Bryan Haggerty / SF Food Wars

Whenever an event sells out quickly, it always creates a buzz around the Eventbrite office. That happened several weeks ago with PIE or DIE, the latest installment of SF Food Wars, a super-cool San Francisco food event. PIE tix didn’t just go fast—they were gone pretty much instantly (stunned office onlookers later put it between 1 and 3 minutes…) Clearly, we had to hear their team’s secrets! So we caught up with Jeannie Choe, SF Food Wars founder. Here’s Jeannie’s advice for selling out your event instantly.

After putting on seven successful and sold-out SF Food Wars events in less than a year, I’ve quickly learned that producing these affairs are no joke, having to simultaneously attend to guests, exhibitors, vendors, technical issues, and a tight timeline. But before you can even begin to imagine yourself immersed in that adrenaline-fueled clamor, you have to fill the room! Read on for 5 straightforward steps that I’ve taken to get that coveted “Sold Out” status on my Eventbrite page in less than a minute.

1. Make Your Ticket Sale Date a Priority

Sometimes we underestimate the amount of work and time it takes to refine every detail of our events. When buried in a zillion tasks, it’s tempting to shuffle ticket-sale dates around to suit our shifting schedules. However, no matter how overwhelmed you may be at the helm of planning, always set in stone the date and time you will put tickets on sale. This will ensure that your audience knows this important information from the get-go. If you announce your ticket sale date well in advance, there’s more time for buzz to build around your event, and consequently, a better chance that you’ll sell out.

2. Play Up the Fact That Tickets are Limited

When you announce your ticket sale date, also let people know how many tickets will be available. Stressing that tickets are “limited” to this amount will bring out the precautionary nature of your audience, encouraging them to be more decisive about procuring tickets to your event. You can also update your audience through Twitter or Facebook as tickets become less and less available (i.e. “Only 10 left. Hurry!).

3. Make Twitter and Facebook Work For You

A general announcement about your event via Twitter and/or Facebook is great—that is, if you’re okay with quiet awareness. To create excitement and conversation around your event, you can leverage these free community-driven tools to engage your existing audience and draw a new one. Educate your followers and fans by posting fun and interesting bits on the history, inner workings, and people behind your event. Give them an incentive to follow you by doing a ticket giveaway or raffle using these social media tools. Announce warnings on dwindling ticket availability (see step 2). Overall, remember that your audience isn’t going to beg you for information. It’s up to you to provide the fuel that powers your social media presence.

4. Announce Future Events at Present Events

Events are a prime time to butter up your attendees for what’s to come. Take advantage of your captive audience to get the gossip going on your upcoming happenings. There’s no need to divulge all the details–in fact, it’s more exciting to keep things somewhat vague, like announcing only the name, subject, and month of the next event and asking people to stay tuned for your official announcement. This will keep them curious about your future events and they’ll want to stay apprised on any new information you release.

5. Seek Media Partnerships

In order to increase the buzz around your event as well as guarantee some ticket sales, you can try partnering up with a magazine or website that is relevant to the subject of your event. Ask them for help promoting your event and in exchange, offer a block of tickets for sale that is available only to their readers. This is a quick and effective way to reinforce your reputation as well as garner new interest.

Thanks for the hot tips, Jeannie! And next time, we’re expecting a 30-second sellout…