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Sales and Marketing Engagement

How to Sell Tickets for an Event: 13 Strategies to Drive Attendance

By Meaghan Maybee on October 25, 2023

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Meaghan Maybee
Meaghan Maybee

As pc/nametag's in-house Word Wizard, Meaghan creates educational content that brings people together and drives meaningful conversations in the events industry.

Event planners understand the extensive amount of effort, creativity, and passion that goes into creating unforgettable experiences. However, without a strategy to sell event tickets and attract attendees, all that hard work might go unnoticed.

If you want to learn how to sell tickets to an event, you've come to the right place. Read on to find the best event promotion ideas to help you generate buzz, fill seats, meet revenue goals, and boost your event’s bottom line.

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How to Increase Ticket Sales for an Event

Every event deserves a great turnout! Whether you're organizing a conference, convention, charity fundraiser, expo, or music festival, selling tickets and getting people in the door is at the heart of your event's success. Increase your odds of success with the following 13 actionable tips to boost your event's attendance rates.

1. Create tiered ticket pricing.

Tiered pricing offers different levels of access or perks at varying price points for your event. Not only does this strategy offer more flexibility for different budgets and preferences, but it also enhances the perceived value of your event. This way, attendees can select the level of engagement and exclusivity they desire.

Each tier should offer different attendee benefits. For instance, offer a basic ticket that grants general admission, a mid-tier ticket with exclusive access to certain event features (like a VIP lounge or early entry), and a premium ticket with all the perks, such as meet-and-greets with speakers and access to exclusive activities after hours. Tiered pricing also encourages attendees to upgrade to a higher-priced tier for a more enhanced experience.

2. Offer discounted group rates.

Group discounts involve offering reduced ticket prices or additional benefits when multiple attendees purchase tickets together. Group discounts are also great for generating larger group bookings and encouraging word-of-mouth promotion. People within a group are more likely to recommend your event to their social circles or colleagues to get better pricing.

There are many ways to present group discounts. For instance, you could offer a 10% discount for groups of ten or more or offer a surprise gift to groups of six or more people who “buy a table” at your charity gala dinner. This tactic not only saves attendees money but also enhances the social aspect of the event by boosting attendance.

3. Promote event promo codes and coupons.

Using ticket promo codes and coupons is an event marketing strategy that involves distributing unique promotional codes or coupons that grant discounts, special offers, or exclusive access to your event. This is the perfect way to entice potential attendees to sign up, and reward existing attendees for coming back!

Distribute promo codes and coupons through event email marketing, social media platforms, partnerships, or physical marketing materials. You might also consider targeting certain promo codes to specific segments of your audience (I.e., loyal customers, early registrants, affiliate partners, etc.). This way, you can track the effectiveness of different marketing channels and see which promo codes generated the most sales.

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4. Design ticket bundles with added perks.

Bundle deals involve creating packages that combine event tickets with additional perks. For example, a ticket bundle could include fun merchandise, access to workshops, or exclusive access to event features. Discounted ticket bundles create simple upsell opportunities and increase the perceived value of attending the event.

If you’re planning a conference, try designing a bundle that includes event admission, a free lunch pass, access to exclusive networking sessions, and a VIP t-shirt. This not only encourages ticket sales, but also makes the event more appealing to attendees, as they receive a comprehensive experience that goes beyond just the event itself.

  • Tag Tip: Want to save money? Create opportunities for cross-promotion by partnering with event vendors or sponsors to include their products or services in the bundles.

5. Offer early bird registration with discounted ticket fees.

Selling early bird tickets is a proven method to boost ticket sales for your event. This method incentivizes potential attendees to commit early, secure their spots, and take advantage of reduced ticket prices in exchange for registering in advance of the event’s date.

Early bird discounts work by creating a sense of urgency and a fear of missing out (FOMO). Many people are more likely to buy tickets when they know they're getting a better deal than if they were to wait. It's a win-win, as attendees get to enjoy cost savings, and you get to secure early revenue and a committed audience.

