One of the most common questions I receive is … “Eugene, how do I SELL OUT my event?”
The answer is complex. So, let’s start with some easy to implement suggestions. I’ll break the simple suggestions into two parts.
Part ONE – What THEY Want!
You need to be able to answer the following with absolute conviction:
“What do your (prospective) attendees REALLY want from my event?”
On the surface, this seems like an obnoxiously simple question. It is, in fact, one of the most CRITICAL questions you must answer in order to sell out your event.
“To sell out your event, intently focus on your target market’s wants!”
A colossal mistake made by event organizers is focusing on what they think their target market wants. Or in other terms, trying to sell tickets to an event that people are not interested in attending. This happens often and is a key factor in poor event attendance. No amount of advertising, marketing, or PR can drive attendees to an event they don’t want to attend.
Too many event organizers impose their beliefs on prospective customers. As a result, there is a massive disconnect. I personally have seen this happen dozens of times, and it’s utterly disheartening. Seemingly great events no longer exist because of the disconnect between event organizer and prospective attendee.
Here’s a quick story to drive home the point…
For almost 10 years, clients have implemented a Customer Experience Assessment (CEA) at their events. A CEA is a proprietary survey process that gets inside the head of an event attendee (in the best way possible). CEAs are sent to event attendees, after an event. An exact copy of the CEA is also sent to event organizers and their Board of Directors.
Here's where things become fascinating!
In the CEA, customers are asked straightforward questions. For example, “what is the biggest reason you purchased a ticket to this event?” The answers provided by event attendees and event organizers are entirely different! It’s unbelievable. There is a massive disconnect between people organizing events and their event attendees.
Hence, it’s almost impossible to SELL OUT. I have analyzed thousands of client Customer Experience Assessments. It is astonishing that event organizers are so disconnected from their customers, year after year. This is not my opinion, but the facts presented by an event’s own customers.
What’s worse is that event organizers get offended by what their customers are telling them in the CEA. The irony is that the feedback comes from the very customers who make their paycheck possible!
Please don’t make the same mistake. If the only thing you do is find out what your customer wants from your event. Then, focus on that intently. You will have an event that keeps people coming back! The more happen customers, the easier it is to sell out.
PART TWO – Having Enough People Who Want to Attend Your Event
Let’s say you know exactly what your event attendees want. There is an additional hurdle most event organizers ignore. What is it? Having enough people who want to attend your event.
Here is an over simplified example. If there are there are only 100 people who REALLY want to attend your event, you won’t be able to sell 1000 tickets for those not interested in attending. Yet, well-meaning event organizers insist that a thousand people will attend their event. In his case, it is a matter of supply and demand.
No amount of marketing and advertising will help sell enough ticket. Here’s a simple cliché, “if you have 100 hamburgers, your chance of selling those juicy beef burgers to 1000 strict vegans is slim to none.”
Does that mean that you’ll never get a thousand people at your event? Not necessarily.
Start by focusing on 100 surefire attendees, then grow from there. Never try to go big to a market that doesn’t exist yet. Start small, think & build big – smartly!
As was stated at the start, selling out your event is a complex endeavor. Here are two powerful questions you need to regularly ask yourself and your team: (to get you started)
1. “What does my event attendee REALLY WANT from my event?”
2. “Is my marketing and advertising LASER FOCUSED exclusively on people who want to attend my event?”
If you can honestly answer and implement the questions above, from the customer’s perspective … You will be much closer to selling out your event.
To Your Success,
Below you will find a small collection P.T. Barnum posts that will help you with selling out your event ... after you've answered the questions above. :-) If there was a ticket to be sold, Barnum could get masses of people to buy. There is at least one good idea waiting for you to use with your event. Please take the time to read through a few posts:
- P.T. Barnum on Advertising
- Barnum & Hyping Up Your Event
- Curiosity Advertising P.T. Barnum Style
- Your Event, Stories, and P.T. Barnum
- The World’s Best Event Promoter Is . . .
- Turn Your Event Into an Experience
- Online Marketing Like P.T. Barnum
- More Marketing Like P.T. Barnum (Part II)