If you’re like most organizers, selling out your event is priority #1. And if you’re already selling out your events, you’d probably like to do so faster.
Kevin Newman helps organize the Brighton SEO conference, which sold every one of its 3,500 tickets last year…in only 10 minutes. As he acknowledged in a recent webinar, there are plenty of challenges that stand in the way of fast sales — a small marketing budget, for example, or a tough competitor.
In this blog post, you’ll learn Newman’s practical and immediate techniques to speed up the sales of your tickets. Read on to learn how your marketing, promotion, and business model affects sales — and things you can do tomorrow to sell more tickets in less time.
1. Create FOMO
“People will do things they see other people doing,” says Newman. In your emails and other contact with potential attendees, show them how many people are attending, and whether any big names are coming. If you run a conference or a B2B event, let potential attendees know that their competitors are attending.
Rather than simply describing the benefits of attending, “talk about what they’ll miss by not coming,” Newman says. Play on their fear of missing out. Include images of previous attendees having the time of their lives, or positive testimonials, in your marketing materials.
2. Create scarcity
Brighton SEO started out as a meetup for 10 people, but about 20 showed up. At their next event, they had room for about 100 people and 120 showed up. The most recent event doubled in size, so now they host it twice a year, with more than 3,500 attending last September.
Better to start out small and have more interest than you expected than to go big and have a half-empty room — which will be even emptier the next year.
Make sure it sells out, Newman says. If you offer an “early bird” discount for attendees who buy before a certain date, you should never extend it. “You start that process, and you can never come back from it.”
3. Give before you take
“Provide value to your potential attendees — before you start trying to monetize them,” says Newman. Brighton SEO has adopted a “freemium” model, in which general admission tickets are free, but other types of tickets aren’t. Because their event always sells out, people are willing to pay an extra “early bird” price to reserve a seat ahead of time. Brighton also offers premium tickets (which can include goodie bags, training sessions, VIP wifi, and other perks).
“We’re giving them something free, in the hope that they then go on and make a purchase,” Kevin explains. “People come to our event the first time for free, then they’ll often upgrade for a better experience or stay an additional day for the training next time.”
4. Cultivate authority
“We make a big, big fuss about trying to get senior people to attend our events,” says Kevin. “If they attend, they’re going to bring ten people with them. Find out who these influencers are, and make sure that they have a good experience. We flatter them. We give them VIP experience. We do them favors.”
There are at least two types of influencers: people like CEOs, whose team might follow their lead in attending, and people who have a broad reach (typically on social media).
Newman recommends finding the latter through tools like Moz’s Followerwonk, and trying to identify people who tweeted throughout your event and have lots of followers. “Who are the people who, if they attend your event and have a good time, are going to tell 50 people?”
If your event has done something brag-worthy, share it — maybe you’ve won an award, or sold twice as many tickets this year, or your event hashtag trended on Twitter. Put testimonials, ideally from Twitter or other sources where people have praised the event unsolicited — on your website.
5. Build rapport
Ideally, people trust your brand enough that they’ll register without even researching the details — they’ll feel that much rapport with you. Newman tries to build that connection that through humor and entertainment: “We do silly videos. A lot of events have started to have these really impressive Hollywood, movie-star trailers. We mock them.”
Humor might not be appropriate for your event and audience, but authentic connection always is. You might build connection through supporting local nonprofits or giving away free goodies. “The decision to make a purchase is that much simpler when attendees feel that they’re buying from someone they have a relationship with,” Newman says.
Sometimes even great events don’t sell out. But following these tips can get your event closer to selling out as quickly as possible. Watch the full on-demand webinar with Kevin Newman, How to Sell Out Your Event in 10 Minutes, to get even more tips.