Planning a successful event takes a lot of work, but have you considered what it takes to plan a successful ticket launch? I’m talking about the day tickets go on sale for your event. That’s your ticket launch day, and it has the potential to be wildly successful – driving large numbers of ticket sales – or it could go completely unnoticed by your audience – resulting in few or no ticket sales at all.
As you know, recouping as much of your event expenses as soon as possible is often essential to holding your event. In other words, if you don’t make back some of the money you’ve invested into the event on the first days of ticket sales, you might not have the money you need to pay the many invoices that keep trickling in (or flooding in as it so often feels to event organizers) during the weeks and days leading up to your event.
Therefore, quickly recouping your upfront investments to vendors, performers, the venue, and so on depends on a successful ticket launch. To make things less intimidating, I’ve broken down the key things you should focus on in order to jump-start ticket sales as soon as tickets are available to the public into five steps. Follow these five steps and your chances of breaking even or generating a profit early will increase significantly.
1. Set Your Ticket Types, Prices, and Discounts
Step one is to identify the ticket types you’ll offer as well as the prices for those tickets and whether or not you’ll offer any discounts at launch. Let’s tackle each parts of this puzzle one by one:
Determine Your Ticket Types
How many ticket types does your ticketing provider let you offer? If you use AttendStar as your ticketing company, you can sell as many ticket types as you want. Offering multiple tickets with different options and add-ons at various price points is an excellent way to increase your per-person profit. You can read more about pricing in the “Set Your Ticket Prices” section below.
In addition to creating ticket types based on pricing, you should create ticket types with special benefits that appeal to different segments of your audience. For example, a music festival might create a ticket type that includes a food and drink voucher, a ticket that includes a parking pass, and a ticket that includes a piece of merchandise from the event or performer such as a T-shirt or hat. Each of these ticket types could appeal to a different niche segment of your event’s broader audience.
“Don’t forget to sell parking passes for large events,” suggests AttendStar President Gary Bradshaw. “Prices from $10 to $50 per pass work depending on how far people have to walk from their parking spot to the venue.” This is another easy way to generate early revenue for your event by offering something many people are likely to want and appreciate.
Set Your Ticket Prices
Read my article about setting event ticket prices to maximize sales to learn how to choose prices for your ticket types. There are several pricing theories that explain why offering multiple ticket types at different price points can actually help you sell more tickets and make more money. For example, priming, bundled pricing, and tiered pricing are all important pricing strategies that you should consider as you build your ticket types.
Tiered pricing works well to increase profit per ticket buyer. You can sell tickets for general admission, reserved seating, VIP seating, VIP seating with a VIP experience, and more. Each type of ticket would be offered at a different price point using a tiered pricing structure. Creating bundles of tickets, such as a bundle of tickets for large groups, is another way to increase ticket sales.
“People love premium tickets, so don’t be afraid to offer high-end tickets to your event – even if it’s only a small number of tickets,” recommends Gary. “You might also consider creating pricing tiers for reserved seats. For example, reserved seats could be priced from $20 to $100 depending on their location.” This is a pricing tactic commonly used at professional sporting events where seats close to the field or court cost more than seats that are further away.
The key is to set prices based on what the market will bear, what prices competitors have sold tickets for in the same market recently, and how the quality of your event will be perceived in consumers’ minds. Of course, you also need to consider supply and demand, the popularity of your artist, and competing events happening at the same time as yours. Also, be aware that if you set high prices, your event needs to deliver an equally expensive experience that meets consumers’ expectations based on that high price tag.
Choose Your Ticket Discounts
“It’s easier to discount prices than it is to raise them,” says Gary. Discounts work in event marketing, so make sure you set your starting prices higher than the price you want to get for your tickets. This gives you the opportunity to promote special discount offers. For example, Gary suggests, “You might consider starting your ticket prices at $5 more than you need them to be, so you have room to discount.”
Early bird discounts are extremely effective to boost early ticket sales, so use them! You can follow the link to learn more about using early bird pricing to increase ticket sales. Most people don’t purchase tickets the first time they land on a ticket sales page, so you have to give them an incentive to buy as soon as possible. Early bird discounts are one of the best ways to do it.
To offer early bird discounts, simply create a discount that expires on a specific date well before your event, and promote it heavily. It’s a perfect way to recoup your investments and put money back into your pocket as early as possible.
