ALL the things all organizers should be doing to encourage online ticket sales

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Above: an event that didn’t do the most spectacular job at consistent advance ticket sales.

Selling tickets on the internet is an art, and a fairly new art at that: most of us are still new to DIY ticketing sites, and even fewer of us have mastered them. This list is intended to diminish the panic that sets upon the organizer when, a week of two before the event, ticket sales are still woefully paltry. Here is how our expert event marketers recommend incentivizing continuous, voluminous ticket sales:


1. 100% discounts. Useful for free events, set up a ticket priced at any amount, then send all of your invitees a discount code for 100% off a ticket. The gesture will make everyone feel super special and loved, plus there’s an enormous upside in the case that someone might actually pay for the ticket for some reason, leaving you unexpectedly flush.

2. Multiple ticket discount. This is a fairly obvious one that a lot of organizers miss. Singles and pairs of tickets are by far the most popular number of tickets to purchase for any event, so consider incentivizing the purchasing of more than two tickets, rendering the event a better deal for ticket buyers whilst simultaneously getting more people through the door.

3. Tax deductible donation ticket. Listen closely nonprofits! It’s crucially vitally important if you can accept tax deductible donations that you stress this fact, and create all manner of expensive tickets/donations on your event page that might capture the attention of the tax deduction-crazy folks in your community. Which leads me into strategy number 4 here:

4. Sponsor ticket. Anything can be sponsored! A table, a speaker, a section of an orchestra, a dancer, a fruit and cheese platter, and the list goes on. In the age of micro-donations and sites like Kickstarter, sponsorships can be small things with meaningful rewards like naming rights, personal thank-yous, ect.

5. VIP Status. Since a vague awareness of your socio-economic standing is always bubbling somewhere right under the surface anyway, why not make things a little more explicit? Consider adding a VIP ticket, with perks like front-row seating, car pick up, or extra-strong G&Ts.

6. Personal discount codes. For smaller events, or where certain valued attendees’ names are known, create discount codes specifically for the individual. For instance, a thoughtful friend might provide the code “PhilIsGod14” for me, and I’d be much more inclined to be a thoughtful friend/god and attend his/her event.

7. Early bird pricing. Obvz a classic. The advanced version of early bird is of course tiers, where consistent sales can be improved by slowly raising the price every week or month.

8. Create a sense of scarcity. “Tickets are selling fast and will soon be gone!” How many times has each of heard such a claim? Most of the time it’s probably not true, but it’s all rather harmless since you’re just playing a game of poker with the procrastinators of the world, who full well deserve to lose that game anyway.


Further reading! How to make and save more money organizing events