Online ticket selling is no longer an option for most events. It’s a requirement. That’s because people don’t buy tickets for events the way they used to. In fact, they don’t buy a lot of products the way the used to! Selling tickets online is expected by most event attendees today, and if you don’t have a system in place to sell tickets online, you will lose ticket sales. It’s as simple as that.
Of course, that doesn’t mean selling tickets in-person and by phone doesn’t work. There are still many people who buy tickets at a physical box office or by picking up the phone, but the majority of ticket buyers would prefer it if you sell online tickets.
Why? The answer is simple. It’s easier for them, often more secure, and always faster. It’s also what they’re used to doing. Buying online is the preferred method of shopping for products and services in a wide variety of industries, including buying tickets. Recent research found that 96% of Americans with internet access have made an online purchase at some point in time, and 80% have made an online purchase in the past month. Keep in mind, 89% of Americans use the internet in 2018 according to Pew Research Center.
The majority of Americans who don’t use the internet are above the age of 65, live in rural areas, have less than a high school education, and have an income less than $30,000 per year. If that’s your event’s target audience, then selling tickets online is probably not the best choice to maximize ticket sales. However, if that isn’t your target audience, then you should be selling tickets to your event online.
To get more specific, check out the list of the top 10 reasons to sell online tickets below. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it does cover some of the most important reasons you should understand.
1. Save Time
There is absolutely no doubt that selling tickets online saves you time. As an event organizer, you’re a very busy person, and whether you have a staff helping you, a few volunteers, or you’re handling everything yourself, you need to find every possible way to get more done in less time. Online ticket selling gives you back a lot of time that you’d spend managing the ticket sales process if you only sold tickets by phone or in person.
Think of it this way, when you sell tickets online, people can buy 24 hours per day, seven days per week. How much time would it take you to answer phones or be available at an in-person ticket sales counter to offer that level of ticket sales availability to your audience?
Furthermore, when you sell online tickets, the online ticketing software you choose to use, such as AttendStar, will automate many processes and streamline even more processes! From email marketing to launching promotions, it takes a lot less time to implement many of your operational and marketing strategies when you sell online tickets.
2. Save Money
In addition to saving time, you’ll also save money when you sell online tickets. Let’s break it down so you can see how the savings can add up. If you sell online tickets through AttendStar, the fee you’ll be charged starts at just $1 per ticket. You can add that fee to the ticket price, so ticket buyers absorb it. Also, when you sell online tickets, you don’t have to print tickets for buyers, pay staff to make sales in person or on the phone, and so on. Many costs will disappear!
Even if you only sell a portion of your tickets online, you’ll still experience a significant cost savings, and of course, the less money you have to spend, the more cash flow you’ll have to ensure your event is organized and promoted as effectively as possible.
3. Offer More Promotions
Online ticket selling enables you to offer promotions on the fly. Want to offer a discount to jump-start lagging ticket sales? If you choose the right online ticketing provider, you’ll be able to create that discount in your ticketing software and launch it within minutes. If you’re selling tickets by phone or in person, it takes a lot longer to communicate new ticket prices and promotions to all of your sales people.
Another benefit to online ticket selling that most people don’t know is that it gives you a way to promote your event to interested ticket buyers multiple times with no extra work on your part. You can do it with ad retargeting!
It doesn’t take long to set up retargeting campaigns with the most popular online ad platforms, and once it’s configured, it runs on autopilot. Just make sure your ticketing platform integrates with popular online advertising tools like Facebook Ads, Google AdWords, and AdRoll. AttendStar integrates with all of these for improved ad retargeting.
4. Add Advertising Opportunities and Improve Results
In addition to ad retargeting mentioned in #3 above, when you sell online tickets, you can build custom targeted audiences of people on Facebook who are likely to be interested in your event by installing the Facebook pixel on your ticket sales page and tracking visitors’ behaviors. By automatically creating custom audiences in Facebook from the people who visit your ticket sales page, you’ll save time and boost the results of your Facebook ad investments, which means you’ll save money, too.
But that’s not all! You can also create look-alike audiences within the Facebook Ads platform. That means you can find more people like the individuals in your custom audience and add them to your target audience, too. Facebook will then look for and display your ads to people who match those criteria. It’s an incredibly effective way to boost ad results, and since most people don’t buy tickets to events the first time they hear about them, it’s another reason why selling tickets online is so important. In other words, if you want to maximize ticket sales, you must sell online tickets.
5. Get Accurate and Real-Time Sales Data
When you sell tickets in person and by phone, you need to get reports from every sales outlet at the end of the day, and then calculate how many tickets have been sold. If you want to see where sales might be lagging so you can invest money into increasing marketing in those areas, you need to maintain a spreadsheet and enter where each of those tickets were sold. You have to rely on the data provided by each of your sales outlets, and hope it’s accurate. That’s the bad news.
The good news is you don’t have to worry about any of that when you sell online tickets because the online ticketing platform should provide accurate, up-to-the-minute ticket counts whenever you need them. In fact, getting this information should be as easy as logging into your ticketing dashboard and clicking a button to run a report. You should be able to access the information by area, and you should be able to sort and filter it in a variety of ways to extract the data you need. You simply cannot get this level of data as quickly or as accurately when you sell tickets offline.
