Where are your ticket sales today?

Let's start with a quick question, "how often do you check your ticket sales?"

For many event organizers, not often enough. By the time they realize they're behind on ticket sales, it's too late. The "we're behind on ticket sales!" realization comes right before their event. And that's not a good place to be!

Depending on your sales cycle, I recommend trying to check your ticket sales daily. The previous suggestion might not be practical for everyone. That's also a reason for shorter ticket sale timeframes.

Every Platinum client that has gone from a 10-month ticket sales calendar to 4-5 months of ticket sales have seen significant increases in ticket sales revenue.

To be crystal clear, shortening the ticket sales timeframe won't increase ticket revenue on its own. There is a significant amount of strategy involved. But, a short ticket sales timeframe will reduce the overall time you and your team have to be in customer service mode.

When you check your ticket sales, be sure to ask yourself or your team: "where are our ticket sales today?" Specifically, where are your ticket sales compared to the same sales day (days into your ticket sales cycle) last year / the previous event?

Ideally, you should have some sort of ticket sales dashboard to give you easy to access stats. Though it is not perfect, Google Analytics is a great place to start, provided it's properly configured.

For some clients at specific time frames, we look at their ticket sales on an hourly basis. Yes, that's a little bit obsessive. At the same time, hourly checks allow clients to quickly adjust their marketing strategies during critical timeframes.

Last year, a daily ticket sales check showed that a client was headed for some significant shortfalls in ticket revenue.

Fortunately, there was a marketing contingency plan in place. After the contingency place was executed, the client was ahead in year-to-date ticket sales. If they hadn't checked and taken quick action, I doubt they would have been able to catch up on their ticket sales.

If it's not a habit, make checking your ticket sales like brushing and flossing your teeth. Yes, I included flossing … Because it's a giant pain that will ensure you have a great smile. Just like a bank account with lots of ticket sales revenue.

Want to get more event ticket strategies? Check out the links below:

 

 


An event marketing checklist or be checked!

On the positive side, a Platinum client set numerous ticket revenue records today with their ticket launch. On the not so positive side, there were costly issues that arose with the ticketing company and internal checks.

One particular "oops!" cost the client serious ticket revenue. The "oops!" happened by not raising the ticket price of a VIP ticket, after the limited quantity of VIP tickets were purchased.

To further complicate matters, the ticketing company doesn't have a system that supports automatic price increases. Pricing changes require an inefficient and manual process on the client's part. (I've tried to have the client fire the ticketing company several times - but the client insists on keeping them around.)

Long story short, the "oops" above cost the client ~$5,000 USD of ticket revenue in 90 minutes. The client oversold 200 VIP tickets that should have cost an additional $25 USD. People were purchasing VIP tickets like hotcakes! The entire situation was preventable. Which leads to an important question ...

Do you and your event team have checklists in place for revenue critical event functions? Especially for your ticket sales!

If not, start to build your own internal checklist. Try to keep your checklists manageable. You're better off with a list of 40 critical items, than 100-200 items to be check.

Another lesson from today, print your checklists and have them with you at revenue critical times! e.g. During a BIG ticket launch. A printed checklist would have avoided the client and ticketing company not raising ticket prices.

Want to get more event ticket strategies? Check out the links below:


Sell more event tickets by not selling tickets

You're probably thinking to yourself, "he's joking around or something, right?" Nope! Allow me to pay off the seemingly ridiculously revised title line ...

For a multitude of reasons, most event organizers are always in a rush to sell tickets. "We have to get tickets on sale as quickly as possible! Hurry, hurry!" That's not a smart approach. Because ticket revenue rarely correlates with how long tickets are sold. Instead, focus your efforts on building demand.

One of the simplest ways to build demand for any event is by making people wait to buy tickets. Remember, people want what they can't have. Tell them no, and they want it more! The same applies to your event tickets.

Consider what Disney did with their last Avengers movie. They built demand for almost a year and then started ticket sales less than a month before the movie's release. Previously, that would have been considered financial suicide. Currently, Disney is within $50M USD of Avatar's $2.78B all-time box office revenue record (not adjusted for inflation).

Some of my client's greatest ticket sale successes have been when they made people wait to buy tickets. Imagine a $100,000+ USD of ticket sales in 60 minutes with only a few hundred dollars of advertising spend. Or how about a million dollars of gross ticket revenue, before a single person walks in the front gate of your event. What impact would that have on your event?

Just last week, a European client made their fans wait for months to buy tickets. It was the complete opposite of what they've always done. As a result, they've generated more revenue in seven days than they did over seven months for their last event.

Clients don't make buyers wait - just because. They made buyers wait with a very specific purpose. That purpose was to build massive demand to purchase tickets. If you're going to make them wait, what are you doing to build demand for your event? Answer the previous question, apply your answer, and be amazed by the results!

Here are some additional resources regarding selling event tickets online:


How much do they spend inside your event?

A number that is not discussed often enough, at least in my experience, is average customer value inside an event.

That customer value is typically the sum of food, beverage, and novelty purchases, per person, once an attendee is on your event grounds. Customer value is applicable to both free and paid events.

Some events have average customer value down to a science. A local ethnic festival has an outrageously high per person customer value for their free event!

Even though Disney parks aren't events in the traditional sense, how Disney extracts people's money should be studied by every event organizer. It is absolutely jaw-dropping.

Years ago, I read an article on what the average Disney attendee spends within a Disney theme park. That amount was over $100 USD per person. Keep in mind that's after spending $100+ USD for an Adult admission. Those are astronomical numbers!

Average customer value is also a valuable tool in your marketing math toolbox. Provided you have accurate data, you can use customer value for event revenue forecasting. It can also be used to roughly calculate attendance at large events. Personally, I use it to verify attendance numbers for clients and prospective clients.

Years ago, an event organizer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania claimed they had 200,000 attendees at their event. Yet, they only generated $200,000 in onsite customer revenue. If you divide the total customer revenue by the number of attendees, you get $1 per person. Which seems very low.

Clients in the same event niche as the event in Pittsburgh, generated on average $8.00-$11.80 per person at their events, year after year. That means the Pittsburgh event most likely had between 17,000 and 25,000 attendees. Remember, accurate attendance numbers are critical for your sponsorship dollars. If sponsorship figure out your numbers are grossly exaggerated, they might not sponsorship your event in the future.

If you have a paid gate and want to calculate your own customer value, here's a quick and straightforward equation. Divide the total number of ticket buyers by the gross revenue from food, beverage, and novelties (plus any other applicable goods sold on your event grounds).

Another fascinating takeaway regarding customer value ... a concessionaire in the air show industry found that air shows that sold more presale tickets had higher customer values. Their reasoning, if people buy in advance, they're more apt to spend money on site. It is my firm belief that higher advance ticket spend applies to any ticketed event. So, make sure you're focused on advance ticket sales!

Crunch your own numbers and let me know what you find.

Here are a few more event revenue and event ticketing insights:


Using a strategic pricing model to drive massive ticket revenues

Over the years, I've worked with multiple event organizers who are staunchly opposed to discount pricing. They each have their own reasons. Including, "we don't want to discount because it costs us ticket revenue" to, "I don't want to do discounting because of how it is perceived ... so we don't do discounts!"

Hey, it's their event, so they can do whatever they want.

That said, I try to challenge them on their own beliefs. A simple look at historical ticket sales data really sheds light on what's going on ...

In one instance, an event organizer who is against discounts is always left with hundreds of unsold tickets. My question to them, after their event, "if someone offered you 50% of the value of those unsold tickets as cash, would you take it?" When they answer, "yes!" I proceed to ask, "then why not sell your tickets at a discount?" At that point, you can see the mental gears going.

All of my clients use a strategic pricing model. It involves smartly discounting tickets based on historical ticket sales performance, while aggressively protecting profit margins. Because most of my clients are outdoor events (directly impacted by a bad weather forecast and/or weather), advance ticket sales are critical.

In every instance to date, clients have gone on to record ticket sales revenue while smartly offering deep discounts on their ticket prices.

