If you're going to "do it," do it for real

If you're selling your event tickets online or off, maybe a combination of both, I recommend the following. Run a live test of a ticket purchase.

It's simply not enough to run a "test" transaction or in a "test" environment. And ideally, you want to run multiple tests.

It's fascinating to me that with thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars in ticket sales on the line, event organizers don't want to run a simple $20 USD "live" ticket transaction.

I hear things like, "oh, I don't want to ding my credit card twenty bucks." Even worse, is when ticketing companies refuse to run live tests. It's enough to leave one fit to be tied.

Just today, there were two critical issues identified before a client's major ticket launch. The problems in question never showed up during multiple test transactions.

Fortunately, the issues were identified early enough to make the needed corrections. Had the problems not been identified during testing, a two-year data set would have been ruined.

If you're going to sell tickets to your event, make sure you test the entire process from start to finish. I cannot recall a single client project where a significant problem wasn't identified during live ticket testing.

Test to ensure your success!

Here are some additional resources regarding selling event tickets online:

 


How Disney eliminates their competition

Today, we're going to take a quick look at how Disney's movie division scares off their competition. You're probably saying, "Eugene, I don't have a movie studio." And that doesn't matter. Because it's the "stra-te-gery" that counts!

Overall, Disney has a very consistent track record of delivering better than average movies. By the mid-point of 2019 Disney had sold over $5.7 Billion USD of movie tickets. (Source: "Disney Tops $5.7+ Billion In Global Box Office In First Half Of 2019", Forbes.com)

In terms of dealing with the competition, Disney's advantage is straightforward. They make better movies than their competitors. That means that things get interesting on the strategy and marketing side of the house. How so?

Disney often announces its movies years in advance. This put the competition on notice. Though it's never verbalized, it basically comes down to the following. "We have something great, here's when it's coming out, we dare you to compete with us!"

Other movie studios, more often than not, stay away from the dates when Disney is releasing a blockbuster. And you can do what Disney does to their competitors. Eliminating competition on the event side of the house requires two key elements. The first element is easy to implement.

You announce your next event date(s) at least a year in advance. This not only informs your target market, but it also puts other event organizers on notice.

The second element is comparatively more difficult. It requires you to have a phenomenal event that the competition is afraid to go up against. And being "phenomenal" comes in the form of praise from your event attendee.

Depending on the reputation of your event, you force your competitors to ask, "do we really want to compete against that event?"

Any wavering on their part means advantage - you!

He's more Disney strategy for promoting your event:


A giant steaming pile of bull***t ...

A few months ago, I received an email from a nearly billion-dollar (USD) marketing company. The company espoused the following "keys to success" for email marketing in said email:

"Better email design = better results."

"What's one of the biggest reasons for under-performing emails? Underwhelming design. To deliver emails that perform as great as they look, follow these essential elements of email design ..."

The first item on their essential elements list, "LOGOS AND COLORS."

Aside from one or two points, that have zero to do with design, the marketing company's recommendations for "better results" were total B.S. If the primary focus of your marketing emails is "design," you're setting yourself up for failure.

Does the design of an email have an impact on your results, "yes, it does!" But the effect of the design is minuscule when compared to other factors driving results. And your results need to be measured in dollar signs, not marketing awards!

These result factors include: who is sending the email, the quality of the relationship with the email list, and the offer. Not even a witty subject line comes close to the previous factors just listed.

Last month, a client sent one email and sold over one hundred thousand USD of tickets to their event, in twenty-six minutes. Their email did not contain a single graphic. Other so-called marketers consider the email sent "ugly and unprofessional."

So my question to you (and you can only choose one of the following), "what would you rather have, a hundred thousand dollars of advance ticket sales or an email that's visually stunning?" Ironically enough, most event organizers choose the pretty email.

Get more insight on effective design that drives event ticket sales:


Lie about this number & you get crushed

A couple weeks ago, a colleague of mine sent me an email chain regarding a large outdoor event.

In the email chain, a representative from a Fortune 500 company took serious issue with the event's reported attendance. The event organizer told sponsors that their weekend event draws over 120,000 attendees. The Fortune 500 company was a sponsor and had booth space at the "120,000" person event.