6. Offer More Ticket Types
Selling tickets online makes it easy to offer a wider variety of ticket types and add new ticket types at any moment. For example, you can sell reserved seating, which helps you sell more tickets earlier and gives your cash flow a boost.
You can sell different types of VIP packages as well as tickets that include special items like merchandise from the performer. If you run out of the merchandise, you don’t have to stop selling that ticket type. Instead, you can switch to a different piece of merchandise of equal value. Just update the ticket details on your ticket sales page using your online ticketing software, and you’re done. Imagine how long it would take to notify all of your phone and in-person sales outlets about that change!
Since online ticket selling makes it so easy to cost-effectively sell tickets well in advance of your event, you can use that benefit to your advantage even more by creating a ticket type for people who buy tickets at the door on the day of your event. Since it costs you more to staff and run a box office, you can charge more for tickets purchased in-person at the event than you charge for tickets purchased online in advance. In other words, online ticket selling gives you new opportunities to make even more money from ticket sales.
7. Get More Sponsors
When you sell online tickets, you’ll undoubtedly invest in a lot of online promotion, and that promotion can benefit sponsors, too. For example, your online ads could mention sponsors, and your email marketing could include sponsor logos. You can (and should) include sponsors’ logos on your ticket sales page with active links to their websites, which gives the sponsors a chance to get more web traffic.
Bottom-line, online ticket selling equates to more opportunities to raise awareness and recognition of sponsor brands. It’s added value that you can use to attract sponsors or even to increase your sponsorship prices. Make sure potential sponsors understand how much additional exposure you’ll give their brand through your online ticket selling efforts.
8. Get Ticket Buyers’ Email Addresses for Email Marketing
One of the most significant benefits of online ticket selling is the access that it gives event organizers to customer data. When you sell tickets in person, it’s unlikely that you’ll get any personal information from people who pay in cash and limited information from people who pay by credit card. However, when you sell tickets online, you can include a variety of data fields in the purchase form, which you can use for marketing later. This is particularly important if you hold your event repeatedly, such as annually.
For example, when you sell tickets online, you have to get the buyer’s email address so you can send their tickets and purchase confirmation to them. Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to promote products, services, and even events today, so getting ticket buyers’ email addresses is incredibly important.
You can use their email addresses to remind them about the upcoming event, invite them to tell their friends about the event, remind them to complete their online purchase if they abandoned the online shopping cart before paying, and promote future events to them. Don’t underestimate the value of a customer’s email address!
9. Track Links, Ads, Results and More to See What Works to Boost Ticket Sales
Selling tickets online gives you the ability to track a variety of behaviors, so you can see which of your marketing investments are working and which need to be changed or abandoned. You can track links people click on within your ticket sales page, email messages they open, ads they click to get to your ticket sales page, results to your marketing investments, and so much more!
By linking your ticket sales page to your Google Analytics account, you can track all of the metrics you need to ensure you’re on track to sell enough tickets and put on a successful event. You can also track links to do creative things like rewarding people who are helping you sell more tickets by acting as brand ambassadors and online influencers. You simply cannot get access to this level of data, nor can you get it as quickly, if you’re not selling tickets online.
10. Make Your Event More Shareable
People hear about events and make decisions to buy tickets to events primarily through word-of-mouth marketing. They hear a friend, coworker, or family member talking about an event, and their interest is piqued. What do they do next? Chances are they go to Google (or their preferred search engine) and look for information about the event.
First, you need to make sure they’ll find your event in searches, and when you work with an online ticketing platform, the provider should work with you to ensure your ticket sales page is optimized for search engines.
Next, they’ll think about whether or not they should pay for a ticket. They might share the link to your ticket sales page on Twitter, Facebook, or another social media site to ask their friends and followers what they think about the event and if they’re planning to buy tickets. They might even email the link to their friends and family members to get their input.
When they make their decision, they’re likely to do one of two things. If they buy tickets, they’ll probably share the news on Facebook and other social media platforms that they use. They could email and text their friends and family, too. In all of these situations, they’re very likely to include the link to the ticket sales page, so their own “audience” can learn more about the event that the ticket buyer is so excited about.
Every time someone shares the link to your ticket sales page, awareness and recognition of your event increase, and ultimately, ticket sales should increase, too. This type of sharing happens less often when people buy tickets in person or by phone. Even if someone who buys tickets offline does talk about their purchase online, through email, or by text, they won’t have a link to share with anyone. That means if you’re not selling online tickets, you’re missing a big opportunity to boost free word-of-mouth marketing for your event.
Your Next Steps with Online Ticket Selling
When you sell online tickets to your event, you should sell more tickets than you would if you only sold tickets in person or by phone. The amount of time and money you’ll spend combined with the many new marketing opportunities online ticket selling creates and the operational efficiencies it brings make online ticket selling a strategic imperative for every event – no matter how large or small.
And if you want event promotion tips and marketing strategies that help you sell more tickets delivered directly to your email inbox, follow the link and subscribe to the AttendStar newsletter.