It’s common knowledge that no matter what business you belong to, marketing is responsible for all your conversions. But, if you’re an active event presenter, I’m sure this isn’t the first blog you’ve landed on to seek advice on increasing ticket sales. So, what makes this post different? I’ll begin with tweaking my first sentence just a little bit: by replacing ‘marketing’ with ‘efficacious marketing’. You can go crazy with your promotional activities, but if you’re not doing it right, you might as well not do it at all. Here, I’m going to tell you 7 ways to ‘do it right’:
#1 A PINT WITH OLD FRIENDS
A golden rule of event management is the 80/20 rule, which establishes that 80% of your business will come from 20% of the past attendees. Of course, it is extremely important to reel in new attendees, but your old and faithful attendees deserve a special treatment for two major reasons – one, because they are already aware of your brand and have shared an experience with you, it is a lot easier to get them to buy the tickets and two, because rewarding them and giving them incentives will mean that they’ll get the word out in their circles along with a positive feedback about your previous event, directly bringing in more audience. These free incentives could range from special discounts on event tickets, to little gift hampers for all your returning attendees.
#2 MENTORS GIVE YOU PERSPECTIVE, SPONSORS GIVE YOU OPPORTUNITIES
And these opportunities come in forms other than financial support. It is perfectly alright for you to feel awkward while approaching your sponsors to help you with promotions, when they’re already, well, paying you. But, overcome this block that makes you think that sponsorship equals charity. Remember, sponsors are paying you because you’re endorsing them, so it only makes a lot more sense if you approach them as a part of your marketing strategy. Also, your sponsors will usually be big companies with already a big audience, so this bit of cross promotion might actually expose you to a whole new audience
#3 INVITEES BECOME INVITORS
Now that you’ve gotten over that mind block with your sponsors, it shouldn’t be difficult to broadcast a similar message to your attendees, too. A lot of event presenters have been trying these “referral schemes” to increase ticket sales because, hey, $29 for 2 always sounds better than $15 for 1, doesn’t it? Your referral scheme can be something really unique to your brand, and it could have a two-way advantage for you – by increasing online ticket selling of events and by promoting your brand. For example, for every referral, you could give away free products of your company.
#4 BECAUSE NO FEELING IS BETTER THAN FEELING SPECIAL
There are some spheres where uniformity doesn’t really work out, and the event industry is definitely one of them. This business relies so much on customer satisfaction that you just cannot turn them down. Often, you will come across attendees who would be willing to attend your event simply for one or two seminars and workshops that they’re interested in, or people who would be wanting to attend but will have time and place constraints holding them back. For these attendees, you could have different categories of tickets so that people only pay for what they’re interested in. Also, for a nominal amount, you could offer live streaming or online feeds of the event for those who cannot be physically present. This will not just ensure more participation, but also make you emerge as a considerate and thoughtful planner.
#5 GIVE THEM A CHANCE TO “EARN” THEIR TICKETS
Suddenly, I’m reminded of the tagline – “You don’t just buy a Bournville; you earn it.”
Though, in this case, your attendees may not even have to buy the tickets in the first place. Social Media is a very, VERY powerful tool (which is why it is ALWAYS there on every marketing blog) and if all you’re doing on your social media accounts is posting content, then you’re not using it optimally. Build a more interactive platform by hosting contests on social media, and reward the winners with free tickets and goodies. And when you’re designing the contest, keep in mind that it’s not only aimed at branding, but also building a rapport with your potential attendees.
I know that’s a queer term, but it will make sense when I introduce you to the idea of having an event before an event, or a pre-event event, for that matter. The concept is very simple – to have a smaller event a few days before your main event, wherein you could have glimpses of your main event to get people excited and help them decide if they want to attend. For example, if you have a big concert coming up, your band could go and perform a small gig at a café or a park where you are most likely to find your target audience. After you have their attention by entertaining them, you can tell them about the upcoming concert and you could even set up a small registration desk for people to buy tickets right away (without really giving them a chance to change their minds after that big impression you’ve created).
#7 LESS IS MORE
*squeals inwardly after achieving a paradox*
Oh, the writer’s incomprehensible love for figures of speech!
Coming to the point, you can always use the ‘HURRY UP! ONLY 15 TICKETS LEFT!’ (and then the counter decrements to display 14) tactic for selling your last minute tickets. Awakening that sense of urgency always works when you’re trying to sell tickets to people who are maybe in double thoughts about attending. It’s a process that goes like this:
“Oh, I’m really not sure if I should be attending this event. They do have some good speakers, but is it really worth the time and money? I should call up Joey and ask if he’s going, too… ONLY 2 TICKETS LEFT?! *registers* *buys ticket* *checks out* Phew, that was close!”
You could go on and install a countdown widget on your website and have countdown posts across social media platforms, but NEVER lower your price because it is downright unfair to the attendees who bought your tickets way back at the standard rates. You will lose a lot of your faithful attendees if you make that one wrong move.
Of course, your ticket sales speak about your revenue, so it is important to try whatever you can do to maximize online ticket selling of your event. But, overthinking it might actually result in things going haywire. So, keep calm and trust these 7 tried and tested marketing tactics for boosted sales, and don’t be scared to take risks. If you know of other methods that have worked for you, do share them with us in the comments below!