I work with a lot of Event Organizers, and the number one question they ask me is, “Ryan, how can I drive more advance online sales for my event?” After working with hundreds of Event Organizers, hundreds of music venues and event planners, and after producing over 14,000 of our own live shows, I’ve learned firsthand what thebest tips for getting your customers to buy their tickets online are.
1. ARE YOU TRACKING YOUR TRUE ROI ON AD SPEND?
So many of my clients were spending 80% of their ad spend or more on radio, tv, and print and 20% to online ads. The problem with these marketing mediums is it’s hard to track the true ROI (return on investment). Here’s what I mean by that, if you spend $10,000 on radio ads how do you track how many actual ticket sales were a result of those ads? When it comes to radio, tv, and print ads it is really hard to accurately track this. You can try using Promo Codes for certain ads, for example in your KMTV Radio spot telling customers to use promo code KMTV2020 at checkout to get $2 off. But that only works if the customer remembers to use the promo code, and you have to offer a discount to incentivize them to remember. Another option is to create a vanity URL extension so that the radio ad tells customers to go to www.YourEvent.com/KMTVradio, but again you’re relying on your ROI data to come from customers remembering to do that.
This is a huge reason why many event planners I talk to are now allocating 80% of their ad spend to online ads (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Spotify, Google Adwords, Snapchat) and only 20% of their ad spend to traditional radio, tv, and print ads.
- Online ads are easier to track.
- You can install a Facebook tracking pixel and Google Adwords pixel into your online ticketing pages. This way, your ad account will actually show you exactly how effective those ads were.
- One of the national tours we handled had these stats for one of their concerts:
- $91 in Facebook Ads spend. $1,109 in Gross Ticket Sales.
- When they saw this, they increased their ad spend by 500% because the data showed they were making $12.18 in ticket sales for every $1 they spent on Facebook ads.
- Without this pixel tracking ROI data? The band probably would have capped out their ad spend at $100 for that city.
- Online ads are more cost effective.
- Typically you can have a lower CPM (Cost Per Thousand) and more eyeballs will see your ads on social media vs. traditional advertising mediums.
- Your customers live on social media, they live on their phones!
- My mom is on Facebook. The younger kids are on Snapchat and TikTok. Everyone is on Instagram.
- Social media used to be a channel to reach the younger demographics 10 years ago, but now everyone age 10 to 80 is on one of the social media platforms.
- Online ads allow you to specifically target your audience.
- Facebook allows LOOK ALIKE AUDIENCES. Basically, Facebook allows you to upload your previous customer email list to your ad account and uses your existing page likes to algorithmically find similarities between them all. Then Facebook uses their look alike audience tool to target people that have a 99% match to your customers. It’s like magic. They will deliver your ads only to people near your event location that have a 99% match in similarities to your previous attendees. But so many event planners are not using this, they don’t know it exists, they’re not sure how to use it, etc.
- If you’ve been running ads and manually selecting the filters such as age range, gender, interests – then you’re not using the look alike audience tool.
- If you are not familiar with this I’ll be writing a Blog series on it soon. In the meantime, if you want to learn more shoot me an email: Ryan.k@AftonTickets.com
There is a LOT to go over with online ads that I’ll cover in another Blog series. But the point is, if you are accurately tracking your online paid ads in how they result in actual ticket sales, you’ll start to find it’s worth it to allocate more and more of your total marketing budget to Facebook/Instagram Ads, etc.
2. THE RIGHT ONLINE PRICE VS. DOOR PRICE STRATEGY.
Believe it or not, I’ve met with many event planners that charge the exact same price for advance online tickets and day-of door tickets. This is a huge mistake. Remember, if you don’t give your customers compelling reasons to go online and purchase tickets in advance – they simply won’t. In fact, just pricing your online tickets $1 to $2 cheaper is usually not enough on it’s own, and we’ll get to that in a minute.
Ideally, you should price your advance online ticket price + online service fees to be cheaper than your day-of price at the door. It’s more convenient to buy online and skip the lines, but it’s not worth paying more than the door price. Examples:
$10 online ticket + $1.65 service fee = $11.65 total to customer online. Door price set as $12.00
NO: $11 online ticket + $1.65 service fee = $12.65 total to customer online, Door price set at $12.00
3. DO ALL ADS CLEARLY PITCH ADVANTAGES TO BUYING ONLINE?
What are all of the reasons your customers should buy online tickets in advance? Have you made a list of all of them? Are you doing a great job of communicating those benefits in all of your Facebook ads, posters, and other marketing? I once had a client that absorbed online service fees so customer paid $0 fees, included free parking if they bought online, and their gate price was $4 more than online – but they were not communicating that to their customers at all.
- Skip the Lines!
- Make sure you’re offering a completely separate “skip the box office” scanner line at gate entry for online ticket holders only.
- If you force online ticket purchasers to stand in the same line as box office customers they’ll never buy online again.
- Low Service Fees!
- *OR* if you chose to absorb/pay for service fees from the ticket face value, you should shout it out: “$0 Service Fees!”
- Save Money!
- Make sure your door price really is lower than your online ticket price + service fee.
- If it’s significant savings, clearly state that in your ad! If online is $10 and door price is $15 you need to let people know that.
Buy Tickets Online Now. Why?
- Skip the Lines!
- Save $5 Off Gate Price.
- $0 Online Service Fees.
Try running Facebook/Instagram ads that clearly list all of the benefits. You’d be surprised at how much higher your click through and sales rate will be.
4. ARE YOUR ONLINE SERVICE FEES TOO HIGH?
I talk to many venues and event planners that don’t actually know what the online service fees are. Either their ticket provider has been increasing service fees slowly over time, or there were hidden fees, processing fees, per order fees, etc. in the contract that was signed 3 years ago and they did not realize just how high the service fees were going to be.
After creating your event, you should go and act like you are purchasing tickets for it to see the checkout process, make sure everything looks right, and to see what the actual service fees are for your customers. Sometimes event organizers will tell me, “I don’t really care how high my fees are, customers will pay it.” This is especially true of music venues. Don’t be overly sensitive on service fees, but do be aware of what your customers are being forced to pay.
LET’S KEEP THE DISCUSSION GOING! SHARE BELOW…
– What are some strategies you’ve found success with in the past?
– Which strategies that I covered today seem the most useful to you and why?