Many people assume tickets for popular events sell themselves, yet event organizers know differently. Selling tickets is often easier said than done, even when the function is white-hot and an organizer appears to have got everything right.
If you run a business that puts on events, you may be satisfied with how you operate, the team you’ve got around you, and what they’re doing. Progress tracking software may also reveal your processes are working well but, in the end, it comes down to how many tickets you’re selling.
If you’re selling too many of the wrong ticket types and too few of the right ones, you won’t achieve the profits you need to. There are so many potential pitfalls to keep an eye out for. For example, if prices are too cheap, it may make the event look less appealing. Alternatively, if VIP options don’t appear good value for money, these prestige tickets won’t be snapped up.
So, what can you do to maximize ticket sales for the next event you put on?
Give attendees what they want
First, you need to fix in your own mind exactly what the event is. What’s its purpose? What distinguishes it? Until you’ve done this, you won’t be able to promote the event by telling its unique story or sharing what sets it apart.
Scouring the ticket sales data of previous events you’ve put on can be helpful. Analyze this data to see what did and didn’t work. What would you do differently if you could?
For example, say you put on a seminar hosted by a leadership speaker with radical new ideas. Did you promote it by focusing on their game-changing notions? Were you satisfied with your promotion strategy? Did the different ticket types sell well?
If potential attendees for the event you’re putting on are seeking innovation in a certain field, a similar promotional approach might work. You can find out by conducting research among them. Reach out to them via data you’ve collected from previous ticket sales.
For instance, you can contact them through emails and social media platforms, and ask them to complete questionnaires. Ideally, you should start this process as soon as they’ve attended one of your events.
Alternatively, if your previous approach wasn’t a hit, you could make your next event stand out by doing something very different e.g. combining two events in one—a music concert with a beer tasting, or a vitamin sales event with a yoga class. Think outside the box.
Learn from your competitors
It pays to look at what your rivals are up to as well. Conduct some competitor research. What does what the rest of the market’s doing tell you about what you’re doing right and wrong? How does their ticket value compare to yours? Is their event attendance better or worse than yours? Who are they pairing up with influencer-wise and for what events?
Naturally, you don’t want to copy to the nth degree what a rival’s doing. For instance, adopting the exact same promotional strategy a competitor used for a similar event isn’t the best idea. Potential bookers may notice what you’re doing and this could dilute the event’s appeal and depress attendance.
That said, let competitor activity inform your approach and, potentially, inspire you to try something different so your event stands out.
Make the checkout easy
Nothing beats a simple, easy, and quick checkout process. If bookers find your website’s checkout intuitive and satisfying, it’ll boost ticket sales, and they’ll be likely to book with you again.
Like it or not, if a potential attendee is put off by anything (a complicated form, say, or limited payment options), it’s probably curtains for that ticket sale. So, if your site’s checkout involves more than three or four steps, try to remove at least one of these.
Your tech needs to work for you in this regard. For example, if you’re based in Canada and deploy voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology for your ticket sales, then comparing Canadian VoIP providers before selecting one is wise. If the tech you’re relying on isn’t up to the task, it’s no doubt going to harm your selling strategy.
Overall, be rigorous when scrutinizing your checkout process, especially regarding payment security. If it doesn’t look or feel as safe as it could, then do something about it.
Pre-fill tech can be a big win too. It ensures a hotelier who’s booking for that hospitality expert event doesn’t have to check details when filling out the form on their mobile. It also minimizes the likelihood they’ll quit partway through their booking.
Additionally, did you know that, on average, US citizens now spend more than three hours a day on their smartphones (see below)? So, if your website and its checkout aren’t mobile-optimized, it won’t be easy to navigate for smartphone users.
This means you’ll be missing out on masses of ticket sales because millions buy tickets for events on their phones. Make sure they don’t have a problem purchasing for your event.
Image sourced from reviews.org
Get your marketing strategy right
As touched on already, promoting your event is also critical. You’ll only sell tickets if you get the word out—and get it out effectively. You can’t afford for your marketing to fall flat.
The key to making sure that doesn’t happen is search engine optimization (SEO). To get potential attendees to your site, you want to optimize your event’s footprint on Google.
Your first step here might be to invest in and deploy Google My Business software. Its benefits include effective SEO tools to ensure your site ranks highly in search results and so attracts lots of traffic.
Moreover, good, clear messaging in blog articles and social media posts, with targeted keywords, is crucial, as is turning to sponsors—event speakers, panelists, and partners—to spread the word via their social networks.
And how about being crafty and transforming bookers into referrers by encouraging them to share your event? Like old-school ‘word of mouth’, online user-generated content is among the most powerful marketing tools out there.
You can nudge this behavior by incentivizing sharing through referral bonuses, such as discounted or free tickets for a speaker event or reduced merchandise for a pop concert.
Do more to sell more
To sum up, if you put the effort into research, planning, website optimization, checkout, and marketing, it can pay dividends.
If you build it, they will come (or so the saying goes). But, to get them to come and to get them to buy tickets, you have to achieve the right balance. That is, an appealing event you can promote well, the right ticket types and prices, and an easy purchasing process.
Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, a cloud hosted PBX provider and AI-powered cloud communication platform for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Here is her LinkedIn.