Definitely not a model for me.

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