RBC Bluesfest has been one of Canada’s foremost festivals for the past 25 years! More than 300,000 guests experience world-famous blues, reggae, hip-hop, pop, and rock artists during a 10-day musical extravaganza like no other. RBC Bluesfest is also a non-profit organization providing educational programming for Ottawa schools while supporting an array of charities, institutions, and activities. 

Challenge: Don’t let the name “Bluesfest” fool you. From Snoop Dogg to Backstreet Boys to Eric Church to Buddy Guy, RBC Bluesfest provides fans with a wide variety of world-class music. Even with an outstanding artist lineup, the Team Behind Bluesfest knew that successfully promoting an event of this magnitude requires an in-depth, data-driven marketing plan with flawless execution. They chose Bauer Entertainment Marketing (BEM) to take on this challenge! 

Solution: BEM started by conducting a Marketing Audit to analyze the historic audience and identify immediate opportunities to grow awareness, leads, and sales. We determined that digital advertising, email marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO) were areas where BEM could provide hands-on help.

As a nonprofit, RBC Bluesfest qualifies for a Google Ads Grant of $13,000 CAD per month in free Google Search advertising spend. So, BEM recommended and leveraged this opportunity to build, then implement a streamlined advertising campaign that maximized awareness and conversions. 

For email marketing, BEM crafted mobile-responsive templates, installed optimized email capture forms, and developed an automated Welcome Email. Next, we planned, built, and deployed a series of promotional emails that we laser-targeted based on fan engagement and sales history. 

To ensure maximum exposure for RBC Bluesfest, BEM conducted a search engine optimization (SEO) audit of their website. We identified a number of issues preventing the site from being properly indexed by Google and helped implement technical solutions to boost performance. 

Results: BEM’s impact was tremendous. Our campaign helped generate a significant increase in overall ticket sales. In fact, comparing our management fee to tracked ticket-sales revenue from email and advertising confirms a whopping 59X ROI for RBC Bluesfest.

As for email marketing, we captured 5,000+ new email subscribers while delivering a 49.3% average email open rate and a 10.7% click rate. And for Google Ads, we established a 35% click-through rate and helped drive over 60,000 clicks to buy tickets.

Given this success, RBC Bluesfest has selected BEM to support the event again in 2020, plus two additional gatherings — the Ontario Festival of Small Halls and CityFolk Festival. 


Are you looking to maximize exposure for your event while simultaneously minimizing costs? Let BEM show you how much value they deliver, starting with 3 free growth ideas!