Because the sponsor had years of outdoor event experience, they are excellent at accurately calculating event attendance numbers. One could say the sponsor has event estimation down to a science. You can probably guess where this one is going …

Long story short, the sponsor asked for their money back. According to the sponsor's internal calculations, the event had approximately 5,000 attendees for the weekend. That's a 115,000 person difference. To be fair, events often exaggerate their attendance numbers. But where does one draw the line, 5%, 50%, 95%? The attendance delta was over 115,000 attendees.

I'm no attorney, but if one were to grossly exaggerate their attendance numbers by 100,000+ attendees and sell a sponsorship or exhibitor booth package based on those numbers, I believe that's called fraud.

Event organizers need to stop blatantly lying about attendance numbers!

If not, they are putting the future of their event in serious jeopardy.

If the fraud statement above is a bit much for you, gross attendance exaggeration creates numerous other issues. One in particular … word gets around about events that completely bull$hit (not by a little, but a lot) their attendance numbers. And people won't do business with those type of events.

Do yourself and your team a favor, keep your attendance numbers as accurate as possible.

Here's more attendance insight regarding your event:


About all those social media icons ...

If you're going to have social media icons on your page, keep them confined to the footer of your website. That is unless you can show, with hard data, that social media icons deserve larger and more prominent placement.

How can I make the above statement?

Because of the millions of dollars in client ticket sales, less than 4% of event ticket revenue could be directly attributed to social media. This is not my opinion, but what the data shows.

Ironically enough, when I bring the 4% or less stat up to event organizers, most get pissed off. How dare I say something so preposterous?! Here's my simple response, "please show me the data to back up your position." At that point, all the protestors all go silent.

Not a single event organizer to date has been able to provide a shred of evidence to back up their anger and angst. Yet they claim social media to be the end all be all event marketing tool.

Are there events generating more than 4% of their event ticket revenue because of their social media efforts? I have no doubt! If you're one of them, please let me know.

As usual, go get your data in order! And let the size of social media icons (on your event website) be proportionate to the ticket revenue generated. Else, stick them at the bottom of your website.

The Cold-Hard Truth . . .
Here's the cold-hard truth: Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram have built their business empires on the backs of their users. Most people are never paid for the content they post, and social media sites re-purpose that content and make billions of dollars a year. This is lopsided. So, how do you get the better side of this deal?

You Must Play the Game Differently
If you want to take advantage of social media, you have to play the game differently. What follows are the most common social media marketing mistakes to avoid and simple corrections you can use. The suggestions apply to any social media platform. Click below and dive on in to the 5-Part Social Media Series:

  1. Putting Your Social Media Mindset Ahead of Theirs

  2. Focusing Too Much on Likes & Followers

  3. Trying to Engage on Too Many Social Media Platforms

  4. Avoiding Paid Social Media Advertising

  5. Not Measuring the Results of Your Hard Work

Here are some additional social media resources you can use to market your event:

 


This needs to be in every vendor contract

I'd like to take a closer look at crucial vendors at your event. In particular, your vendor agreements.

In a recent feature, the interconnect between event execution and advertising/marketing was broached. In short, if your marketing is excellent and makes bold promises to event attendees, you need to overdeliver on the event experience! And the only "did you deliver?" opinion that truly counts is that of your event attendee.

One place that has proven chronically problematic for clients has been vendor execution. Which begs the question, "what happens when a vendor fails to execute their services at a reasonable and agreed upon level?"

Let me give you just one example. The cater you hired runs out of food mid-event for an outdoor VIP Chalet. In the words of a VIP ticket holder (heard firsthand), "I paid $250 for this VIP ticket, you promised me food all-day. Now you're giving me a ticket for a single plate of food?! That's not what I paid for!"

Numerous VIP ticket holders expressed the same concerns. The vendor miscalculated the amount of food needed. The client informed the caterer 6 months in advance on attendance numbers.

Vendors probably don't want to have the contingency discussion, or they'll tell you, "the lawyers (legal) won't allow us to change the contract." That's all, hogwash! Like I say to my clients, "you're paying the money, you get to negotiate terms to your satisfaction!" And they have every right to say, "No!"

Today's KEY question ... Are you negotiating contingencies into critical vendor contracts (ticketing, catering, parking, etc.)? And so we're clear, my expectations for vendors is NOT perfection. I'm often a vendor, so I see both sides of the equation.