Just this week, a client used a process called "blocking and stepping" to generate more ticket revenue in four days, when compared to their last event over seven months. And the kicker is ... they started by offering tickets up to 50% OFF!

My challenge to you is, how can you sell tickets at a discount and generate more revenue for your event? Are there tickets for sale after your event? If someone offered to purchase those unbought tickets, what price would you sell them for?

The answer to the questions above should give you a decent idea of what discounts to offer. Yes, there is a lot more to strategic price modeling. The above questions and examples hopefully get you thinking differently about discounts. Start by at least taking a deep dive into your previous ticket sales data.

Want to get more event promotion advice? Check out the articles below:


Why did they unsubscribe? Do you know?

Over the last 8 years, over 24 million emails have been sent for event clients. The emails go out to permission-based prospect and customers from around the world. Thus, the email list quality is outstanding. As you can probably guess, each time you send a broadcast email, people unsubscribe. That's the nature of the beast.

Furthermore, there are multiple unsubscribe links in every client email. Why have numerous unsubscribe options in your marketing emails? It ensures a higher quality email list. The better your list quality, the more tickets you sell to your event.

Depending on your email marketing service provider, there might be an automatic exit survey when people unsubscribe. Basically, the exit survey asks people, "what's your reason for unsubscribing?"

Then, the survey gives people a series of multiple-choice answers or the option to write their own response. Some of the multiple-choice answers include: you send too much email, the content is not what I expected, the content is no longer relevant to me, and I never signed up for your emails.

Over the last 2 years, clients have increased the frequency of marketing emails. In some cases, doubling the number of marketing emails sent. Naturally, the email unsubscribe rate increases.

Would you like to guess the top reason people unsubscribe from client email lists? If you don't want to guess, that's ok. Because I'm about to give you the answer.

As marketing email frequency increased, the number one reason people unsubscribe: "the content is no longer relevant to me." In some cases, two to three times higher than, "I get too many emails from you." Those results leave clients with a lot to think about. Because they believe they're already sending too much email. (Which is not the case!)

Next time you get a chance, look at the reason people are unsubscribing from your email marketing list. You'll probably be surprise by the results.

If most people aren't complaining that you send too much email, you're not sending enough email. And when you don't send enough email, you're leaving ticket sales on the table!

Want to get more great info? Check out the articles below:


How did they hear about your event & why did they buy?

In a recent review of outdoor event survey data, I noticed some interesting discrepancies ...

The post-event survey was put together by the event's ticketing company and is sent automatically to ticket buyers after the event. Within the survey, there is a question that asks, "where did you hear about this event?" Followed by a series of multiple-choice answers. It's important to note the specific wording of the question being asked ... "WHERE did you hear about this event?"

Multiple clients have used the ticketing company that automatically sends out the post-event survey. Separately, there was sophisticated tracking put in place for all the clients using the ticketing company and survey question from above.

Interesting discrepancies arose when comparing the tracking data of a ticket sale and the ticket company's customer survey results. The tracking data showed "how" and "why" people purchased a ticket to the event. Which was vastly different from the "where did you hear about this event" data.

As an example, "Facebook" represented a majority of the customer "where did you hear ..." survey responses. At the same time, the tracking data show that Facebook accounted for a small percentage of overall ticket sales. Additionally, there were discrepancies in place across several marketing channels.

Remember from above, the note about specific wording?

On multiple occasions, event organizers focused their advertising spend around the ticketing company's survey results. That could be a very costly decision!

Because how someone heard about your event and why they purchase a ticket to your event, MIGHT be closely related or completely unrelated.

My friend Roman Yako refers to it as the "Buyer's Continuum." It's where a customer starts, takes a journey (through an advertising/marketing funnel), and ultimately results in a ticket sale. Having good data helps give insight on your Buyer's Continuum.

My question to you, "do you know your customer's journey, and can you define that journey with hard data?"

When you know your customer's journey and can back it up with data ... you acquire an unbelievable advantage when investing your advertising and marketing dollars.

Here are some additional articles on planning a successful event:


Event Promotion Question: At the door or online ticket sales?

Here's a question from the Questions & Answers bag: "Do you think it is better to sell just on the door, or online and on the door?"

