Marketing Strategies 2

6 Marketing Strategies to Increase Ticket Sales

As an event organiser, it can often be a challenge to increase ticket sales. More often than not there will be a period where sales become stagnant on the lead up to the event & you might become discouraged. There are many ways to effectively market your event through social media & through advertising, but what if there were other methods that you could implement to increase ticket sales? we have listed 6 ways you can use your tickets to your advantage. 

Convert Customer Loyalty Into Revenue

A happy, loyal customer is the most sought-after customer, they will write positive reviews about your event, engage with your brand online & refer you to their friends. Wouldn't it make sense to cherish these customers? if you're hosting a new event then this won't necessarily apply to you now, but it's key to remember. Those of you who actively engage in marketing will be aware of the 80/20 rule that "80% of your business comes from 20% of your clients" this is definitely no different, these individuals have the power to make your event a sell out.  

If you host multiple events throughout the year or an annual event, you will more than likely have regular attendees. These are individuals that religiously attend all of your events and speak about you afterwards. These are your most important customers & you should do everything in your ability to retain them. It would be a wise investment to pay tribute to these customers by offering them tickets at a discounted price, showing them that you too, appreciate their loyalty. You could even go a step ahead and allow them to book their tickets in advance, ensuring that their spot is reserved. This will also have a positive impact on their experience & further increase both their loyalty and engagement with you in the near future. At what price you discount them needs to be agreed upon but it's important to remember that for example; if you sell a ticket to a loyal customer at 50% and they then persuade a friend to buy a ticket, you then increase ticket sales through your audience.  

The Early Bird Makes More Profit

Does "The early bird gets the worm" sound familiar? Selling tickets at a discount as the event is first publicised can have multiple benefits for both you and your customers. Offering a discounted price right off the bat creates a sense of urgency and scarcity, you're informing your customer that you plan on selling out & standard tickets are going to go quickly. This tactic makes them conscious that, if they don't make the decision and buy now, will there be tickets left in the future?   

Best of all, you're able to increase ticket sales immediately. This income can be used to further market the event or provide extra value for your customers. You can also use these figures as a general guideline for how much hype is around your event, how many people are interested and whether or not you need to increase your marketing efforts. As the event organiser, you gain one extra valuable piece of information; you're able to see who your brand event advocates are. You would be crazy not to take note of the customers that buy your tickets as soon as they go on sale, these are likely to buy from you again in the future, and possibly become regulars.

Whilst there are many positives surrounding this tactic, you must be aware of what price you can afford to discount these too. As it turns out, if you sell too many of your tickets at a low price, you'll lose out on profit... sounds like a no-brainer right? The issue here is, event hosts don't accurately identify their budget but more importantly; their expected sales. A smart organiser will consider every element of their budget and look for ways they can save money, a smarter organiser will do the same, but research into their audience and location to create an idea of how many tickets they will sell. This is very difficult and unless your audience is small, virtually impossible to get right. The key here is to create an "idea" and get a rough estimate of how many early bird tickets you are likely going to be able to sell. Here's a small visual representation:

Early Bird example

It's business 101 that if you sell a product at a lower price, you'll earn less profit but the key here is to make sure you're selling the right amount. If you misjudge your overall outcome and issue more early bird tickets than needed, you will seriously hamper your ability to earn a substantial profit. Whilst this may increase ticket sales & improve customer experience; as they have gotten the same value for cheaper, you're preventing yourself from further succeeding and thus; providing them with a better value in the future. 

The Power Of Referrals

Simply stated: it's a difficult endeavour to target and gain a new audience. Many organisations spend thousands if not more on marketing, adverts and other miscellaneous methods to spread the word to their audience.  You might be wondering how you can do similar to them, without the big budget. Your current customers are your strongest marketing tool. If we exclude regulars from the mix, you still have customers who have bought tickets to your event and have openly said "I see value in you", the only thing that's stopping these people from sharing your event is they may not have an incentive to do so.   

How can you use these customers to your advantage? it's simple, offer a referral rewards system. Referrals are when your customer refer you to their friends, their friend purchases a ticket and the original customer gets a reward. For example; Steve buys a ticket, he then refers his friend who also purchases a ticket, Steve then receives a 25% discount off his next purchase. The reason that this is so powerful is that the customer is acting for the benefit of themselves, not you. If they refer their friend, it's because they really want the incentive that is offered without regarding how much profit it is making you. Think of it as a domino chain, Steve refers a friend, then that friend refers a friend and so on, all of a sudden you have 5 new customers that you wouldn't have had before, all from the actions of one little incentive.   

How can you actually use this? Take consideration of the incentives that you're offering and offer them in a tier list format. This way the rewards are clearly outlined to the customer and they understand exactly what milestone they need to hit to be eligible for the reward. Here's an example;

  1. Refer 1 friend - 25% of your next ticket order
  2. Refer 5 friends - free entry our next event
  3. refer 10 friends - Free entry to all events within the next 3 years

These are very broad examples. You should ensure that the parameters set are a good fit for the type of event you run. If you host over 20 events a year then free entry to all events may not be as practical or justifiable for you. A referral system will help you increase ticket sales but if you're giving too much away as a reward then it defeats its purpose

Raise The Price, Raise The Profit

I know what you're thinking "won't increasing my ticket prices scare away my customers"  and in some regards you are correct. Nobody likes paying more for anything... unless there's value. Doubling your prices will obviously be a little more than questionable but you'll be surprised by how much people are willing to pay when it comes to incremental increases. It's not unheard of for organisations to get away with doubling prices, but chances are if your events are regular, your audience is going to have a rough idea of the price they're expected to pay. Increasing your prices by 25 - 50% may not be as big of a rise as you'd expect. How do you apply the increase effectively? by providing equal value and in effect; increasing the brand's image. With the increased revenue you have a world of decisions waiting. You can decide to invest in customer experience; offer a little bit more to the events and heighten the value you provide to your customer. Invest more in marketing efforts and bring in more customers, this could then lead to you being able to revert any price changes whilst maintaining value in the future.

