This post answers the most pressing question all event professionals ask themselves: How can I sell more tickets?
You got it planned, you spent months thinking about the smallest detail. You took care of everything. The problem is that you sold 30% of your tickets and the event is a month away.
It is not necessary your fault. We are just out of a global recession and possibly entering a new one. Getting money out of your attendees' pockets is becoming increasingly difficult.
If you think about all the free gigs happening around us, selling tickets for your event becomes even harder.
There are of course long term approaches that may transform your concept and sell out immediately. However this is not always the case. Sometimes you need to fix your marketing on the go. Sometimes you need quick and effective ways to boost event ticket sales. Here I come to the rescue...
1. Google Adwords
If you need a quick push, I strongly suggest to invest what's left of your budget in Google Adwords. Be specific in your keyword selection and target only your geographical area.
It is too late to get people to travel. If you are not confident with Adwords or PPC in general I invite you to have a look at this article about pay-per-click marketing for events.
2. Social Ads
If you read this blog on a regular basis, you will know by now that I am an advocate of social advertising. I have seen astounding results using social networks advertising products.
You have no time left to jump on Twitter, create an account and spam tons of people. It is worthless to annoy all those on your mailing list with the newly created Facebook Page. When implemented at the last minute and with a thirst for tickets sales, the likely result is poor and dangerous to your brand.
If you have no time to engage the proper way, jump on ads. Select the social networks where your potential attendees are likely to be. Is it a concert? Try Facebook. Is it a product launch? Try Twitter. Is it a business conference? Try LinkedIn. If you want to sell event tickets faster, develop a custom landing page to optimize conversion of traffic into sales.
Setting up ads is straightforward and easier than Google Adwords. Bear in mind that Twitter hasn't released their advertising platform to the wider public, therefore if you are really in a rush it may not be ideal. Look again at this post for a social ads overview.
3. Email Marketing
If you don't have an email marketing strategy in place for your event, this may be one of the issues why your sales are low. Despite all the noise about social, email remains an extremely strong ticket-selling force. If you email marketing is on your checklist, it may be time to revisit what happened with each blast. Because you have looked at your analytics, right?
Try to think about commercially valuable offers that can help you to sell more. Be careful how you play with discounts as you may upset those that have already signed up. Try to offer something extra to stimulate sign-ups. "Introduce a friend" offers to your existing sign-ups are usually a good tactic.
4. Blogger Affiliates
If you are trying to sell event tickets without an affiliate program, that is possibly one of the reasons why you are performing poor.
Create an affiliate program with a generous commission to the blogger who advertises your event. Possibly invite them to attend for free. Eventbrite lets you do it in a nifty way.
Then start contacting bloggers one by one. I'll say it loud and clear. Do not copy and paste a standard message. Just don't. It is the most insulting way of talking to a blogger. I speak out of experience. Read the blog, read the about page. Contact them in the method they outline on their blog. I have a contact form on my blog. I got people searching for my name online and sending emails to private addresses, this is plain wrong.
If the blogger has a Twitter account, fill in their contact form then follow them on Twitter. Usually that works with me.
The more you get the merrier, but remember to do your maths and make sure that the game is worth the candle.
5. Hire a last minute, amazing speaker
I remember being bugged by continuous emails about an event I really did not care about. All of a sudden they nailed the 10th email they sent (never send 10 emails by the way) announcing a last minute speaker, highly relevant to my interests. That was it for me. I paid for a way too expensive ticket just to see him.
Most of the times we attend paid-for events to see stars performing. If you are running a concert, try with a guest singer. If it is a launch, get a VIP to say they'll attend over Twitter.
All of the above are proven quick tactics to increase your event ticket sales when you are in pain. Remember though that some of them need to be used from the very beginning of your marketing strategy.
If you've used any of the above to boost last minute sales, let me know how it went. If you have more, share in the comments section.