Another pricing strategy that works very well to increase early ticket sales is timed batch ticket pricing where you release batches of tickets on specific dates (or at specific milestones) leading up to the event and the price of each batch goes up as the event gets closer. Again, since most ticket buyers procrastinate, offering discounted prices on tickets that expires on a specific date at multiple times as the event gets closer can help you sell more tickets earlier.
2. Optimize Your Ticket Sales Page
Your ticket sales page has to be amazing or people won’t trust your event enough to click the button and buy tickets. Follow the link to learn about the 20 critical elements of the best ticket sales pages. Make sure your ticket sales page includes a clear and compelling description (including descriptions of each ticket type), and write a useful set of frequently asked questions with comprehensive answers. You can follow the link to learn how to write event FAQs for your ticket sales page.
In addition, your ticket sales page must include high quality images, and if you can add videos, that’s even better. Gary explains, “The higher the price of your tickets, the more perfect your ticket sales page and event website need to be. When you create graphics for your ticket sales page and event website, use high-quality images that are under 200K in size, so your pages load quickly, and for premium seating, tell people in detail what they’ll get for the higher price. As the motto says, ‘the more you tell, the more you sell.’” You can follow the link to learn more about designing irresistible images for your ticket sales page and event website.
3. Start Spreading the Word Before the Ticket Launch
To sell a lot of tickets as early as possible, you need to start spreading the word about the event and the ticket launch date at least a few weeks before tickets go on sale. This is particularly important if you’re offering an early bird discount. You want to build an online buzz about your event and get people talking about both the event and the early bird discount before tickets are actually available. This creates anticipation and excitement that you can leverage to build momentum as the ticket launch data approaches.
Consider investing in online advertising such as Facebook ads to raise awareness of the event and your event brand. Spend some time doing media and blogger outreach, and try to book guest writing opportunities or interviews on relevant podcasts or radio shows. Most important, get active on social media and start spreading the word! Recruit brand ambassadors to help you if you need additional support. These could be fans of the performer or online influencers.
The important thing to remember is that if you wait until you start selling tickets to promote your event and your early bird discount, you’re already too late. Start early if you want to recoup your investments quickly.
4. Ramp up Your Marketing When Ticket Sales Start
Once ticket sales start on your ticket launch day, it’s time to ramp up your marketing investments and supercharge your efforts. Invest in online advertising through Facebook ads and paid search ads. Launch email marketing campaigns as well as radio and local offline advertising. Invest time (and money) into social media marketing, and don’t be afraid to try guerilla marketing tactics or creative marketing ideas.
Be sure to follow the link and read about event marketing tips to learn about a wide variety of ways you can market your event when tickets launch. Also, review the event marketing step-by-step guide to get started. It covers everything from writing a marketing plan, holding contests, and more.
5. Integrate Your Ticketing Software with Your Advertising, Website, Email Marketing, and More
It’s 2018, which means we live in a world filled with data, automation, and integration. For event marketing and ticket sales, you can integrate your ticketing software with many other tools to boost ticket sales, save time, make your life easier, and make your event more successful.
Here are some of the ways you can integrate essential tools and processes with the AttendStar ticketing platform to give you some ideas of how to get started:
- Integrate Google Analytics with your ticketing platform to identify what marketing efforts are driving the best results.
- Integrate Facebook ads, Google AdWords, AdRoll, and other paid search advertising tools with your ticketing platform to track ad performance and return on investment as well as for retargeting advertising.
- Integrate your email marketing tool such as MailChimp or ActiveCampaign with your ticketing platform to automate a variety of email promotional tasks, such as sending abandoned cart email messages, and to track which email campaigns are generating the most sales.
Gary warns event organizers, “Even if you think you might not use Facebook or Google Analytics, place the tracking code on your website as soon as possible, so you can build a Facebook custom audience.” This is excellent advice that you’ll really appreciate later! It just takes a minute to copy the code from Facebook or Google Analytics and paste it into the correct place on your ticket sales page in AttendStar, so do it as soon as possible!
Your Next Steps to a Successful Event Ticket Launch
Having a successful ticket launch for your event requires planning and promotion. Remember, if you don’t get cash flow to start coming in as soon as possible, your event could be in jeopardy. People are naturally procrastinators when it comes to buying event tickets, so you need to motivate them to buy early. That requires generating awareness, excitement, and interest so people will buy sooner rather than later.
Use the recommendations in this article and in the articles I linked to within this post to develop your ticket launch strategy and marketing plan. If you need help with your online ticketing, event marketing, or getting ready for your event’s ticket launch so you can jump-start ticket sales, contact AttendStar at (615-823-1164) or submit the contact form.