9 tricks to sell out your next event
If you are an event host and you are struggling to sell out your event tickets. Let me tell you one thing. By the end of this article, you will be able to sell out your event within 30 days of launch.
Now, what is one of the biggest nightmare of an event host? Well, let me tell you a short story. Back in 2010. I hosted a Bollywood Night event in London.
Before that, I created a meetup group, and I developed it and grown to 500+ members in that Meetup group.
Then thought I should host an event. So I went into central London and visited different venues. I had a contract with one of them, that I will bring more than 50 people to your club/bar.
And the club needs to do provide me with a separate area to invite my event attendees to welcome them, and potentially give them a free drink.
The venue also agreed to the terms, but the agreement was I have to deposit £500 with the venue and when I bring a minimum of 50 people they will refund my deposit. And I agreed.
So I went back and I published an event, one and a half month away from the date.
I had only 45 days in my hands to sell out the tickets for that event.
I also wanted to hire Bollywood mixer and DJ player so that everyone can enjoy. I wanted to make sure that I can provide for my event attendees and all other required facilities which were needed to host an event.
So I started marketing my event. I started spreading the word via friends, I did some ads online and distributed leaflets, but nothing worked out for me.
Passed 35 days, I realised that I am just left with 10 more days, and I have sold only 15 tickets.
And that was a nightmare because my deposit was still with the venue, which was supposed to come back to me when I bring 50 people to the event.
Also, I couldn’t sell the tickets so I knew that If I cancel the event I have to return the money back to the people who bought the tickets.
And not to say that the integrity and the brand value for my Meetup group will be trashed.
So all that stuff was on a stake, and I had no idea how to do it and it was one of the biggest event failures of my life.
That’s when I realised that hosting an event is not an easy task and for all event host. The biggest nightmare is how to sell out their event tickets.
So, in the last 10 years, I have learned several tricks, which helped me to sell out my various events. I have hosted big events like startup pitching events, Bollywood Clubbing Events and Speed Dating Events, and most of them are successful.
Not just because I sold out the tickets, but also because I’ve received, really good feedback.
So let’s jump on to the 9 tricks, which I usually follow in order to sell out my whole event.
Trick 1# List your event on Discovery Sites:
So this is something which I always do whenever I publish an event.
For example, if I am publishing my event on my own website where I’m selling the tickets.
I always make sure that I publish the same event with the link to my website, on Google events, Facebook events and all other event directories.9 tricks to sell out your next event
Now, what it does is when you post or publish your event on these directories. It actually pops up, when the event date goes close to the current date.
Let's take an example, if you’re searching for, single meetups in London on a Friday, and if your event is scheduled on Saturday.
Google will show that event on the top of the list, obviously for just one day, but that’s the life cycle of an event, isn’t it?
You want to make sure that you get as much as airtime in front of your potential customers so that you can sell out the tickets.
So listing your event on event discovery site is really helpful. I would say that it has the potential of selling 10% of your event tickets.
Pro Tip: One of the feature, I use on bylde is to automatically publish these events directly to all these discovery sites, so I don’t have to do it manually one by one.9 tricks to sell out your next event
Trick 2# Partner with Other Communities
This is the second trick I follow in order to promote my events and sell out the tickets.
When I plan to schedule an event, what I do is I figure out which other communities or local groups, running parallel to my community. I also check if they are active in my geography, with a similar kind of interest.
I contact their organisers or contact their administrator's (admins of Facebook groups or meetup groups).9 tricks to sell out your next event
And I tell them that this is the event I’m hosting. Would you like to partner with me?
And by that I mean to say, I give them that opportunity to partner with me and sell out the tickets to their group members, and then share the profit.
I mean, what is better than bringing more than expected people to your event and making it successful. Isn’t it?
So it always helps to connect with the similar kind of communities, running parallel in your local area and asking them.
Now some people will say. Well, not every community host or admin will say yes for your partnership.
let me tell you something, sometimes just asking is more than enough.
For example, When I hosted a startup pitch event in Newcastle. I contacted a couple of technical geeky event organisers in the loop in my city. And I mentioned to them that I’m hosting the startup pitch event here, would you like to partner with me.
And they were more than happy to do that because they didn’t actually think about this kind of structure of an event.
So they partnered with me, and they wanted to learn more about how to host this kind of event with me. So they said yes, and they published my event on their group, and it helped me out to sell all of my event tickets.
And it was a super successful event. So basically, if you partner with your local communities, it will help you to promote your event and increase your reach.
Pro Tip: You can easily connect with fellow event hosts on platforms like meetup, eventbrite and bylde.
Trick 3# Early Bird Discounted Tickets with Urgency
This trick, I’ve been using from the last seven years, and it never fails.
I’m a hundred per cent sure if you’re hosting an event then you are already running a local community or you are a member of a local community.
That means, you already have connections who would be interested in your event.9 tricks to sell out your next event
Now, from a social perspective, when you publish an event. If nobody buys a ticket. And people can see that number of people going to your event is low.
The potential buyers get disappointed. And it's natural because when that person comes to your event page, he or she will look at it and see “oh nobody has bought tickets yet so why should I”. Its a classic chicken and egg situation.
And that's where the social proof principle works.
In order to bring more traction to your event. It is also always helpful to sell some tickets for a cheaper price because what it does is; it creates an urgency among your potential buyers among your group.
For example, It creates an emotion that; if I buy the tickets now, it is 50% cheaper for me.
Plus, I will lose this opportunity. If I don’t buy it. Within the next 10 days or 14 days.
So early bird ticketing always helps to sell out your event.
And you always make sure that the discount you are giving away, is a little bit higher than your threshold cost per attendee.
For example, if your cost per attendee for your event is 10 pounds, and you’re selling your tickets for 20 or 30 pounds. You can always say that.
Okay. The ticket price is 20 pounds but you will get 40% off if you buy it within the next 10 days. And that will give your potential buyers an opportunity to save 40% and trigger an urgency of buying a ticket.
So creating an urgency, with early bird ticket discount is always a good idea.
Trick 4# Do a Ticket Giveaway on Social Media
This trick will works, depending upon what kind of event you are hosting.
For example, If you’re hosting a speed dating event. It is always a good idea to give away some free tickets on social media to the people who have quite a lot of connections.
I’ll give you an example. I hosted a speed dating event in Birmingham. And I published a social media post on various groups in Birmingham saying that I’m hosting this speed dating event; this is the structure, this is the timing. This is the location.
And I’m giving away, four tickets.
And I will be choosing random people to give away the tickets.
The only thing they had to do is click on the share button and put their name in the comment section. After that what happened is, people who were interested they shared the link on their wall.
They put their names in the comment section that triggered a viral effect of, spreading the word.
Also, I had now, 20 odd people who are actually interested in the event. And I had to just choose 4 of them.
So I went to each of their profiles on Facebook, and I looked at them. And I picked up, random people, two girls and two boys.
And I mentioned their name, at the end of the competition, these four people have won the tickets, and I sent them a 100% discount code to book their tickets on my event page.
So this is how I generated quite a lot of sales by giving away some free tickets on social media.
You can also use this trick because this is applicable in most cases. Especially with events where people come for networking. But sometimes when the event ticket pricing is more than a thousand pounds. It is difficult to execute this trick.
So I would suggest you would be able to execute this trick when your event per attendee acquisition cost is half than your per attendee event cost.
Trick 5# Connect with the Local Influencer/s
This trick I use whenever I am doing a local event.
How does it work? well wherever you are hosting a local event, you get in touch with the influencers in that locality and offer them a piece of your profit.9 tricks to sell out your next event
Or you can actually ask them what it would cost to share your event link on their social media inventory.
By influencer, I mean somebody who had lots of followers on Facebook or Instagram or has lots of subscribers on YouTube, or any other social platform in your locality.
And you ask them to, share your event link on their profiles for, multiple times a day, or multiple times a week.
And you agree on an amount or a fee, you would be paying for that service, or you can also do it the other way around.
You can ask them if they would like to come to your event, and if they say YES you are happy to give them a couple of tickets.
And then, against those tickets, they could share your event link on their profiles.
Sometimes this works for the events very well because what happened here is, when an influencer shares your event page on their profile.
It creates awareness about your event and a lot of people look at it. And then when your influencer adds his/her name with your event your potential buyers, go to your event page and see if he could grab this opportunity to meet this influencer.
Another way to play with this trick is; if you provide your influencer with a discount code then they can share it on their profile, saying,
Hey guys, I am going to this event, and if you want to tag along, try this link and then use this coupon code it will give you a 20% discount.
And that's it. This way, a lot of people actually jump on the opportunity and buy your event tickets.
Trick 6# Email Targeting and Email Marketing
So, for my community group, I manage on bylde, I usually go to my event portal and click on send email to all the group members, and send them an email saying;
This is the event I’m planning and scheduling here is the details for the event, you know you can buy tickets for it here9 tricks to sell out your next event
But I also recommend to connect with a couple of email blast service providers, you can find them easily on Fiverr.
And what you could do is you can ask them, what kind of email list they have.
So for example, if you have an event in London, you can hire an email blast service provider from Fiverr, who has, email List of people who live in London
And that way he can email blast up to a million people.
It is good for you because you’re not sending it from your own email or server. So there’s no risk of getting banned from Google or any other email provider.
And your messages can reach to millions of people. But I should warn you that using this trick might not give you good result as you might get from your own email list.
Because usually the email blast goes into the junk folder and people don’t get to see it.
Although there are multiple providers who actually guarantee that their 95% delivery rate is in the inbox, instead of going into junk, or spam folder.
My personal experience is around 1% of people actually click on the link received via email marketing.
And around 2% to 3% people will read through your event page depending upon there location.
And out of that I can generate somewhere around 2% of the sales happening.
So, it’s a good, trick which I use whenever possible, depending on where I am hosting the event and what kind of email blast service provider, I could find at that point of time.
Trick 7# Facebook Marketing
This is one of the tricks which I have been using from the last five years.
Facebook marketing is really effective if you know how to do it - Right.
So if you’re hosting an event, first of all, what you want to do is you want to sell your event tickets to the people who will be able to attend your event.
And that means it has to be into the small town or city where you’re hosting your event.9 tricks to sell out your next event
Because you cannot invite somebody into your event — hosting in London, from Edinburgh, or Manchester right? well theoretically you can but what are the chances they will come?
Facebook advertisement, let you filter your advertisement in your local area.
When I host an event in London, what I do is I publish an advertisement on Facebook.
But before doing that, what I do is I publish the event on Facebook, with a link to my event ticket page.
And then I promote that event, with the help of Facebook advertisement.
This tells Facebook that I’m promoting Facebook event page, instead of my event page link.
And that’s why I get cheaper pricing for the advertisement.
If you put a link directly going to your event page on your Facebook advertisement, it will cost you more.
But if you put an event on Facebook, and then add your event ticketing link on that event page, and then you promote that event on Facebook.
Then it will cost you less. This trick, always helps me to promote my event locally in my area and cost me really really low.
I’ll give you an example if I promote an event in London to somewhere around 420,000 people with age group (25–55) and interest — selected.
It will cost you somewhere around 50p to 70p for 1000 impression.
That means if I get a 10% click-through rate. I have a good scope of selling out all of my tickets for my event. Within a week of time.
Pro Tip: Do not advertise your event page (website) on Facebook via ads. It will cost you more. Create an event on Facebook. Put your event ticket link on that page and then promote that event on Facebook via ads. It will cost you less.
Trick 8# Content Marketing
This is something which I have recently learned but this is really really effective.
What you have to do is you have to spread the word about your event around three months before. But for this particular trick to work for you.
You need to make sure you’re generating content every single day. Since you have the idea of this event. For example, I have hosted an event in Derby, which is in the Midlands.
What I did is, before hosting that event (two months before) I started putting some content in place. Some articles, some Instagram posts some YouTube videos, and some other type of content like poll and competitions on the different social media platform.
And I started spreading the word. And I made sure that in every piece of content I always include the details about the event which is coming soon.
And I tried to do it every single day. 2 to 4 posts on each social media platforms.
And I reused content on different platforms that way I didn’t have to create multiple posts for multiple social media platforms.
I used to create four or five pieces of content and just publish them everywhere.
What it did is; it created a kind of a viral effect at different platforms in my local area.
And when I launched the event, people already knew about it. And they started buying tickets with early bird discounts straightaway.
So, this kind of content marketing really helps to promote and sell out your event tickets. But you have to be very considerate about the launch date of your events.
So content marketing, marketing helps when you start promoting your event, long before you actually will schedule it.
Trick 9# Reverse Reward Strategy.
This is something which I recently started using. There is a platform called Bylde. And it’s amazing what it could do for your events.
One of the features which I love is when you create your event, you have an opportunity to give away a reward to the person who is sharing your event.
For example, you created an event. And you chose that whosoever share my event, I will give them 10% of the ticket price.
For this instance, we say our ticket price is 10 pounds, and I decided to give away 10% of it, which is one pound to everyone who is going to share this link to their connections.
So how does that work?
When somebody purchases your event ticket. At the end of the checkout page, they will be presented with a link, which says that
earn money by sharing this link.
So when they share the link, and if somebody clicks on that link and purchase the ticket.
They will automatically get one pound added into their account.
And this gives them motivation because it triggers a reverse reward strategy.
And every single time somebody buys a ticket from the link they have shared, they will get one pound added into their account.
And then the event host can later, transfer the amount into their account, or decide to give them cash because they are also coming to the event.
So it's a win-win situation for bot event host as well as the attendee. And it’s quite easy to manage, and it creates that viral effect also.
Recently I found out that this is the best trick for small events with size of 100 people.
I would recommend you guys to try this out because it’s super easy to implement. And you can always increase the ticket price to give away this reward.
Basically you’re not losing anything you’re actually selling out all of your event tickets by just following a simple trick.
So these were the nine tricks, which I followed to sell out my event, which one of these, you are going to use for your next event.
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