Event planning is serious business. It’s one of the top 10 most stressful jobs for a reason. Once you go through the trouble of planning your, you have to promote it. In a business as saturated as the events industry, it can be hard to set yourself apart from the competition and provide a reason-why to potential attendees to attend your event over the other 15 going on at the exact same time in their city and scope of interest. For that reason, finding an effective strategy to promote your event effectively is vital to your success. Here are some of our best tips to entice attendees and sell tickets.
1. Provide incentive
What’s more enticing than freebies? As much as it’s not a smart decision to give hundreds of things away just to sell tickets, there is a smart way you can help persuade possible guests to attend your event. Some examples include: first X-many people to buy tickets (or arrive at the door) get Y; BOGO offers to bring a friend; bonus contest entries for people who buy advance tickets; free coat check or valet parking, etc. Any of those additional ways to encourage ticket sales or attendance are effective ways to promote your event without spending your entire event budget and breaking even on ticket sales.
2. Hold a contest on social media
Social media is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your event because nearly everyone is on one of the social channels and it is (more or less) free to use. It’s always recommended to use Facebook to promote your event because most people across many age ranges are using it. The platform lets you create a Facebook event and invite people to it (to get an idea of numbers) and promote that event through ads (which also collects data for your lead gen). A contest can be run through the page and event to offer interested potential guests a sharing component to win free tickets. Making “liking” a page and “sharing” a post type contests are an easy ask that will help expand your reach and engagement to a market you may never have touched prior.
3. Utilize your guest speakers or sponsors
Guest speakers, sponsors and vendors are a generally untapped resource. Businesses and individuals have attached themselves to your event for a reason. Chances are, they align with your brand or services – which makes the likelihood of them helping promote your event greater. If your event succeeds, they get in front of a larger audience as well so it’s a win-win. You can utilize vendors and sponsors by having a clause in the event contract that mentions pre-event digital promotion; or by offering them a unique code that allows their guests a small discount and allows you to track partner sales. You can also offer tickets for vendors, sponsors or speakers to use as giveaway promotion items. Finally, you can create some visual assets that are downloadable through your site for them to share on their channels. Content is king!
4. Create FOMO
Want people to buy tickets to your event? Do you want them to be absolutely positively desperate to attend? Create a similar life-or-death feeling by filling them with fear. You don’t have to literally scare them in order to promote your event. Just create the infamous fear of missing out (FOMO). Show recaps from last year: photos, video, testimonials. Make it look so amazing that your audience questions why they didn’t attend previously. Create the illusion that it’s the must-attend event of the year and that they will regret it if they miss it. Don’t lie to them, just embellish a little since your event is going to be amazing already, right? If this is the first year for your event, hire a professional crew to record a teaser trailer video and throw some marketing dollars behind it on a social media spend on either YouTube or Facebook. Tie in with your Facebook contest and have people share the teaser trailer.
5. Invite VIP’s to promote your event
There are always going to be big names that you want to attach to your event, that you sometimes can’t get to be at your event – as a speaker or special guest. But don’t fret! There are a wealth of other credible micro-celebrities that align with your brand that you may still be able to utilize. Harness the power of Influencers by sending them VIP invitations to attend, without asking for anything in return (and add in a promo code for their audience). They will likely create some content while there, that you can ask politely to “borrow”. You can also offer them free tickets to giveaway to entice further pre-promotion to their own audience. Their business is to engage with their followers. If you help them do that, they will help you indirectly promote your event.
6. Bonus: offer multi-day discounts
If you planned a large scale event, with speakers, demos or guest presentations happening in tandem, it’s easy as an attendee to miss things. A multi-day event allows for some at-show and end-of-day show promotion to occur. Offering your attendees the chance to come back the next day at half-price or for free helps them get excited and spread the word about the amazing day they just had. If they are excited to come back, they will definitely promote your event through word of mouth while they try to find friends or family to come back with them tomorrow. This benefits your vendors as well because attendees typically spend money each day.
You don’t need to engage in elaborate television, radio or print advertising to get the word out and sell tickets. You can promote your event effectively by working with event partners you’ve already established, offering incentives and investing in some digital marketing. You’ve done the hard work of planning, selling booth space and creating an unforgettable experience; now get people excited, sell tickets and be the event of the year.
Ashley Saunders, Matriarch, Strategist, Live Social Coordinator