  • ✅ CHEAT SHEET: Get a list of creative Early Bird Discount Ideas by filling out the form below.

FREE CHEAT SHEET Early Bird Promotion Ideas Create excitement and provide incentives to potential attendees to secure their tickets early!   

6. Design limited-time offers to drive ticket sales.

Limited-time offers use a time-sensitive approach to driving ticket sales for your event. This strategy works best when you create a sense of urgency, exclusivity, or scarcity for a short period of time. By setting a specific deadline, you encourage potential attendees to make a quick decision to secure their tickets.

The primary objective of limited-time offers is to leverage FOMO to motivate people to take action. Try putting together a flash sale, a one-day promotion, or a countdown timer on your ticket sales page (or embedded in an event marketing email) to add thrill and excitement to the ticket-buying process.

You may also consider mentioning that a limited number of registrants will receive an exclusive offer. For instance, write “Limited Time Offer! Get 20% off your ticket when you register today. Offer limited to the first 250 registrants to sign up. Don’t miss out!” This tactic convinces potential attendees to make a decision quickly before they lose out on your deal.

7. Create an event referral program.

Referral programs boost ticket sales by encouraging attendees to share an event with their social networks. These programs leverage the trust and personal connections of your existing attendees. Oftentimes, people are more likely to buy tickets based on the recommendations of colleagues, friends, and acquaintances.

This strategy not only expands your reach but also encourages your most loyal attendees to become brand ambassadors for your event. When someone buys a ticket, they are given a unique referral link. They can then share this link with others. When someone else buys a ticket using the referral link, both the referrer and the new attendee get incentives, like discounts, free merchandise, or exclusive access to the event.

8. Create an influencer marketing program.

Similarly, influencer marketing involves leveraging the influence of people with large social media followings to drive more ticket sales to your event. Influencers may be bloggers, social media personalities, industry experts, or even celebrities known for their expertise and credibility.

When it comes to promoting your event, influencers can be powerful allies. They can create authentic and engaging content about your event, share it with their followers, and provide firsthand testimonials or endorsements. Their endorsement lends credibility and trust to your event in the eyes of their audience, making it more likely for their followers to purchase tickets and attend.

  • Tag Tip: Successful influencer marketing starts with finding influencers whose followers align with your event's target audience. The content they create should be organic and genuine, resonating with their followers and encouraging them to take an interest in your event.

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9. Highlight your event through paid advertising.

Paid advertising is a targeted approach to reach potential attendees through various online platforms and search engines. For instance, event marketers may invest in advertising campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, X (formerly Twitter), or Google Ads to promote their event to a specific audience.

Paid advertising provides several benefits. On most platforms, you can finely tune your audience targeting to boost messaging to people of certain demographics, interests, behaviors, and locations. Additionally, you can set your budget to best suit your goals—whether it's building brand awareness, driving website traffic, or, most importantly, boosting ticket sales.

Brooke Ihlefeld - Updated 2024 Headshot

“Retargeting is another great feature of paid advertising. It enables you to reach people who have previously interacted with your event page but haven’t yet converted. By serving ads to these individuals, you can send a gentle reminder, reignite their interest, and encourage them to complete their ticket purchase.”

Brooke Ihlefeld, Digital Marketing Manager at pc/nametag

10. Establish industry partnerships and sponsorships.

Collaborating with relevant businesses, organizations, or brands can be a mutually beneficial strategy for increasing event ticket sales. Forming partnerships or securing sponsorships can help you tap into the resources, networks, and marketing reach of supporting organizations. Sponsors can also provide financial support, in-kind contributions, or promotional assistance in exchange for exposure at your event.

While partnerships can certainly cover some of your event’s costs, they can also extend your event's reach to help you sell more tickets. Consider teaming up with local chambers of commerce, community groups, or industry organizations for promotional support and event-related assistance. Both you and your supporters will walk away with increased visibility and the shared goal of making the event a success.