Negotiate tough and fair! And don't forget the Chester L. Karrass advice: "In business as in life, you don't get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate." Make sure that for your key vendors there is a clear and reasonable plan in place for when things don't go well or when the vendor fails to execute (runs out of food because of poor planning on their part).

Get more event advertising negotiation insights:


Opinions and feelings versus results ...

In response to "A great (aggressive) ticketing idea," Dan P. writes the following:

(FULL DISCLOSURE: Dan does excellent work for my clients, and we are personal friends. That said, he has a significant amount of live event experience.)

--------------------------
--------------------------

"Eugene, reading your email made me think a majority of professional conferences, expos, retreats, etc., are mostly all presale online-only and many of those sell-out.

I think about my past putting on TEDx events and we did all online sales only for those and we always sold out.

I can't think that for an outdoor air show or outdoor event the concept or outcome would be much different than a massively attended professional conference."

--------------------------
--------------------------

And there you have an experience and results-based recommendation. Of which I encourage every event organizer to pursue ... no gate sales.

In the world of events and business, experience and results always trump opinions and feelings. Back to yesterday's email, the objections to the "don't sell tickets at the gate" were emotion and opinion based.

Ultimately yesterday's discussion ended with the following statement, "we're not there yet, we can try that in a few years from now." Opinions and feelings were in play!

Opinions often prompt lousy business decisions. Mainly when decisions are rooted in feelings and emotions. It's imperative that you focus on proven results (backed up with hard data) and actual experience.

If you have something new you want to try with your next event, implement it and measure the results. The same skepticism goes for any of my recommendations. Don't take my word for it, go and apply my recommendations. And then let me know how it turns out.

Want to get more data driven promoting your event? Check out the articles below:


The Godfather of Gore's killer advice

Herschel Gordon Lewis was known as the "Godfather of Gore." His horror movies launched the "splatter" film genre. (I'll let you use your imagination on that one. Or, your welcome to do a Google search. Fair warning, it's pretty offensive.)

A vast majority of Herschel's film work was considered very controversial at the time. His film style was influential on notable film directors, including Quentin Tarantino, John Carpenter, and Wes Craven.

What most people don't know about Mr. Lewis is that he was an advertising and marketing genius. He was very much the shrewd capitalist. Because he made horror films for the sole purpose of profit!

After retiring from filmmaking in the 1970s, Herschel Gordon Lewis went back to his advertising and marketing roots. He published several advertising and marketing books in the 1980s and owned an advertising agency.

One of the nuggets of marketing wisdom from his books is the phrase:

"If you emphasize everything, you emphasize nothing!"

Do yourself a favor and write the quote above down. Because it impacts everything you do in the marketing of your event! Including television, print, online, email marketing, and social media. Today, more so than ever, your consumer is mired with information overload.

Too much event marketing is focused on the "emphasizing everything" approach. Take for example, an event website. The event organizer wants that website to look pretty, make sure team members have a great picture and bio, tell people how much money the organization has raised, and on and on. Those are all very nice and do next to nothing to further someone attending your next event.

Don't load up your website, marketing, and advertising with a bunch of extraneous information that most readers will either ignore or simply not care about. Focus all your marketing and advertising on one single goal, getting them to your event. Keep it lean and mean.

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


Pick up the effing phone (please)

Fair warning, what follows is a bit of an abrasive rant. My mantra ... if I complain about something, I better provide a solution. There's actionable advice at the end. Ok, let's go!

50 years ago this July, man landed on the moon! And today, it has never been easier to communicate with another person. Yet, there are significant communication issues in business.

Over the last six years, there have been multiple project screw ups, all because people decided to rely on email and text messages to communicate. The screw-ups involved tens of thousands of dollars and serious issues for event clients. One issue almost resulted in a client being suited.

Most recently, a ticketing company nearly borked a client's sophisticated two-year data project. A manager at the ticketing company decided they wanted to play the CYA (Cover Your A**) game.

That manager insisted on using a multiple person email thread, instead of picking up the phone. "But wait, there's more!" One of the people on the email thread was on vacation, and another went on vacation in the middle of the project. Seriously, why even include those people?!?!

My client's tickets went on sale with significant data issues. Thankfully, the client's customers knew no different.

All the stress and useless drama above could have been avoided with a simple two-minute telephone call for business purposes.

My guess is you've probably found yourself in similar situations. You know, those unresolved 25-30 message email threads. Or how about the passive-aggressive text message that you're unclear about its meaning.

