Getting as many people as you can through the door is one of your top priorities as an event organiser. That’s why you’ve landed on this page. The good news is there are plenty of tried-and-true ways to give your ticket sales that extra push. Without further ado, here are some marketing strategies that’ll show you how to increase event ticket sales.
Before you do anything else, set a realistic price for your event tickets. This is the cornerstone of every other action you’ll take to boost ticket sales. Set the price too high, and nobody will want to pay it. Set it too low, and you might not be able to cover your costs.
First, settle on a minimum breakeven price at which you won’t be losing any money. To keep things super simple:
This calculation requires you to have a good overview of your expenses and at least a rough estimate of how many people might show up. You now know the breakeven price, but your actual ticket price will depend on how much (if any) profit you’d like to make.
Here, it’s critical to keep in mind your competitive position. Are there other similar events that are priced lower or higher? Do you have a solid reputation or are you a newcomer going against established competitors? Does your event have some unique "wow" factors to distinguish it - e.g. a celebrity performer or the best venue in town?
Answering these questions will let you know how high you can set the ticket price.
If you need help with price calculations, sites like this one help you do that by simply plugging in a few key figures.
Now that you’ve determined the standard price, you should consider tiered pricing.
In a nutshell, this boils down to offering a range of differently priced tickets based on what people are willing to pay. Say, an expensive VIP access ticket that lets people jump the queue and a barebones ticket with no perks for those who want an affordable option.
Be creative and identify what bonuses are relevant for your event. If a popular band is performing at your event, you might charge extra for front-row places. If you’re organising a supper club, you can have a more expensive "drinks included" option. And so on.
The benefits of tiered pricing for both you and your customers are well-documented. You’ll be ensuring that most people can afford to attend your event, while getting extra revenue from those guests who are willing to pay more.
As we’ve written before, a ticket sales cycle typically looks a bit like this:
A bunch of people will buy your event tickets when they first go on sale and the rest of the tickets will sell within just two weeks before your event starts. In between, you’ll have a sad sales slump.
You don’t want to rely on last-minute ticket sales to learn whether you’re hitting your sales targets. That’s why you should have a plan for keeping the peak throughout the sales period.
Some go-to ways to create "mini-peaks" include:
The key here is to keep the momentum going and make sure your event stays at the top of people’s minds. If it’s done right, your sales cycle may now look something like this:
For more tips on keeping the sales peak, check out this article of ours.
In addition to tiered pricing and time-based offers, consider using smart discounts to reward different actions and give people a slight nudge.
For instance, you can encourage attendees to invite friends by offering group discounts or by giving them special access codes for referring other ticket buyers (more on this later). You might also promote a special price to members of a community or forum if you know they’re likely to be interested in events like yours.
Other tactics include giving location-based discounts to people who live farther away to encourage them to travel to your event. Or bundling drink vouchers with entry tickets to encourage combo purchases.
Whichever discount strategy you choose, make sure you can easily keep track of the different offers and also make them clear to ticket buyers. You don’t want to end up listing dozens of different ticket types on your event page and confusing potential attendees.
With you pricing strategy in place, turn your attention to the event page itself.
The event page will often be the first and only place where people learn about your event and decide whether to attend. You have to keep it both informative and attention-grabbing.
Your event page should answer all of the key questions about the event: where, when, what, who, and so on. Just writing "The best party in town" hardly gives people a lot to go on. They’ll want details and reasons to attend.
Generally, your event page should:
Not sure where to start? Check out our detailed guide to creating a killer event page.
While there’s no shortage of marketing channels to use, you should start by utilising your existing sites and online presence. Especially if you have an established following.
If you run a blog or have a website, include a prominent link to your event. Better still, allow people to buy event tickets directly through your site.
Many ticketing platforms will even provide you with a widget you can embed on any site to let people buy tickets in just a few clicks. (You can read more about Billetto’s ticket widget.)
By using your own channels first, you’ll quickly estimate how much interest your event generates and be in a better position to plan the rest of your marketing strategy.
More likely than not, you’ll be creating your event on a self-service ticketing site like Billetto. These allow you to sell tickets online and handle all the payment administration on your behalf.
These sites often build their whole business around creating a community of returning ticket buyers looking to discover new events. Ticketing sites let you create a personal organiser profile and start building a following of loyal attendees.
Even if you’re just starting out, you can still tap into the site’s existing community.
