If you’re planning a big fundraising event (or an event of any kind), you know that there are many advantages to using an event ticketing platform to help manage attendance and sell tickets. But do you know how to fully realize these advantages? More importantly, do you know how to use event ticketing to its full potential in order to effectively sell tickets to your event and (hopefully) sell out?
In this post, I’m going to tell you exactly how to use event ticketing effectively and boost ticket sales.
But first, what are the advantages of event ticketing?
- Early Payment Collection – Utilizing an event ticketing platform will allow your event to sell tickets and collect payments prior to your event, instead of at the door on the day/night of your event. Selling tickets early will provide two major advantages for you. The first is that early ticket sales will create funds that can be used to cover your expenses as you plan your event and secure a venue and vendors. Second, selling a portion of tickets prior to your event will also make event check-in/registration significantly quicker (more on this below).
- Better Tracking – One of the most obvious advantages of event ticketing is that it allows for more structured tracking so that you know how many people will be attending your event and who these people are. With most event ticketing platforms, you will also be able to analyze trends in ticket sales over time. Some trends we suggest paying attention to include:
- Time of sale (Do I sell more tickets in the morning? Over the weekend?)
- Age of ticket buyers (Do they skew older? Younger?)
This tracking will become crucial as you begin optimizing ticket sales.
- Data Collection – Related to the tracking benefits mentioned above, event ticketing, done right, will allow you to collect email addresses, phone numbers, and further contact information on your attendees. This information will become extremely valuable as you begin marketing your event. It will become even more valuable if you plan on holding your event each year, as you will now have a steadily increasing list of potential guests to appeal to (see more on this topic below).
- Easier Check-In – Event check-in and registration can be a major hassle for your event and can lead to long entry lines and disgruntled attendees at the beginning of your event. Incorporating event ticketing and selling tickets prior to your event will make the process much faster. Most event ticketing platforms have ticket-scanning technology that can be used by any smart phone, making check-in instantaneous, reducing lines at the beginning of your event, and keeping attendees happy.
- Fundraising Integrations – If you are using event ticketing for a fundraising event, using the right fundraising ticketing platform can help you dramatically increase engagement and proceeds at your next event. The best ticketing platforms will allow you to integrate with mobile fundraising platforms. This means that if you are planning on running a silent auction or raffle, you can create a seamless experience for your guests, from ticket purchase, to event check-in, to participating in a mobile silent auction or raffle. For example, picture your attendees purchasing their tickets, then arriving at your event. Upon having their ticket scanned for check-in, they could instantly receive a push notification informing them how to bid via your mobile silent auction. The implications here are MASSIVE, as you can now engage 100% of your event attendees in your silent auction, instead of just those who walk by your prize table. This can result in significant increases in participation, bid frequency, and proceeds for your event!
Using Event Ticketing Effectively
Now that we’ve covered the advantages of event ticketing, it’s time to discuss how to use event ticketing effectively in order to sell out at your next event. These tips come from years of experience consulting with event fundraising hosts, and running our own annual event (over 1,000 in attendance each year).
Tip # 1 – Make Use of Scarcity (FOMO)
A topic we’ve talked about before when discussing fundraising event promotion is the value of creating scarcity for your event tickets. Scarcity is also known as FOMO (fear of missing out) and can be one of the most powerful forces you have in driving ticket sales. We love using scarcity to show potential ticket buyers that a finite number of tickets are available and if they don’t act soon, they could miss out on an amazing event!
As a result, your audience will flock to purchase events for your ticket.
