How to sell your next event [+Tips From INBOUND Marketers]

Ticket sales tip # 1: Let John Legend do the talking at your event.

Was just a joke.

Or not.

We really invited John Legend to speak at one of our INBOUND events, but the truth is you don’t need an A-Lister to get people to attend. It all depends on the planning – and part of that planning is driving ticket sales.

With online events on the rise and remote working the norm, it seems easier than ever to reach a lot of people online. However, the question remains the same. How do you get people to come to your event?

We’re going to share with you some of our secrets that will help us drive INBOUND ticket sales each year. Are you ready to maximize the ROI for your next event?

15 ways to increase ticket sales for your event

  1. Reward last year’s participants.
  2. Offer early bird prices and sell tickets on a scarcity model.
  3. Ask early registrants to blog.
  4. Don’t just promote your conference. promote the site!
  5. Reach out to industry organizations to advertise.
  6. Use LinkedIn for promotions that are targeted to your industry.
  7. Start competitions in your company.
  8. Update social media accounts consistently.
  9. Buy paid ads on social media.
  10. Use event sponsors for promotion.
  11. Scatter calls to action on your website.
  12. Issue different types of IDs.
  13. Promote the fun stuff.
  14. Gamify the act of event promotion and ticket sales.
  15. Ask your speakers to blog posts promoting their sessions.

1. Reward last year’s participants.

If you have an annual event, the first thing to do is to announce the event to last year’s attendees. The people who came the year before may be your biggest supporters and are more likely to buy the tickets right away, even if you haven’t worked out all the details for the event. Show that you value them by giving them a special discount for early and fast registration.

Don’t worry if you manually email each person. Instead, use an email marketing service to send a personalized email to your contacts and prospects. In addition to options like MailChimp, Emma or ConstantContact, you can also use Marketing Hub to reach out to previous participants.

2. Offer early bird prices and sell tickets on a scarcity model.

Have at least two different types of prices: early bird and regular. You can even have more than one type of early bird pricing to encourage people to buy before prices go up. This sense of urgency will encourage people to buy sooner.

Think about whether you want to structure the early bird prices with a table plugin on your event website. Our INBOUND marketers recommend highlighting the clear difference between an early bird ticket and a regular ticket so that people can sign up irresistibly. Also add a date limit.

Isabella Kirsch, Marketing Manager at INBOUND, says: “With the pricing structure we want to create urgency in order to involve our audience at an early stage. It is important to know what you are relying on for leverage. For example, in a waterfall structure, registrants know price change dates through calendar reminders from their email team. In a scarcity system, tickets expire based on the allocated amounts per price level. ”

Which is the most successful?

“We ran a lot of tests on both models and found that both can be successful,” says Isabella. “When you’re setting up an event, it’s a great way to change the price on certain dates as customers can be prepared and forced to act before price increases. If you’re already causing a lot of buzz, the scarcity model will make people buy early as they don’t know when the current price is going to run out! ”

3. Ask early registrants to blog.

The people who sign up for your event first are some of your biggest supporters. That means they are also good candidates to blog about for you to promote the conference.

At our first INBOUND event, we had the first registrant write a blog post, and the following year we invited a previous participant to write about their experience. Why?

Instead of hearing from the HubSpot team why we thought our event was great, these posts will tell you why this is an unmissable opportunity for actual attendees. Third-party endorsements will continue to carry weight and will not forget the power of social evidence. When we see other people go to an event, we want to attend too!

Invite them to post in places other than your blog. You can use outlets like Medium, LinkedIn, and even your own company blog to write about your experience or expectations for the event.

4. Don’t just promote your conference. promote the site!

Personal events will be interrupted for the time being, but they will return in time. When planning an in-person conference, remember that the venue for the event will be top quality marketing material.

Those interested in your conference not only want to know about the event, but also about the city in which it will take place. In all fairness, the location of a conference can be one of the biggest draws for potential attendees – it’s difficult to say no to an event in a cool, beautiful city.

Promote other attractions near your conference that may interest attendees. When you get discounted rates on some of these attractions, it’s an even bigger incentive for attendees to attend your conference!

Hold the event online? We recommend offering local perks that can help people rediscover where they live. Consider partnering with local breweries, regional restaurant chains, or other attractions to offer discounts to your attendees. Alternatively, you can work with socially distancing-friendly service providers like GrubHub to offer free food delivery (either during or after the event).