First off, any event you publish on a ticketing site will be automatically listed and appear when people search or browse for related events. Second, you’ll usually have the option to assign an event category and write a detailed event description. Make sure you put as many relevant keywords into your description as you can. That way, you’ll be more likely to appear when people are looking for an event just like yours.
The beauty of the Internet is that there’s a forum or community dedicated to almost any topic imaginable. Use this to your advantage.
A simple Google search for "[your event topic] + forum / community / discussion" will yield a whole list of places where people are already talking about relevant subjects. Jump into a discussion and pitch your event where it makes sense.
For instance, if your event features a speaker talking about AI innovation, a forum for AI enthusiasts would be the perfect place to promote it. You’d be adding value to the forum’s participants while getting relevant, engaged attendees for your event.
Alternatively, question-answer sites like Quora may work really well if your event ties into a popular question. Say someone has asked for tips to improve their work skills and your event just so happens to be a seminar on professional growth. That’s a match. Answer their question with a few useful tips and suggest your event as an option.
This approach is only limited by your creativity and the amount of effort you’re willing to put into it.
In a similar vein, you can try branching out into a separate but related audience. Your event should be an alternative way to address a need this audience already has.
As an example, say you know of a site for Zumba lovers who enjoy keeping fit while dancing. Guess what event might be right up their alley? That’s right, your disco yoga class for beginners! Promote it to them and consider sweetening the deal by giving that community an exclusive discount or special offer.
Note that there should be a high degree of overlap between this community's interests and your event. Don’t promote your cooking class to a wine tasting club. Sure, they’re technically both about food, but we’d bet people looking to casually sip wine aren’t very keen on learning to cook a mean stew.
No man is an island. Neither is your event.
You don’t have to be a one-person army in trying to boost event ticket sales.
For one, you can usually find relevant sponsors that will not only cover some of your expenses but also be willing to promote the event on your behalf. In fact, they have a vested interest in helping you sell more tickets. After all, if your event is a success, they get better exposure. Sites like SponsorMyEvent actually specialise in helping you find sponsors for any type of event. They’re a great place to start.
Additionally, think of partnering up with relevant vendors and companies who stand to benefit from your event. If you’re organising a music festival close to a bar, you’re also putting lots of thirsty potential customers in the bar’s vicinity. See if the bar is willing to offer a special deal for your festival guests and help spread the word about it.
You can find plenty of win-win opportunities if you look for them.
Want to guess what has the biggest impact on people’s decision to attend an event? Yup, it’s word-of-mouth recommendations. A whopping 66 percent of event-goers say their friends were the main reason they chose a particular event.
This means existing attendees are quite possibly your biggest advocates and can help increase ticket sales for your event. They just need a nudge and the right incentive.
Some tried-and-true ways to encourage attendees to spread the word include:
You might also want to give anyone who buys a ticket a special access code that lets their friends get a better price on their ticket. It’s a subtle, non-pushy way to encourage word of mouth.
All of these tactics are especially valuable if you’ve already hosted successful events in the past. Activate your previous attendees with exclusive competitions and rewards for telling others about your upcoming event.
If you have people performing or presenting at your event, their needs are perfectly aligned with yours. They want your event to sell more tickets so they get a bigger audience.
Very often, these speakers and performers will have an established and loyal following. All of their fans are now automatically potential attendees. Consider reserving a certain number of tickets exclusively for your performers so that they can sell them on to their fans.
Make it really easy for speakers and performers to share your event with their audience. That ticket widget you’ve been using for your own site? Why not get them to embed it on theirs? Their fans will have a direct and quick access to booking a ticket to your event.
It won’t surprise anyone to learn that there are numerous online channels where you can promote an event. But what people often forget is that using these effectively requires focus.
It’s easy to get caught up in the possibilities and end up posting a bit on Twitter, a bit on Facebook, and then uploading a couple of Instagram photos here and there. The truth is, doing so will spread your marketing efforts too thin. Instead, it pays to identify your best performing channel and spend the bulk of your budget and time on it.
If you’ve organised events in the past, take a look at which channels drove the most visitors and sales. Here, you will likely turn to your email list of past attendees. Email marketing remains the top driver of ticket sales for 76 percent of event organisers.
