This is a sponsored post written by Ovanes Ovanessian, co-founder of Weemss - Intelligent Ticketing and Event Management.
More information about Event Manager Blog’s sponsored posts
Would you believe me if I told you that you can sell more tickets, by making some minor changes to your website and event registration process, without changing ANYTHING in your marketing strategy?
If things are not set up right, no matter how much effort and money you put into marketing, you will always end up with ineffective marketing campaigns and you won’t maximize registration numbers.
I’ve organized and sold 70+ events and I can guarantee, that your conversion rate (percent of website visitors that register for your event) is much more important than your advertising budget. Having a conversion rate of 2% instead of 1% can make the difference in having 1200 people at your event, instead of 600. The best part is, that you could improve your conversion rate with zero budget - you just have to put some time in learning and executing these steps.
Here are my tips - all tried and tested over years of being an event professional.
1. The Content
Your website content shouldn’t feel like a Paulo Coelho book (no disrespect to him - he has some great books which I love). Each piece of content should have only one purpose - to sell your event.
Start off by following the basic rules of web content:
• Start with your conclusion;
• Use headings;
• Be brief - never use long words, sentences, and paragraphs;
• Use bullets and numbers;
• Include summaries/overviews;
• Bold and highlight important information;
• Respect privacy and copyrights
An event website should inspire trust. It’s a good idea to include your top speakers on your homepage, previous participants, real testimonials from real people, celebrity endorsements, press mentions, pictures of the previous event etc.
Always keep your website up-to-date. Never leave outdated information on it - this sends the wrong signal to potential participants Pay special attention to prices and offers. Always keep your visitors in the loop by embedding a twitter/facebook feed or keeping an active blog.
Whatever you do, do not distract your visitors with banners selling something else, newsletter subscriptions or autoplaying videos. We need people to register for the event and everything on the website that doesn't serve this purpose is secondary and therefore unimportant.
2. Call to Action
Call to action is a marketing technique aiming to provoke an immediate response (in this case a registration). Usually CTA implies an imperative verb such as “Register Now”.
There are 4 “Call to Action” elements you need to have in mind when building your event website. Keep in mind that a call to action should not be just the button linking to the registration form (like presented by many specialists), but a combination of these 4 elements.
Benefit: You may have the best value proposition with the perfect speaker, agenda, venue etc, but if you really want to maximize registrations, you should offer a special price. This could be an Early Bird offer, a 3 for 2 offer, or a 10% discount to the members of an association.
Urgency: You should create a feeling of urgency by time-limiting or setting a quantity limit to your offer. It can expire at the end of the week or may have only 15 tickets available. This will help provoke an impulsive decision in your website visitors.
Risk-reducing: This is a key element that very few event organizers ever consider. So if you do it, you will stand out. You could offer a money back guarantee and/or a full cancellation refund. If your events are good you should not fear to do this.
Call to action element : This is the key element that will make visitors click and go to your registration page. The call to action should always be an imperative verb such as “Register Now”, “Buy Tickets”, “Reserve seats” etc.
You should always start off with the average price at which you would like to sell your tickets and build all ticket categories, special offers, and discounts based on that price. So if your average price is 200 EUR, you should price all your tickets from 150 to 400 EUR for example. This will allow you to include additional discounts and special offers.
Follow these 4 pricing tactics, that will help you stimulate sales.
• Always offer at least 2 ticket categories (for example Standard and VIP).
• Always offer at least 3 time/quantity restricted tickets (for example - Super Early Bird, Early Bird, Standard).
• Public special offers can be 3 for 2, a discount for orders over 1000 EUR, group discounts for over 4 people etc. Special offers can be combined with ticket categories to make them more attractive.
• Code discounts are a great way to offer discounts not available to the public. They should be limited in time/quantity too. If they are “always valid” people will not feel the urge to use them.
It is extremely important that you never offer a lower price than you did before for the same event. Although this is fine in some businesses (like the airline and hospitality businesses), it is extremely unpopular in the events industry. People that have bought a ticket 3 months before the event will be really angry if they find out they can buy a cheaper ticket 1 week before the event. This is why “last minute” offers are not popular when selling tickets.
4. Registration form and Checkout
Many people drop out during registration. The registration form is the place, where you can lose all impulse buyers, so it is essential that you do not underestimate the importance of your registration form. Make sure to choose the right event registration and ticketing software.
• Make your registration form is as easy as possible. Add descriptions to all fields that may be unclear.
• Make it short. Don’t ask for information you do not essentially need.
• Whenever possible don’t ask for an account registration. Although the difference in the process may only be an additional password field, users are more likely to complete registration forms that don't require creating a new account.
• Language, currency and payment method localization can boost registration by up to 300% depending on the market and the event. Always adapt your language, currency, and payment methods to the market and your target audience.
• Keep the registration experience on your website whenever possible and don’t redirect your visitors to another webpage. A consistent and seamless registration process helps maintain your brand identity.
Your website is the face of your event. Before blaming your marketing, make sure your website and registration process are set up right and convert effectively. I guarantee that if you follow these 4 steps, you will sell more tickets online than ever before.