Head of Marketing at TicketSource, Terry Rosoman, lists the ten-point checklist he follows to ensure a successfully marketed event.
So you've organised the greatest event, ever! It's taken you months of meticulous planning and organisation, along with a fair share of blood, sweat and tears. Now, the question is: how do you get people to attend your event?
Attendees are the most important aspect of your event. Without them, all that hard work has been in vain. Complement your event with a thorough and effective marketing plan and you’re all set for success.
Whether you're new or experienced in event marketing, this guide will hopefully offer the inspiration and information needed to craft your own incredible event marketing strategy.
What is the goal of event marketing?
Separate the aim of your event from that of your marketing plan. The goal of the event may be to throw a great party, perform a play or raise money for charity. However, the goal of most event marketing is to make a return on the investment (ROI), i.e. money in vs money out. The ROI relies heavily on your capability to sell tickets.
In order to sell tickets to your event and achieve your desired ROI, a clear and concise marketing plan should be created with enough time to organise and promote the event. Within your marketing plan, there are several key points to consider. These points are detailed below in the next section.
Your Event Marketing Checklist
1. Set clear aims and objectives
Your very first step is to set out some clear aims and objectives. These aims and objectives must be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed).
If your aims are specific and measurable you'll be able to accurately gauge whether your event was a success. If your aim is to achieve a desired ROI, then find out how many tickets will you need to sell in order to achieve that goal. This gives you a clear target to aim for during your event marketing campaign.
Your aims must also be achievable and realistic. Setting unachievable goals will set you up to fail from the start.
Finally, give yourself a deadline and stick to it. Deadlines keep you on track and focus your efforts. Without a deadline, there is no urgency, which could lead to you leaving too much work to complete as the event fast approaches.
2. Find your unique selling point
A unique selling point (USP) is a factor that differentiates you from the competition. What is it that will draw people to your event?
Is your event an exciting spectacle of high production value? Is it about emotion, dramatic, moving, beautiful? Is it comedy, adult or family entertainment? Is it culturally significant, whether in general or in it’s relevance to a particular community? Is it thought-provoking or controversial? Is it cutting-edge or avant garde? Or is the main appeal grounded in the fame, attractiveness or talents of the performers? Whatever the USP of the event is, whatever it will make the audience feel, make sure your promotional imagery is laser focused on conveying that same feeling.
Having identified the defining attributes of the event and the event experience, you are then in a position to identify the target customers to whom those attributes have the strongest appeal, and consequently, the most fertile environments in which to promote to those market segments.
3. Identify your target audience
Your target audience are the people who are most likely to purchase a ticket to your event. Typically defined by demographics and interests, an identified target audience will keep your advertising focussed to the right people.
Start with the basic demographics of your audience: their age, gender, where they live, who they live with, how much do they earn. These bits of information will help build a picture of the people to target your advertising.
Next, find out their wants and needs. What it is about your event that will appeal to your audience, why should they care about your event, what is it that will make them want to throw money at you to attend? Find out the answers to these questions and your event will be an "easy-sell".
Look at where they get their information. Think of the magazines they read, the websites they visit, the social media channels they use, the people they follow. Identifying targeted promotional avenues will enable you to create an focussed and effective campaign, preventing wasted effort and money.
Finally, it's important that you collect your customer contact details (and permission to contact them) when purchasing tickets, as you can leverage this data to help promote your events in the future. Previous customers are much easier to market to. They already know and trust your brand.
TicketSource's free online ticketing platform records the customer details automatically into your database. If you have an existing customer list you can import this straight into your TicketSource account. Download your data whenever you like as an Excel or CSV file to power your email marketing or Facebook campaigns. Alternatively, utilise our direct MailChimp email integration to send professional looking emails to your customers.
4. Find your marketing position
Positioning refers to the position in the market your event lies in the mind of the customer, usually based on the relationship between price and quality. The customer is not necessarily looking for the cheapest option, but the option that offers the greatest value, i.e. the best quality for a reasonable price.
Once you’re able to visualise where your event sits in the market against the competition you’ll be able to identify if your event truly is one of the best options around for the customer. If not, you’ll be in a position to make adjustments to the event in order to position your event higher in the mind of the customer, creating a ‘no-brainer’ decision for your customers.
