7 Tips to Help You Sell Out Your Event Months in Advance


By Ines Lotfi | May 27, 2017 | Blog

At Eight Loop Social we’re speaking every day with event organisers. We find the biggest pressure is either ‘will anybody come?’ or ‘will we sell enough tickets’. So here are 7 ‘must have’ tips to help you sell out your event ahead of time …

Your business model

The first thing is really understanding your margins and the kind of business model you have. It may seem common sense, but we do have a lot of people get in touch with us and then tell us they’re selling tickets at $297 with no upsell at the event. It can be hard to make that work financially using Facebook advertising purely because you not only need to take into account the cost of acquiring a customer, but the costs of putting on the event.

The exception to this is if your event already has a strong brand presence or a sizeable warm audience. For example, if you think about companies like TEDx or TED, they would usually sell out their events pretty quickly, have an extremely low cost per acquisition because there’s a lot of goodwill toward their brand.

Lead time

We recommend your traffic source being live at least three months in advance. Which means your funnel needs to be in place

It’s common knowledge that people like to wait, to buy their tickets until the last minute (unless they think it will sell out) and that can be really, really stressful for event organisers. So what we do is prevent that – we start planning things and testing well ahead of time, so you can learn how best to automate those sales and get those tickets out the door

Make sure you are really clear on your client Avatar

The language and ‘direct-response’ copy you use in your funnel and traffic source can serve to protect your time, particularly if you are using a sales team for higher-ticket events – but also to pre-qualify the leads that hit your website, and to ensure your retargeting isn’t just going to wasted audiences that will never buy from you.

That all starts with knowing your ideal customer. And a lot of businesses get this wrong. They think it’s okay to say “Oh, it’s women aged 45-54” without realising there are many different personas and segments within that audience.

For example, if you’re targeting corporate COOs or corporate innovator managers, or event entrepreneurs as part of a tech event you’re running, you’ll find there are probably many different personas who buy those tickets, and each one will have a different reason for wanting to be there. Consider different pain points, different desires and identify each so you can speak directly to that person. It may require a separate funnel for each persona.

You need a funnel

Every business that tries to sell online is going to need a funnel. It’s a simple concept: you send leads to the first step, creating awareness for your offer, then you funnel them through to a sales call if it’s high-ticket or a purchase page if you’re selling a ticket under the $2,000 mark.

Many event companies send people straight to a website. Occasionally this can work, for instance if it’s a really warm audience, but it’s not always the best approach. Sometimes you might want people to opt-in before you show them the price, so that you can nurture them and re-target properly, making sure you’re speaking only to people who have expressed interest.

Strong creative assets

Go for images and videos and make sure your video audio is good quality. People will put up with grainy images and really low-lit situations, but the will not like poor audio. And make sure you have subtitles.

Try to take up as much ‘real estate’ on the newsfeed as you possibly can, then think about the different placements you want to run to, such as Instagram Stories, In-stream videos. Make sure your images and videos are created in the appropriate format for that placement, and also test durations, e.g. 15 seconds (which you’ll need for Instagram Stories) and longer versions for other placements.

Budget

Make sure you have some. If you’re spending $5, $10, $20/day on your Facebook advertising you’re not going to get anywhere. You won’t be able to test things rapidly enough and still optimise for what you want to do, and you won’t win the auction.

The best thing to do is work it out with your marketing partner. What is your revenue target? What’s the average order value? You need to know how many sales you need to generate, what is going to be the cost per acquisition, and make sure the campaign is properly-funded.

As a guide, expect your campaign budget to be approximately 30% of your revenue – this will be a lot higher for lower-ticket items, and more so if you do not have a big audience. But you can start to work your numbers to see exactly how much ad spend you’ll need for you to get the results you want – to sell out your event.

Make sure you have an event people actually want to attend

Yes, it’s common sense. But too often people have not established a product-to-market fit. If that’s not done, no matter what you do, it will never work. Make sure you’re actually addressing a need that people have.

Need help selling out your event?

You’re welcome to book a call where we’ll go over your goals and let you know if we can help: