You’ve spent plenty of time planning your event. Now you want to sell out the experience so that it’s a success for your attendees and business. Once you understand how to get people to your event, you’ll be able to fill those seats or the whole space. Discover proven strategies and tips to help you design a multifaceted ticket sales approach that works. Read on for our proven recipe for effective ways to sell out your event.
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Sell tickets online at Eventbrite
How to sell more tickets
Understanding how to attract people to an event is the first step in hosting a sold-out experience. Your multifaceted ticket sales strategy should leverage online tools, such as email marketing, SEO promotional campaigns, and social media to target a broad audience. Engaging with sponsors can also increase ticket sales. Discover these strategies and more as you learn how to sell more tickets.
1. Plan for the whole ticket sales life cycle
Every event has a sales curve that tracks when people buy tickets. For most events, sales soar when tickets first go on sale thanks to built-up anticipation from announcing the event. Then, you’ll see another hike in ticket sales during the last few days before the event. In between those two periods is a relatively stable “maintenance” stage in ticket sales.
It’s important for event promoters to understand that timing is critical to selling out an event. You don’t want to flood the market with all of your messages at the same time, but you also don’t want to deliver important information too late. Consistent messaging throughout the ticket sales life cycle keeps your event in the spotlight and can help increase sales.
Your audience has different motivations at each stage of your ticketing life cycle. It’s your job to nurture their ticket-buying intentions until they’re ready to buy.
If you spend all your ad budget or make all of your big announcements in the initial stage, you may run out of spark (or cash!) to reignite that initial interest. If you spend too much trying to encourage sales in the middle when interest slumps, you may not get much bang for your buck.
Map out the stages of your campaign, and think about when your marketing tools will best serve your objectives. Here are three examples of planning for the ticketing life cycle:
- Split out your campaign budget to focus 40% on building anticipation and launching sales, 20% in the maintenance period, and another 40% to drive conversions just before your event
- Use promotional codes and discount codes during the maintenance period to give people a reason to buy tickets sooner rather than later
- Use urgency (e.g. “Only 50 tickets remaining — don’t miss out!”) to drive last-minute sales ahead of your event
2. Turn email addresses into “yeses”
Despite being in the age of apps and social media, email remains one of the most powerful marketing methods. But between spam filters and overflowing inboxes, sending an email doesn’t guarantee a sale — or even a click.
Here are five tips to help you stand out and drive traffic from your emails to your event listing.
Give people a reason to open
Use your subject line as a teaser for the goodies you’re offering inside. Aim for a subject that is descriptive, fewer than 50 characters, and tailored to the target audience.
Keep it short
Lead with the single most compelling piece of content and include a clear call to action. Use single-column, thumb-friendly designs to engage mobile users.
Avoid spammy language
People — and some spam filters — don’t trust emails that use attention-grabbing tactics, such as all-caps, dollar signs, too many exclamation marks, or multiple font sizes. It’s important to remain conscious of how your email recipients perceive the legitimacy of your event.
Don’t rely on images alone
Create a message that is legible with or without images in case it’s viewed as text only. Spam filters are also more likely to block emails with no text, so don’t drop a flyer into the body of an email and call it a day.
Use a tool integrated with your event technology
If you’re using Eventbrite Boost, you can email up to 6,000 users a day right from our platform. We also offer a MailChimp integration, allowing you even greater flexibility when sending email invitations and follow-up messages. Because MailChimp integrates with Eventbrite’s open platform, you can send emails to attendees from previous events and other contacts stored in your email database or CRM.
Before you launch your email marketing campaign, check out these ways to grow your email list before your next event.
3. Lock down your social media strategy
Your social media strategy should depend on the size and scope of your event. If you’re hosting a one-time gathering of local food trucks without an entry fee, you can probably get away with a simple Facebook business page and a Twitter account. But if you’re looking to expand your reach and build a brand, it’s time to go all-in with a comprehensive social tool like Eventbrite Boost, which can help you easily and effectively spread your message on social media.
Here are a few key ways to make a splash on social.
Create custom content for your event
It’s more time-consuming than simple social media posts, but making original videos, blog posts, and how-to guides can far extend your brand reach and visibility. You may consider hiring a freelancer or agency to help create the right content for your audience.
Work with your event partners
Draft a formal agreement with your event’s talent, hosts, and sponsors to cross-promote your event to their networks. Combined, your reach will be much larger than on your own, and your talent will have an already-engaged audience excited to see them live.
Tap into your loyal fans
Get in touch with past attendees and your biggest customers to ask that they promote the event on their own social media channels. You can even incentivize them by offering a discount or swag if they get a certain number of referrals.
Consider contests to sell more tickets
Social media contests can engage your existing fan base and increase ticket sales. Encourage fans to tweet out your event hashtag to be entered into a random drawing for free event tickets. Or have fans post a picture of themselves attending a previous event or wearing event swag to receive a discount code on tickets.
Partner with influencers or micro-influencers
Brand ambassadors can be a great way to reach new audiences as you build your brand. To reduce your costs (and up your authenticity), look to local “micro-influencers” who have a smaller but highly engaged following. Remember to track results so you know who is pulling their weight when it comes to ticket sales.
4. Sell tickets everywhere
People spend most of their time on only a handful of apps and sites, so it’s critical to make sure they see your events wherever they are — and can buy tickets there, too.
This is why the key to selling out an event isn’t necessarily driving more people to your website, but rather selling across the web to reach your audience where they are already browsing.
Let’s face it: Facebook followers don’t always translate into attendees. It’s a common frustration to see people mark themselves as “interested” in an event while your ticket sales stall. Often, people are interested in an event when they see it on Facebook, but put off a purchase until the last minute.
Kevin Mack, Director of Tattoo Expo, says using the native checkout on Facebook solved this issue for his event. “Not only did we see a rise in pre-show sales, we also noticed that more people are buying tickets four weeks out from the event instead of at the last minute,” says Mack. “Instead of thinking, ‘I’ll buy a ticket later,’ attendees are buying immediately.”
With native ticketing on Facebook, event creators see 20% more paid ticket sales and 2x more registrations for free tickets, based on our data. It’s not just available on Facebook either, with native checkouts now available on Instagram, Spotify, and more.
5. Master the art of the early on-sale
Whether you’re hosting a one-night pop-up restaurant or a week-long conference, it’s probably not the only event of its kind. The event space is increasingly crowded across genres, and it’s easier than ever for event-goers to find new competing events. So how do you get ahead in a saturated market?
Top event directors agree: more time equals more ticket sales. Start selling tickets as soon as possible to make the most of your on-sale period.
To master early ticket sales, follow these steps:
- Nail down your venue. Book your venue and dates as soon as possible — this is the minimum you need to start selling. Remember, choosing the best event location is key.
- Give the early bird the worm. Kickstart your sales by incentivizing early bird tickets. You don’t always need to offer a discount — give early birds a free drink, event swag, or access to a VIP experience instead.
- Launch pre-sales for your next event shortly after your last. Direct email is a great way to capture a loyal fan base with targeted marketing while the excitement is still fresh in attendees’ minds.
- Set up a pricing schedule. Ticket prices can fluctuate during the sales life cycle. Let potential attendees know when ticket prices will go up to create a sense of urgency and increase ticket sales.
- Sell tickets fast by creating scarcity. Offer a limited number of tickets at certain price points to encourage attendees to purchase tickets before they run out.
6. Optimize your website and ticketing for mobile users
Around half of the web traffic in the US comes from mobile users. Optimizing your event page and ticketing for mobile isn’t just about the experience — it’s also about a wider reach. Here are two reasons why mobile optimization will skyrocket your sales.
98% of Facebook’s daily active users are on mobile
If you promote your event on Facebook (who doesn’t?), there’s a very good chance people are looking at your event or ad on a mobile device. This means if they click the link and get taken to a site that looks clunky or doesn’t have mobile-optimized ticketing, it’s going to hurt your sales.
People expect to be able to buy on mobile
As mobile usage increases, so does the expectation that people can do everything they need to on the fly, including last-minute purchases and acting on spur-of-the-moment decisions. The Digital 2021: Global Overview Report revealed that an increasing number of mobile users engage in e-commerce. Smartphone users spend trillions of dollars annually on e-commerce, so it’s important that you make tickets accessible via mobile for a public who likes to buy online.
7. Get found with Google’s “events in Search” feature
Using search engine optimization (SEO) and event discovery in search tools lets you attract more attendees. SEO is an important digital strategy that helps ensure your website shows up when people do an internet search.
Here are some quick tips on how to power up your website’s SEO:
- Choose your domain name wisely. If you’re creating an event website (and you should), keep it simple and try to match it to the name of your event as closely as possible. Google and other search engines give a lot of weight to site names when serving up search results. That’s why the ERE Recruiting Conference website, for example, is simply ERERecruitingConference.com.
- Think about keywords. The words you choose to put on your homepage and in your content should align with what your potential attendees might be searching for. So in the case of a marketing company that is having a conference in Miami, you might think about including phrases like “South Florida marketing conference” or “marketing conferences near Miami” in your copy.
- Keep the content flowing. Adding authentic, valuable content to your site gives it more authority and therefore better search rankings. Add a blog and post regular updates as your event grows. Keep web content updated with event details, including sponsors, headliners, or social opportunities. Write blog posts that highlight different elements of your event, or interview keynote speakers and sponsors to build interest in the event.