With rare exception, all your ticket sales should be exclusively online. Yes, I understand an online-only ticket sales suggestion could be a massive jump for some events. I promise you, it's well worth the challenge!

One of the rare exceptions to not selling ticket online is when you can collect a full data set on a walk-up customer. Because of the time required to get useful customer data, on walk-up sales, it is not practical for most events.

Selling tickets online, when set up correctly, makes customer data collection practically automatic.

Remember, people are filling out their information to complete the ticket purchase transaction. Just make sure you're getting customer consent. It's imperative that you tell customers how their data is being stored and used before they complete their transaction.

Here's a zinger to leave you with ...

"What if I don't charge people to attend my event?" Then you should still issue attendees tickets!

Yes, you read that correctly. This "ticket them" concept was shared with me by Gary Bradshaw from AttendStar, a ticketing company. Here's how it works.

When you collect their data for a free ticket and get their permission to market to them ... you should consider offering a paid VIP ticket. Even to an open gate or free event. Some of my military clients have generated up to $150,000 USD for VIP tickets to an open gate event. I'm telling you with confidence it can be done!

The bottom line for today, if you're not selling all your tickets online ... start to make the transition ASAP!

Want to get more event ticketing info? Check out the articles below:


Are you properly targeting your event in the marketplace?

Lately, I've been on a bit of an ethnic festival kick. This weekend was a local Greek festival. And those Greeks sure know how to cook amazing food!

This weekend's festival reminded me of a question my father would ask me regarding a local Ukrainian festival. My father's question, "who is the festival really for?" In his opinion, the Ukrainian festival primarily targeted the local Ukrainian community with their advertising and marketing. Yet they should have been targeting non-Ukrainians.

Think about it. Where is most of the revenue made at a Ukrainian festival (like many ethnic festivals)? Revenue is made on food and beverage sales! Of which the Ukrainians at the festival, represented a tiny percentage. The question to ask is, "who's going to buy our stuff?"

Let's compare the Ukrainians with the Greeks ...

As a restaurant owner in Athens recently told me, "most Greeks already make great food at home, they don't need to go to a Greek restaurant to eat."

The Greeks, to their credit, seemed to target people who like good Mediterranean food. A broader target market and NOT just their own people. "Nothing personal, just business!" And it's a slight nuance but makes a massive difference in a festival's bottom line!

Targeting importance isn't just limited to ethnic festivals. It applies to every event. When targeting your marketing, it's critical to be clear on who you're targeting and why you're targeting them.

Here's the real shocker. When asked, most event organizers cannot correctly identify why people attend their event! Please make sure that isn't you.

Want to get more event promotion information? Check out the articles below:


Taming those marketing tech monsters

There's this guy I know who's really into marketing technology. He drones on about tracking everything to a result. He also drives his client nuts with his rantings and ravings on how they should market their events. For his part, this guy uses very sophisticated marketing technology. I'd describe him as a "principal based a-hole!"

At one point, this guy asked two major ticket companies if any of their clients used a specific marketing tech to track advertising effectiveness. Both ticketing companies responded that they don't have any clients that use that technology.

It's important to note, these ticketing companies represent tens of thousands of events and hundreds of millions in ticket sales across the globe. Yet, nobody is tracking using anything to advertising spend to event ticket sales?!?!

The problem with the marketing tech guy mentioned above, he's not FULLY utilizing all the marketing platforms and tech he recommends to his clients. That's not to say he's undeserving his clients. He's just not getting maximum results and efficiencies out of what's being used. And wasting a ton of his personal time!

I know all the above explicitly because the "guy" described is yours truly! Just last week, I discovered a simple list segmentation utility within an email marketing service used on client projects.

I can say I've easily wasted dozens of hours manually segmenting customer databases. Fortunately, for my clients, they pay for performance, not hours worked or my stupidity.

Unfortunately for me, I cannot get all those hours back for what could have been done in 60 seconds and a few mouse clicks. That's because I hadn't fully mastered the marketing technology being used.

Here's a question, "what would it mean to you if you could reduce the time you spend on an essential task by 98-99%?

