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How to Prevent Slow Ticket Sales: 5 Ways to Sell More Event Tickets Online

Slow ticket sales are never a good thing. Thankfully, learning how to increase ticket sales for an event doesn’t have to be difficult. Read these guidelines to uncover the strategies you need to easily increase ticket sales through eCommerce.

The secret to avoiding slow ticket sales and selling more tickets online – whether it’s for sports, music, theatre or other events – can be broken down into a few surprisingly simple principles.

What you’ll read below assumes that you’ve nailed the basics when it comes to online ticketing, such as:

  • You’ve done the work to make sure that your site is optimized for search.
  • Your email marketing campaigns are set up so that they’re not only GDPR-compliant but effectively nurturing customers both pre- and post-purchase.
  • You have an effective display and social media campaigns running to target new traffic and unconverted traffic.

The basics completed, you’re ready to start thinking about how to increase ticket sales without having to resort to Fyre Festival tactics.

In this article, we’ll cover the following tactics
1. Personalization
2. Differentiate
3. Going beyond the ticket
4. Creating scarcity
5. Using referrals
6. Conclusion

Here’s how you can boost your e-commerce ticket sales without having to hire an army of A-list influencers…

5 surefire tactics to increase ticket sales online

1. Personalize from the ground up

82% of US millennials expect brands to have up-to-date information about their preferences – that gives you an indication of how much today’s consumers expect personalization in their shopping experience.

When it comes to online ticketing, personalizing your e-commerce website is critical to not only increasing ticket sales, but also cross-selling and delivering an effective post-purchase experience.

So where do you get started? While personalization is something of a buzzword, many marketers are intimidated by the amount of data, resource and skill it takes to apply it. The good news is that this is a total misconception.

The key is to start simple and build up. You don’t have to have a perfectly integrated stack of marketing tools and complex datasets at first – you can begin simply by differentiating the experiences for new and returning visitors. It’s easy to do and relies purely on in-session data, so no need for a complex set-up on the backend.

Another way to increase ticket sales through personalization is through using behavioral data. At Yieldify, we worked closely with the award-winning London festival We Are FSTVL to do just that on their website. The simplest – but incredibly effective – initial executions triggered when the user was about to leave the site:

How to increase ticket sales | Yieldify

This use of exit-intent technology drew the user’s attention to a key message at the most relevant part of their journey. Not only did this kind of work achieve a 65% increase in conversions, but it also drove 73% growth in their leads database.

2. Continually differentiate your offer

Selling more tickets online means taking some lessons from the retail sector: evolve your offering often in order to keep it fresh and engaging.

Tickets are often a high-consideration purchase that requires a good deal of nurturing from the first touch to conversion: event ticket sales tend to peak at the start and end of the sale period, with a slump occurring between these two stages.

One answer to this online ticketing challenge is in adopting ‘mini-event’ techniques to continually interest your consumer. You could try some of the following:

  • Early access events: Discounted tickets that are available for a limited time to those who have signed up for your newsletter.
  • Early bird events: Discounted tickets that are purchased during a specific window of time.
  • Lock in your tickets for next year: Sell advance tickets at a discounted rate. Make them available physically onsite, but also sell tickets online or via an event ticket sales app for maximum convenience.

Building a calendar of these offer-based events from launch through to the last-minute will give you reasons to continually engage new and returning visitors. This is especially great if you’re looking for tips on how to increase performing arts ticket sales, as you can pair new offers with news and announcements, such as adding to the lineup, or revealing details about the venue or artists.

3. Go beyond the ticket

Where increasing ticket sales is the number one priority, it’s not the only way to drive pre-event revenue. Bundling your tickets with other value-add elements can help you secure higher sales before the event as well as create more choices for your potential customer.

Firstly, consider the types of ticket packages you have on offer. Tiered access is a staple of any event – just think about how much concert revenue is made from pre-show meet-and-greets – consider how your event tickets could be packaged with additional perks to increase average order value. For marketers wondering how to increase ticket sales in sports, tiered access will already be a staple, but extra add-ons like food and drink may be a new avenue to explore.

As anyone who runs events knows, concessions are a pivotal revenue-driver – take the opportunity to see how effective bundling can help you cross-sell these long before doors open. Drink tickets (used effectively by We Are FSTVL) or deals on travel and accommodation are some of the most common.

The team behind We are FSTVL not only sell tickets online but also uses an effective combination of VIP ticketing plus upsells to maximize their profit in advance.

4. Create scarcity

There is no event more desirable than a sold-out one – the harder a ticket seems to get, the more people want it. Just ask anyone in the queue for Hamilton.

In short, if you want to sell more tickets online, you need to make it so it appears that you’re already selling lots of tickets online.

The way to do this is through using social proof – showing your visitors what other visitors are doing in order to encourage them to follow suit. It’s so popular that Viagogo uses it in not one, not two, but three different places on a single event page for BTS:

How to increase ticket sales | Yieldify
Social proof appears at the top-right corner showing how many people are viewing the event
How to sell more tickets online | Yieldify
On the same page, this widget indicates how many tickets remain for the event
How to increase ticket sales | Yieldify
Finally, individual ticket types that have few left are marked with a ‘last available’ message

Proof if any was needed that social proof is a tried-and-tested mechanism for selling tickets. The good news is that you don’t need to be at the scale of a Viagogo in order to implement it – you can use FOMO tools like this.

5. Use referrals

One of the best ways to get more customers is to leverage your existing ones. Referral marketing is basically another form of social proof: according to the 2018 Word of Mouth Report, recommendations from friends and family are two of the top three most relied-on sources of information about products for consumers.

When it comes to selling more tickets online, there are a number of ways to go about this:

  • Provide ticketholders with referral bonuses in the form of additional concessions such as drink tokens or preferential access.
  • Continually deliver interesting, engaging content for your ticketholders to share across social media.

Contests are also a useful way to show social proof. By making your tickets seem elusive and unattainable, you can increase their perceived value and desirability. Like the mini-events, contests are also often shared widely and are a very useful example of how to increase performing arts ticket sales, creating buzz and popularity. This can help from an acquisition perspective as well as a conversion one.

3 Potential Reasons For Slow Ticket Sales

We mentioned some assumptions at the start of this article that can definitely contribute to slow ticket sales if you haven’t addressed them already. Below we’ll go into a bit more detail.

Your pricing strategy is wrong

Obviously, you want to sell out. But if you price your event too low, it won’t matter if you sell all of your tickets — your profit margins will plummet. And pricing too high means you risk hosting a near-empty event. So how do you find the sweet spot for ticket prices?

Now of course you will want to sell out. However if your ticket prices are too low selling out wont matter, and your profit margins may not even exist.

Vice Versa pricing too high and you risk having an empty event.

Is it possible to find a pricing sweet spot? Possibly, but it will take a bit of analysis. Below are two easy first steps.

  1. Work out your fixed and variable costs, and how much money you want to make when the event is over.
  2. Compare previous years performance and ticket types. I.e VIP tickets sell best, did you need to do some last minute discounts?

Based off your analysis you should be able to spot some room for improvement in your pricing strategy.

If any discounts got a good response last time, you may want to do more this year. If any special ticket types sold quickly (VIP etc) can you add more this year? Can you charge more for these?

Forgetting about the competition

Whilst your event will be the center of your universe potential buyers will be considering their options.

Are there bigger or better things happening around the same time?

This doesn’t have to be a like for like competitor either. Think about any sporting events that could take people away from yours.
Think about all the other event options people have, take a look at the cost, and again see if you need to adjust yours.

You need to take into account all the other options for where people could be spending their time.

Evaulate the compeition as fairly as you can. Don’t just discount for the sake of it. If you feel your even offers more value, (location, line up etc) then your higher price will be accepted

The eye of the storm

Events typically see a quiet time in between when tickets first go on sale and as the event gets closer.

Event organisers may have a great plan for these two peak periods but can often neglect the quiet period. So don’t.

Make sure you have set some budget aside to market your event during this time. Whether its on social media, some more email blasts or other forms of advertising.

In conclusion

When it comes to increasing online ticket sales, you have several options at hand once you’ve mastered the basics. Here’s what you need to remember:

  • Personalization doesn’t have to be difficult (particularly when it looks like this) – start small.
  • Timing is everything – have a plan for keeping every week of campaign activity new and differentiated.
  • Bundling is critical to the cross-sell and it helps give a better impression of choice.
  • FOMO tactics are much easier to deploy than you might think – and they’re heavily used for a good reason.
  • The ticket sale is just the beginning – use your new customer to acquire new ones.

This is the tip of the iceberg of what’s possible when you can do in order to incrementally increase ticket sales – try some out and see what they can do for your event!

Avoiding slow ticket sale FAQs

🎫 How do I get more ticket sales?

Ensure you have the right price set, and consider introducing tiered pricing (e.g VIP). Ensure you also offer early bird tickets. Take a look at our 5 strategies for more ideas.

🏟️ How do you avoid slow ticket sales?

To avoid slow ticket sales you can offer incentives, such as early bird tickets at a slightly discounted rate. You could also sell tickets cheaper online than on the door. Finally, ensure you have a promotional plan laid.

📈 How can I sell event tickets quickly?

There are many ways you can do this, for example, you could offer discounts on large group purchases of tickets. You could have special deals to members of groups related to your event. You could hold flash sales on your website.

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