Additionally, Google’s events in Search feature makes it easier for users to discover events. By partnering with a handful of ticketing providers and event listing sites (including Eventbrite), Google provides event recommendations for anyone searching for things to do, such as “events near me” or “free concert.”
This feature is a huge advantage for event organizers, especially those who don’t have a dedicated SEO strategy. You don’t have to be an expert at keywords and content marketing to help people find your event. You just have to have an event listed on one of the participating ticketing providers’ sites, such as Eventbrite. For inspiration, search for events like yours on Google to see what keywords are used to populate event listings.
To further improve your chances of being seen across all search engines, check out this SEO cheat sheet. This simple guide will tell you how to research keywords — and what to do with your findings.
8. Get scientific with your Facebook advertising
Don’t just do the basics to check “Facebook” off your marketing list. Facebook is a powerful platform with high reach, but using it successfully to reach more attendees and sell out an event requires a considered approach.
You don’t have to have a huge ad budget to make an impact with a sponsored event post. Not even close. In fact, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden recently spent $50 to sponsor a post and saw a 61x return on its ad spend. It became a sell-out event in two-thirds of the time it normally would have.
One of the best ways to achieve cut-through without blowing your budget is to increase your Facebook Relevance Score. When you run an ad, Facebook quickly analyzes how well the audience is responding to it by measuring clicks, likes, shares, and comments. Facebook then uses this data as an indicator of how relevant your ad is to your audience, giving it a score of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
That score determines how much Facebook will charge you to run your ad. A higher score means cheaper ads, which in turn means more ticket sales at a greater ROI.
To check an ad’s relevance score, go to the Facebook Ad Manager and click on “Campaigns.” Then, click on “Ads” and choose “Relevance Score.” Improve your score by testing your ad design with A/B variables like copy and images.
9. Strengthen ties with sponsors
The right sponsorships add more than just money to your budget — they can attract attendees and help lead to a sold-out event. When you’re negotiating sponsorships, go beyond logo placement and encourage brands to enhance your attendee experience with experiential marketing.
Work with your sponsors to create mini-experiences (in the form of brand activations), adding richness and unexpected elements to your event. In return, brands will see higher engagement and find your event worth partnering with again and again. Successful brand activations immerse event-goers in an experience that can include everything from interactive art installations to virtual reality and livestreaming.
10. Track your marketing efforts
If you’re going to invest in promotion, you need to know what’s working and what’s not. The most efficient way to increase your sales is to identify which channels drive the most revenue, so you can ensure every dollar is used wisely.
Here are two ways to track conversions to optimize your marketing spend.
Promotional tracking links
Tracking links (also known as affiliate links) will help you find out where your ticket buyers come from. For example, if you’re working with social media influencers, give them a unique link to use to see how much traffic they’re driving to your event page.
If you’re using Eventbrite, you can set up tracking links for any number of campaigns with a unique URL — including email marketing, social media posts, and any marketing you do with affiliate partners or sponsors.
Advertising platforms show you how many people saw or clicked your ads. What you really need to see is whether or not those ads are driving event registrations and ticket sales.
To do this, you need to use tracking pixels — a code that lets the advertising platform you’re using know when a web page is accessed by their ad. If the web page being tracked is an order confirmation page, you’ll be able to see every time your ad results in a completed order. Track the success of your advertising efforts by using simple image pixels or tracking pixels on your site.
Event ticket sales FAQs
How can I sell tickets fast for an event?
Fast ticket sales rely on an impactful marketing strategy that incorporates various tactics to promote your event. Design a multifaceted approach that includes email marketing campaigns, social media marketing, and contests. Incentivize early ticket sales to sell them quickly.
How can I promote my event offline?
Use these strategies to promote your event offline:
- Advertise in printed materials, such as the local newspaper, magazines, or mailers
- Promote your event in person at networking events with other businesses
- Give away swag featuring your event information at local events
- Use a direct mail campaign that targets potential attendees in your area
How do you sell a show?
If you’re promoting a show or concert, highlight your top acts in your advertisements to generate buzz. Offer group discounts or VIP seating to attract event-goers. Encourage early ticket sales by offering early-bird ticket prices. Work with sponsors to enhance your event and cross-promote through other businesses.
Sell tickets online with Eventbrite
If you’re wondering how to sell out an event, check out Eventbrite. Our event technology platform allows you to sell tickets online using reliable, customer-friendly ticketing software. By partnering with Eventbrite, you can offer promo codes, create group ticket discounts, and design a free event page to promote your event and ultimately increase ticket sales. Learn more about our ticket sales platform to sell out your next event.