Remember that phrase, "jack of all trades, master of none!" Master one piece of marketing tech at a time and then move on to the next! That's how you tame the marketing technology monsters.

Mastering one piece of marketing tech at a time will pay incredible dividends to you and your event. Plus, maximize that one invaluable human resource ... your time! "You can always make more money, but you never make more time!"

Want to dive in deeper? Here are some additional event promotion links:

 

 


Mining your event marketing mountain & "digital dust"

When starting with a new client, I conduct a thorough marketing audit. The sophisticated process involves taking a very detailed look at an event's financial health and marketing assets.

In every audit to date, not a single client has been fully leveraging some of their most valuable data.

Several well-established events have a mountain of marketing data. The problem with a mountain of data is that most events don't even know what to look at or where to look. To be fair, it's a daunting task. It's a mountain for Pete's sake ... there's lots of it, and it's unruly! Much like data.

Years ago, I discovered that a new client that had over 90,000 previous customers hiding in plain sight. Unfortunately, those customers were never marketed to, and the customer database collected "digital dust." What does that mean?

Over time, data accumulates "digital dust." The data goes out of date or certain aspects fundamentally change. Here's a simple example. A customer's email address might have changed in the five years since they've purchased a ticket to your event. In most cases, and without a good process in place, that customer data is lost forever. The client mentioned above lost almost 20,000 customer email addresses due to digital dust.

Much like mining, and what little I know about it (a little more than zero), you don't try to mine the entire mountain if there are only a few veins of gold.

You start with a little research to find the best places to mine for gold. Then you put your limited resources into action. In the case of every event, a potential gold mine of data is your previous customer file.

Do you know where to find your previous customer information? Is there a process in place to prevent it from collecting digital dust?

So before trying to create some fancy new ad or Facebook campaign (both fraught with danger), go mine that "gold mine" of previous customers!

Want to get more info to pack your next event? Check out the articles below:


Are your event attendees loyal? Are you sure?

When it comes to event attendance, there is a standard go-to phrase, "we can always count on our loyal customers!"

After completing a recent analysis, my question of the day is, "do you really have loyal customers?"

In this case, a loyal event attendee (customer) should be considered someone who attends your event more often than not. So, if you have 5 events, they've attended the last 4-5 events. Fair enough?

Today, I completed another event analysis study. The analysis involved crunching five years of customer data for a niche annual outdoor event. Its primary purpose was to answer the question, "how loyal are event attendees?"

Thus far, the results have been absolutely shocking. One person summed up the findings this way, "holy f***!"

Because the outcome of the customer loyalty studies could have massive ramifications for how certain niche events are produced, advertised, and marketed. Put directly, throw out what you've been doing for 30-years, because it clearly isn't working ... according to your own customer data!

First, the number of people attending four to five of the last five events, less than 3%! On the opposite side of the scale, the number of people attending only one event in five years, over 80%.

I'm no statistician, but last time I checked, it's nearly impossible to grow any event with those kinds of numbers. Some of the annual events in the study have been going on for over 30 years.

To be fair, the findings above are preliminary. The data and methodology are not perfect, but it is excellent in terms of being able to track customer loyalty.

I plan to hire a "Quant" (Quantitative Analyst) to really dig into the methodology being used and make sure of the accuracy and objectivity of my approach. What's a Quantitative Analyst? In crude terms, a super geek with the combined skills of a computer scientist, finance analyst, and rocket-science mathematician.

In the meantime ... Have you ever looked at how loyal your event customers are? Specifically, using your customer data and matching variables to identify repeat buyers. If so, what did you find?

Here are some additional articles to boost your event promotion efforts:


What exactly is "COMING SOON"?

During a drive home from Canada today, I noticed a new vinyl banner ad on the highway. The highway is a route that I've traveled over one hundred times, and I usually see any new advertising. The banner ad simply said, "COMING SOON!" and was hung on an old fence on the top of a hill, you can see from the highway, at the location of a former winter sledding park.

The "coming soon" banner carries with it a major weakness of most event advertising and marketing. It lacks any salient details to get readers to understand, care, or take action.

