Read on for full description of the Picatic Checklist to help you successfully promote and sell out your event. The tips will help you stay on top from the set up of your event website to fostering the excitement about your event after ticket sale starts.
1. Content Quality Check
I cannot stress this point enough; before I start marketing my events I get an outside perspective on the aesthetics and content of my page. One of the biggest mistakes I see is a lack of consideration for curb appeal. Curb appeal greatly increases the chances of selling a home and the same principle can be applied to your event page. The disadvantage for event pages is that there are no sales agents available to answer questions or help guide prospective buyers to the sale.
I always ask the outsider what my event is about, do they understand the concept and why someone would want to buy a ticket for it? If the feedback I get is positive then my vision has been validated. However, if the feedback I receive is mixed, then I need to make some changes until I get the response I am looking for.
Going back to the base line rule – assume that prospective buyers have never heard of me or my event. Therefore my event page is the only thing that is going to sell them when they’re home in their PJ’s contemplating buying tickets for my event.
Invest the time and effort in sourcing beautiful images, and include videos if you can. Add information that is helpful and easy to read so the prospective buyer is never left wondering or in need of more information. I’ve seen events that lack content, have pixilated images or in some cases no images. Other event pages lack essential information that visitors need in order to make a purchase. If a visitor feels confused chances are this will be a lost opportunity.
After I am done creating my event on Picatic I am provided with a customizable and unique URL. It will look something like: www.picatic.com/youreventname
When prospective buyers click on my event URL, I want them to be excited about their potential purchase. Therefore, it is imperative my event page is well done, informative and has curb appeal – earning my visitors trust and converting them into attendees.
Prospective buyers need to trust me before they consider buying from me. So, why should I take the time to invest in quality assurance? Because my page is doing the selling for me! My page is up and running 24/7 and if it looks shit people are going to bounce and I’ll have lost an opportunity.
Quick recap: My event page looks good. It has been approved by an outsider. It has curb appeal and is ready to be unveiled (check)! Time to move onto pre-marketing your event.
2. Prepare advertising channels and campaigns
Now that your page is set up and not public yet it is the best time to decide the advertising action plan. This is the time to decide on the date when your event will go live and when the public will be able to buy tickets.
Plan and create your social media campaigns. Social media is one the most powerful tools to tell the world about your event. Make sure that your ads are consistent and contain the necessary information to attract potential buyers. Along with your ad campaigns, remember to be social on social media. Be available to answer questions and engage with your community.
Reach out to bloggers and people who will able to tell others about your event to their social circles.
Overall, make sure that you have the dates decided and that your ad campaign will cover all the possible channels and reach out to as many people as possible. When the ticket sales starts activate all the ads!
3. Pre-marketing Awareness Campaigns
The biggest mistake organizers can make is to ‘go live’ with their event without any pre-marketing; this is an epic fail! I get it, not all organizers can afford the time, but this concept is essential to selling out your event.
So what is pre-marketing and how does it work? Pre-marketing: announcing to the public that tickets will be going on sale at a future date. Yes! That, in a nutshell, is pre-marketing! This is done strategically of course, as it creates awareness, conversations and buzz. It also provides potential buyers time to look over schedules, chat with friends, partners, co-workers, contemplate the event and get excited about it.
Prospective buyers are not going to buy from me on the first day. It may take many touch points and nurturing before I gain the trust of my potential buyer. Through pre-marketing, I have started to create frequency in awareness. For many of you, this may not be your first time planning an event or you may be an experienced planner. Either way, pre-marketing is valuable to you as you can leverage your past buyers and contact list. My past event attendees can become brand and event advocates. I offer them a discount and allow them to feel like they are receiving a VIP service (because they are).
4. Privileged Pricing
During the pre-marketing awareness campaign my event is kept private, which means all social integrations have been turned off and the event page can only be accessed via its unique URL . This is when I create ticket types and special offers for past and loyal buyers and exclusive distribution lists.
Sending an exclusive offer to past buyers, who already know me, trust me and are aware of the quality of my events are hot prospects and often my best brand and event advocates. These are my special peeps and I take care of them with a direct email to let them know tickets are going on sale and will be open to the public on a specific date and time. However, at this time, I am offering them an exclusive 48-hour opportunity to purchase tickets at a discounted price before I go live to the masses. This creates an appealing value proposition, urgency to act, and a feeling of exclusivity that many people love (don’t pretend you don’t love feeling special, you know you do!)
What’s great about this small but effective strategy is that when it works well, I can capitalize on the social proofing. So when the date and time does roll around, I can opt to show how many tickets have been purchased. For anyone new that arrives to my page they’ll see that it’s the first day sales have gone live and there is already a sizeable amount of tickets that have sold. This adds credibility to my event which makes it safe for a new prospective buyer to purchase, while creating a sense of urgency for fear that tickets may sell out.
Now that I have done all this work it’s actually time to push the event out to the public.
5. Open to the Public with a 24/48 Hour Pricing Promotion
The time has come. It’s time to share your event with the masses.
If you followed the steps above you’ll know that my event page was set to private. Once you’re ready to share your event page publicly, make sure to make this switch and ensure your social integrations are also turned on.
Now the public will be able to search for your event on Google and Picatic. Simultaneously, I jump start any media buys that I have to ensure I am creating frequency and being pushed to the top of my potential buyers mind. I have to build hype through social proofing by leveraging early sales from pre-marketing.
Now is not the time to sit back and enjoy a cold one. In fact now is the time to kick it into high gear! I want to capture as many early buyers as I can and convert them into advocates. Upon going live, I love to offer a 24 or 48 hour sale and a set amount of tickets (whichever comes first) right off the hop. I always want to be creating urgency to increase purchases and secure early buyers before they are propositioned with other opportunities.
You have the link, you pre-marketed, now it’s time to start working a new angle to get more people buying – enter the widget!
6. Post the ticket widget on your site
Now is the time to post the widget to your site.
The ticket widget “buy button” can be embedded on a website, for free, and is another source of ticket sales. The widget helps display tickets for my event, allowing attendees to begin purchasing on my website before confirming their order on Picatic.
The widget is a great tool that allows me to capitalize on ticket sales, minimize bounce rates and provides a professional looking sale structure to promote my event.
I always customize the ticket widget, buy button size & color, and then simply copy and paste the html code into my blog and website. It’s that easy and it makes a huge difference.
With the widget capturing more sales I can shift my focus to building some free publicity.
7. Get free publicity with a simple comment
Marketing events by blasting the masses with one way messaging may work for some, but it can be expensive and events can be easily lost in the black hole of marketing outer space.
Differentiating my event and rising above the noise using minimal marketing funds takes creativity.
Here are some tips on how to provide prospective buyers the ability to have a voice, create buzz, build my brand, and increase attendance. The best part of this section is that it is free and requires just a little time.
Step 1. It all starts with leadership. It’s what I like to call leadership by initial comment. Create a community by making the first comment. That’s it, that’s all! Have fun, keep the comment open ended and about the topic, speaker, performer, venue, etc. Ask questions, spark engagement, be funny, keep this dialogue as neutral and natural as possible. One rule: The comment should never be a sell. I repeat, no ABC’s (always be closing)!
Step 2. Pre-arrange 4 – 7 friends or allies to comment on the question. This is the most strategic and important piece of the puzzle. This simple step creates a safe environment to spark discourse and create a movement.
Step 3. Once you have created movement and the masses start joining the conversation, help curate and nurture it. There will be questions to answer – answer them all diligently. Yes it is work, but always remember feedback and comments are a gift.
Step 4. Pump up the value: Now that there is a growing community it is a great time to create buzz. Remember the rule of seven: For every seven comments it’s ok to add in one value update. Examples include: new speaker announcements, band playlist, menu items, etc. If speakers or talent are presenting or performing at your event this is when to encourage them to add themselves to the discussion. The key is introducing touch points that add value, enough value that those already on the thread will be appreciative, so much so that they may add additional comments. This is also a great way to convert those who may be sitting on the fence about purchasing tickets for the event. This results in increased public validation and klout for your event. Remember, be helpful – service not sell.
Here are some examples of how others have done this exceptionally well. Imagine coming to these pages not knowing anything about the event. Now imagine there being no comments. Huge difference! When newcomers come to your page for the first time and see all the non-solicited posts it adds a ton of gangster cred to your event.
Comments are super endorsements. When you look a little deeper, what you are really doing is making it easier to be discovered, and giving people a reason to purchase tickets – they want to be a part of the community you have built.
The key takeaway is that the event is being marketed naturally into the workflow of how people like to discover content. Comments will broaden your event marketing reach naturally through Facebook news feeds. What is the power behind a comments you may ask? Well, for every 200 Facebook friends, Facebook has a potential marketing reach of 17,000 people – and it all starts with one comment.
Comments made, pre-marketing is over and the widget is on my page, but now that new car smell is gone and you want to fire people up again and get tickets moving quickly, once again. What’s a person to do? Early bird pricing.
8. Create early bird pricing.
Always create early bird pricing! Now that the 24/48 hour pubic sale is over, let’s capture as many early buyers as we can. Now is time to set up an early-bird offering.
Early bird pricing works great because it provides greater value for the prospective buyer and in turn creates urgency for me, the promoter. This helps convert sales all the while creating more brand event advocates.
While early bird pricing is great to get ticket sales moving there is another way to get tickets moving and it includes promo codes.
9. Promo Codes
Discount or promo codes can be used in many ways to accelerate ticket sales by offering a certain quantity of tickets at a discounted price only accessible with a code. Ticket buyers who have access to the discount code will have extra incentive to buy tickets before the deal expires or sells out.
The way I use promo codes to their full advantage is through distribution lists. This direct email marketing technique has the lowest cost of acquisition, impacts social influence and ensures trust as the brand or person who has emailed me is someone I already know. This is one more touch point for people hearing about my event.
Utilize your network by offering influential friends a promo code to market your event to their lists.The main reason they are willing to market exclusive promo codes to their network is because it provides a discounted rate and value to their network, which can provide me with a huge amount of reach, frequency, associated trust and clout.
When setting up an event the first thing I do is contact my channel partners and ask if they are interested in sending a promo code to my event in their next newsletter. They may ask me to reciprocate the favour.
I can go as far as setting up a deal with my channel partner and offer them a revenue share. Each time someone uses a set promo code it is registered and tracked so profits can be split.
Promo codes are also an excellent tool for evaluating which marketing campaigns are performing the best. From my event’s manage page I can view all of the promo codes I have created and see how many times each has been used. Analyzing this data gives me a good idea of which campaigns have been the most effective in generating ticket sales.
10. Event Management
The event is live, promo codes are sent out and early bird pricing is over – but the work is not over. Now is the time to constantly check on how your sales are going. If necessary adjust the prices or create more promo codes and deals. Continue to update your event page and social media channels with news and additions to your event.