If you’re a first-time event organiser, start with the channels where you have your biggest following. In general, the most popular social media channel among event organisers is Facebook, followed by Twitter, then Instagram and LinkedIn. Find what channel has the most potential for your event and double down on your efforts there.
Is there anything worse than having someone check out your event page and then leave without actually buying a ticket? Yes, lots of things. But losing a potential attendee who came this close to signing up is certainly frustrating.
Don’t worry, you might still have a chance to change their mind. Try retargeting. Basically, retargeting is about presenting a follow-up message or offer to someone who’s previously shown an interest. And it works. So much so that using retargeting for events has been estimated to pay for itself six time over.
A retargeting ad may just be that last nudge a person needs to go from "meh" to "yeah!". If you have your visitors’ contacts - such as when they’re past attendees or added a ticket to a basket without completing the checkout - you can use a retargeting email. Otherwise, services like Google let you set up remarketing campaigns that show targeted ads on their network.
The key with retargeting ads is instilling a sense of exclusivity or urgency (e.g. "If you buy the ticket right now, we’ll throw in a free merch voucher" or "20% off the ticket for one day only"). These people are already at least mildly interested, so the extra incentive may just be enough to tip them over the edge.
Related to remarketing is the so-called exit intent pop-up.
If someone has looked at your event page and is about to leave, an exit intent pop-up would present a specific message as they try to do so. Just as with retargeting, it’s best to offer a special bonus for people to buy your event tickets at this stage.
However, take great care that this pop-up isn’t shown to every single person who visits the event page - that would dilute the impact of your bonus offer. Instead, make it trigger only when someone’s shown a high degree of interest, such as clicking on a certain number of links or even adding a ticket to the basket.
You can find sites that let you set up such pop-ups for free, so there’s no risk in trying it out.
Another effective marketing strategy to increase ticket sales is to create a video teaser for the event. The video should be short (it is just a teaser) and cover the basics:
The purpose of a video teaser is two-fold. One, it communicates all the must-know details as concisely as possible. Two, it establishes a personal connection by showing the people organising the event.
If a performer or speaker is showing up, this is an excellent opportunity to include a quick greeting from them or maybe even a behind-the-scenes look at their material.
You don’t have to be a video pro, either. There are many templates that let anyone put together a teaser quite quickly.
Whoa, quite a mouthful.
In many situations, it makes great sense to hold a minor pre-event in order to build anticipation, answer questions, and gather feedback to make the main event better. It’s also a chance for participants to meet each other in advance.
"Wait, so now I have to organise two events?! As if one wasn’t tough enough!"
Yeah, it sounds intense. But remember that your pre-event is a far more casual affair where you don’t have to meet any specific ticket sales targets. In fact, it can easily be done as a live stream or online Q&A session.
The main idea is to address any concerns your potential attendees might have and to hopefully dissipate any of their reservations about attending. Which, in turn, means more event tickets sold.
As the day of your event draws near, you may well decide to do a final ticket sales push. Especially if you still have a good amount of unsold tickets.
At this stage, it’s all about stepping up your marketing efforts and increasing the urgency factor. Run a "last chance" competition or ticket giveaway. Bundle your tickets with merchandise and food or drink vouchers. Step up the frequency of posts and marketing activities on your chosen channel.
If all else fails, don’t be afraid to try something you haven’t already tried. We’ve put a few last-minute sales ideas together to help you get started.
Yes, we live in an increasingly digital world. A lot of your ticket sales will happen online well before the event starts. Yet you should never let door sales become an afterthought and leave these to pure chance.
Create a plan for how you’ll enable people to walk up and buy tickets on the day of the event. Set up a box office or turn your phone into a ticket sales and scanning terminal with a free app. There should be as little friction involved as possible. You don’t want people hesitating when struck with a sudden impulse to buy a ticket.
It’s also possible to create a sense of urgency for door sales. For example, you can offer discounted tickets or free drinks to anyone who shows up before a certain time of day. Think of what incentives are appropriate in your case.
These were just some of the many creative ways to increase ticket sales.
Now it’s up to you. Go sell out that event!
Planning an event? Billetto is an event ticketing platform that lets anyone set up an event page in a matter of minutes. Easily embed videos, add images, and style your page as you like. Every event page on Billetto is designed to look great on all devices - mobile, tablet, or computer.
With Billetto, you can sell paid tickets, register guests, accept donations, or offer merchandise and food vouchers. Interested? Get started below or learn more about Billetto features.