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12 ways to boost your sport organization’s online ticket sales

Kids cheering at sport game

Selling tickets online can significantly increase your event’s attendance, attract new fans and help existing fans share your sport with family and friends.  Thanks to companies like Eventbrite, it’s never been easier or more affordable to add online sales to your ticketing program.

To learn how to set up an online ticket sales account to Eventbrite, check out their comprehensive help section. Once you’ve got an account, read on to learn how to make the most of your online ticket sales program.


In module 31 you will find: 

1. Have a plan  2. Create a comprehensive online ticket sales page 3. Create an online community  4. Create goodwill 5. Take advantage of the confirmation email 6. Tailor your messages to different groups of fans 7. Provide an excusive incentive 8. Make an emotional connection 9. Use analytics 10. Give your members the tools to share your event 11. Try online ads 12. Use Facebook’s Event feature


1. Have a plan 

If you’re a regular reader of this toolkit, you know that a simple promotional plan can save you time and money. Learn how to create a social media action plan. You can also check out our Social Media Checklist for Event Hosting for more information.

When developing your plan, consider the following questions: 

  • What social media platforms will provide you the greatest return on investment?
  • What are your ticket sales goals? Some organizations may want to finance a certain percentage of their event budget through ticket sales, while others might be willing to earn less ticket revenue in order to introduce more fans to their sport and fill the seats.
  • What is your event’s look and feel (colours, fonts, imagery, etc)?
  • What were the successes and challenges from the last event’s ticket sales?
  • Do you have a budget for social media ads or contest prizes?
  • How can you involve sponsors?
  • Why do people come to your event? Are your event attendees fans of a particular athlete, such as a friend/family member, or are they fans of the sport in general? Does your event offer inexpensive family fun or do people come for the beer garden and the rowdy atmosphere?
  • How will you tie your online ticket sales strategy in to your offline strategy?
  • Do you need to create distinct social media accounts for your event or can you run your online campaign off of your organization’s existing social media accounts?
     

2. Create a comprehensive online ticket sales page

Hand using a computer keyboard

Most online sales platforms allow you to thoroughly customize the ticket sales page. Make sure to:

  • Provide all relevant information about your event, (map, address, schedule, types of tickets, etc), but don’t overwhelm your fans with too much detail.
  • Give your page the same look and feel as your other marketing pieces, including your posters and your website.
  • Customize the data you collect from the ticket buyer. You could, for example, ask how he or she heard about your event. Using Eventbrite, you can even ask different questions to customers who bought different types of tickets (all-day pass vs. single game ticket).
  • If you have a major sponsor, consider offering promotional space on your event ticket page as part of the return on investment. Your online ticket page is a highly valuable but undersold asset.
  • Offer regular updates to your event attendees.
  • Enable Google Analytics on your ticket page so that you can track how people arrived at your ticket page and adjust your strategy based on the results.
     

3. Create an online community 

If you’ve ever encountered some Cheeseheads tailgating at a Green Bay Packers game or witnessed a European soccer ultra in action, you know the power of a sports community. Use social media to harness this energy. Months or even years before your event begins, use Facebook to create a community where fans can share their love of your sport. While bigger events like a world championship might require dedicated social media accounts, many smaller events can be promoted through your organization’s social media accounts. When it comes time to sell online tickets, you’ll have an existing community ready to share your message and promote your event. Click here for tips on how to grow your online communities.
 

4. Create goodwill

Smiley face

Studies show that sports teams that add some form of “social good” to their marketing campaigns, such offering free tickets to charity organizations or hosting awareness days to raise money for social causes, have greater reach on social media and larger online ticket sales, especially among Millenials. Promote your goodwill initiatives on social media and you’ll reap the rewards.

 

 

5. Take advantage of the confirmation email

When an attendee purchases an online ticket, he or she receives a confirmation email. This is an excellent opportunity to engage your fans by encouraging them to follow you on social media, invite their friends to your event or even enter an online contest. Studies have also shown that the act of buying a ticket makes a fan 60 - 70% more likely to make another purchase directly afterwards, so consider adding links to online merchandise or your donations program. Remember to create a strong call to action and to not overwhelm your fans with too many asks.
 

6. Tailor your messages to different groups of fans  

a group of stick people of different colours

Different types of fans have different reasons for attending your event. Thanks to social media and email marketing, you can tailor your messages to each one and increase your ticket sales. Create social media content that targets a specific type of fan. You might, for example, sell tickets to family members by drawing on the feeling of pride that comes from seeing your relative represent Team Canada after years of hard work. Create different email lists of friends and family, past attendees, sports alumni, or current members and use a slightly different message in your promotional emails for each group. Some organizations even offer discounts for friends and family or alumni athletes to make these groups feel invested in the event.

