Want to increase ticket sales without begging and pleading? It’s not as hard as you think. Try these five steps.
Imagine extreme word of mouth support for your event, the kind that drives instantaneous ticket sell outs. Imagine not having to ask and remind people of discounts and deadlines. How do you make that fantasy a reality? How do you increase organic excitement about your event and reach that critical mass where your tribe “sells” the event for you?
In order to achieve organic excitement, you must ensure several things. You must have:
- an event that is exciting, at least to your ideal audience
- created materials associated with your event that your audience will share
- made those materials easy to share
- an impressive bullhorn with which to magnify their excitement
Put even more simply: you must give them something to talk about.
There are a few ways to achieve this. While some event planners luck out with a viral event due to someone with a large tribe talking about it, as the old saying goes, for most people it takes a very long time to be an overnight success.
Follow these 5 steps to ignite excitement and increase event ticket sales:
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Step 1: Create an Amazing Event
This isn’t easy but it’s infinitely easier if you know your ideal audience. After all, you're not looking to create an amazing event for the entire world - just the people who would be most interested in buying tickets.
Know your audience. Give them what they want, preferably in a way that is new and exciting. Create an experience for them surrounding something they need or desire. Personalize your approach to them and the right people will take notice. Don’t worry about the other guys. Make your ideal audience feel like you’re talking just to them. When you do, they’ll tell their tribe about you because you’ll be the one who “gets them.”
This also means creating resources that they benefit from them and helping them, answering the questions they have, and covering topics of interest to them in a way that is personalized and speaks to their needs.
Step 2: Make It Easy to Talk About
You’ve created an amazing event and attracted the right kind of people. Now you have to ensure that you make it easy for them to talk about you. A few ideas include:
- Social share buttons when they register. Let them tell the world where they are going. Their friends will likely check out your event and you may even get registrants out of it. Plus, people tend to look when they see a crowd accumulating. If people see a virtual “crowd” of people sharing that they are going to the event, they won’t want to be left out. But attendees may not share if you don’t make it easy.
- Content reminders. Remind people on the registration page that the event is even more fun with a friend.
- Friend invitations. Offer something cool for attendees who share their friends’ emails or create an auto-populating template for easy invitations for friends.
- Provide a hashtag from the beginning. Share your event hashtag on your event registration page and beyond. Make sure prospects, attendees, and everyone else knows your event hashtag and uses it.
- Design a Facebook frame for registrants. What better way to tell people you’re going than by creating a profile frame?
- Create a badge. Create a fun badge people can place on their website after registering.
Step 3: Recognize Super Loyal Fans
You can create a brand ambassadors group for your event or you can recognize those who have claimed the title unofficially. If you see someone talking about you online, engage them in conversation. Thank them for their efforts and surprise them with something special. They will continue to talk about you and likely share what you’ve done.
Ask them if you can use their social commentary on your website or marketing collaterals. It’s not necessary but is a courtesy. Also, consider gifting them with a special badge on check-in. Make them feel like a VIP.
Step 4: Referral Discounts
Next, people are more likely to enjoy events with friends. While networking, and meeting new people, is of great interest to attendees some people will feel more at home if you encourage them to bring a friend. One of the best ways to do this is through referral discounts.
You can also use a form of referral discounts in affiliate agreements or offer a discount/refund to ticket holders who refers a certain number of people to your event by assigning personalized registration codes. This incentivizes people to talk about your event. If you give them a discount code they can offer to friends and connections, they’ll likely feel like a very important person and their tribe will see them that way as well.
Step 5: Host a Contest
Social media contests get lots of shares. Everyone wants to win. They can generate a ton of engagement and help you get noticed. However, before you launch any social media contests, ensure you understand the laws of the platform you are using. On Facebook, for instance, there are certain phrases and calls to action you cannot use without angering the powers that be.
If you anger these forces, you may be told to cease and desist or your page could be frozen, something we assure you will do nothing for your organic excitement.
Encouraging people to talk about your event is not as difficult as you might imagine. The formula is simple:
A great event + easy ways to share and drive traffic = organic magic.
But remember, “overnight success” takes commitment and an executable plan when it comes to events. Creating marketing collaterals and expecting them to go viral is like funding your retirement by buying lottery tickets. Organic excitement must be carefully constructed by understanding audience interests and needs.