Technology is often called a disruptive force, upending industries and opening up new possibilities. Tech’s effect on the events industry is no different, and the recent rise of virtual events is a prime example. Where once event creators were limited to live events for a local audience, now all you need is a camera, sound system, and online connection to have an event available to a global online audience.
That may increase your ticket sales opportunities, but it also poses new dilemmas. How, precisely, do you market an event to a global audience? Will a global audience be interested in your event, or is it of more local interest? Do you know how to sell event tickets online? What’s the best place to sell event tickets? Will people buy tickets to spend time online? Should you sell event tickets on Facebook? Is that even possible?
It is possible – especially when you have Eventbrite on your side. Read on for more ways to make selling tickets online easy.
1. To sell more event tickets online, give people more options
When you give people ticketing options, you give them more ways to access your event and hear your message. They feel empowered, you feel heard, everyone wins.
Offering a free option, such as a “buy-one, get-one-free,” or a “pay-what-you-will” donation option, gives people who are new to virtual events a way to try out an experience without investing too heavily. It also provides access to those on more limited budgets. “We are in an era of experimentation,” says Vivian Chaves, community director at Eventbrite. “And during this period, we’ve seen some creators who’ve managed to find success by just including a free ticket and a donation option with their events.”
And don’t worry, introducing these options doesn’t forfeit your ability to make money on your event. The team from the iconic San Francisco LGBTQIA+ bar The Stud included a donation option during its “We’re Still Here” event, Drag Alive, and it was satisfied with the sales.
Mica Sigourney, owner of The Stud, says “Close to 80% of our attendees paid the suggested $10 donation.” Sigourney also says that the performers made additional money in tips through payment app Venmo.
2. How to sell more tickets to your event with upselling
Knowing how to sell tickets for an event can mean knowing how to be – shall we say – encouraging. While creators are finding that attendees are willing to give a €5 or €10 donation for their events, a little friendly push also doesn’t hurt. And this encouragement often takes the form of a well-worded ticket description that lays out more ways to spend money while enjoying new benefits (or not).
“Really spell it out in the ticket descriptions,” says Chaves. “Grounding the ticket pricing in real-world monetary exchanges is a great way to get people thinking about the value of the event.”
Chaves uses the example of Juanita MORE!, a drag performer featured at “We’re Still Here” whose $10 donation tier on Eventbrite was labelled “Buy Juanita a drink!” This sort of description is playful, but it also reminds the attendees of how their online donations mirror a customary action (e.g., tipping your drag queens) that they surely would have taken if the event was in-person.
Another effective tactic is to offer tiered ticketing, with, for example, “Silver” base level tickets priced at one point, while “Gold” and “Platinum” can offer escalating price points. Provide special content at various price points, such as one-on-one online access to special guests or special pricing on merchandise and future events.
These subtle marketing tactics can go a long way. After all, some consumers are last-minute buyers when it comes to online events. Eventbrite data shows that tickets to online events sell closer to the event date than in-person events. In fact, online tickets sell at twice the rate of in-person events within 24 hours of their start times.
Given this last-minute ticket purchasing behaviour, a little push in the event description can make a major difference.
3. Build relationships and be more than an event ticket seller
What about those attendees who still opt for the free option? While this might not be the ideal outcome for creators, offering free tickets still presents some key opportunities for those trying to expand their audience.
“Building community is almost more important than the ticket sale itself,” says Chaves. With Eventbrite Boost and an array of marketing tools at your fingertips, you can grow your community of attendees with free and paid tickets alike. That free ticket you issue still adds a new name to your database that you can retarget for future events.
Free tickets can be used to invite partners, influencers, media, or anyone else who can spread the word and excite others to buy tickets. It’s also a chance to add some promotional fun by having a contest over social media, with the winner gaining free admission. Decide the winner with an online poll and get even more social media engagement.
Overall, the free option is a low-touch, high-velocity way to get people in the “virtual door” of your event and start building relationships with fans of your work.
4. Sell event tickets online by exploring new territory with open eyes
Ask any creator, and they’ll agree – we’re in new territory when it comes to online events. Learning how to sell tickets to a virtual event is a growing process. Now is the time to experiment and think outside the box, especially when it comes to monetising your events. Whether it’s looking to sell events online with WordPress and across social media or offering special tiers and deals on tickets, trying new things will reveal what works best for you.
“Ticketing tiers are a rewiring strategy where you’re trying to change the behaviours of online consumers,” says Chaves. “We’re readjusting attendees to value art in an online world.” When provided with options, consumers have the chance to pause and consider their choice.
As the creators of “We’re Still Here” proved, offering free tickets and donation options is a creative way to expand your customer base and drive revenue. Better yet, it makes your events inclusive to more people. So hold up on the “how to sell tickets to my event” obsessing and open up to all the new possibilities that online events bring with them.
Ready to sell tickets to your online event? Start here.