On average, marketers start promotional activities three and a half weeks in advance.
Along with that, finding your audience, making them aware of your event, and creating a ticketing experience that makes it seamless for them to book and attend the event — collectively make up for a stellar virtual event.
While running a successful virtual event depends on a dozen things going right, let’s talk about the most crucial part — selling tickets.
Setting up ticketing for your event
Before you begin selling tickets for your virtual event, you need a ticketing system. Here are three of the most popular ticketing systems you can create:
1. Your website
Hosting your event on your website is one of the best ways to future-proof your marketing efforts. Here’s why:
Growing email lists: Every event attendee becomes part of your email list. No matter how the search engines and social media change, this list can be used for promoting new events.
More data: You get access to user journeys and event preferences using the analytics data. The data also gives ideas for improving the customer experience on your site for a seamless ticketing experience.
Lower costs: Allowing ticket purchases directly on your website is more cost-effective than using a third-party website.
Fully customizable: When you own the site, it’s easy to customize the event pages to match the theme and topic.
If you have a Shopify website, you can also use Evey to design modern and customized tickets for your virtual events and give them an exclusive look. Here’s how:
1. After you install Evey on your Shopify store, you are presented with a screen to create a new event.
2. Click Create event and set up the event details including the name, the dates, the ticket pricing, and the number of tickets available. You can choose the location as Online event here, and click Save Event.
3. Next, click on the Tickets tab and go to Customize.
4. Start designing your ticket with the simple drag-and-drop template designer. Edit the colors and the layout of the tickets as you prefer.
5. Once you’re done, click Save at the top right corner and then hit Exit.
Your ticket template is now created and it will be automatically sent to customers who purchase the event tickets. The overall custom look gives your events an exclusive feel that is difficult to achieve on ticketing platforms.
2. Ticketing platforms
Ticketing platforms have one significant advantage — audience. They have a strong presence in the event ticketing space and users are browsing the site for new events.
Listing your event on these platforms helps you get discovered and build up the initial traction. Some of the major event ticketing platforms include:
These platforms boast substantial organic traffic. You can also test different event images, titles, and ticket prices to see what converts best.
Then use the knowledge to optimize your website for better conversions.
3. Social media
Facebook events are the perfect platform for showcasing your events and getting people onboard. While you cannot directly sell the tickets, redirecting users from Facebook to your website or the ticketing platform should give you the much-needed boost.
Go to the Facebook events page and create an event that links back to your ticket purchase page. But, simply listing the event will not result in traffic.
You also need to promote your event.
11 tips to promote your virtual event and sell more tickets
Once you’ve set up the platform for selling your tickets, it’s time to move on to the final phase of hosting your online event — marketing it to get more customers.
1. Increase attendance through pre-selling
Think of marketing your event like how Marvel promotes its movies. They start by leaving subtle hints at the end of a movie to tell the audience there’s more coming.
Then, over the rest of the year, you see trailers and teasers, leaked clips, and memes surfacing throughout the internet.
And that is how you market virtual events too. The marketing can begin two, three, or even six months in advance. Here’s an event by Morning Brew that’s being promoted a month in advance. By sharing the event agenda, they’re able to get the right people interested in the event before the launch.
You can begin by creating an event landing page on your website, adding the event to multiple ticketing platforms, and then using the same on social media for gaining traction.
With social media set up, you can continue hyping it up by posting details about your event right until the last minute.
In the end, the more hype you create, the better your chances for a successful event.
2. Induce scarcity
Creating a sense of scarcity around your event can help boost sales. This is commonly known as Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO). If people feel they might miss out on something special, they’re more likely to act fast. The same is the story for buying a ticket to an exclusive event before it’s too late.
Done right, FOMO can push people to make quick purchase decisions instead of putting them off for later.
Here’s an example of Amanda adding some FOMO to her marketing message.
3. Offer early bird discounts
To boost early sales, incentivize your customers with an early bird discount upfront. For example, the first 100 tickets are sold at a 30% discount. The next 500 tickets are sold at a 15% discount, and so on. The concept here is to motivate early purchases.
People who buy in early on have the highest potential for becoming your true fans. Nurture them well and they’ll spread the word for you.
4. Ads based on different timezones
Although you may be hosting a virtual event, you must still be mindful of the time zone differences for your audiences. For instance, marketing an event that conflicts with a certain time zone is counterintuitive.
Facebook, Instagram, and Google allow you to create segments to market to specific countries and people with specific interests. Since the target audience is smaller and fewer brands are competing for the ad space, you can get better results with lesser ad spending.
Given that those platforms have immense global reach, you can disperse your event to a large audience for a fraction of conventional (or traditional) marketing expenditure.
5. Partner with other brands
Partnerships are an excellent way to connect with new brands and increase ticket sales for your events. For example, SquidGrow and Shibtoshi partnered for a Twitter space event discussing the new technology.
Both of them retweeted each other’s promo tweets to give exposure to their audiences. This ultimately helps both the partners gain more followers and increase the viewership of the event.
Through partnerships, individual brands can expose their audiences and fans to each other’s events, thereby combining their customer base and leading to an overall larger market for each of the individual partner companies.
6. Influencer marketing
Influencers also help you reach new people and promote your online event easily. On average, a successful influencer marketing campaign converts at least 1% of the audience.
If one influencer with 10,000 followers promotes your event, you can expect 100 people to reach your pages and sign up.
Imagine onboarding 10 such influencers, and you now have a potential 1,000 guests for your virtual event.
7. Send emails
If you have an email list, send out your emails leading up to the event. You can send out a variety of promotional emails here.
Hype emails: These introduce the event and make your email list aware of it.
Agenda: You send out an email with the event agenda and topics.
Offers: Share offers and interesting facts about the event, attendees, or the topic to keep the hype going.
Speaker list: If you’re bringing speakers onboard, send an email out to introduce them.
Nurture sequences: After someone signs up for your event, keep them hooked by emailing them with a customized digital event ticket. You can use Evey to create fully custom tickets with QR codes for attendee tracking.
You can also sponsor existing newsletters by contacting the website owners. If the newsletter has a small audience, you’ll have a higher chance of getting your message within one of their emails.
8. Affiliate marketers
Recruiting affiliates is a great way to sell tickets for your online event. It’s a win-win-win situation where:
the affiliates earn a commission
you get a new customer
the customer finds an event they’re interested in
And all the data is owned by you since affiliates send traffic to your website. You can recruit affiliates by connecting with lesser-known influencers and bloggers within your niche.
Search Google for “<event topic> + blog” to get a list of bloggers in your industry.
Alternatively, use a keyword research tool like Ahrefs to search the event topic and get the list of domains ranking for that topic.
Affiliates can be remarkably useful for selling tickets to your virtual event as you only have to pay when a sale is made. If a sale is not made, the affiliate will still be marketing your event to their audience giving your event free visibility.
9. Create an event-specific hashtag
A unique hashtag lets you tap into the audience of your speakers and attendees. When they talk about your event using the hashtag, people who follow them will take notice, which, in turn, helps you get better visibility for your event.
For instance, EVO 2022 used the hashtag #EVO2022 to share updates before, during, and after the event.
You can create a similar hashtag with the word event or the current year in it. Alternatively, skip the extra words and you can only use the event name there.
What matters is that the hashtag is quick to type and easy to remember.
10. Run a competition
The hashtag or event page you create needs to be shared around and one way to do this is through competitions. Start by finding something that your audience can relate to.
Solana Winter Wars, a blockchain-based game, hosted a gaming competition where the community can participate to win valuable NFTs.
The participants were asked to share their progress throughout the competition by tagging the @communi3_io. After the competition was over, the winners were given NFTs and the event host increased their following and got new players for their game.
A similar strategy can be used for your events. For example, if you are hosting a virtual marketing event, you can run a competition for daily publishing. Whenever the participants publish their content, they tag you and use your hashtag, thus promoting your event too.
11. Sell exclusive access
Limited-time exclusive access passes can incentivize people to get higher-tier access to the event. Depending on the resources you have for the event, you can create a variety of passes.
For example, an exclusive access pass can allow the pass holder to connect with the speakers. This will help them build their network in the industry and also make them more likely to share your event with their followers.
You can get creative with your access passes and create multiple tiers based on the time of purchase, add tiered prices, and more.
Sell out tickets to your virtual events fast
It’s a good practice to frequently talk about who’s speaking at your event, the number of people who have already signed up, and what will be discussed. All you’re trying to do is make noise about your event.
The more you share glimpses and inside details of your virtual event, the higher your chances of selling more tickets. You can also add a sense of exclusivity to your event through customized tickets, VIP access passes, and limited seats.
For easy management of your virtual events try out Evey, the event ticketing and attendee management app for Shopify websites.
It helps you create a seamless ticketing experience that works great for your guests. Simply install the app, customize the tickets per your event theme or brand colors, and set up your event page to start selling tickets.
Whatever platform you use, remember this: Keep it easy for yourself and your audience to manage tickets.