  • Tag Tip: Consider sending press releases, media kits, and event information to local newspapers, magazines, TV stations, and online publications. Positive media coverage can generate more interest in your event and drive registrations.

11. Leverage event email marketing and social media promotion.

Event marketing is your best friend when it comes to selling more tickets to an event. With email marketing, you can build a targeted list to share tiered pricing, highlight flash sales, and alert attendees when tickets are nearly sold out. You can also use email to distribute special offers, highlight deadlines, and build trust with your audience.

With social media promotion, you can promote your event through engaging posts, fun videos, and interactive content that creates awareness and excitement. Use social media platforms to generate buzz, interact with your audience, and reach a broader demographic for your event.

Combining these two strategies is a winning formula. You can use email marketing campaigns to nurture leads and keep your event top-of-mind. At the same time, you can leverage social media platforms to further engage your audience through multiple channels— thus increasing the chances of conversion.

FREE CHEAT SHEET Social Media Content Sizes Quickly reference optimal image and video sizes for each social media platform!   

12. Create intrigue in your event with user-generated content.

User-generated content (UGC) is a valuable strategy that involves encouraging attendees to create and share content about your event on their social media profiles. This content may include photos, videos, reviews, testimonials, livestreams, or posts related to their experience at your event.

User-generated content is highly influential because it acts as authentic endorsements and social proof. When attendees share their positive experiences, it provides prospective attendees with genuine insights and builds trust in the quality and appeal of your event.

To harness user-generated content effectively, create and promote event-specific hashtags and encourage attendees to use them. You can also run UGC contests or giveaways to motivate attendees to share their experiences. By curating and showcasing this content on your event's website, social media profiles, or marketing materials, you can create a sense of community and excitement around your event.

13. Create activities and contests that promote ticket sales.

Hosting contests is a great way to promote your event across social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, and TikTok. Encourage people to participate by making it easy to complete the steps to enter the contest. The best part? You can use the information you gather from attendees to target them for upcoming events!

Examples of contests to increase event attendance include the following:

  • Ticket Giveaway Contest: Encourage participants to enter the contest for a chance to win free event tickets. To enter, they might need to follow your social media accounts, tag friends, or share a post about the event.
  • Photo or Video Contest: Ask participants to submit photos or videos related to your event's theme or a specific prompt. The most creative or compelling entry can win event tickets or VIP passes.
  • Referral Contest: Reward participants for referring their friends or connections to purchase event tickets. The person with the most successful referrals wins free tickets, plus discounts for their referred friends.
  • Hashtag Challenge: Create a unique event-related hashtag and encourage participants to use it on social media. Select winners based on the most creative, widespread, or engaging use of the hashtag. The prize can be event tickets or VIP access.
  • Event Memory Contest: Ask past attendees to share their favorite memories or stories from previous events. The most heartwarming or entertaining entry can win tickets to the current event.
  • Tag Tip: Everybody loves free tickets. If you’re looking for a cost-effective giveaway, consider compensating the winner’s ticket fee or providing them with a second ticket they can use to bring a friend along.

Event attendees purchase tickets for a conference

Create Event Tickets with pc/nametag

Now that you know how to increase event registration through ticket sales, it’s time to create your tickets! Today, physical tickets are used for more than just event admission. They also make cost-effective keepsakes and fun, interactive tools to boost attendee engagement. In our digital age, receiving a physical ticket is viewed as a luxury experience, which can help your event stand out.

The best thing about tear-off tickets is that they can be fully customized to your event. Use your tickets as a canvas to show off your branding, sponsors, hashtags, or important event information. You can even experiment with adding variable data (like QR codes, bar codes, and numerical sequencing) to tickets and stubs. These elements are great for attendee tracking and added personalization.

Ready to create your most memorable event experience yet? Create your very own custom event tickets with pc/nametag, available in horizontal and vertical orientations.

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