We specifically recommend two tactics for creating scarcity for your event:
- Create Different Ticketing Tiers
Different ticketing tiers will provide your fundraising team with the opportunity to market the scarcity of your tickets. Are General Admission tickets almost sold out? Did you sell 100 Last Minute tickets today? Any updates like this can be communicated to your potential audience in order to create scarcity and drive ticket sales. Our favorite tiers to use are:
- Early Bird
- General Admission
- Last Minute
- Display Tickets Available / Number of Tickets Sold
Good event ticketing platforms will let you (as the host) monitor your ticket sales volume and number of tickets remaining. Even better platforms will let you display this number to your ticket buyers when they are on your event ticketing site. Showing your potential attendees the number of tickets that have been sold, as well as the number of remaining tickets at each tier, will increase their urgency to purchase. It will also encourage ticket buyers to tell their friends that there are only a few tickets left!
Tip # 2 – Utilize Past Attendees / Supporters
As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, using an event ticketing platform means you will have contact information on your guests that you can use for future events. This data will become invaluable to your team as you prepare for your next fundraiser; your past attendees are people who are familiar with and support your event, making them more likely to attend.
One approach we love to use is to initially invite only your early adopters to buy tickets to your event (via email, in-person, written notes, etc.). This will include family, friends, and your early adopters. By starting sales with this group, you are creating an exclusive feeling for your best supporters but are also ensuring that you will sell tickets at the onset. Initial sales will look great as additional people visit your site to buy tickets. We also recommend adding a Facebook Event as part of your marketing plan, so that your early buyers can mark themselves as “Attending” your event, thus driving additional tickets to be purchased.
Tip # 3 – Maximize Your Network and Committee
Does your upcoming event have a committee or close network that is contributing to the event’s success? If so, neglecting the social reach of this group would be a huge mistake! Instead, be sure to leverage the networks of your committee members, volunteers, and close supporters to help drive ticket sales. This can go from your committee’s closest friends and family being early ticket buyers, to having your committee post on their social media pages to promote the event and sell more tickets.
One way to envision this is to expect your committee to take all of the actions that you (as the host) would take to sell tickets or promote your event as your committee/volunteers are an extension of your event and can contribute significantly to its success.
Tip # 4 – Use Social Media
Social media will be one of your greatest tools in driving ticket sales. Creating a Facebook event and having your volunteers and committee promote the event will provide a great boost in ticket sales and will increase your overall footprint. Additionally, using our “early adopter” strategy combines nicely with your Facebook page, as it will populate your event with an initial bank of people who are “attending.”
Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels also allow you to communicate updates about your event to your audience (and current attendees). For example, using the idea of scarcity / FOMO, you can now use your social channels to communicate how many tickets are remaining, or if you have sold out another ticketing tier.
Another great way to use social media is to run targeted ads. Facebook is one of the most targeted and affordable advertising platforms available, making it a perfect alternative for your fundraiser. When creating your ads, be sure to include a strong call-to-action, hint at the scarcity of tickets, and target appropriately. A few suggested parameters to use in targeting your ads include:
- Location – if your event is in Boston, you should start by running ads to those in Boston!
- Behavioral Data – you can target people who are interested in your type of event or frequently attend similar events. For example, we target people who attend fundraising events when we run our Facebook ads.
- Age Range – is there a specific age range that you are expecting at your event? Target them specifically with your Facebook ads!
Tip #5 – Run a Ticket Giveaway
While we would never encourage you to give too many tickets away, a ticket giveaway is a cost effective and engaging way to increase ticket sales. Using a giveaway, you can motivate your guests or potential ticket buyers to complete some sort of task in order to have a chance to win a ticket. Tasks can include:
- Posting about your event
- Referring a friend to buy a ticket
These tasks will help spread the word on your event but will also make your attendees feel more involved.
Tip #6 – Promote Your Event
Promoting and marketing your event may be an obvious way to increase your ticket sales – but have you considered all of the different channels and strategies you can use to promote your event? To make it easy, we’ve listed 37 different ways to promote your fundraiser! The strategies include anything from using social media to giving your event a unique name.
At this point, we hope that you feel more informed on both the advantages of event ticketing and how you can use some of our tips to boost your ticket sales. Keep in mind that this is an ever-improving process that you can grow each year of your event! And don’t forget to share any tips you may have in the comments section below. Good luck!