I believe that business is best done in person, at least over the telephone, and at worse via email and text message.

So when in doubt, confused, angry, or frustrated ... pick up the effing phone and give that person a call.

In every single instance that I can recall, a polite two-minute telephone conversation was more efficient and effective than any long email thread or series of text messages. A heartfelt telephone conversation also did way more to alleviate hurt feelings and misunderstandings.

"What happens when I get voicemail?" Don't leave a message until you attempt to call some three times. So we're clear, that doesn't mean you should call someone three times in a row and annoy the heck out of them. Try calling in the AM, later in the day, and then the next day. Leaving a message on your third attempt really helps to avoid the telephone tag voicemail game. You call, then they call, then you call.

If you want to be successful at your event or in your business, you need to be good at communicating. When you get good at using the phone for business, it will pay you in spades!

 


Data's What, When, and Why ...

During an interview with Mike Gastin for his podcast the Currency (you can listen here: 65 Minutes of Outdoor Event Promotion Insight), the topic of data leveraging and analysis was broached. Specifically, the importance of keeping data analysis as simple as possible. My thanks to Mike for the great opportunity and asking thought-provoking questions!

During the interview, we talked about data and how to analyze it. Overall my recommendation is to keep data analysis as simple as possible. Especially when working with clients.

What follows is a bit of an abstract concept and should help you look at your data in a structured way. For clarification, this isn't an attempt to deep dive into mountains of raw data and engage in pattern analysis. I leave that to the experts! The goal here is to keep things as simple as possible.

My recommendation is to think of data in terms of "what, when ... and why?"

Every time a user or customer takes action in response to your marketing or advertising, "what and when" become applicable. Think of an action taken as the"what." e.g., A person visited your website or purchased a ticket to your event." What the user did is a measurable action. That's one piece of your data set.

"When" denotes an exact moment, or during a particular course of time, when an action (the "what" occurs. e.g., After seeing an online banner ad, the user clicks on that ad a 14:23 and is taken to your event website. Depending on how deep you want to go down the rabbit hole, "when" could be sliced in several different ways.

Asking "why?" the user took the given action, at a specific time, is an essential part of your data analysis.

Frame "why" as a series of questions. "Why did a person visit your event website?" Or, "why didn't someone buy a ticket to your event?" In essence, answering why a person or a group of people take action (s) allow you to connect all the dots.

Over time, identifying the "what, when, and why" of your attendees can lead you to some surprising insights about your event. It can also lead you to extraordinarily powerful marketing and advertising for your event.

To be continued ...

Here's some additional info:


This doozy reared its ugly head, yet again

What's the "doozy"? The insidiousness nature of inaccurate and inconsistent data.

Any event's ability to use data, even at the most basic level is predicated on the quality of the data being collected. No data set is going to be perfect. There is also the ongoing challenge of missing data. That said, even a reasonably accurate data set, including a few errors, can be tremendously insightful.

One place where you cannot afford too much bad or even missing data is your ticket revenue reporting. Mainly if most of your ticket sales are generated online.

Yesterday, I identified a potential online ticket revenue reporting problem between Google Analytics and a client's ticketing vendor.

On Thursday, the client's ticket revenue data was under-reported in Google Analytics versus the ticketing company's reports. Yesterday, ticket revenue was over-reported by 30%. Thus far today, ticket revenue is over reported by 5.88% in Google Analytics.

What's worse, are the inconsistencies of the online revenue reporting. It's not under or over-reporting, it's both and to varying degrees.

In case you were wondering, "yes!" the ticket revenue reporting was tested multiple times before tickets went on sale to the public. All the test sales were spot on in both the ticketing platform and Google Analytics.

To make matters worse, it's the weekend, and the ticketing company's department for troubleshooting issues won't return to work until Monday.

Ultimately for the client above, their most crucial reporting metric is how much revenue from ticket sales is ending up in their bank account. As long as the net ticket sales and bank account deposit reconcile. The data is perfect ... and it is pristine at the moment!

Here' today's takeaway ... if you're going to use data to make smart decisions regarding your event, make sure that you quadruple check the accuracy of that data. Stay vigilant before, during, and after your event. Especially when something within the system changes. You're not looking for perfect, but reasonably accurate. Because "reasonably accurate tracking is better than no tracking at all!"

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


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: