The general rule of thumb is to start selling tickets to most events as soon as you can. The more time you have to promote your event, the more tickets you will sell. Hopefully. But we’ve all had that stomach-churning panic attack when you realize your event is in 30 days and you’ve still got a chunk of tickets left to sell. It’s DEFCON 1 time. What do you do? We are here to help. Here is the tried and true four-week promotional plan to turbocharge your ticket sales during that crucial time.
We suggest breaking the month up into weeks and focusing on a specific promotional tactic each week. This strategy helps you focus your efforts and your budget. Each tactic also builds on each other so that the work you do each week will not stop as you move forward but will help you be even more successful the closer you get to the event day.
Week 1 – Ticket Promotion
Even if you’ve already run an Early Bird ticket price campaign, now is the time to build other ticket discounts. Creating a scarcity mentality is always an effective marketing strategy. Offer a 2 for 1 or 50% discount for the “Last chance to attend” or “Tickets are going fast” promotion that is both time-sensitive and valuable for prospects who have been on the fence about attending. If you haven’t already promoted a bundle or group discount, do that now. If you have, offer a deeper discount on group purchases.
Affiliate marketing is another great way to promote ticket sales. This is the process of asking other people to help you sell tickets. In exchange, you reward the affiliate with a commission or other compensation. Choose partners who are familiar with your industry and/or your location, have viable connections that will reach your target audience, and who are familiar with event marketing and promotion tactics. Eventzilla has started a brand new affiliate marketing program that can help you get started.
Promote these ticket discounts prominently on your website and ticket sales pages, as well as any digital advertising and social media you are scheduling. These promotions will be the crux of your marketing message for the next few weeks so plan to run these promotions through event week to take advantage of the work you will do next.
Week 2 –Email drip campaign
A drip marketing campaign involves emailing information to prospects repeatedly over time. The last month is a great time to do this because it can build excitement for your event and drive last-minute ticket sales. For the campaign, build an email list of current leads and targeted new prospects. Ask for referrals from registered guests to add to your list.
Plan a regular deployment cadence of once or twice a week and create new content for each email. Highlight the benefits your event will provide attendees such as problems your event will solve or new information you will present. Feature several short sneak peek speaker videos that tease the topics covered at your event. Create video chapters of past event attendees talking about their experiences and include one chapter each in the series of emails.
With interesting stories and relevant topics, recipients will want to see what happens next and open each email to find out. And they’ll want to experience the event for themselves. To that end, make sure that each email includes a strong call to action that features your ticket promotions.
Week 3 – Build a Buzz
Word of mouth (WOM) is always your most powerful and effective marketing tool. This type of marketing involves building relationships with your most loyal partners, guests, vendors, and friends and making it simple and easy for them to share your event story. WOM is a long term commitment, not just a last-ditch effort. But with the right relationships already in place, WOM can be a great strategy for building anticipation during the last month of ticket sales.
The trendiest way to leverage WOM is to hire influencers. Local celebrities or thought leaders in your industry can act as Pied Pipers by inviting their networks to meet them at your event. Your speakers and exhibitors are also great sources of WOM to drive ticket sales.
Provide influencers with event assets such as images, videos and other content to share on their social media accounts. Also, use exclusive content from the influencer on your digital channels and in email campaigns. Plan meet-and-greet events or small pop-up sneak peeks featuring the influencer.
Another WOM tactic is to start a referral incentive program with registered guests. This is an extension of your request above for referred email addresses. If you were successful in collecting those referrals from current customers, ask them to make a personal plea for their colleagues to also attend the event. Your guests an incentive in return for this favor such as branded merchandise or a VIP event experience.
In all cases, the consistent call to action for any WOM strategy should be to take advantage of your ticket promotion by the registration deadline.
Week 4 – Social Media Push
Hopefully, you’ve been posting on social media regularly up to this point as a part of your regular marketing campaign. Week 4 is the time to step it up a notch. Social media is a chance for real time interaction with both registered guests and prospective guests. Plan to post several times a day on all channels that link to your ticket site. Also make sure to respond to every comment you receive from followers. Keep the conversation going.
Use this week to also leverage your connections with influencers. Ask them to post and share your content on their social media accounts. Create new and exclusive content just for certain channels like Instagram story polls and Facebook live streams. Promote the video links that you sent out via email two weeks ago on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Social media contests are also an effective strategy to build last-minute buzz. Offer prizes or incentives for anyone who buys a ticket via a social post or drive platform engagement by making a sweepstakes contingent on user-generated content or reviews of your event content. A simple sweepstakes tactic is to ask followers to retweet or share your ticket link post in order to be eligible to win. Just make sure you follow the platform’s contest rules. But make it fun too!
As with every other week, the consistent call to action should be to take advantage of your ticket promotion by the registration deadline.