Last month we headed down to Brighton to give a talk for CMU:DIY at the Great Escape and pass on our five top tips for ticketing and then selling your event. For those of you who weren’t able to make the festival (or just couldn’t drag yourselves away from all the bands), here’s what we presented:
1. Get Organised
Make sure you give your customers plenty of time to buy tickets but also don’t be too disheartened if sales trail off after an initial spike – Getting your event on sale early gives your customers an opportunity to act on your marketing and promotion, and gives you time to convert interest to commitment, but around 40% of sales usually occur in the week before the event takes place. You may also want to consider running promo deals in order to do this, using a dynamic or early bird ticket structure and incentivising your artists to help promote the event too. Whatever you do though, make sure that your advance tickets + BF is less than your advertised cash-on-the-door price, otherwise advanced ticket buyers will feel short changed (and fair enough!).
2. Get Promoting
When considering promotion there are three avenues you need to think about; Owned, Earned and Paid. Your owned channels are any that you have control of and are unique to your brand or show – the more owned channels you have the more chance you have to promote your show in the digital sphere. These include your mailing list, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages and should be your first port of call. Earned publicity is gained through promotional efforts or through establishing and exploiting relationships, rather than through advertising. This can be pushing the event to fans or followers of your artists, or to fans of the venue, or press and local bloggers. Bagging a spot in a WeGotTickets mailshot, for example, helps add value to your event by accessing our database of over a million subscribers.
As you grow your show you may also want to consider paid promotions and this is a great way to promote your content, generate more earned media and also drive traffic directly to your owned media properties. Online ads, Facebook ads and promoted social posts can help your event reach a huge audience, though you may need to spend a little money refining your approach before they become worthwhile.
3. Make it Easy
This is all about joining up the dots for your customers. Make sure there is an obvious point of purchase in all promotional activity you do around your event, so customers are able to get to your tickets easily and quickly. This could be as simple as making sure that your event URL is included on absolutely everything: Online, offline and social.
If someone has seen your event on Facebook, they should be able to find the event page, click to buy tickets (still on Facebook), scan their card details using the camera on their phone, click to pay and done, so that before they’ve got back from their lunch break they’ve already bought tickets and sent the link to 5 of their friends to get them to buy tickets too. You don’t want to send them back and forth between your site/Facebook page and the ticket site.
4. Know Your Numbers
Make sure you have meticulously planned and managed your cash flow and bear in mind that ticket money won’t be released until after the show. WeGotTickets hold customers’ money in a ring-fenced account until the goods (we’re talking the event here, not just the e-tickets) have been delivered. This means that should every event we have on sale get cancelled tomorrow, WeGotTickets could process refunds for each and every ticket holder.
It’s also important that you work out what you need to charge for the event against what you think a customer will pay; factoring in the full cost including booking/transaction/service fees. Decide whether an internal or external booking fee is best, and don’t look for a kickback as this artificially inflates the cost to the customer. Sure, it might sound great getting 20% of the booking fee back from your agent, but this is a cost that’s transferred to your customers and could leave a sour taste.
5. Sell Out but Don’t Sell Out
See what we did there? From the first point at which your customers engage with your promo through to when they leave the venue (and beyond!) make sure the experience you’re providing is in line with your values. From the customer service delivered by your ticketing agent to the door staff stamping hands, the drinks prices at the bar through to the quality of the PA and lighting, all these things ultimately reflect on your event and influence a customer’s decision to return to one of your events. If you do encounter a problem, deal with it efficiently. Make sure that you’re getting good value out of every service that either you or your customers are paying for.