Ultimately, it all comes down to ticket sales. You can have the most innovative social strategy, a forward thinking and enticing lineup, excellent vendors and well oiled infrastructure, but if you come short on your ticket sales, the event is going to fail and you’re going to be shouldering a significant burden. There are so many different ways to sell tickets nowadays, and there are an increasing number of vendors, all claiming to offer better solutions than their rivals. But ultimately, you should be combing over the small print and making sure that you are getting the best deal. Away from those agreements, there are a number things that you can do that will significantly improve your chances of selling out your event and making sure that you achieve the most crucial metric for success in the festival industry.
Give yourself time to sell
It’s generally accepted that a festival needs at least six months to sell tickets. You have to consider the landscape and the competition around you, and understand that the average person will only commit to one, possibly two festivals in the calendar. It’s always advisable to have some cheap tickets in reserve for the super fans who buy tickets for next year as soon as they get home, but by having a good tier system over a drawn out period of at least six months, with several prices and options, will ensure that you’re giving yourself the best chance to sell out.
Commit the customer and you commit their friends
A 2014 study found that 84% of millennials don’t trust traditional advertising and rank their friends highest in terms of trust. Ticket advocacy programs from companies like StreetTeam have proved that there is a lot of leverage to gain from harnessing the strong voices in groups of friends. By identifying who your brand advocates are you can incentivize them to sell tickets to their friends, by either offering VIP upgrades, free tickets, or onsite packages. In an era of laser pointed advertising and subversive data gathering, a trusted friend selling you on an event is worth considerably more than any aftermovie or lineup.
— StreetTeam (@StreetTeam) November 5, 2016
You can also offer ticket giveaways on Facebook or Instagram by asking fans to tag friends, thus bringing awareness to the event within tight knit crews and former festival fams. A handful of tickets are a small price to pay for a significant increase in awareness.
Use the tickets outside of your deal wisely
Most festivals and events will sign an exclusivity deal with a ticketing agency, and these typically result in around 90% of the total tickets for the event being sold by a single vendor. Using that remaining 10% is crucial, as it is your opportunity to diversify where you have a presence. Do your research and figure out where your demographic is buy their tickets and use these additional tickets not only as revenue opportunities but as advertising for the event.
Diversify your social content
There was always going to be a section about social media in here, and it probably comes as no surprise to you that having a diverse social strategy is key. You’re going to be targeting different people on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, and each one of these needs to be treated as an opportunity to sell tickets. Given the increasing depth of their inbuilt metrics, as well as their significant audience share, Facebook should still be your primary point of sale. If you release a killer promo video or a really exciting piece of news about your festival and include a call-to-action button at the bottom, you’re significantly increasing your chances of conversion. You should identify early on what your most effective channel is and then really start honing in on that for the final part of your campaign. This way you can avoid squandering your budget, and make sure that you’re in a healthy shape as the event rolls in.
Don’t forget Google Ads
With your all Snapchats and your Twitters and whatever else the kids are uploading their lives onto these days, it can be easy to forget that a huge number of people still come to Google for answers. Pump “Festival summer Las Vegas” into the search engine and you will expect to see ticket ads for EDC Las Vegas. You shouldn’t neglect this crucial form of advertising if you have substantive metrics to support ticket buyers coming from sources other than social media.