Point blank, what exactly is "coming soon"? Another sledding park? Where I live, we're currently in the middle of Spring. Snow isn't expected to fall for another 6 to 7 months. Maybe they're getting an early start on winter advertising. Which would be great for them, but purely speculative on my part.

Since I'm speculating ... another line of copy such as, "The Best Sledding Hill Ever – Coming Soon!" would be tremendously helpful to readers. Maybe even add, "Visit SuperSnowHill.com for more details." Yes, ten more words, but those words would have easily fit on the area available. If in fact, that's what's being advertised.

Here's today's takeaway ...

All your advertising and marketing needs to be crystal clear. Never assume people know what you mean in your advertising. Just because you or your team are passionate about something, doesn't mean others will feel the same way. Above all, readers should never say or think, "what are they talking about?!?!" when reading one of your advertisements.

If your advertising space is limited, give them a short and compelling reason to visit your website ... right now! (Or if they're driving, when they arrive.) And if you have more space available, add additional copy that will drive people to visit your website.

Bottom line, the reader of your advertisement should never have to guess what you're trying to convey! In my experience, I have never heard anyone complain about advertising in the following manner: "that ad was easy to understand and had all the right details!"

Want to get more insight to better event promotion? Check out the links below:


Most event organizers don't know the answers to this ...

Here's a recurring principal of mine and bears repeating. The irony of what follows annoys the heck out of event organizers, yet they don't have any good answers.

It is absolutely fascinating to ask event organizers the following question, "why do people buy tickets (attend) your event?" The answers are quite diverse, even within a given organization. Things get even more distressing when you compare the answers given by event organizers with actual event attendees.

How so? Because the answers given by event attendees are often diametrically opposed to the very people organizing an event. Which begs a pivotal question, "how can you effectively advertise and market your event, if you don't know why people attend?"

Failure to provide good answers, to the previous question, is the biggest reason for wasted advertising dollars. It's like trying to sell a juicy hamburger to a strict vegan ... good luck with that!

You can take the question above one step further and ask, "how can you grow your event if you don't know the biggest reason people attend?" I'm not sure if you can. Because eventually you'll run out of "one and done" attendees.

Most events fail because of their inability to objectively answer the questions above.

Next time you get the opportunity, even at your event, ask your event attendees, "what's the biggest reason you purchased a ticket to our event?"

Here are some additional articles on planning a successful event:


When "SOLD OUT!" is bad of your event

Yes, you read the title line correctly.

Today, we'll look at how selling out your event could be potentially undesirable. If you're thinking to yourself, "Eugene, that doesn't make any sense!" Please read on ...

Several clients have sold out their events well in advance. At the time, it was a badge of pride for me. In hindsight, that pride was a mistake on my part and provided for a valuable lesson!

Think about what "SOLD OUT" means. There are no more tickets available for purchase. And thus, no more potential ticket revenue.

If you're thinking, "just put more tickets on sale!" That's not recommended. Here's why. I had a client put more VIP tickets on sale a few years ago, after selling out all their VIP tickets. (Against my recommendation.) They put more tickets on sale and were called out by their own customers.

Paraphrasing what an upset customer said, "why did you tell us the event was sold out?!?! I went out of my way to buy tickets, and now you're making more tickets available."

Back to the "SOLD OUT" is a potentially harmful issue ...

There are two particular lessons gleaned from selling out tickets ... too early.

Here's the scenario: You put tickets on sale, and they sell out in less than an hour, months before your event. With little to no advertising or marketing.

What does that tell you about the tickets being sold?

Two things ... It could be that there are too few tickets available. Or that your ticket price is too low.

If you raise your ticket price and take longer to sell tickets, you'll generate more revenue. All for the same number of tickets sold. In one instance, there was an outdoor specialty event that could have doubled their VIP ticket revenue and still sold out!

Raise the number of tickets being sold (if the venue can handle it), and that means even more revenue for your event.

Raise both price and quantity, the result is multiplied ticket revenue. What the finance geeks call, "Price Volume Mix!"

If you're selling your tickets out very early or very quickly, temper demand with higher prices and more ticket quantity.

