Des Moines may be “changing perceptions one pork tenderloin … at a time,” but First Fleet Concerts is reinventing the capital city one show at a time. Or, many shows at a time. Each year, the promoter, which works with eight venues in the city, puts on a staggering 1000 club acts.

It’s mind-blowing no matter how you slice it, especially when you consider First Fleet does all that marketing with a staff of two. And those club events are just part of First Fleet’s program. They also own Wooly’s, a 700-cap room in Des Moines’ East Village, and orchestrate an outdoor concert series, Nitefall on the River, and helm two festivals: the new Big Country Bash and the well-established Hinterland.

How does First Fleet do all that and stay lean? According to Joshua Hewitt, the key is ToneDen. With ToneDen, First Fleet is able to advertise those 1000+ shows and execute at the festival level. In short, they’re able to run Iowa.

With a background street-teaming for festivals like 80/35, Marketing Manager Hewitt knows how important mega-events are. Today, some see them as analogous to playlists. As Cherie Hu notes in Forbes: “Festivals have comparable influence to playlists and terrestrial radio stations in launching and sustaining artists’ careers. As a result, more and more artists seem to be taking to social media to announce ‘festival dates’ in place of ‘tour dates.’”

Social advertising is the crux of almost any promoter’s strategy. At First Fleet, Hewitt spends time “boosting existing posts and doing that from the artist and band side as well” — work that’s infinitely “easier and quicker” with ToneDen.

Recently, Hewitt decided to use one of ToneDen’s new Playbooks to announce Hinterland. Hinterland’s a big deal: it’s a two-day camping festival in Saint Charles, Iowa, an indie-folk extravaganza that’s hosted legends like Willie Nelson. This year’s roster includes Band of Horses and The Nadas.

Credit: Four Eyes Foto

With ToneDen’s Event Announce Playbook, Hewitt quickly built a Facebook campaign that let fans know who’d be featuring in this year’s lineup — and when tickets would be going on sale. This post, which reached almost 23K fans, 3K of whom engaged, cost only pennies per click.

But the next stage of the Playbook is where Hewitt really saw results. Fans who’d engaged got a note from the Hinterland Facebook page, asking if they’d like to be sent a link when ticketing went live. Hundreds took advantage of that, subscribing to Hinterland’s Messenger list and buying tickets.

A campaign that cost Hewitt just over $100 yielded more than $20K in revenue, a jaw-dropping 159x return on ad spend.

Using Messenger for the Announce was a total success. Not only did First Fleet sell tickets, they expanded their Messenger reach, too. That’s the power of a ToneDen Playbook: marketers like Hewitt are able to accomplish multiple things simultaneously.

“That’s my favorite thing about ToneDen,” he says. “You get on and do what you need to be done and get to be done with it. It saves you time and it’s easy to use.”

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