Organising an event? Want to maximise attendance? Even if you’ve organised everything down to the tiniest detail, your totally awesome event isn’t going to achieve the desired result if your promotion doesn’t hit the mark and reach ticket sales. So you’ve organised the venue (or passed the buck to a superb venue finding service), booked the speakers and have the minutiae under control. Now it’s a just case of getting bums on seats.
Maximising ticket sales is just as important as creating a compelling agenda, great speakers, a fabulous venue and the finely tuned small details. Here are 11 smart tips to help you maximise the potential of a complete sell-out.
- Competition time
Accept you are going to be giving away a few freebies. Creating a competition is a great way to promote your event. Target your existing audience. You need a strong and engaged user base for a competition to work well. Incentivise your existing audience to promote you and give them a bonus discount on their ticket for every extra ticket referral sold (up to a maximum discount).
Or offer an award at the conference for the person who referred the most. Front row seats, upgraded rooms, and free workshops are just some of the possible ideas for other prizes.
- Targeting the right audience
It’s not just about great promotional ideas. Targeting the right audience is just as important. And, don’t assume your event will be successful simply by doing the same things you have done in the past.
The 80/20 rule of business states that you’ll spend 80 percent of your time with 20 percent of your customers. When you are planning an event you are absolutely right to target customers who have been to your conferences before. Previous events were a rip-roaring success, right?
It’s up to you to reach out to past attendees, and a personalised approach creates a sense of exclusivity. Be warned some of your existing clients will expect more.
- Early bird discounts
Have at least 2 different ticket prices, including an early bird discounted rate. You could even have two types of early bird to graduate up to full price. It creates a sense of urgency and allows you spells of intense social media marketing to spread the word.
- Maximise the ticket types
Some people may not be able to attend the whole event. Offer different passes to accommodate people. Consider key speaker passes, student passes, and single day or half day options.
- Reward previous attendees
Offer discounts, reserved seating and/or extra goodies to previous attendees. The people who have already attended one of your conferences are potentially your biggest supporters. They’ll know how good you are at putting on a spectacular event. Get them to sign up quickly with an extra discount.
If past events suffered teething problems, you would have learnt something from them, so don’t be afraid to approach customers who experienced the blips, so long as you offer them a discount and something extra. Explain how your past experience has led to major improvements and how excited you are to be putting on this new and improved event. Let them know you listened to their feedback.
- Promote the location
The best events combine great locations and venues, as well as impressive content. Sometimes the event location or even the venue alone can tip the balance. It’s hard to say no to an event in a beautiful setting and in a cool venue. Get your venue to send email copy to their customers and promote your event at the venue itself.
- Utilise industry organisations
Whatever the subject area of your conference, there’ll be an associated professional organisation and likely a niche magazine and/or social media site. Get in touch with them about your event and provide email copy. You can offer to write an article or a blog for them. They will have access to thousands of people you normally wouldn’t reach.
- Facebook CTA
Insert a Facebook ‘Call to Action’ Button on your Facebook Page. This will link straight through to your event registration page on your website.
Also having a page for your event on Facebook will bring the benefit of peer pressure. Some people will show interest just because their friends have. And don’t limit your social media presence just to Facebook.
- Create a LinkedIn group
Create a group for your event on LinkedIn. LinkedIn groups are a really powerful way of connecting to a thriving community. Having your website link in the group profile and creating discussions with your link in will drive traffic to your site. The LinkedIn group allows you to send messages, which could save you money when it comes to email marketing.
Use LinkedIn to connect with people, but not for the hard sell. You need to give something to the community by way of content. Share some tips about organising a conference. Give something to people, and you’ll get something back.
- Tap into your speakers’ networks
Ask your speakers to tap into their social media networks to promote the event. Good speakers will naturally want to promote the event and increase attendance. Also, ask your speakers to write a guest blog post about their area of expertise. Promote the blog posts on your social media channels.
- Live streaming for remote audiences
Consider offering a pay-per-view live stream service. There may be a cost involved, but if you have a huge following, it will help you to capitalise even more on your hard work.
About the Author:
Dakota Murphey, an independent content writer for the business sector, working alongside professional venue finding agency, Function Fixers.