As an event host, you need to decide whether this is a tactic you can justify doing, in the majority of cases it probably isn't the best decision. If your events are smaller in scale, the increase will be easily noticeable and may upset your audience. If you do make the change, we recommend that you focus your efforts on one end goal; creating a premium brand. This is when you devote your profits to solely improving the experience for your customer. The biggest benefit that comes from this is your brand will be less cost sensitive and more loyal oriented, this means your customers will care less about the price because they know your brand and the value that they will be getting. Of course, this can be achieved without the price increase, however, without the additional funds, it will take longer. 

Competition example

Everyone Loves The Chance To Win

Everyone has entered a contest at some point in their lives, whether it was to win tickets or to win a new phone, the point is; everyone loves the chance to win something for free. Many people will just instinctively share or like a piece of content if it promises the chance to win. Running a contest is an extremely efficient method to increase brand awareness and encourage engagement. Social media is the most frequently used platform to host events, everyone has seen the "share to enter" or "post a picture of ..." contests.

How can your brand actually use this? When creating a contest it's important to plan it's elements before jumping in. What is it you want to achieve through the contest? in this case, an increase in sales. Whilst running a contest titled "whoever buys the most tickets wins" is highly unethical and impractical there are efficient indirect ways to get more sales through this method. Contests should be used to increase brand awareness, It's amazing at how much one contest can increase publicity, that's not to say you have to gain the data on social. In my experience, using contests to gain valuable data is the most effective use of the content type, this can be in direct relation with what you as an event host needs to know. For example, you can host a contest where the winner will be picked by a judge who works for the organisation, this can require your audience to send a picture or piece of content to your designated email, what's beneficial about this? you then receive your audiences emails that you can use for newsletter marketing.

Going a step further, tailor the contest around User Generated Content (UGC) this refers to a contest where the way to enter is for your audience to post a related photo, video, or comment. What's powerful about this is, people like to get their opinions across and highlight their own lives. Tactics like this also make it shareable, which is arguably the most important part of a competition post, the ability for your audience to do the marketing for you by spreading your content far and wide to their friends. What you offer as a prize is subjective to the event you are promoting, you need to ensure that it's a big enough incentive to drive engagement from your audience. Taking advantage of the boost in engagement is a must, as an organisation, you must actively be responding to enquiries & post comments making sure your audience know that their input is valued. Here's an example of how we ran a past contest.  

Double Your Most Valuable Assets Performance 

Finally, take further advantage of your biggest asset. Using analytical tools, you will be able to see what piece of content has performed the best for previous events. It is extremely useful to use Google Analytics to monitor the important data you receive for your web page. If you're not currently using social media (you definitely should) then it's almost essential to be monitoring the performance of your website. Above all, you need to identify what your best platform for marketing is, if you've previously hosted events then it will be easier to identify. 

The simple truth is that focusing on your top performing channel can increase your sales dramatically. For example, if your Facebook page has 20,000 likes and your Twitter only has 2,000 followers, why would you devote an equal amount of resources and time to both, when Facebook is clearly going to get you the best results. This might not be applicable to everyone as the differences in the example were greatly exaggerated, but you get the point. If you provide greater value to your audience on the better platform, you are likely to get better results. There are many different changes you can make to double your efficiency:

Social Media:

  • Experiment with the times you deliver content, you may find that one particular time has tremendous engagement rates. Proceed to exploit this and deliver your best content at that time
  • Experiment with posting more frequently. Depending on your audience and industry, this can have a big impact. it's important not to bridge the gap between valuable content and spam. never place quantity before quality! if you're going to increase the amount in which you post you have to ensure that the quality remains as high as it can be 
  • Experiment with ad frequency if you're currently running ads, it can be a game changer if you find a certain time/frequency that resonates with your audience. On the other hand, if you aren't currently running ads, then this could be something you should consider. There are 4 million active Facebook advertisers. If you can successfully implement the other methods listed in this blog, then you might have already increased your ticket sales, it could be a wise investment for you to place those sales into advertising. 

Email Marketing:

  • If your strongest asset is email then you can experiment with the content within your emails. Alter the layout, images and writing style. These can be dramatic changes and can sometimes have a very strong impact. The key here is to constantly encourage feedback from your audience so you know whether or not they prefer the changes you are making. likewise, be sure to monitor all the data from your email campaigns to ensure that they're working as intended and along the right goals. 
  • Experiment with the subject line for your emails, this can dramatically impact the click-through rate of your emails. If you're able to entice all of your recipients to open your email, you drastically improve the chances of them making a purchase.
  • Test different Call to actions (CTA) buttons like "Buy Now" or "Visit Our Store" might not be working as intended. A different call to action may work better for your audience.

Make no mistake about it, there is no guarantee that any one of these methods alone will send your ticket sales through the roof. However, implementation of each can create opportunities for you to capitalise on. Make sure to plan out accordingly to your goals and objectives. If you aren't currently applying one of these tactics then that could be a strong starting point. Ensure you research your audience and plan any marketing strategy you decide to implement, in time you will start to see engagement grow and hopefully; you'll increase ticket sales. 

There are many strategies that you can implement to help increase ticket sales. Check out: How to increase ticket sales using an email list to learn how important email lists are for event promotion. 

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