 

7. Provide an excusive incentive

Studies show that not only are fans more willing to purchase tickets if they feel that they’ve received an exclusive offer, but they’re more likely to share the news with their friends and family online. Use special social media offers to help your event go viral. According to top team sports marketers, incentives should be “economic, social or emotional in nature."1

  • Target your most avid fans first with offers of advanced tickets, discounts or free merchandise. If you reach your top influencers early, they’ll feel invested in helping you promote your event.
  • Offer last-minute seats exclusively on social media.
  • Reward recurring fans with a loyalty program.
  • Offer a discount to your social media followers using a coupon code. Use different coupon codes for different social media platforms to track each platform’s success.
  • Run a contest. Check out our module for more information on running social media contests.
  • Offer an exclusive experience for social media followers, such as the opportunity to meet the team or tour the facility before the match.
  • Eventbrite allows you to run “affiliate programs” to encourage your fans to promote your event. Affiliate programmers receive a custom URL that they can use to promote your event. Every time the URL results in a ticket sale, the affiliate will receive either a percentage of ticket sales or special incentives like free tickets. 
     

8. Make an emotional connection

It’s easy for online communication to lose that human touch, but studies show that having an emotional connection to the team is one of the top factors in recurring ticket sales. Those same studies show that recurring fans gross significantly more revenue overall, including merchandise sales.

Make a connection by:

  • Thanking your recurring fans for their support.
  • Giving your social media accounts a human feel. Reply to fans who comment on your page and make sure that your tone does not feel robotic or formal.
  • Creating social media content that taps into your fans’ emotions. Draw on the love of the sport, support for an athlete, or patriotism for your country.
     

9. Use analytics

Two stick people looking at data graphs

Online data allows you to easily see what’s driving ticket sales and what’s missing the mark so that you can refine your approach. 

  • Use the analytics from previous events to determine which types of social media content drove the most traffic to your online ticketing website, and which areas needed improvement.
  • To track the success of your online ticket promotional content, use a URL shortener like goo.gl to create a custom URL for each piece of social media marketing content you produce. Eventbrite’s analytics and Google analytics will tell you which custom URL drove the most traffic to your ticket sales page and which converted the most visits into sales.
  • Use A/B testing to refine your marketing content. Send half of your email list one email message and the other half another, then see which email drove the most fans to your online ticket sales page.
  • Use Facebook Insights and Hootsuite’s Twitter analytics to learn what social media marketing content was most successful.
     

10. Give your members the tools to share your event

Your organization’s members and your social media followers will share your message if you equip them with the right social media content.

  • Use Facebook events to help your followers invite their friends and family.
  • Create social media graphics with all the event details and a simple call to action.
  • Create social media pieces that allow your followers to celebrate their love of your sport and your event.
  • Use video to create a promotional trailer for your event so that your followers can give their friends a taste of the excitement.
  • Encourage your ticket buyers to invite their family and friends by prompting them to share the event on social media. (Eventbrite can do this automatically).
     

11. Try online ads

Facebook like button

The jury’s still out about the success of social media ads. Thanks to Facebook’s improved algorithm, however, you can more easily target potential event attendees if you choose to use Facebook ads. Target ads to friends of your Facebook followers or to people of a certain gender, age or demographic. You can even use Facebook’s remarketing pixel to insert a bit of code that tracks when people visit your ticket site but don’t buy. Within an hour, they’ll receive a Facebook ad about your event to remind them. If your organization is a non-profit, you can also receive up to $10,000 of free Google advertising
 

12. Use Facebook’s Event feature

Facebook events are a simple way to market your sports events, but they’re often underutilized. Eventbrite will automatically create a Facebook event for your sports event so that Facebook fans can be easily directed to purchase online tickets.

Make sure to:

  • Invite your Facebook followers to attend your event.
  • Encourage your Facebook followers to invite their friends to your event.
  • Update the Facebook event with the schedule and other important information.
  • Promptly answer questions asked on your Facebook event.
  • Give your Facebook event the same look and feel as your other marketing pieces.

Has your organization had success with online ticket sales? Have you run into any challenges not mentioned here?
Get into the conversation by tweeting @viasportbc or emailing arley@bcwheelchairsports.com  

 

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1. http://teamsportsmarketing.com/the-text/team-marketing

 

Sources

http://www.thundertix.com/ticketing-software-for-sports-and-racing/borrowing-the-best-practices-of-big-league-sports-ticketing-software/

http://ticketingtoday.com/speedway-success-story-ticket-sales-and-renewals-best-practices-with-tim-schuldt-part-3/

http://ticketingtoday.com/5-email-design-tips-for-ticket-promotions/

http://teamsportsmarketing.com/the-text/team-marketing

http://ticketingtoday.com/5-ideas-for-upselling-in-the-ticket-confirmation-email/

http://ticketingtoday.com/five-digital-fan-marketing-best-practices-to-sell-tickets-fill-seats/

http://ticketingtoday.com/setting-realistic-team-ticket-goals/

http://ticketingtoday.com/how-to-sell-out-the-last-seats-with-a-solid-facebook-advertising-strategy/

http://blog.eventbrite.com/top-10-best-practices-on-how-to-use-social-media-to-promote-your-event-part-i-1-5/

http://www.viktorix.com/10-eventbrite-must-dos-maximum-success/

http://help.eventbrite.ca/customer/en_ca/portal/articles/430478

http://cloud4good.com/announcements/salesforce-and-eventbrite/

http://blog.eventbrite.com/raise-more-with-fundly/

http://ticketingtoday.com/stir-the-social-media-pot-for-effective-millennial-marketing/


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Social Media Toolkit

The social media toolkit for sport communicators is intended to help B.C. sport organizations, clubs and other sport-related organizations navigate the confusing and rapidly evolving word of social media.