5. Reach out to industry organizations to advertise.

In every industry there are professional organizations that will be happy to help you promote your event. Get in touch with them, tell them about your event, provide a copy of the email, and make it easy for them to promote on your behalf. This way you can introduce your event to thousands of qualified people whom you would not normally have access to.

Other business-related organizations, such as B. Chambers of Commerce are happy to list your event for free, especially if you offer discounts to their members. Other organizations to consider are regional, national and international associations that focus on a specific facet of your industry.

For HubSpot, one such organization would be the American Marketing Association, since one of our main products is a marketing automation platform.

Every organization will be different. Some agree to post your event for free while others may require you to become a member. Others may not have a calendar at all and instead encourage your conference to sponsor their organization. This is a great way to spread the word about the event to a wide range of professionals. It will also help you build backlinks to your event website which will improve your SEO.

6. Use LinkedIn for promotions that are targeted to your industry.

LinkedIn company pages, events, and groups are a great way to connect with people in your industry who may be interested in your event. Take advantage of the opportunity to promote your event to thousands of relevant people in your industry on a social network designed for networking – you know why people go to events.

By creating an event page on LinkedIn, attendees also have the opportunity to ask questions and network with one another. In groups related to your industry, you can post regularly (but not too often) on this amazing event that you are hosting. If you want your efforts to really pay off, consider giving discounts to group members who share your contribution.

7. Start competitions in your company.

Don’t forget the huge network that you have right inside the four walls of your office – your employees. Encourage them to promote your event to the leads and customers they talk to through friendly competition.

Boost ticket sales by offering prices to those who sell the most tickets (give each one a unique discount code so you can track them!), Or you can even reward a full team for working together on ticket sales.

Make it easy for your team to reach prospects by creating an email template that anyone can use.

8. Update social media accounts consistently.

Social media accounts should be updated weekly with information about your conference, including links to the event registration page. Give your network a compelling reason to attend your conference in these updates and a link to the registration page to close the deal.

Consider posting quotes from your speakers to promote the amazing people you’ve invited. Another fun thing to do is engage with pop culture through carefully selected challenges and “memes”. A well-placed pop culture reference can help you look current. Also choose these very carefully. We would provide an example, but trends change so quickly they would look out of date within a week!

9. Buy paid ads on social media.

Using your paid advertising opportunities on social media is another way of reaching people in your industry. Use targeted ads to promote your industry with links straight to the registration page. If you need help getting started, here is a guide to running a Facebook ad campaign and a guide to running a LinkedIn ad campaign.

The cost of these ads is calculated on a pay-per-click (PCC) basis. This means that you will only be charged when users click on it. It is therefore budget friendly and you can also easily see key performance indicators (KPIs) like logins. To set up an ad, you need a unique landing page with a form to register for the event and a great copy that will entice attendees to register.

10. Use event sponsors for promotion.

Your sponsors want to help you promote it because more attendees mean more time with more people. But they are busy. Very busy. The easier you make event advertising for them, the more likely they are to actually do it. Provide sponsors with template email copies and discount codes so you can easily access their lists.

If you don’t already have event sponsors, it’s easy to find some, especially if you have something to offer. First, make sure you have a Sponsorship or Partnership page on your event website. Most potential sponsors want to choose between different levels, and some also prefer a custom sponsorship option.

Being “visible” in front of five hundred people may not be enough to join sponsors. Since it’s difficult to measure ROI based on visibility alone, you should consider other specific benefits such as: B. a point in your newsletter, a guest post on your company blog and a backlink from the sponsor page. Tip: Consider making this a do-follow link too. If your sponsors are SEO savvy, take a look at the structure of the link they get.

This is how our INBOUND marketers do it:

11. Scatter calls to action on your website.

Your homepage should have an advertisement for your conference. Your registration page (if any) should contain an advertisement for your conference. Your blog should contain banners promoting your conference.

If you are planning a large event, most pages on your website should have links to your conference page so that everyone can easily find information about your event and register. Our tip: These calls-to-action should be bold, easy-to-find buttons in a color that’s hard to miss.

And these CTAs shouldn’t be everything, either. Rather, they should be targeted and tailor-made – especially for virtual events. A personal experience allows attendees to choose the lectures they want to attend. Virtual events have a set schedule, meaning you need to adjust the call to action and clarify your value proposition.

“Marketing is human first,” says Andréa Hudson, senior marketing manager for global events at HubSpot. “When we went virtual for INBOUND, it was a big part of our strategy to lead with empathy. If you are responsible for scaling an industry event from 26,000 in person to over 70,000 digitally, it is extremely important to prioritize your value proposition and tailor it to your audience. ”

12. Issue various types of identification.

Some people may not be able to attend your entire event, regardless of whether they are unavailable for the entire duration, not that long away from the office, or cannot add to hotel costs. Issuing different types of passports will help accommodate these people and increase ticket sales.

Consider passes like a student pass, a keynote pass, or a premier pass. Further options are basic, plus and pro passes. At our INBOUND event, we have two options: the digital pass and the content pass, which give participants additional access to additional content and information.

13. Promote the “funny stuff”.

Has anyone heard from Cyndi Lauper? Someone? Announcing a headlining performer will boost lots of ticket sales and get people excited about more than just the content you have during your conference sessions.

But you don’t have to spend thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to invite a headliner either. If you are in a highly specialized industry, consider inviting a prominent industry expert who will entice professionals to participate.

They can also encourage other fun things like social activities. The main reason people attend conferences is of course for the useful content, but promoting the parties and some of the nighttime activities definitely helps. I mean who doesn’t like to party?

For online events, you can host a digital happy hour where drinks are welcome. Other ideas include scheduling quizzes, hazard games, and wellness sessions that participants can use to decompress between presentations. Online Zumba classes, anyone?

14. Gamify the act of event promotion and ticket sales.

Host competitions or games with your network to promote your conference and increase ticket sales. For example, during your webinars you can take advantage of the large audience to promote the conference by giving away free tickets to those who tweeted the most with your webinar hashtag. Everyone loves a little friendship contest, and you’ll love the free promotion of your event!

15. Ask your speakers to blog posts promoting their sessions.

The success of an event depends on the content. Reach out to the speakers and ask them to guest blog posts promoting their sessions and preview what they will be discussing.

It’s a win-win situation – they get more attendees excited about their session, and you get free content (which your guest blogger will likely be promoting on their network) to help drive ticket sales.

Marketing tips for virtual events

Getting people to buy tickets is one thing. It’s a different matter to even make them aware of the event (seriously, it’s hard!).

This is especially difficult for digital events that cannot rely on physical marketing modes like bus wrap and event swag. Stickers, mugs, t-shirts and bus wraps have always been great ways to advertise events.

In an increasingly remote environment, you need to find new ways to get the word out. For most businesses, virtual events are the only choice. But don’t be discouraged: hosting a virtual event offers tangible advantages over in-person conferences. “Unlike physical events, virtual events such as live streams or webinars allow your brand to get known to international audiences,” said Pamela Bump, audience growth manager at HubSpot.

Ready to reach a lot more people and get more registrations for your virtual event? Here are three simple promotional tips that you can implement right now.

1. Create a unique event hashtag.

Using a hashtag stimulates conversations on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media websites. This hashtag can be used by everyone involved in your event – from speakers to sponsors to actual attendees.

It is up to you whether you include the year after the name of the event (#Event versus # Event20XX). We want to include the year so that all contributions relate specifically to the year’s meetings, speakers and offers.

Your event should also have its own social media profiles. We encourage you to promote the event through your company’s social media. However, consider creating unique Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts for the conference. This creates a unique branding voice and gives attendees an account that they can use to tag their posts. It can also help you separate event-related news from company news.

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2. Create an online community.

One reason people go to events is for networking. Virtual events appear to be exempt from this rule because participants sit in front of a screen and do not interact in person. By creating an online community, you are integrating this necessary element back into your event.

It’s free too. Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups, and Slack Channels are fantastic ways to put your attendees in front of each other. In addition, these groups make it easy for participants to invite other professionals to join their network, thereby increasing awareness and promoting registration.

Our INBOUND marketers take a community-first approach when promoting the event. We want to make sure that the participants know that they are not just a face in front of a screen, but a member of an international community.

3. Create an email drip campaign.

Boost your registrations with an email drip campaign reminding your contacts to sign up for the event. For those who have done business with you before, be sure to provide a unique discount code to thank them for their loyalty.

The emails should be in accordance with email marketing best practices. Include a compelling subject line, a clear headline, a few lines of concise copy, and an unavoidable call to action.

Achieve participation goals for virtual events

More than 25,000 people visit INBOUND every year. Our marketing campaigns are aggressive, but for good reason: we are one hundred percent confident that this event will enrich the professional lives of attendees. We know they will take away valuable knowledge that can help them advance their careers.

To meet participation goals for your virtual event, don’t be shy or humble. The value you bring to your attendees cannot be found anywhere else. This is why you are investing thousands and thousands of dollars in creating an event that delivers education, entertainment, and value.

Nor can we emphasize enough the importance of using data to create different campaigns that cover different stages of the buyer’s journey. “Tactically, the marketing mix has to be dynamic and effective,” says Andréa Hudson. “There is no turnkey approach to getting a sell off. Only by delving into the data and making informed decisions based on that data can you exceed your goals. “

Here are some of our tips on how to meet participation goals at your next event.

1. Look at the KPIs of previous events that you performed.

To better market your event, you want to know how your event marketing tactics have evolved to date. If you’ve previously held an event, look at the dates so you can improve on this next one.

Some helpful historical data to investigate would be:

  • Number of registrants
  • Number of participants
  • Conversion rates on the landing page of your event
  • Conversion rates in social ads
  • Email open and click rates
  • Number of leads
  • Income generated
  • Individual session registrations
  • Session feedback

Based on the data you collect, you can make more granular decisions about your landing page design, social copy, and pricing strategy.

2. Identify your target attendees and adapt the agenda to them.

This is a really important step. Knowing who you are targeting the event to can help you create marketing campaigns that highlight the specific value you are bringing to them. As a result, you will get more registrations, better engagement, and higher attendance rates.

Alternatively, you can first create an agenda and then identify the type of buyer who would be forced to purchase a ticket. You should identify both psychographic and demographic information about your target audience to better align your messages.

3. Create an event marketing plan.

Now that you have your historical data and target customers, it’s time to come up with a marketing plan. There will be four main tenets: website, organic social, paid social, and email.

On your company website, make sure that you include consistent calls-to-action for visiting the event website (preferably, visitors will be directed straight to a landing page where they can sign up).

On your event website, make sure you get your value proposition straight. For example, adding a list of your speakers will make it clear that you have made a commitment to delivering valuable content.

Run ads on the best social media platform for your industry (for example, if it’s a B2B event, you will likely go with LinkedIn).

An email campaign is also vital for event reminders and buying tickets.

4. Provide a preview of the content.

Many of us love to know what we are getting into before making a purchase decision. By providing previews via email and social networks – and even on your website – you give potential attendees a taste of what they will get when they purchase a ticket.

Your speakers can film a “session trailer” in which they learn more about the information they share during their conversations. One thing we do at INBOUND? We grant access to remarkable content from previous years. That way, people can see the value they would get if they chose to participate.

5. Provide on-demand recordings.

Why? Some potential attendees may be too busy to attend a live virtual event. Just offering a live option will discourage those who prefer to watch the sessions in their spare time. This would open your event to more people and thus increase the number of registrations.

6. Enter corporate discounts or group discounts.

What better way to get more visitors than by inviting groups to purchase tickets? Many organizations buy passes for entire teams. Some companies take their entire workforce to events. This is a surefire way of selling dozens and even hundreds of tickets at once.

7. Prioritize accessibility.

Subtitles, live sign language interpreters and assistive technology will make your event attractive to more registrants. Get one or two team members ready to provide assistance in the event a participant has a problem with accessibility or needs accommodation.

Make sure you also include an accessibility request form on your website and pre-provide written and visual materials in widely used file formats. Your initiatives for accessibility should be based on integrative design principles.

When you make your event inaccessible, you are ignoring part of your target audience. Don’t forget to announce your accessibility options to let potential buyers know they have the accommodations they need.

Sell ​​out your next event

If we could give you one final tip, it would be bragging. Show off your speakers, brag about your meetings, and brag about the amazing tools your attendees will walk away with after the event. After all, people invest in a ticket. You want them to know they are getting a good return on their investment.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2012 and has been updated for completeness and accuracy.

Event marketing

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