5. Identify the best places to sell your tickets
Known as distribution, this is where and how will your customers can purchase your tickets. Don't give your customers an excuse not to buy a ticket by making purchasing too awkward or too time-consuming. Make it as clear as possible and offer them multiple ways to purchase, limiting the number of anticipated barriers.
Although physical box office locations are a great way to sell tickets, not everyone has the chance to make it to the location of purchase during the times of business. Making your tickets available online is the best way to ensure your tickets easily accessible any time of the day.
TicketSource offers a fantastic online box office solution. Start selling tickets to your event within minutes of setup. It doesn't matter if you sell 10 or 10,000 tickets, the system is incredibly user-friendly and completely free to use. Events are also automatically listed on TicketSource's customer-facing website as well as being posted to a number of event listings websites, including Ents24.com, list.co.uk and eventful.com and also to one of our regional Twitter feeds. Each event organiser and event has a unique URL (web address) and ‘buy tickets’ buttons which can easily be embedded into your website, Facebook page or Twitter feed.
Telephone booking can also be offered to people who can’t make it to the box office location or do not have access to the internet. If you don’t have the resources to manage a telephone box office, let TicketSource handle the telephone bookings for you. TicketSource's dedicated box office team can take care of all your telephone bookings, leaving you to concentrate on the running of your event.
Sign up for a free TicketSource account via the link below to try it out under no obligation.
Sign up and create your first event now
6. Boost ticket sales with offers and promotions
Using promotional offers are a great way of boosting ticket sales for your event. After all, who doesn't love a discount!
There are a number of different discount options you can consider, but the important aspect is to make sure your customer feels like they are receiving good value for money, and that you can afford your chosen discount. Bear in mind your financial aims and objectives.
TicketSource's box office system enables you to set up many different types of discounts on bookings. Create discount codes for use at checkout, automatic discounts that work on defined purchasing conditions, timed discounts for early-bird offers and discounted price categories for VIPs, club members or other groups. For more information about the types of discounts available at TicketSource click the link below.
TicketSource Discount Options
7. Consider building relationships with other organisations
Partnerships and sponsorships are a powerful tool that can be used to build and reinforce your brand with your target audience. Teaming up with a brand or business that is already trusted by your target audience can help give your event some valuable kudos.
When approaching other organisations, consider what you can offer that is of value to the sponsor, and how they will benefit from the partnership too.
8. Build an army of promoters with an affiliate scheme
Affiliate marketing is becoming increasingly popular with events. Affiliate marketing is the process of earning commission by promoting other people’s products or services. By offering a monetary incentive for other people to sell tickets for your event, you can build an army of promoters all working hard towards pushing your event.
9. Increase the value of each transactional sale
Offering extras and upgrade options are a great way of increasing the transaction value of each ticket purchase, helping you earn more money for your event and hit your target ROI.
Cross-selling is a technique used to increase the value of the order by offering optional extra items to the customer. TicketSource's ticketing platform gives you the chance to create various sundry items like event programmes, food or merchandise, that can be offered to the customer at the checkout.
Upselling is a technique aimed at persuading the customer to purchase an upgraded or premium version of the original item they wanted to purchase at a higher price. It's a great way to bring added value to the customer's experience plus increasing the average order value of their purchase. TicketSource's system allows you add multiple ticket prices bands, enabling you to charge more for certain seats or offer VIP experiences.
10. Identify your marketing budget
A marketing budget is usually allocated to the promotional costs associated with marketing, including marketing communications, website development, advertising, PR and staff costs. If you’re lucky enough to be allocated a marketing budget be sure to manage it attentively. Failure to properly cost and budget your marketing activities could leave you with insufficient funding for equipment, communications or staff further down the line.
Do some pre-budget research into the cost of marketing, and carefully allocate your budget to the areas of marketing you wish to utilise during your campaign.
If you have no or limited budget for marketing then check out our article on free ways to promote your event online.
We hope you’re able to take away something of value from this article that helps you formulate your own winning event marketing strategy.
If you require any further information on running event feel free to check out more articles like this in our TicketSource blog.
If you would like to try out TicketSource’s online ticketing platform for free under no obligation you can sign up via the link below.
Sign up and create your first event today