Want to "smartly" sell out your next event? Check out the articles below:


You must control "X" or else others will

If you've been reading my emails for the last few months, you've seen the emphasis I place on having a dedicated event web site. One of the counterpoints I hear regarding my dedicated site recommendation, even from clients: "why not social media? Everyone's doing it, and it's so easy!"

With the masses focusing on "social media marketing," the importance of a dedicated (and smartly designed) event website has never been so significant. Plus, most event organizers (not all) are making a total mess of their social media efforts.

How so? I'll put it bluntly. I continuously hear event organizers say, "look at all the stuff we're doing, on social media" (page likes, posts, shares, comments, etc.) with little to no ticket sales to show for it!

More importantly, there is one critical factor to your own website that crushes anything you can do on social media. Would you like to guess what it is?

Simply put, a dedicated event website puts you in control of nearly all your user DATA! You do not have that level of data control with any social media presence. If you read the social media company's terms of service, it's evident who owns user data, and it's not you!

Furthermore, all those people who like your page on "Facebox" or follow you on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc. ... go try and download your follower's information. It's a no go! Because that data is controlled by the social media companies, not you.

You must control "your data" or else others will. Managing your data is also crucial for long term event success.

Where can one start?

Install Google Analytics (event for its downsides) and start selling all your tickets online.

Google Analytics allows you to see insights on what people are doing on your website. Your customer data from ticket sales helps you build a proprietary customer database for future event marketing.

Yes, the suggestions above barely get you started. But it's more than most event organizers have in their possession. You can beat the competition by merely doing the essential things they refuse to do!

Want to get more info on designing a money making event website? Check out the articles below:


A "mean" assessment of an event's priorities

Here's a pretty straightforward marketing concept from Dan Kennedy.

It's featured in Kennedy's No B.S. Direct Marketing book. The concept revolves around how smaller companies are trying to advertise like the big companies. As Kennedy puts it, "most ordinary businesses advertising and market like much bigger brand-name companies, so they spend (waste) lots of money on image, brand, and presence."

Kennedy furthers his angst in an "Agenda for Advertising and Marketing." Here he lists what small companies mistakenly emulate from their larger siblings.

Things like, "pleasing its board, please/appease stockholders, looking good, build brand identity, win awards for advertising," and finally "sell something." He finished up with only one critical item for small business owners, "Sell something. Now."

You can replace the word "company" with "event," and the same fundamentals apply. Kennedy's harsh assessment also applies to your event website.

Much like small businesses, too many event websites are focused on looking pretty, making sure team members have a great picture and bio, how much money an organization has raised, etc. Those are all very nice. But do next to nothing to further someone purchasing a ticket or attending your next event.

People buy tickets to your event to serve their self-interest. And it's rarely what you or your team think! Having analyzed over a million words of North American event feedback, I can tell you with confidence that a tiny fraction of people attend your event, because of altruistic reasons.

What are you doing on your event website to "Sell something (a ticket)"?

Is your event website correctly structured to get someone to attend your event?

Your website must lead online visitors down a slippery slope to, "I want to do that, now!" If it doesn't, you're potentially setting your event up for failure.

Here are some additional event promotion insights:


Confusing your tax status & good business sense

Before we get into today's rant, nothing that follows should be considered legal or accounting advice. The previous two subject areas are not my expertise. With that out of the way, let's roll in ...

Back when I was a teenager, and through my thirties, I volunteered a significant amount of time with not-for-profit organizations. Everything from my church to a scouting organization, a credit union, and business professional organizations. My family was extensively involved in the local Ukrainian community and the familial expectation of volunteering was high.

During the time above, my father had a phrase and that phrase resonates loudly today. His advice came as a result of 50 years of being a volunteer in numerous not for profit organizations. He would say, "don't confuse your tax status (being a non-profit) with the responsibility of being a good business." e.g., generating enough revenue to pay your bills!

A majority of my clients are non-profits. Much to my father's advice, they approach business with a not-for-profit mindset.

The mentality of many non-profit boards and their executive leadership, "we're a not-for-profit, we don't have the money to pay for advertising!"

Why do I bring this up? Because during a deep dive into non-profit organizations with seven-figure event budgets, there appear to be serious attendance issues. I firmly believe their attendance issues boil down to two critical cogs, customer experience, and not spending enough on marketing and advertising.

For today we'll briefly focus on the marketing and advertising side of things. Specifically, the "we don't have the money to pay for advertising" mindset. Because instead of paying for advertising, non-profits are getting a lot of seemingly "free" advertising.

A look at tracking data for numerous non-profit events shows that in almost every instance, "free" advertising and trades severely underperform against paid advertising. e.g., a $300,000 USD of "free" radio advertising that couldn't be tracked back to a single website visitor or ticket sale.

On the other hand, some non-profit clients spend $358 for paid online advertising (as part of a sophisticated marketing strategy) and generate $13,242.75 in ticket sales. Can such extraordinary results be accomplished every time? Most definitely not! But that should be the goal.

Regardless of the type of event you have, keep your focus on identifying paid advertising and marketing that brings you a significant return on ad spend (ROAS). As I'm always harping, track everything to a ticket sale. And if you can't track it, don't do it – free or not!

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A broken hub and bent spokes

Have you heard of the "hub and spoke" model? Truth be told, I'm not exactly sure who came up with the original concept. If I'm not mistaken, the model dates back to the airline industry in the 1950s.

For those not familiar with the hub and spoke model, here's an overly simplistic analogy. Think about a bicycle wheel. You have a central hub with radiating spokes. The spokes and hub are the support mechanism of the wheel. Federal Express adopted the hub and spoke model and look how that turned out!

Interestingly enough, another group of people took the hub and spoke model and applied it to marketing. Each spoke represents a different form of marketing or advertising. All of those spokes lead back to a central hub.

In today's world, the spokes can represent all your social media, traditional media, and online media channels. The central hub is your event website. Your goal should be to get all interested people back to your event website. It's where you control 100% of the message and the data!

Unfortunately, the hub and spoke marketing model gets broken by most event organizers. The breaking happens in two prominent places.

The first place is by not having every piece of your marketing and advertising lead back to your event website. It isn't enough to prominently display your web address. You need to give people a very compelling reason to remember your web address or click on a link to your event website.

Number two is a bit counter-intuitive. When they're on your event website, you want to keep them on your website and give them a good reason to return. Thus, I don't recommend social media icons on your website. Why not? Because that leads people away from what you have to offer. Likes, Shares, and Comments belong to social media companies, plus the all-important user data.

Remember to use all those advertising and marketing spokes to drive people to your event web site. Once they're on your site get them to BLANK or BLANK. Doing so will ensure your success and the longevity of your event.

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Outdoor events & record ticket sales

How do you sell a million dollars of advance tickets to an outdoor event (with a horrible weather forecast)?

You start by offering tickets at a massive discount ... smartly!

One of the biggest fears I hear from new outdoor event clients when suggesting a massive ticket discount strategy is, "we'll lose all our money!" If discounting is not done correctly, then you could lose a lot of money. That's why you must use a discount pricing strategy.

A great way to protect your ticket profit, even with deep discounting, is by blocking your discount event tickets. Ticket blocking means you limit your discounted ticket offerings to a certain number of tickets at a given percentage off. As an example, you can decide to sell only 500 tickets at 50% off.

Once that block of ticket sells out, the price automatically goes up.

Each event is going to be a little different in terms of how many tickets you should discount and at what price. Selling tickets in blocks requires insight into your ticket buyer's behavior.

What are the numbers of tickets that people purchase 30, 60, 90, 180 days before your event? How much revenue is that worth to you at those intervals? When are most people buying tickets for your event?

Having carefully looked at ticket revenue data for dozens of outdoor events over the last 20 years, certain outdoor event niches sell 50-60% of their tickets within 10 days of their event.

The deep discount strategy is considered absurd to many. It has also led all my clients to record advance and overall ticket sales. Including a 40% increase in revenue that started with a 50% ticket discount.

Get your marketing math together and take a look at what you can do!

Want to get more event ticket strategies? Check out the links below: